Nick Peers

Firefox 28 launches, but lacks notable features after Mozilla drops Metro version at 11th hour

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Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 28.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for Android 28.0 also due for release shortly.

The most notable feature in version 28 is a missing one, with Mozilla pulling the planned Firefox for Metro release for Windows 8/RT shortly before shipping. The end result is an underwhelming desktop update overshadowed by the new Android release.

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WinPatrol adds Safe Update, Restore Deleted Files features

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BillP Studios has updated its snapshot-based security tool for Windows with the release of WinPatrol 30.5.2014. The new incremental release comes with two major new features, plus an upgrade discount for XP users as End of Life approaches.

Version 2014 also continues to tweak the positioning of dialog boxes and their components in response to user feedback, and has switched font to MS Shell Dig.

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Facebook for Android improves photo support, group admin tools

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Facebook has unveiled a major update to its Android app with the release of Facebook for Android 7.0. The latest version concentrates on improving photo management for users, and also gives group administrators more control from within the app itself.

For the first time, users can now include photos when posting comments using the Android app -- it’s an overdue update, as the feature has been present on the web since June 2013 and first appeared in Facebook for iOS five months ago.

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VLC for Windows 8 Beta launches, early promise undermined by stability issues

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Windows RT/8 users rejoice: a Modern UI version of the fan-favorite VLC Media Player tool has just surfaced in the Windows App Store. VLC for Windows 8 Beta 0.2is currently available for Intel-based processors only, so users of WinRT tablets will need to wait until VideoLan is able to successfully compile an ARM version.

As the version number attests, VLC for Windows 8 is a very early public peek at running VLC on the Modern UI platform, and sadly it shows.

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Opera Developer 21 updated, promises improved start-up times

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Opera has updated the alpha version of its web browser with the release of Opera Developer 21.0.1432.5 for Windows and Mac. The new build fixes a few regressions, plus implements new tab-related tweaks to improve start-up times.

Version 21.0 opens with a number of important fixes, restoring Adblock to full working order and promising an end to the "Harlem Shake" when hovering over tabs on the Mac platform. It also fixes a number of unspecified crashes.

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Apache OpenOffice 4.1 Beta unveiled, supports commenting and annotating on text ranges in Writer

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Apache Software Foundation has unveiled the first public beta of its forthcoming Apache OpenOffice 4.1 release. The new version continues to build on the major changes introduced when version 4 was released last year.

Although termed a minor release, version 4.1 does add one major new feature -- the ability to commentate and annotate on text ranges -- as well as a number of significant improvements. It also moves to 64-bit only on the OS X platform.

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Skype for Windows 8 adds cross-device syncing, requires Windows 8.1

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Microsoft has unveiled an update to its Windows chat app with the release of Skype for Windows 8 v2.6. Version 2.6 unveils one major update, support for syncing read chats and picked-up calls across multiple devices.

The new feature means that users can switch from their Windows 8 device to another platform and be sure that any chat updates or picked-up calls made on the secondary platform are now acknowledged by the Windows 8 app too.

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FileBot makes media analysis and renaming easier than ever

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The larger your movie and media collection, the harder it can be to manage. What happens if your carefully crafted naming convention proves incompatible with the new media server you’ve switched to? Or you’re missing artwork for a selection of movies? And is it too much to ask about obtaining subtitles without too much fuss?

The solution to all of these woes can be found with one incredibly clever, and completely free, tool for Windows, Mac and Linux. That tool is FileBot 4.0.

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CloudyTabs lets you access iCloud-synced browser tabs outside of Safari on your Mac

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These days, most people find themselves browsing on a variety of devices: computers, smartphones and tablets. It’s why most browsers have developed tools for automatically keeping everything in sync across all your tech, but the downside is you normally have to tie yourself into one service or browser.

If you’re a Mac user, that usually means tying yourself into Apple’s Safari web browser for iCloud Tab syncing, but you can access the pages you’ve got open on your iOS device on any browser you like with a free app called CloudyTabs 1.0.

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XBMC 13 Beta 1 released, adds limited 3D support, hardware decoding to Android devices

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Team XBMC has unveiled the first public beta of XBMC 13.0, its open-source, cross-platform media server and center. Version 13.0, codenamed "Gotham", ships after more than a year of development, and is packed full of new and improved features.

Chief among these are limited support for stereoscopic 3D rendering, improved touchscreen and UPnP capabilities, Android hardware decoding and what Team XBMC terms "dramatic" audio engine enhancements.

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Evernote for Windows Desktop builds in annotation tools, improves sync performance

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Evernote Corporation has released Evernote 5.2 for Windows Desktop, the latest build of its cloud-based note-taking tool that’s also available on Mac and other platforms.

There are two improvements of note in version 5.2: image annotation, whereby users can now annotate images from within Evernote itself, while Evernote for Business users show now enjoy vastly improved sync performance.

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Opera 20 released, beefs up bookmarks bar, Speed Dial

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Opera Software has released Opera 20 FINAL for Windows and Mac. It’s the sixth major update since the browser was rebooted with the Chromium browser engine, and follows previous releases in offering evolutionary changes rather than revolutionary ones.

Many of the new features in version 20 build on features added in January when Opera 19 was released, with improvements to the bookmarks bar and advanced Hardcore mode in addition to a handful of other tweaks.

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Faststone Image Viewer adds new options, improves existing features

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FastStone Software has released FastStone Image Viewer 5.0 and FastStone Image Viewer Portable 5.0 for Windows PCs. The free-for-personal-use tool provides image browsing, converting and editing capabilities.

Version 5.0 adds a number of minor new features, tweaks some existing settings and comes with various minor bug fixes and improvements.

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Chrome 34 Beta introduces hands-free Voice Search

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After the underwhelming release of Google Chrome 33 FINAL last week, Google has unveiled a much more interesting update to its beta channel with the arrival of Google Chrome 34 Beta.

Chrome 34 comes with the promise of hands-free voice search, plus makes it possible for users to import "supervised" user profiles on to multiple devices. Also added are responsive images, and an unprefixed version of the Web Audio API.

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AVG dumps LiveKive cloud backup service -- here’s what you need to do next

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AVG has announced plans to discontinue its LiveKive cloud-based backup and sync service for Windows and Macs. The decision is unsurprising -- thanks to underwhelming reviews and fierce competition, it appears AVG has decided to concentrate its efforts on its core security products.

Existing LiveKive users won’t be cut adrift immediately, however: the service will continue as normal until April, and data won’t actually be deleted until August.

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