Nick Peers

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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What's new in Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1?

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Microsoft has unveiled the first Service Pack update for Microsoft Office 2013 with the release of Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (32-bit) and Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (64-bit). As expected, the SP1 is primarily a collection of previously released security patches and bug fixes, but does include some compatibility improvements as well as new apps for Office capabilities and APIs for third-party developers.

The update comes with the promise of improved compatibility with Windows 8.1 as well as Internet Explorer 11. It’s also optimized to work better with newer hardware, such as high-DPI screens and precision touchpads.

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CCleaner adds support for managing Opera start-up items, adds file content duplicate detection

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Piriform has released CCleaner 4.11 and CCleaner Portable 4.11, its popular free and paid-for cleaning tool for Windows. Version 4.11 is a significant update with a number of interesting new features.

These include adding support for start-up item management to the new Opera browser, the ability to scan for duplicated files based on their content and various other tweaks and improvements. Unlike recent updates, the bulk of the changes apply to free and paid-for versions of CCleaner.

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WinPatrol 2014 'Second Release' squashes bugs and delivers more usage tips during setup

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BillP Studios has released WinPatrol 30.1.2014, the "Second Release" of the 2014 version of its snapshot-based security tool. The new build contains a number of minor tweaks and refinements over the first release, which was billed as a "preview" when it debuted last month.

Version 30.1.2014 opens by improving the setup file to provide the user with more helpful information and tips on using WinPatrol that are displayed during the installation process.

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Stream audio from your PC to any AirPlay device using TuneBlade

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AirPlay is, as we all know, Apple’s solution for listening to music wirelessly wherever you are. Leave your Mac in the study and stream music to a wireless speaker in your living room, or beam a TV show from your iPad to the big-screen TV through Apple TV or a HTPC running XBMC. It’s a key part of the media-friendly home.

Of course, one hole in AirPlay’s attempts to become universally adopted is a lack of PC support. Thankfully, third-party developers have come to the rescue, and one of the newest AirPlay streaming tools for Windows is TuneBlade 1.0.

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Google Chrome 33 released, tightens security

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Google has updated its cross-platform browser with the release of Google Chrome 33 FINAL. The new release proves controversial as Google tightens control over the browser to the anger of some users.

In terms of new features, version 33 is rather disappointing -- despite debuting in the beta channel a few weeks ago, Google Now notifications have yet to make their way across to the stable channel. In fact, version 33 is little more than a bug-fix release, with 28 security fixes the only notable highlight.

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RealPlayer Cloud gives you the best of all worlds when it comes to playing video

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When it comes to playing video on your PC or mobile, the choices are vast and sometimes confusing. Do you restrict yourself to access from one device, or do you manually transfer media between devices as and when it’s required? Or do you invest in some cloud-based solution that gives you access wherever you have an internet connection?

You could try and combine a number of different solutions, or you could take a closer look at RealPlayer Cloud 17 and RealPlayer Cloud for Mobile, which offers a solution to all three scenarios in one app.

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Panda releases Panda Cloud Antivirus Beta 2.9 ahead of final version 3 release

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Panda Security has released Panda Cloud Antivirus Beta 2.9, a major revision of its popular cloud-based antivirus tool for Windows PCs.

The beta -- which will become version 3.0 on its final release -- includes a redesigned user interface based along Windows 8 lines as well as a new Wi-Fi Monitor module, and comes with the promise of improved protection and performance.

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Emsisoft Anti-Malware adds protection against malicious browser extensions

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Emsisoft has released Emsisoft Anti-Malware 8.1.0.40, a minor -- but significant -- update for its Windows anti-malware tool. Version 8.1.0.40 can now detect malicious browser extensions as well as look out for unwanted system changes.

The update also removes a number of so-called "obsolete" scans, fixes a number of errors and promises improved performance to boot.

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WinSnap adds new post-capture pen tool, revamps user interface

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NTWind Software has released WinSnap 4.5, a major new build of its Windows screen capture and post-processing tool. Version 4.5 debuts a completely redesigned and updated user interface, plus adds a host of new tools, including new presets and quick preferences and a number of new drawing tools.

The new release also promises improved support for the most recent Windows 8 Aero theme, plus the usual gamut of tweaks and bug fixes.

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