Nick Peers

Google Chrome tweaks notification popups, adds crash recovery browser bubble


Google has unveiled Chrome 36 FINAL for Windows, Mac and Linux, with Chrome for Android 36 rolling out shortly. The desktop update adds a couple of user interface tweaks under the label "rich notifications improvements".

It also updates the incognito browsing page, adds a browser crash recovery bubble that could help prevent data loss and extends the Chrome App Launcher to Linux, plus adds various under-the-hood tweaks.

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VirtualBox 4.3.14 adds Blu-ray support for Mac hosts, squashes more bugs


Oracle has released VirtualBox 4.3.14, the latest in a series of maintenance fixes for its cross-platform, part-open-source virtualization program.

Version 4.3.14 includes a wide range of fixes and tweaks, including one that sees the Mac build now include Blu-ray devices when scanning for host CD and DVD drives. Windows hosts should also now be able to install or upgrade VirtualBox without having to reboot their system.

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TVersity Media Server gains new user interface, support for Chromecast and Roku


It’s all change for media server TVersity with a new major release. The old Basic version has been retired and in its place comes TVersity Media Server Free 3.0, which offers identical functionality to the Pro version minus the ability to transcode audio and video when required.

Version 3 also shows off a brand new and simplified user interface, introduces support for hardware-accelerated H.264 encoding in the Pro build and adds support for both Roku and Chromecast.

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Windows 8 UX Pack and Windows 8 Transformation Pack adds further fixes and refinements


WindowsX has released Windows 8 UX Pack 9.0 and Windows 8 Transformation Pack 9.0, new builds for its Windows skinning tools.

Each tool allows users to emulate the newer Windows 8.1 user interface on PCs running older versions of Windows -- the UX Pack works with Windows 7 or later, the Transformation Pack works with Vista and XP also.

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CCleaner for Android gains thumbnail cache cleaning, minor tweaks


Barely a month after its initial release, and Piriform has released not one, but two minor updates to its new Android cleaning app. CCleaner for Android 1.02 promises improved analysis and cleaning processes as well as a handful of new features and tweaks.

The app, which requires an Android phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or up, provides a selection of cleaning tools for reclaiming storage space and improving performance by removing junk and other unnecessary files.

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Paint.NET resolves major issues, tweaks performance


dotPDN LLC has released Paint.NET 4.0.1, a minor -- but important -- update to the recently released Paint.NET 4.0. Version 4.0.1 is primarily a major bug fix release, but does include some performance optimizations too.

Existing users will be prompted to update the software when launching it, or can manually check via the Settings > Updates > Check Now menu. Alternatively, simply download the latest version and install it over the top of the existing build.

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iTranslate for Mac translates words, sentences and phrases from your Mac’s menu bar


SonicoMobile has launched iTranslate for Mac 1.0, a new addition to its stable of translation tools that includes iOS and Windows 8.

iTranslate allows users to quickly and easily translate words, sentences and phrases between 80 different languages, offering both written and spoken translations for text entered.

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iTunes 11.3 delivers new iTunes Extras for HD movies on Mac and Apple TV


Apple has rolled out iTunes 11.3, the latest update to its popular media tool for Mac and Windows. Version 11.3, which is also available as a separate 64-bit build for Windows, extends its iTunes Extras feature to HD movies.

iTunes Extras include additional featurettes -- some of which may be interactive -- to accompany movies, such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, director’s commentary and high-resolution image galleries.

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Symantec unveils Norton Security 2015 Betas


Symantec has unveiled the first public betas of its forthcoming Norton security products. Norton Security 2015 Beta and Norton Security with Backup 2015 Beta reveal the company’s attempt to harmonize its two main security products.

Both products sport a redesigned user interface based on the old Norton 360 product, plus sport a number of major new protection and performance improvements.

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Start Screen Unlimited injects essential shortcuts into the Windows 8 Start screen

Start screen unlimited

Microsoft has had a hard job convincing people of the merits of the Windows Modern UI in Windows 8, so any help it can get to make the Start screen in particular more useful has got to be a good thing. With that in mind, it can only applaud Russian software developer Greatis Software.

The folk at Greatis are the brains behind a collection of gadgets and tools for making the Start Screen that bit more useful. Step forward, Start Screen Unlimited Lite 2.0.

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Skype for iPhone adds voice message playback support, offers extended profile view


Microsoft is rolling out Skype for iPhone 5.2, the second significant update to its iPhone client since version 5 was released less than a month ago.

It seems Microsoft has been stung by the negative reaction to the redesigned Skype, and version 5.2 is quick to add another three new features in response to user feedback.

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Facebook Messenger update includes new dedicated iPad build


Facebook has unveiled Facebook Messenger 7.0 for iOS and Android, a major new version of its dedicated messaging app for Facebook users.

Version 7.0 is notable for being the first version to include a native iPad build, coming three years after Facebook originally acquired the app’s forerunner, Beluga. The app also includes improvements to its video functions.

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TripAdvisor for iPhone adds offline support, improves mapping features


TripAdvisor LLC has unveiled a major update to its iPhone app with the release of TripAdvisor for iOS 9.0. The free travel planning app gets -- according to TripAdvisor -- it’s "biggest update ever" with the new release.

The major highlight of version 9 is offline support, but other new features include a shortcut for returning to the home screen and the ability to now find and reserve tables at restaurants.

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Secryptor Basic offers cross-platform file encryption with a Dropbox twist


Privacy’s a big thing nowadays, and with the US government in particular leaning on big businesses to make it easier for user’s private data to be shared, you’ve a right to feel uneasy. Whether you’re looking to encrypt files on your PC or even add another layer of encryption to files before uploading them to the cloud or sharing via email, a raft of free tools are emerging to help you do just that.

One of the latest to hit the market -- albeit in somewhat unfinished form -- is a free tool for Mac and PC called Secryptor Basic 1.0.

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Stella makes it easy and fun to emulate classic Atari 2600 VCS games


When it comes to tapping into our fondness for old computing and gaming platforms, Stella has always been at the forefront. This cross-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator first saw the public light of day back in 1996, and now -- 18 years later -- it may just have delivered it most significant update yet with the release of Stella 4.0.

Version 4, also available in 64-bit form, sees the emulator ported across to SDL2, which brings many new features and performance improvements.

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