Nick Peers

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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Windows 8 Transformation Pack 8.0 arrives, gives earlier versions of Windows the 8.1 look

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WindowsX has updated both of its skinning tools, Windows 8 UX Pack 8.0 for PCs running Windows 7, and Windows 8 Transformation Pack 8.0 for earlier versions of Windows, including XP.

The latest version of the tools, which aim to give users the Windows 8 look and feel in earlier versions of Windows, have been updated to better reflect the changes introduced in Windows 8.1 as well as provide a number of other tweaks and bug fixes.

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Laplink Sync for iOS launches, offers syncing between desktop and mobile

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Laplink Software has released Laplink Sync for iOS 7.0, the latest release in Laplink's new Sync family, a collection of tools designed to allow users to manually sync media and other files across multiple platforms.

The app allows users to sync photos and videos between iPads, iPhones and iPod touches, and -- for an extra fee -- can also be used to sync with Android mobiles and Windows PCs running Laplink Sync for desktop. A Mac version is currently in development.

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iTranslate Voice 2.1 reimagines the universal translator for iPhone and iPad

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Sonico GmbH has released iTranslate Voice 2.1, a complete remake of its language translation app for iPad and iPhone. The app -- which now requires iOS 7 or later -- takes full advantage of several iOS 7 improvements, and sports a new user interface optimized for the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS.

iTranslate Voice 2.1 launches with a 50 per cent price reduction on the previous version, and comes with support for translating while offline, as well as the promise of improved voice recognition.

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Set up your own personal cloud for free with Tonido

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There's a lot to like about cloud backup and sync -- security, for one, and the convenience of being able to access your files remotely for another. But cloud storage can be an expensive option, which is where Tonido comes in.

It provides a trio of tools -- Tonido Desktop and Tonido Sync for desktop, Tonido Mobile for mobile -- that lets you turn your home storage into a personal cloud. So long as your backup needs are catered elsewhere, you can access, share, stream and -- to a limited degree -- sync data without paying a single cent.

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Freemake Musicbox for iPhone lets you stream free music and music videos

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Ellora Assets Corporation has launched its first iPhone app with the release of Freemake Musicbox for iPhone. The app provides users with a search tool for accessing and streaming free music and music videos via YouTube to their phone.

Freemake Musicbox claims to support over 20 million tracks, and makes much of the fact it’s completely ad-free and comes with no built-in limits. The initial release is a little short on features, but more expansive functionality -- including support for playlists and a built-in personalized radio -- are "in development".

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Paint.NET 4 gets first beta release, adds commit button, choice of colour scheme

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Less than two months after unveiling the first alpha, dotPDN LLC has released the first beta of Paint.NET 4.0. Version 4.0 comes with a rebuilt rendering engine, improvements to various tools and a tweaked user interface, and while the beta is primarily a bug-fix release it does introduce a couple of major tweaks.

The first change gives users a choice of color scheme -- light or blue -- via the program’s Settings dialog. The default depends on the version of Windows currently being run -- light in Windows 8, blue in Windows 7.

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Paragon Backup & Recovery 2014 Free adds new virtual backup tools, revamps user interface

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Paragon Software Group has released Paragon Backup & Recovery 2014 Free for Windows PCs, a major refresh of its drive-imaging and restore tool. The tool, now available as a separate 64-bit build for the first time, adds full support for Windows 8.1, Storage Spaces and UEFI.

It also introduces a New Backup Format tab, allowing users to back up, browse and restore to and from a virtual disk drive format. There’s also a refreshed UI and updated recovery media builder added, allowing users to create a Linux-based recovery disc.

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Defraggler adds Statistics tab, Taskbar progress meter, widens SSD support

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Piriform Software has released Defraggler 2.17 and Defraggler Portable 2.17, updated builds of its freeware defragmentation tool for Windows. Version 2.17’s main highlight is the addition of a new Statistics tab, alongside SSD optimizations and progress information being displayed via the program’s System tray icon.

The update also comes with the promise of various optimizations, performance tweaks and the usual slew of bug fixes and minor GUI improvements.

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Firefox Beta and Aurora channels updated, Australis UI makes first appearance

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Hot on the heels of the underwhelming appearance of Firefox 27.0 FINAL, Mozilla has released Firefox 28.0 Beta 1 and Firefox Aurora 29.0a2, both of which come with the promise of significant new features and changes.

First up is the debut of Firefox for Windows 8 touch, which has migrated across to the beta channel for the first time, while Aurora ships with a brand new user interface (Australis) and revamped tool for syncing settings between multiple computers and devices.

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VLC Media Player increases stability, fixes bugs and regressions

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VideoLAN has released VLC Media Player 2.1.3, the latest minor release of its open-source, cross-platform media player for Windows, Mac and Linux. Version 2.1.3 comes with the promise of fixing multiple bugs and regressions introduced in previous 2.1.x releases.

Important fixes involve improving audio and video output management across most platforms, and also include decoder and dexmuxer improvements too.

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Evernote for Mac adds descriptive search feature, aims to make finding information quicker and easier

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Evernote Corporation has released Evernote for Mac 5.5, a minor refresh of the cloud-based note-taking service’s desktop tool. Version 5.5 contains one major new feature of note: support for descriptive search.

The feature, currently only available to English-language users, is accompanied by a number of minor bug fixes and tweaks. It follows on from the recent updates to both Evernote for iOS 7.3 and Evernote for Android 5.7

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KeePass introduces new auto-key sending engine, improves entry attachment handling

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Dominik Reichl has released KeePass 2.25 for Windows. The open-source password management tool allows users to manage both offline and online passwords via a secure, encrypted container, and is also available in portable form.

Version 2.25 is a minor update, but introduces a new auto-type key sending engine that improves support for sending Unicode characters as well as sending keypresses into virtual machine and emulator windows.

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