Mike Williams

Cobbler stores secret notes in an encrypted file

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Cobbler is a tiny portable utility which stores plain text notes -- passwords, bank details, whatever you need to keep private -- in a secure and encrypted file.

Launch the program and you’re prompted for a master password. Enter something lengthy and secure, or press Ctrl+G to generate a strong passphrase for you, and a basic editor appears.

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SuperPhoto enhances your pics with hundreds of fun effects

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SuperPhoto is a fun Android, iOS and Windows app which can revamp your photos with more than 300 effects in the free build, 1,500+ if you buy the full version.

There are filters to turn your pictures into works of art: Painting, Stencil, Banksy, Pencil Drawing, Stylize, Pastel, Cartoonize, Warhol, more.
The program can frame all or part of your image on a cube, a bubble, in a banknote, on a t-shirt, in a newspaper ad, in a TV, and more.

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CCSIO Benchmark is a smarter way to test drive speeds

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CCSIO Benchmark is an intelligent drive speed checker from Swiss-based storage expert Pipemetrics. The tiny portable program (210KB download) uses multiple combinations of options to automatically find the fastest possible read and write speeds for any storage device.

This means you’re not asked to make any of the usual testing options. You don’t have to try and decide which buffer size or count is best, which IO mode to use, because CCSIO always runs through every possible combination of settings.

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M-Kavach is an Android security app from India

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M-Kavach is a versatile Android security app from the Center for Development of Advanced Computing, a research and development arm of the Indian government.

The app offers several modules and security layers to protect you from a range of threats. M-Kavach can restricts app access to key resources, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera and mobile data.

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Kdenlive is a powerful video editor for… Windows?

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Kdenlive has been a popular non-linear video editor in the Linux world for a very long time, but the developers have also recently released a first Windows port.

The build doesn't skimp on functions: there's a full multi-track timeline and an array of effects and transitions to explore.

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Riot Isolator is a versatile but quirky security toolkit

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Riot Isolator is an unusual application which offers a host of powerful privacy and security tools in a single free package.

The program should normally be installed to deliver the best protection, but there’s an option to run it stand-alone, convenient for testing.

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How to switch between windows of the same application on a PC

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Windows enables switching from one application window to another by pressing Alt+Tab -- what could be easier?

Well, quite a lot, especially when you’ve got 30 or 40 windows open but are only interested in the ones belonging to the current application.

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ColourGrab is a likeable color picker for Windows

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ColourGrab is an easy-to-use color picker which enables speedy capture of any color on your screen, and reuse of its hex or RGB value elsewhere.

The program adds an icon to your system tray and can be activated with a click, or you can start grabbing immediately by pressing Alt+C (customizable).

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mrViewer is a quirky but powerful media player

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While most PC media players are identikit clones which bring nothing new to the playback, mrViewer is a rare exception. A program that has the courage to do things differently. Very differently…

This starts less than impressively with an oddball interface. Menu bars, ribbons, standard toolbars? MrViewer doesn’t have any of the usual UI chrome, and leaves you looking at tiny buttons with such informative text as "F" and "W".

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NetAudit is a simple network toolkit

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NetAudit is a portable network toolkit for Windows which combines simple Ping, Traceroute, Whois and connection monitoring features.

The program interface is a mess. There’s a useless list of processes; a Network Usage indicator which isn’t scaled properly so it’s almost always blank; big arrows with figures to presumably indicate total uploaded and downloaded data, although with no tooltips or labels it’s hard to tell.

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StExBar extends Windows Explorer with some time-saving extras

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StExBar is a tiny freeware tool which extends Windows Explorer with some handy features.

The program has been around for years, but it’s just been updated to work fully on Windows 10, so we grabbed a copy to see how it would perform.

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Browse, edit and convert simple databases with Exportizer

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Exportizer is a simple tool for viewing, editing and converting databases.

The program has a freeware build which works with simple file-based database tables, including .db, .dbf, .txt, .csv, and .xml. The $29 commercial build adds support for multi-table database files and sources, including XLS, XLSX, XLSM, XLSB, MDB, ACCDB, HTML, GDB, IB, FDB, UDL, ODBC data sources and more.

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Hard Disk Sentinel 5.0 adds more test and repair tools

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Veteran drive monitor Hard Disk Sentinel has just been updated to version 5.0, the first major release in more than a year.

The Professional build gets a new "Repair disk drive" method which scans for weak sectors and forces the hard drive to stabilize problems, or reallocate sectors if necessary.

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WebCatalog runs your favorite web apps natively

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WebCatalog is an open-source cross-platform tool which runs your favorite websites and services as native desktop applications.

A huge list of supported services includes Amazon, Basecamp, BBC iPlayer, Bing, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook Messenger, Gmail (and just about every other Google app), iCloud, iCQ, OneDrive, Netflix, Outlook.com, Skype, Spotify, Twitter, WhatsApp, Wikipedia and more.

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wtrace is a process monitor for Windows

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wtrace is an open-source console-based process monitor for Windows. It’s essentially a stripped-down version of Sysinternals Process Monitor which you can run at the command line.

The program is entirely portable, with no drivers or Windows services involved. Just unzip the single executable and run it from an elevated command line.

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