Thumbico is a combination of an icon extraction and viewing tool, with a thumbnail viewer and creator. The program is tiny, a 28KB download, and unsurprisingly there’s no installation required -- just unzip and run Thumbico.exe.
On launch the program displays a small window. Drag and drop any executable and Thumbico extracts and displays its icon.
Colour Contrast Analyser is an unusual accessibility tool with a couple of useful but very different functions.
The first allows checking text foreground and background colors to determine its legibility. No need to judge by eye any more: the program gives you an objective pass/fail assessment using WCAG 2.0 color contrast success criteria.
XMeters is a free-for-personal-use system monitor which displays live CPU, RAM, network and drive stats directly on your taskbar. The details include CPU utilization by core, hard drive read and write rates, network upload and download speeds, and free and used RAM.
Right-clicking any of the monitors opens a configuration dialog. You can reorder these items, turn them on or off individually, change their display type (bar, pie or text), set colors and more.
Microsoft and Windows may get most of the flak for collecting data on its users, but other companies also have issues. Nvidia’s GeForce Experience made headlines last year, thanks to some extensive data collection abilities of its own.
How extensive? Nvidia says “the application collects… hardware configuration, operating system, language, installed games, game settings, game usage, game performance, and current driver version… GeForce Experience does not share any personally identifiable information outside the company (link).”
MyPC is a compact and portable system information tool for Windows. The program organizes its features across multiple tabs: "CPU", "BIOS", "Motherboard", "Network", "APM/ Sound" and more.
Browsing the panels reveals all the usual sysinfo basics: CPU, GPU, network adapter, BIOS, motherboard, sound card and so on.
OutWiker is a free personal wiki for organizing text notes into a tree structure. The program uses wiki-type notation and its own commands to set up lists, tables, headings and assorted formatting options, insert images and more.
There’s also support for including graphs, diagrams, equations and more. Pages can also have as many attached files as you need.
Black Bird Image Optimizer ($39.95) is a commercial tool which claims to "reduce the size of your photos several times without quality loss!"
Lossless compression which reduces JPGs and PNGs to a fraction of their usual size? This sounded unlikely to us, and it didn’t take long to find out why.
GInk is an open-source Windows application which allows drawing and annotating your screen, then saving the results. The program is a handy way to highlight elements of a screenshot for presentations or demonstrations, or maybe to attach a quick note to a particular area of the screen.
Getting started is easy. There’s no installation required, you can run the program, tap the system tray icon and draw on the screen immediately.
Tad is a free cross-platform tool for viewing and analyzing CSV files and tabular data. Open a CSV file and it’s displayed in a simple table. Clicking column headers quickly sorts the data by that field, and you can drag and drop headers to reorder them. That’s useful, but it’s also very familiar.
Fortunately, there’s more.
Malware will often try to block security software from running, and one of the ways it does this is by adding their code signing certificate to Windows’ Untrusted list.
If you try to run a program with an untrusted certificate, Windows displays a message like "this program has been blocked for your protection", or "an administrator has blocked you from running this program." (These messages can also appear for other reasons.)
Rambox is a smart tool which enables accessing all your messaging and email services from a single cross-platform Electron-based app.
We really do mean all. The program opens with icons for 90+ supported services: Flock, Gmail, Hangouts, Hootsuite, Hushmail, iCloud Mail, ICQ, LinkedIn Messaging, Outlook, Outlook 365, Pushbullet, Skype, Slack, SquirrelMail, Steam Chat, TweetDeck, WhatsApp, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, Zimbra and more -- and you can add as many others as you need.
It’s been known for a long time that using dark wallpaper on devices with AMOLED screens can save energy and extend battery life. Exactly how much you’ll save depends on the wallpaper, your device and how it’s used, but typical figures are 5 to 15 percent.
AMOLED mnml Wallpapers is a straightforward ad-free Android app which provides a host of minimalist wallpapers to explore.
Xonotic is a fast-paced arena-style first-person shooter for Windows, Linux and Mac. Powered by a modified version of the Quake engine, the program’s quality graphics and lengthy feature list already outperform some commercial products.
The game is convenient to play as there’s no setup required, and just a single download to cover all platforms. Grab a copy, unzip it and go.
PatchCleaner is a free tool which can detect and safely remove junk files from the \Windows\Installer folder, potentially freeing up gigabytes of hard drive space.
The folder contains Windows Installer-based setup programs and patch files, and uses these whenever you want to modify or update the software. They should be removed when you uninstall a program, but guess what? This doesn’t always happen.