Nick Peers

Blender 2.91 rings in the changes with an avalanche of new features and improvements

Blender 2.91’s many sculpting updates includes support for collisions in the cloth sculpting tool.

"Fourth time's also a charm", says The Blender Foundation as it releases Blender 2.91, the fourth major release of the open-source 3D graphics tool in 2020.

The latest release promises further improvements to the user experience along with a range of new features including new Booleans, collision support for cloth sculpting and volume objects modifiers. There’s also the promise of improved animation tools.

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Firefox 83 unveils improved page loading and responsiveness, HTTPS-only mode

Mozilla has released Firefox 83.0, the latest version of its open-source, cross-platform web browser. A mere 28 days after the last major release, and version 83 makes its bow.

Despite the short time between releases, version 83 manages to pack in more performance improvements, a new optional HTTPS-only mode, support for pinch zoom on touchscreens, and compatibility with new Apple Macs running the M1 chip.

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PowerArchiver 2021 adds new viewing and editing tools to Windows release

PowerArchiver 2021 adds a brand new internal editor and viewer tool.

ConeXware has unveiled a major new version of its trialware archiving tool for Windows users with the release of PowerArchiver 2021. For the first time, PowerArchiver 2021 is also available for macOS too, although this release does not (yet) boast all the features of its Windows cousin.

Version 20.0.58 for Windows unveils tools to help view and edit files within archives without extracting them, plus promises improvements to its Pro edition-only PowerArchiver Cloud feature, and adds some welcome new tools to the Action menu.

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Zenchat 0.1.1 combines messaging with task management to keep workers in touch and organized

Productivity software specialist Zenkit is at it again. Spying a gap in the communications market for workers who need to combine the ability to chat with colleagues while setting up and managing tasks, it’s released Zenchat 0.1.1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, along with Zenchat for iOS and Android.

The app, which can also be run in a web browser, can be used standalone or combined with other Zenkit offerings, including Zenkit To Do, which we covered earlier in the year.

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Zoom 5.4.0 rolls out end-to-end encryption to improve messaging tool’s security

Zoom on a tablet

Lockdown has benefited relatively few companies, but one of those is undoubtedly Zoom, the video-conferencing service. It’s just unveiled Zoom 5.4.0 for desktop and mobile, with a host of new and improved features.

There’s the much-anticipated rollout of end-to-end encryption for secure messaging, plus additional improvements to the app’s meetings, chat and phone features.

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Macrium Reflect 7.3 resolves long-standing scheduling issues by debuting own Task Scheduler

Paramount Software UK has unveiled Macrium Reflect Free 7.3, a major new update of its Windows drive-imaging backup tool.

Version 7.3 unveils a new integrated task scheduler to address increasing frustration with problems scheduling backups using the previous system, which tied into the Windows Task Scheduler. Paid-for editions also gain improved protection against ransomware thanks to tweaks to the Macrium Image Guardian feature.

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OCCT 7.0 unveils testing time limit in free version, splits UI into three distinct sections

OCBASE has released OCCT 7.0, a major new release of its portable Windows monitoring, information, and stability checking tool.

Version 7.0’s biggest change is the introduction of a one-hour test limit. It’s also switched to the Hwinfo monitoring engine, and splits the user interface into three separate areas.

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Evernote 10 unveils a major redesign with improvements to note creation, formatting, and search

The Evernote Corporation has unveiled Evernote 10.0, a landmark new release of its cross-platform note-creation and organization tool. The free and paid-for service allows users to create, organize, share, and view notes across all major platforms, including the web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Version 10 sees the app completely rebuilt on a new codebase, with the promise of better stability and reliability. It also promises a cleaner UI that’s consistent across all platforms, coupled with additional formatting tools to provide more control over how notes look, plus an improved -- and faster -- search tool.

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Calibre 5.1.0 builds on recent 5.0 release to deliver improved search functionality to all-in-one eBook tool

Popular ebook management (and creation) tool Calibre 5.1.0 has been released, just one week after version 5.0 made its debut. The open-source tool, which is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, fixes several bugs while adding a couple of minor new features.

The main highlight is the ability to use templates in search expressions, while a new checkbox gives users the ability to disable automatic update of lookups when text changes in the Viewer lookup panel. The Viewer also now supports the skipping of a confirmation when the remove highlight button has been used in the popup bar.

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Bitdefender Total Security v25 (2021) unveils new release schedule alongside improved user interface

Everyone needs some form of protection against online threats, and while Windows has tightened its security over the years, it still only offers basic protection. For those looking for additional layers of protection, such as a more configurable firewall or proactive protection against ransomware, then a paid-for security product is a must.

In a crowded marketplace, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, but one product that continues to score highly in independent tests is the powerful Bitdefender Total Security 25.0.

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VMware launches VM Fusion Player 12 for Mac; VM Workstation 16 also updated

VMware has released major updates to its virtualization software products in the form of VM Workstation 16.0 for Windows and Linux, plus VM Fusion Player 12.0 for Mac.

Mac users gain a free 'player' version of VMware Fusion for personal use, while both products gain support for Kubernetes clusters, allowing users to run multiple app containers at once in specialized 'nodes'. Support for Windows DirectX 11 apps and games has also been added to virtual machines.

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Vivaldi 3.3 unveils new screen-break feature alongside customizable Private Window theme

Uniquely customizable browser Vivaldi gets another major update with the release of Vivaldi 3.3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new release adds a major new Break Mode feature to encourage regular screen breaks.

The new release also offers users the ability to create and apply custom themes to their Private Windows sessions -- a first among web browsers -- as well as several improvements to the Address Bar to improve security and navigation. Full-Page blocking is now supported in the Tracker and Ad Blocker tools, while users can now drag and drop Speed Dials to folders on the Vivaldi 'desktop' on the user’s home page.

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Google Web Designer 9 adds powerful image-processing tools, custom keyboard shortcuts

Google has released Google Web Designer 9.0, the third major update of its HTML-5 content-producing tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux in just over a year. The tool is particularly popular among web advertisers thanks to its user-friendly WYSIWYG user interface and time-saving tools such as syntax highlighting and code auto-completion.

Version 9.0 introduces a host of useful new tools, including an eyedropper for easy color picking, several image-processing tools, support for masking, and the ability to set up custom keyboard shortcuts.

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IObit Uninstaller 10 promises to remove programs quicker and more thoroughly with its latest update

IObit has released IObit Uninstaller 10, major new update of its uninstall tool for Windows. IObit Uninstaller aims to clean programs (including Microsoft Store apps) more thoroughly from your PC than the apps' own uninstallers by detecting leftover files and Registry entries.

Version 10 promises vastly improved uninstall speeds and better leftover detection, plus improvements to its Install Monitor component. In addition, Pro users gain better bundleware detection, and newly added support for removing over 40 stubborn programs.

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Acronis TrueImage 2021 adds anti-malware protection to its comprehensive backup tool

Acronis has launched a major new version of its flagship backup product with the release of Acronis TrueImage 2021. The new release has one major highlight: integrated protection against anti-malware.

There are also several minor improvements to the tool's backup engine, but the focus is very much on the new anti-malware protection, which is based on the company’s existing VB100-cerified antimalware solution, Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud.

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