Nick Peers

O&O SafeErase 19 unveils isolated Fortress environment, refreshed user interface

Berlin-based O&O Software GmbH has launched O&O SafeErase 19, a new release of its Windows data-shredding tool. Version 19 unveils a new feature -- Fortress Mode -- alongside a completely revised user interface.

When enabled, Fortress Mode provides O&O SafeErase with its own completely isolated Windows environment. The tool effectively "locks" the system, preventing other processes from accessing the user’s data. This ensures data shredding is safer while also speeding up the process.

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Vivaldi 6.7 debuts Memory Saver performance booster, expands Feed Reader capabilities

Vivaldi Technologies has released the latest version of its free, highly customizable browser with the launch of Vivaldi 6.7 for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

The new release focuses on improving performance through a new Memory Saver feature, but also finds time to add new and improved features to continue its rapid evolution.

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Audacity 3.5 adds cloud project saving for collaboration, backup and file versioning

Muse Group has released a major new version of its free, open-source audio editor for Windows, macOS and Linux. Audacity 3.5 adds cloud project saving support, plus adds automatic tempo detection, pitch shifting and more.

The headline new feature in Audacity 3.5 is a new cloud-saving feature, which works in tandem with Muse Group’s free audio hosting platform at Users simply select 'File > Save to Cloud…' to save the current project. On first use, they will be prompted to link Audacity to a free account -- which can be created during the linking process.

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Zoom rebrands as Zoom Workspace 6.0, an AI-powered update packed with new features

Zoom Video Communications has rolled out a major update and rebrand of its video-conferencing tool for Windows and Mac with the release of Zoom Workspace 6.0. The new name reflects the app’s new function -- as a single collaborative platform for all its AI-powered features, including the new Zoom AI companion.

The rebranded app is accompanied with a visual overhaul, but more notable are the sheer number of new and improved features on show.

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Website X5 2024.1 boosts performance, adds new payment options

Italian developer Incomedia has released Website X5 Evo 2024.1 Evo and Website X5 Pro 2024.1, a major new release of its wizard-driven, user-friendly Windows website building package.

Version 24.1 unveils a new, faster graphics engine and speeds up its FTP transfers. There’s also wider support for payment types via the program’s ecommerce platform, user interface tweaks and new style options.

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PDF Shaper 14.0 updates UI and built-in PDF viewer, adds new paid-for features

Burnaware has released PDF Shaper 14.0, a major new release of its freemium PDF toolkit for Windows PCs. In addition to changing the Professional edition title to Ultimate edition, PDF Shaper 14.0 adds a couple of new features to its paid-for tiers.  

The big change in PDF Shaper Free 14.0 -- replicated across the suite -- is the updated user interface and translations. There’s also new preview mode added to the built-in PDF viewer.

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Malwarebytes 5.0 sneaks out, sporting modern new interface and Trusted Advisor

Malwarebytes is quietly rolling out a major new version of its eponymous anti-malware tool with the release of Malwarebytes 5.0. The tool is available in both free and premium versions for desktop and mobile.

MBAM 5.0 is released almost five years after version 4.0 made its bow in May 2019. Like its predecessor, the major change is a sleek new user interface, although this latest effort packs in improved navigation and user-friendliness to go with the modern look.

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WinRAR 7.0 boosts compression ratios with support for larger dictionary sizes

German developer win.rar GmbH has released WinRAR 7.0, a major new update to its powerful archiving tool for Windows.

Capable of opening a wide range of archive file types, from ZIP to CAB, GZip and ISO, WinRAR 7.0 focuses on introducing several improvements to its primary RAR format.

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OnlyOffice 8.0 provides a slick, yet lightweight, alternative to Microsoft Office and LibreOffice

Does the world need another alternative to the almost ubiquitous Microsoft Office? While LibreOffice is its most recognizable rival, it does suffer a little from a dated user interface. Enter, stage left, OnlyOffice 8.0, an open-source rival to both that offers enough unique functionality to make it stand apart.

OnlyOffice’s first unique feature is that it contains its main features -- document editor, spreadsheet, presentations, PDF viewer/annotator and recently added forms creator -- within a single, streamlined app.

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Birdfont, for Windows, macOS, and Linux, unveils a faster, more responsive user interface and snap-to-guides for point-editing tools

Johan Mattsson has released BirdFont 6.0.1, a major new release of his cross-platform tool for creating fonts. Free for personal use (users must release fonts under the SIL Open Font License), the tool provides users with a means of creating and editing fonts.

Version 6 unveils what it describes as a 'new' (but visually similar) interface, accompanied by performance improvements and a handful of changes.

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LibreOffice 24.2 unveils new features and improvements alongside switch to date-based version numbering

The latest version of popular open-source office suite LibreOffice is here, but its release number may surprise those expecting to see LibreOffice 7.7. Instead, LibreOffice 24.2 makes its bow as developer The Document Foundation switches to a new date-based version numbering system.

Going forward, LibreOffice version numbers will follow the YYYY.MM method, hence 2024.2 (February 2024) for the new release. Adding to the confusion, LibreOffice 7.6.4 remains in existence for those looking for a more stable, older release.

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Directory Opus 13 finally released -- unveils facelift and dozens of further improvements

After a seven-year gap between major releases, Directory Opus 13.1 makes its bow on Windows PCs. The File Explorer replacement launches with a new licensing model and retires the old Light build to accompany the dozens of changes, improvements and tweaks.

The new release comes with no fewer than six pages of highlights, proving the developers haven’t been resting on their laurels for the past seven years. Directory Opus 13 opens with a facelift that comes with Dark and Light Modes, plus an 'Any Colors You Like' mode, where users can customize any aspect of the program via 'Settings > Preferences > Colors and Fonts'.

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PortableApps Platform 29.0 adds new license filter for app store

The best portable apps launcher just got a major upgrade with the release of PortableApps Platform 29.0. This latest release -- the third major update in as many months -- continues to refine the platform’s app selection tool with the addition of a user-specified filter to target apps by license type.

Users can access the new license filter via the Platform’s Options screen -- switch to the App Store tab where a new 'Freeware Apps' section is available. Users can opt to show all apps (Personal Use) or apply one of three filters: Educational, Business and Open Source Only.

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Betterbird 115.6.1 -- the email client Thunderbird could have been

The troubled history of Mozilla’s Thunderbird could fill a book, from an extensive period on life support to its shift away from non-profit ownership. Even as development has resumed on the once moribund email client, criticisms remain over its stability and features.

For those frustrated by Thunderbird’s continuing issues, there may be a solution: Betterbird, which as its name implies, is a fork of the main Thunderbird client.

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Vivaldi 6.5 adds new Sessions Panel, adds full browsing history to device sync

Vivaldi Technologies has unveiled Vivaldi 6.5 for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, a pre-holiday release stuffed with useful new features for both desktop and mobile platforms.

Chief highlights include a new Sessions Panel for organizing saved groups of tabs, plus the added ability to sync the user’s full browsing history across all devices.

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