Nick Peers

Opera 40 unveils free VPN to secure web browsing, improves battery saver


Opera 40 has been released, bringing an easy, convenient VPN feature to the masses. It’s also reworked the battery saver tool, which was introduced in Opera 38, and adds RSS feeds to personal news.

The VPN server allows users to browse the web securely through an encrypted, tunneled connection on any network (including insecure Wi-Fi open hotspots). It also makes it possible to spoof the user’s location, giving them access to otherwise geo-locked content.

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Delayed Firefox 49 finally makes its bow, decommissions Firefox Hello


Mozilla has finally released Firefox 49 FINAL for Windows, Mac and Linux. The release has been held back a week due to the need to fix two 'blocker' bugs. The bugs -- which concerned loading Giphly embeds in Twitter, and slow scripts and unresponsive script dialogs when resuming Firefox -- have now been resolved.

Firefox 49 sees the new 'e10' multi-process architecture roll out to more users, plus improves Reader Mode with a new Narrate feature. Fans of the Firefox Hello chat tool will, however, be disappointed to learn that the feature has been decommissioned.

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Vivaldi introduces scheduled themes and individually sized Web panels


Vivaldi Technologies has unveiled Vivaldi 1.4 FINAL and Vivaldi 1.4 FINAL 64-bit, a major update to its web browser aimed at those wanting maximum control over their browser’s look and functionality. Vivaldi is developed by a team led by Opera co-founder Jon S von Tetzchner, and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Version 1.4’s headline new feature is support for scheduled themes, which builds on the recent introduction of customizable themes. Other notable changes include greater flexibility over Web panels, and a single-click option for reversing an accidentally closed tab.

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Geekbench 4.0 arrives, offers new GPU Compute benchmarks


Primate Labs has announced the release of Geekbench 4.0 for desktop, Android and iOS. Geekbench 4 sees the benchmarking app merge its mobile and desktop datasets into a single, cross-platform workload.

Other changes see a redesigned user interface on both mobile platforms, plus new workloads across the suite’s CPU and GPU benchmarks, including a new GPU Compute category.

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Opera VPN launches for Android, adds network security check


Three months after unveiling Opera VPN for iOS, browser developer Opera Software has launched Opera VPN 1.0 for Android. The Android build offers the same functionality as the iOS version -- secure VPN encryption to the web (with support for spoofing one of five countries), plus the blocking of both ads and tracking cookies. It also offers one extra feature not (yet) present in Open VPN for iOS: a tool for determining the security of the current network.

Virtual Private Networks provide users with a secure network connection over any internet connection, including insecure networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs can also be used to trick websites into believing the user is connecting from a different country to the one they’re in, helping bypass geographic restrictions.

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CCleaner 5.21 release fails to excite thanks to meager list of changes


Piriform Software has released CCleaner 5.21 and CCleaner 5.21 Portable for Windows PCs. The app’s rate of development continues to slow, this release once again focusing on minor updates and improvements instead of introducing new app support or additional features.

The most notable changes are better cleaning of Chrome 52’s history and cache, and updates to its DOMStore cooking cleaning component, which is used by Internet Explorer.

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LibreOffice adds financial forecasting to Calc, streamlines main toolbar


The Document Foundation has unveiled LibreOffice 5.2 64-bit and LibreOffice 5.2 32-bit. It arrives on time, six months after the last major release in the 5.x branch. Like the previous two major releases, LibreOffice 5.2 contains numerous user-centric changes and updates, continuing to refine the GUI while introducing significant new features.

Headline new features include the addition of a Standard (Single Mode) toolbar option in Writer and Calc. This provides a streamlined set of common formatting, function and insert tools that take up half the space of the original toolbar to increase the size of the available workspace.

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Firefox 48 FINAL improves download protection as part of wider security crackdown


Mozilla has unveiled Firefox 48 FINAL for desktop. After the relatively minor releases of late, Firefox 48 contains a number of notable new features, both visible and behind the scenes, to excite users.

There’s improved protection against potentially malicious downloads, the requirement for add-ons to be both verified and signed by Mozilla before they will load, and a number of WebRTC enhancements -- and that’s just for starters.

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Polymail for Mac wants to provide a cross-platform email experience to die for


If you’re still looking for the perfect email experience on Mac and iOS, then Polymail, Inc may have something to fill the gap left by Mailbox’s unceremonious exit back in February. It’s just officially released Polymail for Mac 1.01 after around six months in beta.

Polymail for Mac joins existing iPad and iPhone client, Polymail for iOS 1.21, to provide a cross-platform email client for Apple fans.

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AOMEI Backupper Standard 3.5 adds event-driven backups, improves network support


AOMEI has released Backupper Standard 3.5, a major new version of its freeware Windows backup, imaging and cloning tool.

Version 3.5 introduces event-triggered scheduling of backups, support for mapped network drives as backup destinations and various other improvements and optimizations, including a fix that prevents the computer from going to sleep during the backup process.

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VirtualBox 5.1 promises better multi-CPU performance, wider hardware support


Oracle has released VirtualBox 5.1, a major new point release of its open-source virtual machine tool for Windows, Mac and Linux. The software enables users to run virtual PCs within a software environment.

Version 5.1 comes with the promise of improved performance, improved bug reporting and logging, wider support for different USB devices, multi-channel audio, flash storage emulation and better integration into Linux.

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O&O DiskImage Professional 11 unveils complete redesign, new command-line tool


O&O Software GMBH has unveiled O&O DiskImage Professional 11 64-bit, major new version of its disk-imaging tool for Windows PCs. Also available for 32-bit versions of Windows, the new release unveils a major facelift, giving the program a more modern look and feel.

There’s also a new command-line tool, as well as display improvements (including support for 4K displays), and the promise of faster performance.

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Foxit Reader 8.0 introduces ConnectedPDF collaboration, adds Touch Mode support


Foxit Software has unveiled Foxit Reader 8.0, the latest version of its PDF viewer and creator for Windows PCs. The reader, renowned for its lightweight and speedy nature, introduces support for Foxit’s new online ConnectedPDF Document Management System.

The new release also adds support for Touch Mode on supported models as well as Dropbox integration. Users also gain a handy new auto-save PDF option to protect against crashes or power failures.

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VLC for Android 2.0 merges Android TV and mobile builds together, offers network disk browsing and performance improvements


VideoLAN has unveiled VLC for Android 2.0, a major new version of its mobile video and audio player. The app is renowned for being able to play most multimedia files as well as many streaming video protocols.

Version 2.0 merges the Android TV version with the main Android build, plus introduces a slew of useful new features including the ability to access content over the network and internet as well as support for downloadable subtitles.

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CCleaner tweaks browser and Windows 10 MRU cleaning routines


Piriform Software has released CCleaner 5.19 and CCleaner 5.19 Portable for Windows PCs. Once again, it’s a minor release, focusing on improvements, optimizations and some small bug fixes.

The new release has no new features or supported applications, instead focusing on tweaking existing cleaning routines and improving the System Monitoring tool on the Professional edition.

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