Recently Stellar Phoenix released a new version of its Mac Photo Recovery software (version 4.0), which is a $39 file recovery utility tailored toward identifying deleted and lost media files on disks, including a number of image, video, and audio formats. The program supports recovering files from both local disks as well as from a variety of cameras. In the past I was unimpressed with the lackluster performance of Stellar Phoenix's "Data Recovery" suite for OS X, but found that after using Photo Recovery that despite a few limitations it, for the most part, appeared to … Read more
A couple weeks ago I told you how to get WonderFox DVD Ripper for free. (That offer has since expired, FYI.) Today, the company is back with a new giveaway, a program that's a fine companion to the previous one.
For a limited time, and exclusively for Cheapskate readers, you can get WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Pro (Windows) for free. The program normally sells for $29.95.
Update: The link appears to be broken, possibly owing to excessive traffic. I'm checking with the developer and will update again when I know more.
Update #2: The link seems … Read more
Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were mainly updates for file system management tools, but also a couple of maintenance tools and a hardware utility.
Files and file systemWhile not technically applications, AppleScripts and compiled AppleScript applications can be coded to perform a variety … Read more
Later this month I'll be canceling my subscription to a leading security suite that runs on two of my home-office PCs. I'll replace it with Microsoft's free Security Essentials, which I've been using on my notebook since I bought it two years ago. I realized several months ago that I simply no longer needed to spend money for the convenience of an all-in-one security app.
Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were updates for one maintenance tool, some file management tools, and a terminal emulator.
IZArc is a freeware archive utility that can zip and unzip files in a wide range of formats. IZArc2Go is a fully portable version of IZArc. It does everything the installed version does, although you can't integrate it with right-click menus in Explorer or associate it with any archive file type.
We downloaded the program's installer, which extracted the executable file and other files to a folder in our Downloads directory by default. Since the program is portable, you can save these files anywhere, including a USB drive or other portable device. We clicked IZArc2Go's program file, … Read more
Our utilities update report is a column on updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there were updates for maintenance utilities, file recovery and filesystem management tools, and a couple of disk hardware utilities.
In the wake of Google's decision to retire its PowerMeter application, industry insiders showed little surprise. But the episode illustrates how the bar has been raised in the nascent home energy management area.
Google on Friday said that it decided to retire PowerMeter, a Web application that displays how much electricity a home is using. Company executives had hopes of expanding the product into a broad set of features, but customer uptake was not as strong as hoped, Google said in a company blog.
For the many smart-grid companies actively working in home energy management, Google's departure reflects how difficult it is to make money in the field of energy efficiency and control. From a product standpoint, the move is a reminder that simply surfacing energy data is not enough to get consumers en masse to care about energy.
"[PowerMeter] really suffered from a fundamental flaw in its operating assumption that people are interested in monitoring their energy usage at a 15-minute level of granularity, or in real time. They are not. People lead extremely busy lives and studying a line chart showing their hourly energy consumption is simply not going to make anyone's priority list," said Ogi Kavazovic, the vice president of marketing and strategy at Opower, a home energy efficiency company.
Dozens of companies have built applications or gadgets called in-home dashboards that show detailed electricity usage with the idea that more information will provide clues on how to conserve energy. For example, showing people that a pool pump is a big energy consumer could lead them to run it on a schedule rather than all the time.
What's more challenging, though, is motivating consumers to stick with energy-saving efforts, according to energy efficiency professionals. To reach a large number of users, information should be presented in a variety of channels--whether it's a Web portal, handheld device, e-mail, or paper--and focus on consumer behavior as much as the technology, they said.
Opower, now a well-recognized company in the field, made its mark with paper reports that show customers how efficient one home is compared to people in similar homes and communities. It focuses on simple presentation of information online and offline and the social psychology around efficiency. For example, its reports have a smiley face to indicate how well people are doing compared to peers on efficiency. … Read more
Digitize It by Alcasa is a free tool for extracting digital plotting data from image files. It has many uses, such as plotting points when the source data isn't available. It's easy to use; simply click on an image with your mouse to plot the point. Collected data can be pasted directly to Excel.
We extracted the zipped download and installed Digitize It, which opened with an interface that is similar in style to graphics editors but notable for floating options and tool tips boxes within the main window. The toolbar icons are mostly familiar with the addition … Read more
Nitro PDF Reader, recipient of a 2010 CNET Editors' Choice Award, has officially jumped to version 2.0. After spending 12 months in beta, Nitro PDF Reader 2.0 comes to us with a host of big-time features, several bug fixes, and other minor enhancements. Some of the most important additions to 2.0 include:
Web browser integration Now you can preview PDF files from within Firefox, Chrome, and IE.
Nitro PDF Creator 2 As if the original built-in PDF creator wasn't enough, now you can pump out PDFs at four times the speed and with a 50 percent … Read more