Online advertising is one of the best examples of "can't live with it; can't live without it" we can think of: it's annoying, at times extremely so, yet it pays the bills and even occasionally informs, entertains, and assists consumers. Most of the time you wish you could just block it out, though, especially the worst offenders, the flashing, animated Web ads designed to stooge-slap your attention span. AdFender is a free, standalone ad-blocking tool that not only works with all major browsers but also some less common ones, too, such as Opera, Safari, Maxthon, … Read more
Meterologists, pilots, and others whose lives and livelihoods depend on the weather use METAR data to report and transmit weather information. NirSoft's MetarWeather is a free tool for decoding raw METAR reports from around the world. Airports, weather stations, and observers use METAR far more than any other reporting format, so this software gives you access to an unprecedented amount of high-quality data.
MetarWeather's interface is plain but clean and efficient. We clicked the blue Metar icon to download data online, though we could also open METAR files and even type METAR lines directly with a simple wizard … Read more
Everybody knows that the files and folders you delete in Windows aren't really deleted from your hard drive, at least not right away. Even when you empty the Recycle Bin, the files aren't overwritten until Windows needs the disk space. You can download many free utilities that offer secure file deletion, such as My Portable Software's Free File Wiper. It's portable freeware that offers multiple secure deletion methods, context menu integration, and drag-and-drop simplicity.
Free File Wiper is so simple that it opened the first time with its Help file displayed just so we'd know … Read more
Watermarking helps secure your images and documents from unauthorized use and theft. TSR Watermarking Image Software Portable is a totally portable version of TSR's basic watermarking package. It's free for individuals, but commercial users must buy a license when their 30-day trial expires. Since it's totally portable, it can run from a USB drive, compact flash drive, and similar media. That makes it a great choice for on-the-go photographers since it can watermark images from any compatible PC.
TSR Watermarking's user interface is businesslike, with few frills, if any. Three tabs handle the program's functions: … Read more
Toolwiz Care is an all-in-one system cleaning and optimizing tool. It's actually a number of useful tools bundled together, including a registry cleaner, disk cleaner, and various system utilities and tweaks. It's designed to help users boost the performance of older PCs by cleaning out junk files and entries and defragmenting disk drives. But users who boot from a solid-state drive (SSD) should avoid the disk defragmenting tool and some of the program's tweaks, which can undo some of the changes many users make deliberately when installing SSDs.
Toolwiz Care's colorful user interface is fairly typical … Read more
iPhone owners still running OS 3.1.3 are apparently bumping into trouble trying to download new apps from Apple's App Store.
Several users of the older OS have chimed in on Apple's Support Communities reporting that they can update existing apps and sync apps from iTunes to their phones, but they can't install new apps directly to their devices.
One commenter described the problem in part as follows:Whenever I go into a specific app in the app store, none of the buttons work properly. 1) clicking on the price no longer downloads the app, 2) … Read more
Visually comparing PDFs to identify changes or differences is harder than it sounds, and it sounds hard enough, not to mention extremely boring. But it's all too easy to miss subtle differences with the Mark I Eyeball, and some changes might not be visible at all. Why put yourself through it when there's a free tool that can do the job for you, only much faster and more thoroughly? It's called DiffPDF, and it's from RubyPDF Technologies. With dual file selection tools and display panes, this efficient tool makes quick work of a tedious but necessary … Read more
Google Chrome has a lot of cool features, including a display of your most frequently visited Web sites every time you open a new page or tab. New Tab King brings this same feature to Firefox, making it easy to access your favorite sites.
New Tab King installed as most Firefox add-ons do, without much hassle but requiring a browser restart. Once it was installed, we had only to open a new tab to see it in action. Thumbnails of our most frequently visited sites were displayed in a grid. We could also toggle the view to show our sites … Read more
We like our computer desktop like we like our actual, physical desktop: tidy, well-organized, and nice to look at. As such, we don't have a lot of patience for desktop enhancements that mess with the familiar look and feel of our virtual workspace; as far as we're concerned, things are fine the way they are. These types of programs keep coming, though, and we keep trying them out, hoping against all odds for one that really will enhance our desktop. Unfortunately, Real Desktop Standard is not the one. It's innovative and has some interesting features, but once … Read more
We've had the dubious honor of reviewing several bug-on-desktop applications, including flies, ants, and roaches. Blech! All of those creepy-crawlies creeped us out, especially when we increased their numbers so that our screens were filled with their shiny bodies and skittering legs. We're pleased to report that Ladybug on Desktop is just as realistic as its insect software brethren, but with the benefit of bugs that are charming instead of chilling.
Once installed, Ladybug on Desktop appears as a ladybug icon in the system tray. The program launches with five ladybugs, and right-clicking the icon lets users add … Read more