On his main desktop computer at the Power Lair, Power Downloader has huge hard drive volumes filled with old case files, spy photos, and secret documents. Though he's a master of software and navigating the intricacies of Windows to get the files he wants, he has always found that Windows Explorer isn't exactly ideal for some of his more complicated file management tasks. Fortunately there's a better way.… Read more
Among the many criticisms of Windows Vista, one that even Microsoft's own engineers should agree upon, is that it's not easy to access essential system information. Stardock's TweakVista unifies all the bits and pieces that you might want to change under one circus tent, but TweakVista's interface is no chaotic circus.
With five applications bundled into one, Camtasia Studio truly is a full-fledged screen recording workshop. It's what I use to record and edit screencasts for my day job, and for my needs, it far surpasses free competitors.
That's not to say it's the best toolbox for your job. For many casual users, that honor could belong to freeware like CamStudio (reviewed 9/17/07,) and Hollywood producer types may swear by Apple's Final Cut Pro. But for Windows users in need of strong capturing, editing, and production features, particularly PowerPoint crossfunctionality, Camtasia has quite a lot to offer.… Read more
Two popular open-source and extensible apps have come out with minor-point updates in the past few days, but some of the changes are worth noting. OpenOffice.org has gained a lot of traction and notice this year as a credible alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, and Pidgin, the program formerly known as GAIM, supports multi-protocol text chatting including Google Chat, Yahoo, AOL, ICQ and others.
A few years ago, it seemed like we would hear about a new virus threatening to hijack computers around the globe every week. Though it may feel like we're out of the woods these days, it is probably only because many users and companies are now much more aware of potential threats than they used to be. Even computer manufacturers have gotten the message and take more precautions by including some form of pre-installed protection. But when the limitations on these demos run out, it has been my experience that many people just hope for the best because of how little we hear about new threats. Of course, these are the same people who later call me up asking why their computers no longer work.
Even though we don't hear about as many threats in the news, there are just as many viruses out in the wild and some viruses have become even more destructive. At work, your company probably has an antivirus system that protects you from most new strains and an IT department that keeps it updated. At home you are the IT department, and if you want to keep your files safe, you have to remain vigilant.… Read more
Today, multimedia software publisher Corel released Corel MediaOne Plus--a brand-new software program designed to let you organize, edit, share, and create projects with your digital photos and videos. The software provides users with an all-in-one solution for managing their digital photos, all the way from their cameras to finished projects like greeting cards or scrapbooks. It also lets users combine photos, videos, and music into what are called "shows," or video compilations.
The main MediaOnePlus interface consists of a large viewing and editing area on the right, with four-pronged navigation on the left: Home provides the organizational features; Enhance includes basic image editing and effects; Show lets you combine photos, videos, and music into your own remixed creations; and Create offers a variety of photo products like collages, albums, and magazine covers.
A photo-tray feature on the bottom of the interface lets you create on-the-fly media lists of photos and videos for easy access and editing. The trays are placed in a tabbed interface, and you can create as many sets of media as you'd like. You can also select multiple photos or videos from any photo tray and add them to a "storyboard," the playlist component that creates the Corel Shows.… Read more
Inspired by Tony Targonski's wonderful heat map of the dirt distribution in his keyboard, I decided to take all my keys off and give my own keyboard a good cleaning yesterday. (Honestly, everyone should do it once a year, unless you've got some crazy, futuristic, self-cleaning device.)
As I painstakingly scraped off all of the gunk, I learned two things. No. 1: I'm a proud PC gamer. Most of the dirt was concentrated under W, A, S, and D. No. 2: I love my keyboard and I hate my mouse. My keyboard provides endless creative potential, while my mouse helps me click on stupid links. I never clean my mouse.
In order for we keyboard lovers to make the most of our wonderful input devices, we need good launchers, i.e. apps that let us run programs or load Web sites without clicking that silly mouse.… Read more
Want to save $300? I'll let you in on a little secret. For most users creating Web site demos, the powerful, professional Camtasia Studio 4 (read hands-on review) could contain more fireworks than you need (if you're not sure, try it--CNET Download.com trials are always free). The free, open source CamStudio better serves casual users requiring a quick and dirty screencast.
Developer Nick Smith has just released the long-awaited beta version of CamStudio 2.5, which includes some enhancements and bug fixes, and new effects that add captioning and watermarks. Here's what you'll find.… Read more
In the turbulent, choppy waters where P2P networks and copyright law chomp at each other's fins for dominance, there's at least one beast that thinks it has a solution to keep everybody happy. Its name: Grooveshark. The tagline? "Everybody gets paid."
As content distribution has mutated from analog to digital, the companies that came into existence to control the distribution have panicked and floundered. Decentralized peer-to-peer sharing made this all possible, but it's also thrown nearly a century of copyright law beyond the deep end and into rough waters.
Power Downloader's life is not always spent catching criminals and traveling the world. Every once in awhile, Power has to do tedious tasks like processing documents, adding content to a database, and organizing files. When repetitive work needs to get done on his computer, Power likes to listen to his favorite music to pass the time.
There are several good music applications to choose from, but some are stronger at certain things than others, and Power knows that not everyone uses the same program. Most people's music applications change over time and according to specific needs (like iTunes for managing music on an iPod for example), but one classic program has always been high on Power Downloader's list of favorite music applications: Winamp.… Read more