Create cool collages and digital scrapbooks with Picture Collage Maker

Create cool collages and digital scrapbooks with this cool Mac tool.

picturecollagemaker-iconOver the past couple of years or so I’ve gained not only a son-in-law, but a granddaughter as well. As each major life event has occurred, I’ve been there…with my DSLR… to capture the moments. This creates a great deal of volume in your photo library. The biggest problem that I have is that I never really get to do much with the photos after retouching and posting to a social network site, that’s about it. Which is why I really like Picture Collage Maker when it comes to making something a bit special with the special images I have.

Picture Collage Maker is a fun and easy desktop app that helps you create photo collages and scrapbooks from your digital photos to share with friends and family. With just a few clicks, you can create posters, invitations, calendars, and greeting cards plus a number of other cool pieces of collateral. Whether you’re into digital photography, scrapbooking or some other cool hobby that involves pictures, Picture Collage Maker can help you transform your priceless pictures into precious memories.

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The app has over 140 professional templates. If that isn’t enough for you, you can download another 130+ extra templates in the Store for free. PCM’s templates cover all categories of greeting cards, scrapbooks, photo albums, calendars, disk covers, comic collages, posters and magazine covers, etc. The app incorporates themes for various occasions and holidays – Travelling, Birthday, Wedding, Family Tree, Yearbook, Anniversary, Christmas, etc. It also has over 180 different backgrounds, over 730 pieces of clipart, and more than 140 frames, and 80 different masks.

  • Export and Share Your Photo Collage Anywhere
  • Save collage as image formats – JPG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, GIF, PSD.
  • Save collage as PDF file.
  • Export collage to iPhoto directly.
  • Set collage as desktop wallpaper.
  • Share collage via Facebook and E-mail. For Mac OS X 10.8 or later, you can also directly share the collage to Message, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr within Picture Collage Maker.
  • Print collage directly.

Picture Collage Maker is an app that anyone and everyone can enjoy. You’re limited only by your own creativity and cache of digital photos. One of the great things about scrapbooking is that you create each page separately, by hand to fulfill or satisfy a specific theme. The process here is no different, however this is both a pro and a con.

When you’re scrapbooking by hand, its easy to get lost in the crafting as you draw, cut out, paint and construct each 2D and 3D element on its own. In many cases, depending on how fast you worked, you could work on a single page for days. With PCM, that’s reduced to hours. You work so quickly with PCM, that it might be a really good idea that when you chose a theme or a template, you could apply those choices to an unlimited number of pages, without having to create each page individually. Its just a thought…

When you are ready to commit this to paper or some other media, you can export and share your work in any number of different image formats or to a PDF. However, you need to be aware that any work you create with the app during the trial period is going to be marred by a huge unmistakable watermark in the middle of it. If you want to save any of your work, you’re going to need to buy the full version.

In all, this is a nice app, albeit a bit pricey at $40USD in today’s app market. However, I really like what it does and I’m glad that I found Picture Collage Maker…and I think you will be, too.

download Picture Collage Maker

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Browse websites with UC Browser from your Android Device

ucbrowsericonIn many ways, many mobile users do more web surfing on their mobile device than they do on their desktop/ laptop PC. In some cases, a mobile device is all you’ve got, so you’re going to do all of your web surfing on your mobile device. In cases such as these, you really want a browser that’s going to work for you; and in many cases, that’s NOT the default browser that came with your device. This is why apps like UC Browser for Android are so important. This browser for your Android mobile device can really help you get the biggest bang out of your mobile device buck.

UC Browser is a browser for your mobile device. Its, adaptable configuration helps you adjust the way you browse the internet under different network connections. This allows you to reduce data plan needs and costs; and helps to speed up page loading. The latest version achieves faster data presentation by compressing web pages on its server, and by preloading pages in the background. Android 4.3 is supported in the newest version of UC Browser.

You can personalize your browser experience with add-ons. This is something that is somewhat new in the mobile world. You don’t see a lot of this, or haven’t in the past, largely because of performance issues, but UC has resolved those issues. Now you can quickly and easily upload photos to Facebook with UC’s Facebook Photo Uploader. This method is easier than using Facebook’s built in functionality, as you can get everything done in a single step. You also get push notifications on likes and comments from your friends without actually having to run the full Facebook app.

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UC Browser also lets you save web pages as a PDF. Now, rendered receipts and other important information that don’t automatically have agents that email you a copy, can be saved and recalled later, as needed. Additional file handling capabilities built into the browser also let you manage zip files, directly from the browser. Now you can download supported, compressed files and unzip them so you can work with their contents more easily. This is further augmented by the app’s Download Manager, which allows you to multi-task and contains support for UDisk, permanent, cloud-based storage on UCweb’s servers.

I’m not a big fan of 3rd party browsers on my mobile devices. They often take up space and don’t offer much of an improved or better user experience than the built in version. With UC Browser, that’s not the case. The app is pretty cool.

Over and above the FB plugin and compressed file handler, the browser also offers a webpage translator. The plugin takes advantage of both Google Translate and Bing, and supports more than 70 languages, opening up more of the web to you while you’re out and about. The application is free; and is better than some of the other browsers that I’ve encountered on a mobile device. The only thing it’s missing is a desktop counterpart where synchronization between bookmarks, history and reading lists would make the experience on your device, that much better.

Even without these, it’s a great app; and as it’s free, it’s hard to turn down.

download UC Browser

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Convert movies and videos for use on just about any of your devices with Ashampoo Movie Shrink & Burn 4

I love movies and videos. I’ve got a huge iTunes library and a huge 27″ Thunderbolt Display to play them on. However, when I’m out and about, I obviously can’t take that huge display with me. An iPad or other portable tablet is handy for viewing video on the go, but sometimes, the video isn’t in the right format or is too big for the display you have. This is where apps like Ashampoo’s Movie Shrink and Burn come in handy. It’s a cool Windows-based, video management tool for your mobile devices.

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Ashampoo Movie Shrink & Burn 4 tailors your videos to your device, whether it be smartphone, tablet, gaming console or PC. Supported devices include all the latest consoles and gadgets such as Sony PlayStation 4, iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The app has an intuitive step-by-step user approach that guides you from start to finish. Its so easy, anyone can do it. The latest version provides a fresh, modern design with state of the art handling. The app employs the latest software technology with multi-core support for blazingly fast results.

The app also includes burning technology. With it you can burn your movies to DVD and Blu-ray from within the app. The app supports HD; and you can use the app’s burning features to archive your video collection on Blu-ray and navigate it easily using the intuitive on screen menus.

Ashampoo makes some of the best software titles on the internet today. Movie Shrink and Burn hasn’t been updated in a while, and Ashampoo is not only bringing back a great app, but its providing support for all the latest handhelds, tablets and gaming consoles where you would want to view converted and compressed titles. It takes advantage of some of the more advanced processor types, so the app is fast and quickly converts videos and will burn them to DVD or Blu-ray if you want.

The app’s price is fair; and if you’re an Ashampoo member, then you’re likely going to get a discount on the title as well.

download Ashampoo Movie Shrink & Burn 4

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Define the center of your connected and navigational world with Garmin Express

ic-garmin-expressGarmin is one of the biggest names in consumer navigational devices. The company provides geo-location data for motor vehicles, sports (like golf, running and biking) as well as hiking, geocaching and hunting. If you have a Garmin device, then you need to check out Garmin Express. It’s a cool way to manage and update your Garmin powered device and its available for Mac and Windows.

Garmin Express is an essential tool for managing all of your Garmin devices. You can update maps, golf courses and most importantly, device software. You can also register your device. Further, the app will back up, restore and transfer favorites to and from your device. You can also use it to install free voices and vehicles as well as download product manuals for those times when you’re stuck.

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Setting up your Garmin device is a one-time setup; and its very simple. Just connect your device to the computer. Express will save its information so you’ll always know when updates are available, even when you don’t have the application open, or when your device isn’t connected to the computer.

Garmin Express is a dedicated utility that works with nearly every Garmin device out there. If you can connect it to your computer, then Express can manage it. The application is simple and easy to use, and really simplifies working with Garmin devices. If you have a Garmin device, Garmin Express is something that you’re really going to love using.

download Garmin Express

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Quickly and permanently uninstall apps from your Mac with AppCleaner

AppCleanerEvery computer user has the exact same problem. You install apps that you want to try, decide you don’t like for one reason or another, and then uninstall them. Unfortunately, regardless of what desktop OS you use, not all the files that the app installed or created while using it are always deleted. If you’re on a Mac, you can solve this kind of problem with App Cleaner. It’s an uninstall utility, and its small, and very easy to use.

AppCleaner allows you to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps. AppCleaner finds not only the app file itself, but all of the extra support and configuration files that may normally be left behind with an app’s uninstall routine.

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You can uninstall apps in one of two ways – via drag and drop or you can have the app search your Mac for installed apps and uninstall those with 2 clicks. If you know the app you want to remove, you can open the app folder in a Finder window, locate the app, and then drag and drop its icon on to the AppCleaner window. From there, AppCleaner will search for all related files, display them for you, and total up the amount of space that would be freed up after the app is deleted.

AppCleaner is an awesome app. It finds all of the related preference and associated files with any app you want to install, and then removes them. The app is small, quick and easy to use and removes Widgets and other files (like plug-ins and app extensions) as well. The app is donationware and free to use on any and all Macs you have in the house. This is a must have for everyone.

download AppCleaner

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Quickly swap between your PC and your smartphone with Omnipaste

One of the biggest features of OSX 10.10 Yosemite is Continuity.  With it, your Mac and your iPhone are connected via BT-LE and you can stop and start working with documents and data on one of your devices and then the other. The big problem with this, however, is that that feature only works between a Mac running Yosemite and an iPhone running iOS 8.  While most Apple users may have this combination, Windows users using Android smartphones will be left out in the cold – until now.  Thanks to Omnipaste, Android Phone users will have the same type of opportunity with their devices on Windows machines.

Omnipaste allows you to share copied text between your Windows PC and your Android phone.  The app works in nearly the same way as the connection between a Mac and an iPhone.  Information is automatically and immediately passed between your Windows PC and your Android phone as soon as you copy the information to one of the device’s clipboards.

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With Omnipaste’s Smart Clippings, you can search for information on your PC and then copy the data to your clipboard.  When it syncs to your Android phone, you can call (if you copied a phone number) or navigate to a destination (if you copied a street address).  Smart Clippings makes integrating your total computing experience more complete.

One of the coolest things about Omnipaste is its ability to pass notifications from your Android device to your Windows PC. If your devices are connected, you’ll know when your phone rings or when you get a text message.  Both will display on your PC.

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There’s a great deal of potential here. This is a totally awesome app.  While there are some opportunities for improvement here, if you’re an Android user, then you really need to check this out.  I think this is going to be one of the biggest apps of the year.

While the app doesn’t support Windows Phone as yet, it is on the company’s development road map.  Other planned features include the ability to use your Windows PC as a speaker phone instead of just a caller ID station.  The only feature that didn’t work for me was navigation integration when copying over a street address. I’m not sure if that’s because Google Maps put line feed/ carriage returns in the address I copied, or if it was something else.  However, if you have a Windows PC and an Android Phone, this is a must, MUST have.

download Omnipaste

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Create animated GIF’s from your life pictures with PicGIF

Create animated GIF’s from your life pictures with this handy Mac tool.

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Some of the simplest movies that you can create are simply made from stills and stitched together with special tools. I’ve done this throughout my computing career for a number of different reasons. However, that’s mostly been on the Windows side of the house. Thankfully, you can do this just as easily on the Mac side of the world, and that’s one of the reasons why I really like PicGIF from PearlMountain Software. It’s an animated GIF tool for your Mac, and its really easy to use.

PicGIF for Mac is an easy to use and intuitive GIF maker that allows you to create animated GIFs from your photos and videos on your Mac. One of its really cool features also lets you edit existing animated GIFs. The program is simple and easy to use, and it makes animating your pictures a lot of fun.

One of the coolest things about PicGIF is that it doesn’t matter what format your source photos are in. If you’re Mac can open them, then Pic GIF can use them to make an animated GIF. The app also works with common video formats, allowing you to quickly and easily string videos together into a longer, larger movie that can be played over the web or by other computers. It’s a great way to quickly and easily share special moments with family members and friends who happen to live far away.

PicGIF is a great application. Not only can you take control of the entire animation process, but you can set the picture size, fill mode, frame delay and playing sequence. Because its on your Mac, you can do most of the things that you would expect you can do with pictures on a Mac. It supports full drag and drop, has a text editor that will allow you to add text to your animations as well as giving you complete font control. You also get a real time preview of the animation. The app is amazing.

 

Download PicGiF

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Take command of your language with Ultimate Dictionary

Take command of your (supported) language with this definitive lexicon tool for Windows.

I’ve been a writer nearly all my life. I’ve been a professional writer for about 18 years. I also hold degrees in English and Writing from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.  I’ve got the language bug, and thankfully, I get paid for what I produce.  One of the things that someone in my position simply MUST have is a good dictionary.  This is one of the reasons why Ultimate Dictionary is part of my tool box.  It’s a dictionary for your Windows PC, and its really cool.

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The ultimate dictionary is a complete set of 33 English, Spanish, French and Polish dictionaries, thesauruses and glossaries. It is easy to use and is all-inclusive. The ultimate dictionary looks up words in all of its included dictionaries at once, so you can browse a list of results all at once. Once you’ve looked up your word, you can quickly jump from one dictionary, glossary even to another translation if necessary.  You can compare definitions between dictionaries and glossaries at your leisure.

Ultimate Dictionary is a decent application, but its interface is very outdated. The app hasn’t been updated since January 2009, and while it’s a great app, its so very Windows 7.  While that isn’t necessarily, a bad thing – more and more users are moving off Windows XP – and are finally embracing Windows 7 comfortably.  However, without an update in over five years, its hard to know how long it will continue to work, if at all, with newer versions of Windows. Its too bad, because its pronunciation tools are a huge help if you’re trying to learn a new language.

download Ultimate Dictionary

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