Keep your PC running at peak performance with Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro

One of the biggest problems that most Windows PC’s have is poor performance.  After all the hardware tweaking is done and you’ve maxxed your RAM out, if your PC is still slow, and you don’t have a virus, you might need to check the fragmentation level of your hard drive. That’s one of the reasons why I like Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro. It’s a hard drive utility for Windows; and its one of the best.

Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro has four different disk optimization algorithms. Use the Optimize by Access Time method when you want to access frequently used files. The Optimize by Prefetch Layout algorithm speeds up your system loading and application startup. If your goal is to reduce future file fragmentation, the Optimize by Change Time algorithm is the one for you. For complete, refined control, the Optimize by Disk Zone algorithm allows you to manually specify which file types or individual files should be written to faster parts of the drive. Its just a matter of choosing the right method that’s best for you.

Keeping your free space free and uncluttered is important to fast disk access.  With the Free Space Consolidation algorithm, you can greatly slow down the process of file fragmentation. This optimization algorithm merges your drive’s free space into a large contiguous block, making it possible for new files to be written without fragmentation.

The one thing that won’t defrag on a Windows system while its running, are system files currently in use.  These are often in use when a defrag program runs, and as a result, they won’t defragment. Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro’s new Offline Defragmentation engine makes it possible to defragment these important system files. Offline Defragmentation is performed on system boot, before the operating system loads and consolidates the MFT, your Paging file, your Hybernation file and your Windows Registry. Defragmenting system files will make your PC more responsive, speed up system loading and boost its overall performance.

Read full review | Download Auslogics Disk Defrag Pro

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Keep your Windows up to date with Windows Updates Downloader

In case you are a Windows user, you are struggling day by day  with updates, especially if you just installed your new copy of Windows. Managing the right updates for you, waiting for them to be downloaded, and stumble upon them every time you want to close your computer can be frustrating. In case you are fed up with all these, try another solution. The Windows Update Downloader was created by a regular participant of the MSFN.org forums, helping visitors with questions and problems regarding unattended Windows installations.

The problem with new installs is the length of time it can take to download and install updates. Windows Update Downloader collects all the latest patches into update lists, helping system administrators and power users deploy installations much faster.

Some people question the validity of this program when comparing it to alternatives, including Microsoft’s own automatic update utility. The basic function is the same in that it will download updates and install them, but the way in which it does it is much more convenient for advanced users looking to do multiple installs or upgrades. There is no waiting for updates to be drip-fed and the entire list of saved updates can be referenced and used immediately.

The Windows Update Downloader will appeal to power users looking to minimize the time spent on multiple installations with custom configurations. With ongoing active support and updates via the MSFN forums, users can resolve any issues quickly and easily. It has competition from other apps offering a similar service, but the support offered by the publisher for this freeware app may give it the winning edge.

read the full review | download Windows Updates Downloader

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Crysis 3 coming spring 2013

As expected, EA announced officially that the third installment of the high-tech military shooter franchise in the Crysis series is scheduled for release in spring 2013.

“Crysis 3 is a thrilling mix of sandbox gameplay, advanced combat and hi-tech human and alien weaponry that shooter fans will love,” said Cevat Yerli, Chief Executive Officer of Crytek. “Leveraging the latest CryENGINE technology, we’re able to deliver seven unique themes that offer stunning and visually loaded gameplay experiences. We cannot wait until people get their hands on the game.”

Players take on the role of ‘Prophet’ as he returns to New York, only to discover that the city has been encased in a Nanodome created by the corrupt Cell Corporation. The New York City Liberty Dome is a veritable urban rainforest teeming with overgrown trees, dense swamplands and raging rivers. Within the Liberty Dome, seven distinct and treacherous environments become known as the Seven Wonders. This dangerous new world demands advanced weapons and tactics. Prophet will utilize a lethal composite bow, an enhanced Nanosuit and devastating alien tech to become the deadliest hunter on the planet.

Set in 2047, Prophet is on a revenge mission after uncovering the truth behind Cell Corporation’s motives for building the quarantined Nanodomes. The citizens were told that the giant citywide structures were resurrected to protect the population and to cleanse these metropolises of the remnants of Ceph forces. In reality, the Nanodomes are CELL’s covert attempt at a land and technology grab in their quest for global domination. With Alien Ceph lurking around every corner and human enemies on the attack, nobody is safe in the path of vengeance. Everyone is a target in Prophet’s quest for retribution.

Fans of the game can pre-order the Crysis 3 Hunter Edition (49.99 euros) from Origin.

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Geometry, Algebra, and Calculus with GeoGebra

Let’s be honest, most of us mere mortals struggle with the complex trinity of geometry, algebra and calculus at the best of times, so any piece of software which simultaneously renders these subjects accessible and makes them interesting, ticks all the necessary boxes as far as we’re concerned.

GeoGebra is a free, open-source, and multi-platform piece of mathematics software designed with one thing in mind, to enhance our understanding and increase our use of geometry, algebra, and calculus. It is suitable for all levels of education but obviously the more comfortable you are with complex maths the more you’ll get out of it.

GeoGebra is the brainchild of Markus Hohenwarter and its basic premise is to connect geometric, algebraic, and numeric representations in an interactive way. Its flexible geometry tool provides ease of use and enables you to directly enter and control equations and coordinates, which allows you to plot functions.

Using pre-configured tools you can create points, vectors, lines, segments, conic sections, and a whole lot more. GeoGebra has a very handy default interface with a toolbar crammed full of useful icons to make your life easier, such as points, lines through, two points, polygons, ellipses, angles, reflect objects, and sliders. Small property boxes allow you to customise and configure each item you are working with, and objects, once placed, can be easily moved around, making GeoGebra a great tool to teach, learn, and perform math.

read full review | download GeoGebra

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Tupac Hologram performs at the Coachella festival

Thanks to the new technology from AV Concepts, the American rapper Tupac Shakur has been brought back to life at the Coachella festival in California. He was materialized on stage alongside his old friend Snoop Dogg and performed for about five minutes in front of 100,000 people.

Tupac returned from the grave via an extremely detailed hologram which featured his original voice, tattoos and movements and it was synched to dance at some point alongside Snoop. The idea behind this project came from Dr. Dre who worked directly with AV Concepts to put this show on stage.

But the extremely detailed image of Tupac was created by Digital Domain, the company behind CG images of Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Jeff Bridges in “TRON: Legacy,” Kevin Bacon in “X-Men: First Class” and Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

AV Concepts is not at the first attempt to play with holograms. The company is also behind the 2006 Grammys performance featuring Madonna and the holographic members of the Gorillaz, as well as holograms used in concert by Celine Dion and the Black Eyed Peas. Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts declared: “I can’t say how much that event cost, but I can say it’s affordable in the sense that if we had to bring entertainers around world and create concerts across the country, we could put [artists] in every venue in the country.”

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Special Offer: The NEW PC SuperBundle Spring 2012 is here! Limited-Time Only – Save Over $300+

Special Offer: The NEW PC SuperBundle Spring 2012 is here! Limited-Time Only - Save Over $300+

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Artweaver – a simple freeware program for creative painting

Available since 2009, but only recently issuing a first stable release Artweaver 3.0.2 is a painting application addressing the needs of beginners and advanced users alike. Similar to Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint, it is a joy to work and play with.

It comes in two versions; the freeware version, for non-commercial use, contains cut-down functionality and is available for two weeks. Artweaver Plus costs 29€ and includes many more features, in particular around customisations and configuration. Both versions include saving and playing back events, which is a great way of recording and playing back your greatest brush strokes.

There is something very attractive about this product: you can record all your steps and replay them afterwards or provide them to other users.

Painting and drawing is great fun with Artweaver and its comprehensive digital toolset. It is easy to work with and low cost. We think the authors have got it right and that the free version will draw new users into buying Artweaver Plus, even though there great competitor freeware artwork packages out there.

Download Artweaver

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Keep hackers and data thieves out of your computer with ZoneAlarm Free

While more people use antivirus and antispyware software now than they used to, that software may not offer you the full level of protection you need. A firewall is the third point to your security triangle that will protect you while you surf the web.

A firewall acts as a bouncer to your computer. Every time someone tries to come in or leave, the firewall checks whether you want it to or not. Settings can be saved obviously, so you won’t need to tell them that your email client is safe every time you switch it on.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is, in our eyes, one of the best free firewalls. It has been around for over a decade and as a result, ZoneAlarm has gotten pretty good at blocking bad data. ZoneAlarm offers paid-for versions of the firewall as well, and while most of the additional features aren’t necessary (support for example), the ‘download protection’ is something worthwhile missing from the freeware.

ZoneAlarm Free is definitely better than having no firewall at all, but it still misses some security features that would be worthwhile having. ZoneAlarm isn’t the best looking software package and can seem a little intimidating to configure for a beginner, yet these are minor flaws for an application that could potentially save you from a hacker or software intrusion.

Download ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

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