Keep track of weather on your PC with Weather Bug

The weather is often a funny thing. No one ever, EVER seems to get it right until its nearly right on top of you.  However, keeping track of it, knowing what the weather may be, is something that most everyone wants to know.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Weather Bug. It’s a multi-platform weather utility.

Weather Bug desktop helps you keep track of current, local weather conditions, extended forecasts, and severe weather alters. Its animated Doppler radar maps are exceptionally valuable in severe weather conditions, as are its satellite and temperature maps.  The best thing about Weather Bug desktop is that it works on just about any computer you can throw at it.


On the Windows side, Weather Bug has its traditional desktop app, but also desktop gadgets for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 Side Bars.  On the mac, Weather Bug Alert for Mac provides live temperatures and desktop alerts. On both platforms ,you’ll have access to live, local current conditions, 7-day, hourly and weekend forecasts, animated radar and maps as well as severe weather alters.

Weather Bug is a great application suite. It provides a great service and very valuable information. Its gadgets, may or may not be working any longer, as of this writing, Microsoft has ended support for its Side Bar due to security concerns.  The rest of its components, however, are fine and again, provide valuable information.  This is a must have app on any Mac or Windows PC.

download Weather Bug

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Speed up your browsing with Adguard Web Filter

The internet is said to be the next great operating system. With so many different web based applications available – Gmail, Office 365 and the like – keeping unneeded and unwanted ads out of the way isn’t easy. This is one of the reasons why I like Adguard Web Filter. It’s a Windows based internet tool.

Adguard Web Filter helps you remove online ads from the web pages your view.  Online ads always slow down the loading of web pages you need and may open ones you don’t. The biggest problem is when indecent ads damage your reputation at work or affect the wellbeing of your children.  Web ads are widely used for fraud, circulation of viruses and other types of malware. Ads often distort the appearance of web pages.

Adguard Web Filter removes these annoying ads, reduces the page loading time and saves your traffic. It works with all major browser, including Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Adguard Web Filter blocks video ads, rich media and other non-standard types of ads, as well as standard ads. It prevents counters and tracking by ad networks. Adguard starts working right after installation, requires no additional configuration and is regularly updated.

Adguard Web Filter is an app that nearly everyone can benefit from. The app installs quickly and easily and the benefits are seen immediately. The removal of online ads is something that you don’t necessarily think about when the ads are gone, but immediately comes to mind when they blink and flash in front of you when they are left unchecked. Available at no charge, the application is something everyone should use to improve their browsing experience on their Windows PC.

download Adguard Web Filter

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Securely store payment information and purchase items on line with Dashlane

eCommerce is something that’s been around for quite some time. Buying online is relatively simple – you browse, you compare, you read reviews, and then you click this, click that, enter account information, log-in, determine which credit or debit account you want to use, then enter in all those numbers, enter your expiration date and then hunt for the CVV numbers. OY! Paying and checking out takes three to four times as long as the actual shopping.  That’s why I like Dashlane. It’s a multiplatform eCommerce tool that makes buying stuff online very easy.

Dashlane puts you in the express lane no matter where you buy online.  With it, you can buy in seconds and save all your purchases.  Dashlane allows you to login anywhere and fill in forms in a flash.  The app saves your IDs, addresses, payment info, notes and passwords securely.  It allows you to access all of this important data whenever, wherever you need it; and no one – not even Dashlane – will be able to see your personal data.

More than an online shopping tool, Dashlane allows you to store addresses, phone numbers, passports, credit card info, and more in a secure vault encrypted locally on your computer, and sync them between multiple devices. All the data you enter and all the actions you take on Dashlane are entirely private, and accessible only to you – not even we can see your personal information.

Dashlane is a really cool idea. I like that it takes the best of electronic wallet apps and couples it with online purchasing, giving you the ability to securely purchase stuff without having to reenter all of your credit card information every single time you want to buy something. The fact that it allows you to sync info to your mobile devices as well as across browsers and computers (like your home and office computers) makes it a very compelling solution.  The premium version gets you access to a couple of other features, but aside from support, and future features that may or may not be released or made available in your monthly or annual subscription period, it doesn’t buy you much.

This shouldn’t keep you from registering the app, though.  Dashlane is amazing. You get a lot from this app for free.  Supporting the dev team will help insure that the app continues to get support and will work for quite a while.

download Dashlane

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Record and edit audio files like a pro!

I’ve been using for a long time a very sophisticated and expensive software to create my own ring-tones for my phone with the parts that I want from a song or to edit any audio file that I want. Yes, it was expensive, and I can’t believe that now there is a FREE software almost as good as other PRO versions.

Free audio editors are everywhere, so it’s always hard to know which to use. Free Audio Editor is an award-winning audio editing tool, and it is easy to understand why. Free Audio Editor features editing capabilities, effects units, basic audio recording tools, CD authoring and basic audio conversion. Free Audio Editor, unlike many freeware audio suites, has evolved as Windows has been updated. There’s no aged-looking graphical user interface in Free Audio Editor, instead you have an Office-esque ribbon, with a logical and easy-to-navigate button setup. With this interface, Free Audio Editor rarely feels like a chore to either use or learn. Everything is exactly where you would expect it.

Free Audio Editor – it’s LIGHT, runs fast, has plenty of options that allows you to do whatever you want to any audio file, or something you’ve recorded! You can remove the background noise (the annoying noise that you hear when you record something at home in the background), add echo effects, amplify, apply restoration, and many other filters!

Another cool feature is that you can download anything from Youtube and edit the audio file immediately! Maybe you would like to record yourself singing an instrumental version of one song… you just download the song, and record your voice over the instrumental version! It’s never been that easy!

After you have recorded your tracks, you can use the mixdown option to merge them into one single track and get your final result! At the last, Free Audio Editor allows you to burn your audio files directly on a disk whenever you want, making your task even easier!

Download Free Audio Editor

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Draw and manage your photo collection with Xara Xtreme

Summer time is the season of digital photos.  The beach, parties, vacations – if you aren’t doing at least some of these and taking pictures of family and friends having a good time, you’re clearly missing out on saving many valuable memories.  Having the right tool for processing and touching up digital photos is important. This is one of the reasons why I like Xara Xtreme. It’s a multiplatform graphics tool.

Xara Xtreme is based on one of the world’s most sophisticated, highest performing vector rendering engines. This makes it one of the fastest graphics apps anywhere. You’ll be processing through large corrections and retouches quickly and easily.

If you want to get into some serious editing, Xara Xtreme has you covered there too.  Its Direct Action Tools allow you to intuitively, create effects such as transparency, shadows, bevels or gradient fills with a simple drag and drop. In fact, many of Xara Xtreme’s tasks can be done via drag and drop, including importing files and photos.

Xara Xtreme’s photo handling tools are top notch. The app is much, much faster and  produces smaller files. As a photo composition tool, it’s hard to beat.

Xara Xtreme offers completely non-destructive photo editing. You can edit your photo as many times as you like without the loss of depth or resolution quality. It also uses a fraction of the RAM required by other products, insuring that your PC has ample resources for other tasks. It can handle multiple, high resolution images with ease, even on a modest PC. Xara Xtreme’s file handling techniques also insure that the files are anywhere from 3 to 100 times smaller than with other programs.

download Xara Xtreme

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Mountain Lion Day

If you’re going to upgrade your Mac to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, then you’re going to want to take a look at this article that will help you get ready for the upgrade…

Millions of Mac users all over the globe have been patiently waiting for the OS to be released so they can download it and upgrade their supported Mac to the new OS.  That last link is especially important for new upgraders, as it contains all of Mountain Lion’s Technical Specification Requirements, like supported models, RAM, disk space, etc.

A couple-three points on general requirements:

  1. If you aren’t running at least OS X 10.6.8 (the latest version of Snow Leopard) or later on your supported Mac, you’ll need to upgrade to it before upgrading to Mountain Lion. Users of Lion on supported Macs don’t need to worry about this point.
  2. Apple says you need a minimum of 2GB of RAM to run Mountain Lion. 4GB is better, 8GB or more is the sweet spot.
  3. Apple says you’ll need at least 8GB of available disk space.  Mountain Lion is a 4.5GB download. It needs another 3.5GB of temp space to do the upgrade, and the upgrade file eats itself after it executes. Make sure you make a copy of it before it runs so you don’t have to download it again if needed.

Before you get started on your upgrade, you need to do a couple of important tasks. If you don’t do all of these, the world isn’t going to end. You’re still going to be able to upgrade; but if you don’t, and you run into trouble, you’re gonna wish you had.  So, while they may make the task a bit longer, they’re probably the right thing to do.

  1. Bandwidth– It’s going to take a while to download the installer.  4.5GB takes a good while to pull down even on a good day, but ba-zillions of peoples are going to want to download Mountain Lion all at the same time. The best time to download is likely overnight.  So, you may want to wait…If you live in a bandwidth challenged area (like some rural area or back-40), you might want to make a trip to an Apple Store or a Starbucks or other free-Wi-Fi zone.  Apple isn’t going to deliver a Mountain Lion installer on a USB stick, like it eventually did with Lion.
  2. Backups – If you use Time Machine, make sure you have a good backup if you plan to restore applications, music or other content on clean install systems.
  3. Backups – Make a system backup of your boot drive (if you have a Mac with more than one hard drive). Super Duper is my new favorite, and WILL save your bacon if you need to start the upgrade process over again.

Once you have everything ready to go and you start the upgrade, your biggest obstacle is going to be patience.  The upgrade is going to take a while, likely 90 minutes or so from start to complete finish; and it will include three or more reboots, depending on your system.  Give yourself something else to do and let the upgrade run its course.  Rushing things is only going to frustrate you and jeopardize the integrity of your Mac later.

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Discretion, Being the Better Part of Valor…

Here’s some of the BEST advice when it comes to making system upgrades; and something that everyone should consider before taking the upgrade plunge

Apple released Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 yesterday.  Like many, I pulled down the OS update yesterday, but I haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. Some have scratched their heads when I relay that bit of news, others look me in the eye and see wisdom.  Let’s take a quick look at that and digest it a bit.

Mountain Lion is NOT the same kind of upgrade to 10.7 Lion that Snow Leopard was to Apple’s 10.5 Leopard.  OS X 10.8 is a HUGE upgrade, and there are a few considerations that you need to take into account before you perform the upgrade, because, “once you buy the prize, it’s yours to keep.”  In other words, with OS X 10.7 Lion now removed from the App store and Apple Store shelves, if you make a mistake, recovery will likely be a long, painful and difficult road at best.

Discretion being the better part of valor, I’d wait a bit before upgrading to Mountain Lion.  I’ve run the Developer Previews on my Mac and you need to know that there are a number of apps out there that do NOT play and work well under it just yet.

If you’ve got a critical legacy app that you’re concerned about, you need to check Roaring Apps for a Mountain Lion compatibility rating.  The site rates the compatibility of a number of different apps and app versions and let s you know which ones will run, and how well they will run, on both Lion and Mountain Lion.

The biggest point here is that 3rd party app developers have only had the final Gold Master code for just over two weeks.  This means that while they may have been developing, tweaking and fixing things under Mountain Lion Developer Preview releases, they’ve had less than 21 days to test, tweak, fix and resubmit bug app updates to Apple for all of their Mountain Lion compatible apps.


I’ve been a software quality and testing professional for more than 20 years. On an operating system update as large as Mountain Lion, this clearly isn’t enough time to work out all the kinks.

So, here’s my recommendation to most everyone wondering if they should take the plunge now, or if they should wait – I’d wait.

If you’re a regular consumer, I’d wait about a week or two, giving app developers additional time to submit updates to their apps not only to the Mac App Store, but their own web stores and other download sites, like Soft32.

If you’re a small business user, I’d give it a couple of months at least. Not only do you want 3rd party app updates to come through, you want Apple to have time to issue an update to the OS and make sure that there aren’t any other hidden pot holes or bumps in the road.

If you simply MUST be an early adopter and install Mountain Lion on a machine you’re going to be using pretty much every day, then you need to make certain that you provide feedback to both Apple as well as the vendors of the apps you are using so they know about the problems and challenges you’re bumping into.  It’s likely the only way the problems are going to get resolved quickly…

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Manage your monitors with MultiMonitorTool

More than one monitor to a single working station can be a tricky fact for someone that uses the Windows operating system. In order to manage multiple monitors you need a useful application that can offer enough flexibility and simplicity. MultiMonitorTool is the one for this type of job, an utility that allows you to do some actions related to working with multiple monitors.

Like all other NirSoft products MultiMonitorTool is a tiny piece of software that can disable/enable monitors, set the primary monitor, save and load the configuration of all monitors, and move windows from one monitor to another. All these actions can be performed from the user interface or from the command-line. For a better visualization, MultiMonitorTool also provides a preview window, which allows you to watch a preview of every monitor on your system. It might be useful if non-primary monitors are turned off and you want to view the windows displayed in the other monitors.

The user interface of MultiMonitorTool contains 2 panes: an upper one that displays the list of all monitors detected on your system, and a lower one that displays the details of all visible windows on the selected monitor. In this way you can easily save the current configuration of all monitors on your system, including the screen resolution, colors depth, and monitor position of every monitor. This is useful when you make changes and you are not satisfied with the settings of you monitors because you can restore back the saved monitors configuration.

This utility works on any version of Windows for both 32-bit and x64 systems without requiring any type of installation or additional dll files. Just run the executable file, and the utility will start instantly.

download MultiMonitorTool

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