Take charge of your graphics, icons and digital photos with irfanView

Taking control of your digital photos isn’t an easy task. If you’re like my family and have a lot of children and a photo happy wife, then you’re going to accumulate a lot of digital pictures over the years. This is why I’m happy I’ve got things like irfanView.  It’s a graphics and digital photo editor and management tool for Windows

irfanView (pronounced ear-fan-view) is designed to be simple for beginners yet powerful enough for professionals or advanced users.  It was the first Windows graphic viewer with Multiple (animated) GIF support, and one of the first graphic viewers with Multipage TIF support. It was also the first graphic viewer with Multiple ICO support.

irfanView supports many file formats, and includes support for select RAW file formats, so you may be able to edit files right off your digital camera, before you convert them to a more popular format. It also supports Adobe Photoshop filters, allowing you to bring power to an easier to use editing program, all this even before you consider its own drawing and editing tools.

One of the best things about irfanView is that it runs from a single executable file. It doesn’t require any dynamic link libraries (DLL’s) that may be installed or scattered across your hard drive in order to run.  It also doesn’t contain any registration or nag messages. The application is free, though the author does appreciate monetary support through donations.

read the full review | download irfanView

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LotSoft 2011 Thanksgiving Promo is pulling your families and friends closer than before

LotSoft, a domestic digital entertainment software developer, has started a huge Thanksgiving Promo Campaign from November 18 to November 28. Ten days in which they will offer 10,000 copies of desirable DVD/Video software (valued $300,000 in all). As a participant you have also the chance to play a Funny Holiday Game. The winner of this game will be able to gift BDlot Video Converter to his family or friends. The promo features also a Huge Discount on flagship BDlot products. For more details, you are warmly welcome to visit the Thanksgiving official page at http://www.bdlot.com/special-offer/.

Promotional details:

#1 Giveaway 10,000 copies of BDlot DVD Clone Ultimate, Valued 300,000 USD
The up-to-the-minute DVD copy software which is made for protecting and reproducing users purchased DVD movies.

#2 Funny Thanksgiving Puzzle Game
The winner will earn a chance of gifting BDlot Video Converter to their friends and families.

#3 $10 Thanksgiving Discount Coupon – THANKSGIVING – for ALL BDlot Products
If users miss this giveaway and need to purchase BDlot products in future, they can save 10 USD instantly by using THANKSGIVING, a long-term discount coupon for all BDlot products.

About LotSoft:

LotSoft, (http://www.bdlot.com/) a leading multimedia software provider, specialized on DVD/Video conversion and backup solution since the foundation in 2006. The company has delivered its professional and innovative applications to more than 8,000,000 satisfied customers all over the world, especially, in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc.

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Record your music your way with Mixcraft – the affordable multi-track audio and MIDI recording software

My father had a party band while I was growing up. I got introduced to music early on; and as we listened to some vintage reel-to-reel taped, recordings of those band gig’s I began wishing that some of the computing technology we have today would have been available back in the early 1970′s. It would have made listening to some of those recordings a much better experience. However, I’m glad there are applications like Mixcraft today. It’s a multi-track recording tool for Windows.

Mixcraft 5 is a powerful and easy-to-use multi-track recording studio that enables you to record audio, arrange loops, remix tracks, and compose original music with virtual instruments. You can also write entire scores, edit video, and add effects to create professional compositions. The basic features are easy enough for everyone.  The more advanced features are powerful enough to satisfy serious and professional musicians alike.
Mixcraft has a polished professional look. Its custom loop library includes over 3000 royalty-free sounds in dozens of musical styles, including 70′s Funk, Cool Jazz, Surf Rock, Reggae, and Vegas Rock.  Mixcraft also works with both Acid and Garage Band loops.

Read the entire Review | Download Mixcraft

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Cellphone battery that will take just 15 minutes to recharge and last more than a week

Imagine a cellphone battery that will take just 15 minutes to recharge and last more than a week. That dream battery could be closer to reality thanks to Northwestern University research.

A team of engineers has created an electrode for lithium-ion batteries (such as those found in cellphones and iPods) that allows the batteries to hold a charge up to 10 times greater than current technology. Batteries with the new electrode also can charge 10 times faster than current batteries.

The researchers combined two chemical engineering approaches to address two major battery limitations (energy capacity and charge rate) in one fell swoop. In addition to better batteries for cellphones and iPods, the technology could pave the way for more efficient, smaller batteries for electric cars.

The technology could be seen in the marketplace in the next three to five years, the researchers said.

We have found a way to extend a new lithium-ion battery’s charge life by 10 times,” said Harold H. Kung, lead author of the paper. “Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today.” - Kung is professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. He also is a Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellow.

For more details, see the source article at Northwestern University but prepare yourself with strong coffee. Battery icon source from Vector Junky.

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ID Photo Maker – powerful standard ID photo making software

Even the most user-accessible photo editing software can still prove unwieldy for smaller jobs. That’s exactly why ID Photo Maker makes one of life’s little necessities as easy as 1, 2, 3; replicating the ease of a real life photo-booth on your desktop. Rather than spend your time fiddling with a photo editing suite, ID Photo Maker does it all for you.

To start you simply choose a picture from your hard-drive, or take one within the software using a connected webcam or digital camera. You choose which ID format you want then after a few easy clicks you’re done: ID Photo Maker will crop the photo automatically to the perfect size. You can even use a compact suite of editing tools if you’re looking to customise the colour or the background.

Anyone who’s not massively comfortable with photo editors, or someone looking to edit batches of photos, will find something to like here: None of the hassle, but thanks to a compact set of editing tools, those with a desire to customize can.

Despite the time it saves though, the full $99.69 license will only appeal to those editing on a larger scale. And the lowest purchase bracket ($7.69 for 10 uses) doesn’t help those looking to run off a couple of photos and leave it at that. Despite the cost though, you can’t fault ID Photo Maker’s ease-of-use.

Read full Review | Download ID Photo Maker

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Google Music Service will bypass the music labels

Google Music has publicly launched after lengthy beta testing, and inevitably some are already dubbing it the iTunes killer. That seems a little premature, but it does appear the service stands the best chance yet of being firmly established as a rival to Apple.

For the moment the service is US only, with expansion at the mercy of country-by-country licensing restrictions. While there’s no word on the schedule for adding more customers, there’s a good chance the UK will be among the first added markets to get the service.

The service is both similar to and different from the iTunes store. It stands out because users can automatically listen to their purchased music on any computer through a web browser. Users can also download mp3 files at 320kbps: that means comparatively good sound quality, though file sizes are larger. There are no technological restrictions on downloading purchased music, burning the songs to a CD, or copying to a portable device. However, there is a legal restriction, namely that the music is only for your own non-commercial use.

As well as purchased music, users can upload up to 20,000 tracks from their own computer and then access them over the web. However, unlike a similar service from Apple, every song must be individually uploaded, which could be an extremely lengthy process.

Google Music does allow a form of sharing, though it’s not unrestricted. It’s only available to members of the Google+ social networking service. The system is set up so that once a member buys a song, his or her online contacts each have the right to listed to that song once without charge.

It’s on mobile devices where Google Music may make the biggest splash. There’s not only a dedicated Android application, but the music catalogue is built directly into the Android Market, meaning you can buy with a simple click in the same way as buying an app. The idea seems to be to make music more of an impulse purchase with as little hassle as possible. Intriguingly one mobile phone network in the US has added an option to buy music and have the cost added to your monthly phone bill.

The music catalogue is the biggest weakness against iTunes at the moment. Warner Music, one of the three remaining major labels, has not yet agreed to have its music on the service. Between that and the fact that Google is only part of the way through signing up independent labels, the service “only” has 13 million tracks available, compared with around 18 million on iTunes.

There are a few exclusives though, with bands such as Coldplay, Pearl Jam and the Rolling Stones providing live albums that can’t be bought elsewhere. The service also offers a free Song of the Day.

Unsigned artists have the ability to add music to the service. To do so they pay a $25 (£16) fee to set up a dedicated page in the “New Music Hub.” They can then set their own prices for downloads, with Google taking 30 percent of the revenue.

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TeamViewer the popular sharing tool for technical and non-technical alike

Team Viewer is an excellent screen-sharing and file-transfer application that is popular amongst the technical and non-technical alike.

This is due to the varied uses that are available through Team Viewer, with the apparatuses most popular devices being the remote troubleshooting of IT problems, the ability to manage servers in remote data centers or the allowance to let users connect to their desktop PCs when they’re away from the computer.

The installation process with Team Viewer is even impressive and even allows you to toggle administration rights. Once loaded Team Viewer gives each of its users the exact tools they need when they are looking to share screens securely, send files with no hassle and switch the user who has complete control.

This can occur because when you log in you’re provided with an access code and a password, which you can share, allowing your computer to be controlled to the level you have set it to. The Team Viewer even remembers the computers that you have connected to, which allows you to reconnect to previous PCs quickly and with no bother.

TeamViewer is free for personal use, easy to use, the integrated contact list allows you to support family and friends instantly, features extensive security mode and remote access. But the support and documentation is poor and it can be very expensive to use it professionally.

TeamViewer makes screen and file sharing simple and fluid as well as unobtrusive and is a worthy addition to any office or home for both professional and casual users.

read full review | download TeamViewer

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HMA! Pro VPN will hide your Internet activity for real

Easy Anonymity Covering Your Tracks Online

Using a Virtual Private Network can seem like a complicated endeavour, but ‘Hide My Ass’ makes it easy as pie. The desktop application is easy to use and intuitive however there are plenty of more advanced features for the experienced user and for beginners to try out as they get more comfortable. Installation is quick and simple, and you can be up and running within the hour.

Additional features include quick IP address changes either manually or an an automatic schedule, with over 15,000 IP addresses to choose from. However, they could do with a few more offshore servers. The support is good, however, if you are choosing a VPN because of a degree for privacy you may have concerns about their storage of your personal information and service logs.

It’s free to try, but only after you have paid the initial fee. If you cancel within the first 30 days your money is refunded to you. However, the fee of $11.52 per month or $6.55 per month for a year’s subscription is solidly in the middle of the range.

While there are some privacy concerns and a need for more offshore servers, overall the features available are top of the line for a good price. Certainly worth the 30 day trial.

read the entire review | download HMA! Pro VPN

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