Keep yourself healthy with Workrave

workraveIn my current job, I get to the office, start my day by about 730am and then end it by about 545pm. I am on conference calls nearly all day long, or am doing desk work. I very rarely get away from my desk, or get a break. This is one reason why I really like apps like Workrave. Its an RSI preventive app for Windows.

RSI, or repetitive strain injury, is a condition that is serious for workers who constantly have to do the same tasks over and over during the work day. Its easily preventable with an application like Workrave. Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of RSI. The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.

Workrave breaks up your day by helping you implement micropauses, rest breaks and daily limit timers into your work routine. A micropause, is a brief respite or break in activity that lasts several seconds. Micropauses can be scheduled every few minutes or so in order to break up or stop you from continuing the same motions over and over again..

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A rest break is much longer, and is usually scheduled as early as every 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the amount and type of repetitive motion that you are doing. The biggest issue here is that there aren’t any solid setting recommendations, because requirements differ from person to person based on the amount and type of repetitive motion they do.

Workrave surprised me. There’s a bit more to it than I initially thought there would be. If you’re the type that sits at a desk all day long and does the same things all day – typing, filing, coding, etc. – you might want to add Workrave to your PC. RSI injuries can be painful and difficult to heal, as the injury prevents you from doing many simple, needed, everyday tasks. Having something like this at your desk everyday, reminding you to stretch, exercise and get up, can be a huge help in making sure you either don’t get an RSI injury, or help prevent you from getting one again.

download Workrave

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Corel VideoStudio Pro X5 – all-in-one video editor and screen recorder

Corel VideoStudio ProEveryone is taking video today. Nearly everyone that I know has a smartphone or has access to a smartphone. As such, they’ve got digital photos and, more importantly, video clips flying all over the place. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like applications like Corel Video Studio Pro. It’s a video editing application for Windows.

Corel VideoStudio Pro is a powerful video-editing application, and has screen recording, built in. Its an all-in-one, video editor that provides editing, advanced effects, interactive web video and total disc authoring into a single package. The app is fast and packed with intuitive tools, that let you create family movies and slideshows, fun, stop motion animations, and screen recordings of presentations, tutorials and more. You can tap into the full power of your multi-core processor and share your creations everywhere with native HTML5 video support, or enhanced DVD and Blu-ray authoring.

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Once you’ve got your creations completed, you can quickly share them online, or burn a professional quality DVD/ Blu-ray disk complete with menus, titles and transitions. Corel VideoStudio Pro has a huge template library. You can choose from a variety of Instant Projects, drop in your content and make a movie in minutes. You can drag your media and graphics onto the Timeline, add effects, transitions and more. You can reveal or hide tracks, zoom in and out, or customize the Timeline to your liking. VSP makes it very easy once you get a handle on the workflow.

Corel VideoStudio Pro is a really cool app. It makes creating video less complicated than other apps and is fun to use. Non-experienced users may have a little bit of trouble getting used to the workflow and some of the tools, but it’s not difficult once you get going. If you have a lot of video and want to pull it all together into a disc that can be passed or sent to relatives or simply want to keep a hard copy record that can be viewed from any set top player, this is a decent choice for the task.

Download Corel VideoStudio Pro

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Blender – Fully integrated 3D graphics creation suite

You can get an idea of Blender’s capabilities by listing some of the projects that have used it. For example, the makers of ‘Spiderman 2’ used Blender for 3D and character animation; it was used for the special effects in the film ‘Vendredi ou un autre Jour’, movies ‘Elephants Dream’, ‘Big Buck Bunny’, ‘Sintel’ and ‘Plumiferos’ a 3D CG feature film were made in Blender; as was the 3D game ‘Yo Frankie!’

Blender comes from the not-for-profit Blender Foundation. It is open-source, free to download and use but requires a considerable investment of time and effort from the serious user and rewards her with the flexible software and skills to model in 2 and 3D, animate, render and process images and videos to an award-winning professional standard. It includes related functionality: a game engine, fonts, motion capture and many, many more.

A good place to start is to become familiar with the interface which has been reworked in the recent version. Support comes in the way of texts, models and tutorials from the official website. A CMS gathers background information and lists many websites and groups maintained by Blender followers, (Blender Art Magazine, Blender Nation, and so on). If that is not enough a shelf of specialist commercial books offers guidance through the Blender product.

Read full review | Download Blender

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The Gaming Report – Because Minority Report is finally in the living room

Okay this not only registers as “gaming” but also in Windows, hardware and if there were a “awesomely cool” category I would include it there as well. Everyone talks Kinect these days – how it will revolutionize controller industry, etc. – but did anyone checked how many people actually watched (or re-watched) Minority Report these days?!

Seriously speaking though, I have to watch that movie again! No, no, no…. really serious now: The Germans at Evoluce are the first guys to show a Windows 7 interface controlled by a Kinect device.

Evoluce specializes in multitouch stuff and with a little help from Redmond and a lot of hard work I assume, they can control Windows just by hand gestures. So that first Star Trek episode where Spock showed detailed info on a planet navigating with his hands, or the April first joke from Opera when you could control the browser with face gestures – may not seem so funny now.

Anyway, as you can see in these videos, you can browse through media, resize stuff, arrange icons, scroll through web pages, zoom in or out of webpages and maps, draw stuff, and who knows how many more things will pop up into people’s mind once the foundation for this stuff is established.

And to all the naysayers who claim – for a good reason – mouse interaction is faster, I say the same as I do with voice control. Not only it’s cooler this way, but you don’t have to use just gesture or voice navigation. You can combine methods to increase the speed you interact with devices a lot if you’re smart! It really depends on the purpose they serve as well – a presentation in a crowded conference room for example is the perfect place to use your hands skill…

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