Make perfect 1:1 copies of all your DVD’s with DVD-Cloner

Making backup copies of physical media has always been a problem for many people. Many states have fair use copyright provisions for making backup copies of movies and software that are bought in the US.  Countries in the EU may have similar provisions to local and federal laws.  If you purchase a copy, the content isn’t yours, but the media is, and you’re entitled to make a backup of that content in anticipation that something may happen to the media you purchased, preventing you from enjoying the content.  This is one of the major reasons why I really like apps like DVD-Cloner. It’s an optical disk backup utility for Windows.

DVD-Cloner is a DVD ripping and backup tool that comes with it powerful functions and its fire-new one-click interface to make DVD copy easy. With new movies and related never-ending changes and improvements springing up, DVD-Cloner, as the symbolic figure in the DVD copy software industry, is designed for movie fans. It can decrypt all DVD protections for you allowing you to bring the movie home. With optimized DVD reading speed, it can finish copying a DVD just after you finish a cup of coffee.

DVD-Cloner can  decrypt all DVD protection schemes including Macrovision, AACS, CPPM, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs and RipGuard, via a block-by-block copy, whether the content is music, video or data.  It can do exact, like kind DVD-5 and DVD-9 copies. It can also copy DVD’s onto most branded DVR’s. for you to bring the cinema home.

Read full review | Download DVD-Cloner

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Write, compose and catalog all of your original music with TuneSmith

As an aspiring musician, at least in my day, I wrote over 150 different songs, including lyrics for a musical. However, back when I was writing, during the 1980’s and 1990’s, I didn’t have any of the computer-based music writing tools that exist today. Songwriters have a lot to be thankful for, especially in tools like TuneSmith. It’s a tool that helps you write, compose and catalog all of your original music.

No matter where you are – at home, on the road or in the studio – TuneSmith provides you with the tools you need to easily enhance your song lyrics and to effortlessly administer your growing song catalog. TuneSmith allows you to focus on your craft using a robust lyrics editor. With comprehensive text styles, a handy revision history and extensive search capabilities, you’re certain to insure that every new lyric can be the best it can be. Some of the most difficult rhymes and meters can be easily resolved with TuneSmith’s integrated version of Rhyme Genie. When needed, you also easily be able to rekindle emotions from past writing sessions from your complete clipboard history of previously selected rhymes for each song in progress.

Knowing that the creative juices don’t always flow in a logical order, TuneSmith allows you to keep a pitch journal, allowing you to keep track of your hot ideas, tracks and to breathe new life into classic songs. You can manage all essential information about your copyright registrations, cowriters, and potential cover artists. TuneSmith is a professional grade tool that works for the serious professional as well as thrill seeking amateurs. You can keep track of different demos, album cuts and capture memorable melodies, riffs, and runs with its easy to use audio recorder.

Read full review | Download TuneSmith for WindowsDownload TuneSmith for Mac

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Adobe Illustrator – a great way to produce your own art

Creating computer wallpaper takes a special touch and a trained hand.  However, even the trained need a helping hand. This is one of the reasons whyI really like tooks like Adobe Illustrator CS5. It’s a multiplatform graphics editing tool, and its totally awesome.

With Adobe Illustrator, you can design vector graphics with precision and power. You can draw accurately in perspective, create variable-width strokes, paint with lifelike brushes, and let your creative juices flow.  You can create distinctive designs with precise shape-building tools, fluid and painterly brushes, and advanced path controls. You’ll have full control of variable-width strokes, arrowheads, dashes, and art brush scaling along a path.

You can use perspective grids to draw shapes and scenes in accurate 1-, 2-, or 3-point linear perspective, creating the look of realistic depth and distance.  You can paint with vectors that resemble real-world brush strokes; and can achieve the expressiveness of natural media with the scalability of a vector graphic tool.

You can also interact with gradients directly on your objects and control the transparency of individual colors in them as well as in gradient meshes. Adobe Illustrator lets you blend and morph one shape into another to create smooth shading, complex contours, and basic animations. Its Blob Brush allows you to sketch with a brush that generates a single clean vector shape, even when strokes overlap. You can draw naturally, using this unique tool together with the Eraser and Smooth tools.

Read full Review | Download Adobe Illustrator

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Open, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, mount and extract ISO files with PowerISO

The one thing I really like about Macs is its ability to distribute software on disk images. Most software is actually distributed in downloadable disk images and run or installed right from the image. This is one reason why I really like PowerISO. It’s a disk image editing and creating tool for Windows.

PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD/BD image file processing tool, allowing you to open, extract, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, split, convert and mount ISO files as internal, virtual drives. It can process almost all CD/DVD/BD image files including ISO and BIN files. PowerISO provides an all-in-one solution, allowing you to do manipulate and use your ISO and disc image files as you need.

PowerISO doesn’t just allow you to mount and use CD/DVD/BD-ROM images like any other disk your computer connects to.  It also allows you to create a DAA (Direct-Access-Archive) file, an advanced image file, which supports compression, password protection, and splitting the image to multiple volumes, if needed.  PowerISO also supports creating and editing ISO, BIN, NRG, CD file formats as well.  Creating bootable CD/DVD’s is also supported in both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.

Read full review | Download PowerISO

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Create professional-looking movies and demos from your computer screen with Camtasia Studio

I create training materials all the time. Part of what I do for my day job occasionally requires me to train end users in some kind of computer based process or procedure. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, I’m glad I have tools like Camtasia Studio. It’s a screencast tool for Windows.

Creating a great screencast happens in three simple steps: Record, Edit and Share.

Camtasia Studio’s flexible recording options allow you to capture a full screen or a window or region. You can add in music tracks, a spoken, vocal track, or your computer’s audio.  You can also include picture-in-picture video with your web camera. If you’re using PowerPoint to give a presentation that you want to record for use by invitees who couldn’t attend the initial presentation, Camtasia’s toolbar inside PowerPoint makes it easy to record your presentations, either live or from your desk.  TechSmith’s exclusive SmartFocus technology keeps track of where the action happens on your computer screen during your recording. It then produces a video that zooms in on the parts you need to show.

Once you have your content recorded, Camtasia Studio allows you to spruce it up.  You can easily create callouts by adding a graphic over your video to direct the attention of your viewers. You can also link to an external webpage or jump to a part of the video.  If you’re stuck for the right graphic to use, Camtasia Studio comes stocked with professionally-designed assets you can drag-and-drop into your video. You can also the store your callouts, title slides, and other assets for re-use and sharing later.

After you have your screencast created, the final step is sharing it with your audience.  You can share to YouTube and Screencast.com, TechSmith’s video hosting service.  You can also produce videos in a variety of formats including, MP4, FLV/SWF, M4V, AVI, WMV, MOV, RM, Animated GIF and MP3 (for audio only).

Read full review | Download Camtasia Studio

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Acronis True Image Home 2012 the back-up tool for anyone

So much can go wrong with your computer, such as accidental file deletions, system viruses and total hard-disk failures. Having a complete PC-backup solution is critical. And this solution can come with Acronis True Image Home 2012.

This back-up utility stands out because of its simplicity for casual users and for its comprehensive collection of features that makes it a useful tool for any network or system engineer. Not only that it can recover your data, but it can also restore it as it was before any incident. All the software, shortcuts and all the emails and contacts, everything can be backed up and restored thanks to Acronis’ patented disk imaging and PC-cloning technology. For a more secure environment, use the Secure Zone function to create a secure disk partition on your internal drive. That way you can recover your system easily at any moment, even if your Operating System has failed.

Synchronization is another interesting feature that comes with Acronis True Image Home 2012. If you have two or more PCs and want them to mirror a selection of files or folders you just have to choose the File Synchronization option, which lets you replicate important data between multiple computers, files or devices. Sync files with friends, family or colleagues over the Web. Or sync with local folders, including USB sticks or external hard drives.

Setting up and running your backups is convenient with Acronis True Image Home. Smart Scheduling offers you practical options to decide when your backups should run, like during idle times or just before startup or shutdown. Set&Forget lets you configure your backups just once and then the software does the remembering for you.

Now it’s easier to avoid disasters before they happen. For instance, if you want to try out new software but are not sure if it’s virus-prone, Try&Decide lets you take a test drive first to see if you want to keep or discard the changes to your system. This is also very practical for browsing potentially dangerous websites.

The special Plus Pack add-on gives the user advanced features, such as dynamic-disk support and Universal Restore, which lets you recover your entire system on a computer with a completely different architecture. Besides other additional functionalities, for the first time Acronis True Image Home 2012 can use the full capacity of drive bigger than 2TB, even if the operating system you are running doesn’t support it.

In case you have decided to try it out, I can only say:

download Acronis True Image Home 2012

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Gather information and tune your hard drive to function at peak performance with HD Tune

Your hard drive is the life blood of your computer. When it goes bad, the whole thing goes down. Keeping it healthy can be an involved and painful process without the right tools. HD Tune is the right tool for that job.

HD Tune works with all kinds of drives, internal or external, spinning media or SSD, USB sticks, etc. With it, you get a complete picture of how your PC’s hard drive is performing, and can even check its S.M.A.R.T. status as well as perform various maintenance activities on it.

Read the full review | Download HD Tune

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VideoPad Video Editor a tool suitable for beginners in terms of concept and basic features

Video editing is a casual task for anyone that owns a video camera. Therefore, the IT market offers a wide variety of video editors more or less comprehensive so that anybody, from beginners to pros, can find the right application suitable for his needs. But what if you can find a single application that can be easy to use, offers all the basic features for editing and is free? VideoPad Video Editor is the one that fits this profile, a tool suitable for beginners in terms of concept and basic features.

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