Mark O'NeillPCWorld Follow me on Google+

Expatriate Scotsman now living in Wurzburg, Germany, freelance writer, frustrated future bestselling author, obsessed bibliophile. Other interests include trying to understand The Architect in the Matrix movies, decrypting codes and ciphers, and trying to persuade my landlord and my wife to let me have a Highland Cow for a pet.

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Control your PC with these 5 speech recognition programs

Dragon NaturallySpeaking remains the most powerful beast in speech recognition, but cheap or even free tools are staking out territory for simpler tasks.

Four notepad apps to power up Windows' own WordPad

Everyone needs to scribble a note down now and then, but on Windows, you don't have to settle for the default Windows notepad. There are much more robust alternatives out there.

pNotes review: Make sticky notes simple or fancy

A cross between a sticky-note programs and a richer-format notepad program, pNotes is a free utility well worth installing.

Metapad review: Replace WordPad with this tiny, full-featured notepad

Designed to completely replace the Microsoft's WordPad, Metapad has the small size and big feature list to make the change appealing.

Notepad2 review: Syntax highlighting make this utility a good notepad replacement for coders

Notepad2 echoes WordPad's familiar interface while adding useful features such as line numbering, syntax highlighting, and improved search-and-replace.

NotePad++ offers portable notepad features for programmers

Text editor Notepad++ is portable and (as you might guess from the name) very programmer-friendly. It's open-source and donationware, too.

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5 free compression tools zip your files just dandy

You can't go wrong with paid compression programs WinZip or WinRAR...but if you'd rather hang on to your $30, check out these free alternatives. Each of them can get basic file zipping and unzipping done without making you unzip your wallet.

ZipItFree UI

Review: ZipItFree compresses files tightly, doesn't make you tighten your belt

ZipItFree's file compression is very efficient, and its unobtrusive interface is good to work with. This free utility is well worth a spot on your PC.

Review: Hamster Free Zip Archiver 2.0 compresses files in a snap

Hamster Free Zip Archiver compresses files quickly, and it has a cheerful, easy-to-use interface. For tech support, though...you might as well ask your hamster.

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Review: Liven up your vacation memories with free Animaps

Maps help you plan a journey or illustrate one already taken. Animaps enables you to make those maps more interactive and fun, using the power of Google Maps.

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Review: Transfer your website's RSS feed from Feedburner to FeedPress

The Internet is abuzz with rumours that Feedburner is next on Google's chopping block. Set up some insurance by redirecting your RSS feed to FeedPress.

Universal Extractor screenshot

Review: Universal Extractor opens almost any archive

Universal Extractor is a dab hand at opening arcane archives, but it can't actually do its own compression. Support is nonexistent, leaving you on your own.

Review: Sketch on Skype with whiteboard add-on IDroo

Skype's great for chatting, but it could be more collaborative. With the IDroo whiteboard add-on, you can communicate visually.

Five free Reddit tools cut through the clutter

Try these to organize, filter, and make sense of Reddit's content.

Review: SubReddit Finder helps locate subreddits that interest you

Reddit has spawned thousands of subreddits, not all of which have obvious names. This website lists them in a visualization that shows the most popular subreddits in the biggest type.