Opera 18 review: This browser's seen radical changes… perhaps too radical

Ian Harac , PCWorld

Opera has always been the Avis or RC Cola of Web browsers—just behind the leading two, even as the identity of the leaders shifted over time. Opera 12, reviewed some time ago, was the last of one development path. Since then, the rendering engine has shifted (to the Chromium platform) and so has the design direction. A series of rapid-fire releases began with Opera 15, and Opera 18 is the latest release build, with Opera 19 in the testing stage.

Opera 18 screenshot To get bookmarks, download an extension
The Quick Access Bar might as well be hidden behind a locked door in a disused lavatory with a sign reading “Beware Of The Leopard.”

Opera 18 takes an extremely minimalist approach to browser design, perhaps because there is now a focus on phone, tablet, and desktop interoperability. It’s so minimalist, bookmarks are no longer considered an essential part of the browser experience.

Read more »

10

LICEcap review: Make animated screenshots, prove GIFs aren't just for memes

Erez Zukerman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Endlessly tweaking his workflow for comfort and efficiency, Erez is a freelance writer on a mission to discover the simplest, coolest, and most effective software and websites to make tomorrow happen today.
More by

No matter how you pronounce the word, GIFs are hot. The humble image format born in 1987 just won't die, mainly thanks to its support of animations, which has been used for anything from fine art to cat memes. As it turns out, though, GIFs can also be used for work: Free desktop utility LICEcap lets you create animated screenshots in a snap. I tried out the PC edition.

Picking an area to record is as easy as drag-and-drop.

LICEcap is named for the developer's image composition library, Lightweight Image Composition Engine. [Ed: We didn't call the name a "head-scratcher." Aren't you proud?]

Read more »

1

TeamViewer 9 review: Remote control software adds several very handy new features

Jon L. Jacobi Jon Jacobi, PCWorld

Jon L. Jacobi has worked with computers since you flipped switches and punched cards to program them. He studied music at Juilliard, and now he power-mods his car for kicks.
More by

TeamViewer has saved my family and friends a lot of grief, and saved me a lot of gasoline. I just tell them to download and run (or install it), give me the code and password and voilà! Their desktop pops up in a window on mine so I can fix what ails it.

TeamViewer screenshot 3
The TeamViewer console (shown with a remote session in the background) is largely the same, but has adopted with Windows 8 2D look.

TeamViewer 9 offers some very welcome improvements. My personal favorite is the ability to cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop files from the host desktop (the computer doing the controlling) to the client (the computer being controlled) and cut-and-paste from the client. It's much handier than opening the file transfer dialog as was required formerly, though that function still exists for working with older TeamViewer clients.

Read more »

1

Launch8 review: Add a dock to the Windows Start screen

Erez Zukerman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Endlessly tweaking his workflow for comfort and efficiency, Erez is a freelance writer on a mission to discover the simplest, coolest, and most effective software and websites to make tomorrow happen today.
More by

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em—or at least, customize them. Stardock's latest product, Launch8, adds a static row of icons at the bottom or top of the Windows 8 Start Screen. As you scroll the dynamic start screen left and right (and up and down, in Windows 8.1), the dock stays put, so you always know right where your favorite apps are.

The new dock stays at the bottom of the screen, no matter where you scroll.

Stardock previously made a splash with Start8, which brings the Start menu back to Windows 8. Unlike the free Classic Shell, Start8 costs $5—as does Launch8. Stardock tries to tie the two together in various ways: By default, the installer makes you install Start8, forcing you to opt out explicitly; then, too, every app on the dock features an item that says "Pin to Start Menu," even if you don't have Launch8 installed.

Read more »

4

TAudioConverter review: Put a nice face on open-source audio transcoding

Jon L. Jacobi Jon Jacobi, PCWorld

Jon L. Jacobi has worked with computers since you flipped switches and punched cards to program them. He studied music at Juilliard, and now he power-mods his car for kicks.
More by

TAudioConverter, a graphical front end for state-of-the-art audio codecs, is now my go-to tool for converting files and ripping audio from video files. It's fast and comprehensive, has a nicer interface than my previous favorite fre:ac, and doesn't attempt to install extra stuff as Freemake's Audio Converter does. Freemake is suitable for those who don't understand audio formats...but for those who do, TAudioConverter is what you want.

TAudioConverter screenshot 5
TAudioConverter prevents clipping and
can normalize volume of tracks.

Besides being prettier and easier to configure, TAudioConverter also handles 32-bit files (with codecs that understand 32-bits, such as LAME MP3), while fre:ac does not. That alone was enough to make me switch, since often I record at 96kHz/32-bits. But it is also the only conversion tool I'm aware of that supports the Opus format, which is the will-always-be-free codec for HTML5.

Read more »

0

Show, don't tell: 6 great tools for capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots

Erez Zukerman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Endlessly tweaking his workflow for comfort and efficiency, Erez is a freelance writer on a mission to discover the simplest, coolest, and most effective software and websites to make tomorrow happen today.
More by

Snapping and sharing screenshots is invaluable. Whether you need to offer a quick bit of tech support to a client or a fellow worker, document a procedure for an in-house manual, or produce professional-looking screenshots for a promotional website, these handy utilities will help. Several are cross-platform, and most of them are free.

Snagit

$50 Snagit bills itself as "the ultimate screen capture tool," and it is indeed a powerhouse. Snagit's interface is divided into a capturing utility and an image editor. The capture tool works with presets: You can decide whether or not you want to capture the mouse cursor along with the screenshot, if you want a delayed capture, and even capture a scrolling window (Snagit will scroll it for you and produce one long image).

Read more »

14

Typing of The Dead Overkill review: Kill foul-mouthed zombies with your fingers

Ian Harac , PCWorld

Typing of The Dead: Overkill is the gore-splattered offspring of Mavis Beacon and Quentin Tarantino. It's not exactly a tutorial, but you do learn to type fast and keep your eyes on the screen, not the keyboard. With its 1970s grindhouse flair, it's a lot less work-safe and a lot more fun than your usual educational software for PCs.

Typing of the Dead: Overkill main screen screenshot
Typing of The Dead: Overkill includes the game itself, minigames, and the original non-typing version of the game.

As a self-taught typist, I get 60-70 wpm, but that’s with looking at the keyboard. I never learned touch typing in the formal sense. Typing of The Dead: Overkill might actually get me to break bad typing habits I've had for over thirty years.

Read more »

0