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

Mark O'Neill , PCWorld 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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Metapad wants to completely replace the built-in Windows notepad, and some of the features being offered in Metapad could convince you to make that switch.

First, there is what the developer calls “intelligent find and replace” which offers more features than the CTRL + F find feature on regular WordPad. If you have a huge text file, having more options (such as only finding the entire word) will save time by cutting down on false positives.

Metapad offers an intelligent search-and-replace tool
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Notepad2 review: Syntax highlighting make this utility a good notepad replacement for coders

Mark O'Neill , PCWorld 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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At first glance, Notepad2 doesn't have much to distinguish itself from WordPad, the standard Windows notepad. But it offers a number of features that can make it worth the upgrade.

The biggest feature is syntax highlighting. You can have various parts of programming code show up as different colors when code is incorrect, so you can see right away what needs to be fixed. The find-and-replace function really does make WordPad cringe in the corner with embarrassment when you see features here such as match the case, match the whole word and match the beginning of the word only. You can even drag and drop text onto Notepad2, something that regular WordPad definitely won't allow.

Notepad2 offers syntax highlighting, which makes coding much easier.
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NotePad++ offers portable notepad features for programmers

Mark O'Neill , PCWorld 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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Notepad++ is a portable notepad that users like computer programmers will find enormously useful, because it offers something the regular Notepad doesn't: numbered lines.

Numbered what, I hear you ask?

If you're testing a program in a language such as Javascript, you’ll get obscure error messages like “operand missing on line 346”. So, it helps if you know which line the bug is on, and how to quickly locate that line. If the lines are not numbered, like in the regular Notepad, you would be sitting there till doomsday, trying to locate that one elusive little bug.  With Notepad++, it's as simple as scrolling down to the correct numbered line.

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Nero 2014 Platinum review: Burning and media creation suite gets easier to use

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.
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The ever-competent Nero disc-burning and multimedia creation suite takes on almost easy-to-use status in its latest incarnation, Nero 2014. Considering that the platinum version of 2014 burns all manner of optical discs, converts video for nearly all devices, plays Blu-ray movies, and provides about 90% or the media creation and editing features of more expensive suites, it's also a bargain at $130 (with a 15-day free trial).

The new look of most of Nero 2014's modules is clean and easy, and it introduces drag-and-drop features that were formerly missing.

Under-the-hood improvements in version 2014 include faster encoding, streaming video to TVs, and support for 4K video. But the big changes are in usability. Other modules have adopted the modern look of the included Nero MediaHome app, which is a very good media librarian and player for video, audio, and photos.

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Apache OpenOffice 4.0 review: New features, easier to use, still free

Ian Harac , PCWorld

Apache OpenOffice is a full suite of office applications: word processor, database, spreadsheet, presentation, and graphics. Each of them is full-featured and robust. Though not always matching Microsoft Office in terms of maximum bells and whistles, each application goes far beyond the basics in its class. Not bad for a free suite.

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 database screenshot
You can start designing forms for databases entry with an auto-generated form, then customize it extensively.

Apache OpenOffice is a long-standing competitor to Microsoft Office, with the roots of its code going back over ten years. It is a free, open-source product under the auspices of the well-known Apache Software Foundation, with regular updates, maintenance, and bug fixes.

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UndeletePlus Review: Recovery program works well on simple tasks, but try before you buy

Liane Cassavoy , PCWorld

Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.
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ESupport's UndeletePlus isn't free like some of its rivals, but to go along with its $40 price, you do get a full-featured recovery application that's a bit easier to use.

UndeletePlus features an attractive interface that makes it easy to get started. You can set a filter in order to search for a file by all or part of its name; the date it was modified; and its size. Then you click "Start Scan" and let the application go to work. It returns a neatly organized list of results, sorted by file type so you can easily scan through to see if your missing file is among them.

Restoring the files is easy—just a few clicks required—and the application offers helpful hints on how to recover files most effectively. UndeletePlus is user-friendly in a way that few free file recovery utilities are. Like rival Recuva, UndeletePlus managed to track down one of my two missing files, and did so quickly and easily. If only this product were free, as Recuva is, I'd be more willing to recommend it.

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Disk Investigator review: Find deleted files and more with this free utility

Liane Cassavoy , PCWorld

Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.
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Disk Investigator doesn't simply help you find lost files. It also helps you uncover plenty of information about the contents of your hard drive. When you launch the free application, it quickly analyzes your disk and presents you with a list if information about its size and contents.

The information will likely fly over the head of anyone but the geekiest of geeks: It's all about clusters, cluster size, zones, and more. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as the main window displays strings of letters and numbers that are completely indecipherable to most humans.

This information is valuable to anyone looking for lost files because of its very nature: Disk Investigator bypasses the operating system and reads the "raw drive sectors." This allows you to enter a search string and have Disk Investigator comb your drive for that missing file.

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