Review: Universal Extractor opens almost any archive

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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Universal Extractor because it is extremely useful for opening archives, and that's all it does.  As the name of the app implies, it only extracts...it can't create archives. Despite this, it's a neat little app to have in your Windows right-click menu.

You never know what kind of compressed file will come your way, and the developer claims that UniExtractor open any type of compressed file available.  So whether it's a ZIP, a RAR, a TAR or a JAR, UniExtractor claims to be able to handle it with ease.

The user-interface (such as it is) is a little on the spartan side.  The box is tiny, and the available preferences are nearly nonexistent. That said, it opened every file I threw at it. Having UniExtractor installed on your PC will enable you to uninstall all other compression software if all you need it for is to unzip files (and not make them).

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Review: Start Menu Reviver gives Windows 8 a modern UI-style Start Menu

Jon L. Jacobi Freelance Writer, PCWorld

How you'll like Start Menu Reviver largely depends on what you want out of a Windows 8 Start Menu. If you want something that mimics the Windows 7 Start Menu exactly, you're better off with Stardock's Start8 or Iobit's Start Menu 8. If you want something that's more of a melding of Windows 8 and a start menu, Start Menu Reviver might be what you seek.

By default, Start Menu Reviver looks like an Ease of Access application for the sight-challenged, but you can reduce it to a normal size.

When you first install Start Menu Reviver, it defaults to its large size. It's handy for touchscreens, but on a monitor or laptop screen, it looks like an Ease of Access feature for the eyesight-challenged. You can select a size that is more in keeping with the aspect ratios employed throughout the desktop. Start Menu Reviver sits on the task bar approximately where you'd expect to find it, but a little to the right. As with other Start Menus for Windows 8, you can change the icon to suit your taste.

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Review: FB Checker finds fake Facebook friends

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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Not everyone on Facebook is who they claim to be. And while some of the fake info posted on the world's biggest social network is nothing more than a bit of harmless bragging, some of the fakers can be downright dangerous. Enter FB Checker, a free application that is designed to help you identify fake Facebook accounts.

Add up to five photos to FB Checker for analysis.

FB Checker is free. All you have to do to get started is download it and give it permission toaccess your Facebook account. Then, when you come across a Facebook profile you'd like to verify, you launch the app from your system tray. FB Checker works by analyzing photos, so you have to click on a few photos from the account in question to add them to FB Checker. This can be tricky if you haven't accepted a friend request from the account in question and have limited access to their photos, or if the account simply doesn't have that many photos posted.

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Review: Rise of the Triad is so hard your head will explode

Hayden Dingman , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

I may never beat Rise of the Triad, Interceptor Entertainment's new reboot of 3D Realms/Apogee’s classic 1994 shooter.

On the other hand, I don’t think it really matters.

For the last two hours I've been fruitlessly tossing rockets, missiles, and all other sorts of explosive objects at a twelve-foot-tall robot named NME, only to have him mercilessly murder me at the last minute. I feverishly jump back into it again, knowing I'll most likely die at the exact same point.

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Review: Sketch on Skype with whiteboard add-on IDroo

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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When you really need to show and not tell, you'll find the IDroo a welcome tool. Idroo is Skype's version of a whiteboard. You can use to invite Skype users to a brainstorming session or to give a lesson to a mad scientist in training.

Each participant must install IDroo. Once they accept your invitation to the session, they will see your scribbles appear on the board in real time. Anyone who's ever wondered what a slightly elongated cube looks like can look at the board and wonder no more.

A simple sketch can remove ambiguity from Skype conversations. IDroo makes it possible to share a whiteboard on Skype.
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Review: Hover Zoom expands images without extra clicking

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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Hover Zoom is one of the best and most useful browser plugins in existence...provided you use the Chrome browser, as it is not available for anything else.  It allows you to move your mouse over a small picture and instantly magnify it, without clicking or opening anything.

Shown here on a Facebook feed, Hover Zoom quickly shows bigger versions of thumbnail images.

This free extension from Romain Vallet works on many popular sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Reddit, and Twitter.

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Review: JPEGmini compresses your pictures dramatically with little loss of detail

Jon L. Jacobi Freelance Writer, PCWorld

If you're going to do just one thing in your life, you're best off doing it really, really, well. You might even be rewarded for it if it's something other people like. JPEGmini ($20, free feature-limited demo) does one thing—further compresses JPEG pictures to save you disk space—and does it quite well. If you're a photo hound, you'll like it, and you might want to reward the company so you can use it.

There's nothing complicated about JPEGmini's interface. Open or drag the files to it that you want to compress.

JPEG is a compressed format, but the amount of compression applied is variable and optional, ranging from slightly to extremely lossy. Most camera devices use a very mild amount of compression, producing relatively detailed images that are much smaller than uncompressed (raw) files, but still much larger than they need to be for general use. This is generally wise, as you can't restore detail that's been compressed away, but for most purposes, you can squash JPEG files quite a bit further before you see obvious compression artifacts.

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