Use Voice Commands To Launch Apps & Run Scripts [Windows]

Personal assistants are fast becoming part of desktop and mobile operating systems. We've seen Siri, Cortana, and Google Now and they all seem impressive in their own right. The desktop still has a bit of way to go before it gets a personal assistant to match anything on mobile but the future does look bright. If you aren't too keen on waiting for the future of voice commands and would like something now rather than later, give VoiceBot a try. It's a free Windows app that lets you associate voice commands with actions like launching an app or running a script (among other things) and then executes them on command. The app lets you create profiles that you can associate different commands to. It has both a free and a paid version. The paid version lets you sync your profile between computers, run multiple actions in a single macro, and create unlimited profiles. Read More

How To Add Album Art & Update ID3 Tags For Music In Windows

Managing a music library takes time and effort. Unless you start out with the mindset to keep things organized, you will eventually end up with some cleaning up to do later on. The clean-up might be time-consuming if you need to update the ID3 tags or it might be simple like finding album art and adding it to your music files. If you use Windows Media Player or the Music app (Windows 8 & 10), here's how you can add album art to a music file and update its ID3 information without needing any extra apps. Read More

Create Screencasts And Upload Them Directly To YouTube [Windows]

Screencasting tools are either expensive or they are terribly limited when it comes to recording time. Free apps are rare to come by and often they will be low on features if they aren't limiting the length of the video or adding a watermark. TinyTake is a free app for Windows that, among many other things, lets you record a screencast upto 120 minutes (that's two hours, folks!). The catch? You start out with a five minute limit and can unlock longer recording lengths by sharing the app with a friend. Share it with 75 people and you unlock the 120 minute length. Once you've recorded a video, you can save it or upload it directly to YouTube. The video is automatically uploaded to TinyTake's servers when you save it and you can share a link to the video or download it to your local drive. Read More

New Features In Firefox 38 For Desktop And Android

Firefox 38 is out and the release brings a few noteworthy features for both desktop and mobile. Desktop users get a new Preferences UI. The window is now displayed in a tabbed format. It seems to be far more functional that what Firefox previously offered and allows you to quickly jump to a particular tab. Support for the autocomplete=off attribute has been removed, a copy option has been added to the Console, and then there are the usual security fixes. For Android users there is a lot to look forward to. Firefox 38 now has Material design, allows you to send a tab to any one of your synced devices, and lets you send a URL open in other apps to your Firefox bookmarks or reading list. Here's a quick look at these features. Read More

Create A Mirrored Encrypted Folder And Sync New Files To It [Windows]

Cloud back-ups have become very common with the increasing number of services that offer cloud drives to individual end users. Those who aren't too trusting of cloud drives may perhaps use a hard drive, or other backup options to keep their data from being lost. That said, it is a repetitive process, a cycle that needs to run at regular intervals so that the newest files you've added are always backed up. Meet Crococrypt; it's a simple encryption app that creates a mirrored encrypted folder of any folder you choose. It saves a decryption key file to your system. Without the key file, your encrypted files cannot be decrypted. The app also syncs new files that were added to a folder to its encrypted mirrored container. Read More

How To Tell When You Last Booted Your System [Windows]

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Hibernate and sleep modes on Windows means you rarely have to shut down your system. There isn't any real harm in letting it Hibernate through the night and every night all through the week. It comes with its advantages; you don't have to wait for updates to install before the system shuts down, and you don't have to wait for them to install the next time you boot it. It's also incredibly easier to just close the lid instead of shutting the PC down. This is rarely a problem but if you ever need to know when was the last time you restarted, or more specifically, when you last booted up your PC, here's how you can check. Read More

How To Choose Individual Files To Download From A Torrent

Torrents have a really bad name and they are usually referred to alongside piracy. There's no doubt that some torrent sites do facilitate movie, software, and game piracy but that doesn't automatically make torrents evil. That said, say no to piracy. As I said, torrents aren't all bad and if you're looking for a particular file to download, one that you can only find bundled with significantly larger files, you're likely going to be in for a long wait while they all download. If you use uTorrent to download torrents though, you can selectively pick out which file it is you want to download from a large torrent file. Here's how. Read More

Set Minimum Word Goals When You Write Short Stories Or Novels

My job involves writing but it's also what I do when I want to relax and rarely do I have to worry about word count or if I've met a certain length in terms of words. Likewise, there isn't a strict word quota that I have to fill when I'm writing at my leisure. For blog posts, Wordpress has a great editor and for my own writing, MS Word does the trick. Writing tools are mostly aimed at professionals who need to create reports or at bloggers who need to connect to publishing platforms like Wordpress. Rarely will you find a tool that is meant for people who are writing books. Write is just that; it features a productivity tool that lets you set a minimum word target that you need to meet when you sit down to write. It is equipped with writing modes; Article, Short story, Narrative, Book, etc with a suggested word count that is acceptable for that kind of writing. It comes with support for headings, complete text formatting features, spell check, and the ability to Google words, look something up on Wikipedia, as well as a thesaurus. Read More

Select & Remove A Color From A Photo And Add Transparency

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If you're familiar with the Photoshop tool, you might know what the Wand tool does and how you can use it to quickly clean up an image. The lasso tool might be more suited to this purpose but it cleaning is a process that also has to do with how dense the image is in terms of objects and how much time and patience you have to sit through the process. Transparent Image Converter is a free Windows app that makes the process considerably easier; it lets you select a color in the image and removes it completely from the image. You can choose the threshold level and resize the image if you want. If you have an image with a white background, you can use the app to erase it and reduce its size. Read More

How To Try Out YouTube’s Latest Transparent Player

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YouTube makes changes to its UI from time to time. At present, it has an experimental transparent player in the works. Some users might already be seeing it if they are part of the test group but if you aren't, there's a quick way to try it out. You will need to edit cookies stored by YouTube to your browser and edit the value of one particular cookie. This post shows you how to edit the cookie for Chrome and Firefox, and what value to set it. Read More

Use Facebook’s Web Based Messenger As A Desktop App

Last week, Facebook released a stand alone web interface for its popular chat service aptly called Messenger after the mobile apps that are built exclusively for the feature. The web interface can work without users needing to keep Facebook open in a separate tab. This means you can use Facebook as a chat platform and effectively avoid the distractions it has on offer. Since it's launch, developer Alexandru Rosianu has ported the web interface so that you can use it as a stand alone app on OS X, Windows, and Linux. The app is basically the same browser based version that you can now pin to the Taskbar or Dock, only now it isn't tied to your browser. Read More

Easily Create Symbolic Links From A GUI Instead Of The Command Line

Symbolic links to folders are exceptionally useful and equally intimidating to create. While creating them isn't strictly tied to the Command line, doing so isn't easy.  Symlink Helper is a tool that simplifies creating symbolic links. The best thing about the app is the obvious; you don't need to use the command line to create a symbolic link, but other than that, for anyone who doesn't understand too well how a symbolic link works, the app makes creating them all the more easier with support for directories, application settings, and drives. Read More

Pin Any Window To Keep It On Top Of All Others

Apps that deem it essential to their function will include an option to keep their own respective window on top of all others. These apps are rare and many times we find apps that would have been better off to include this feature. For apps like that there is PinMe, a free portable Windows app that lets you pin any application's window or a folder so that it remains on top of all others. The app works on both Windows 7 and 8 (and above). Read More

Get An RGB Or HTML Code For On-Screen Colors With Shade Variations

Color picking tools are abundantly available for almost all desktop and mobile platforms. How they work may vary based on system and device but generally you have an app that will let you pick colors off your screen and give you the color's RGB or HEX code. CP1 is a color picking tool for Windows that stands out for its excellent and clean interface. The app can pick a color off your screen and give you the RGB and HTML code for it. When you point the app to a single color, it automatically gives you fourteen other varying shades of the same color. You have the option to expand the colors to a more wider palette. CP1 maintains a history of all colors you've ever picked. Click an old selection and you will also be able to view the other shades you were shown with it. Click on an RGB or HTML code and it is automatically copied to your clipboard. Read More

Copy An Image Or Contents Of A Text File Without Opening It [Windows]

The clipboard is a very basic and exceptionally important feature in every operating system. Both desktop and mobile operating systems support this feature and you will still find apps that attempt to give you something that is far more powerful. These third party clipboard apps might let you copy multiple text snippets, store your clipboard history after a system restart, or copy text while preserving the formatting. Copy Contents is a free Windows app that makes copying text from a simple text file or copying an image much faster. Instead of first opening the text file or the image, selecting its contents, and hitting Ctrl+C, the app lets your right-click the file and copy its contents from the Copy Contents context menu option that it adds. Read More

New Features In Firefox 37 For Desktop And Android

You've probably read this a few hundred thousand times but we're reiterating it; rapid release cycles more often than not make version numbers irrelevant. It's been happening with Firefox for the past few release cycles with the previous versions having little to offer to end users and developers alike. Firefox 37 is out and we can't say we're impressed. There are the usual bug fixes and security fixes that are part of every release. The new version has a brand new way of getting feedback from users; a pop-up widget that will be displayed to select users once a day. Bing users will now enjoy HTTPS while searching, and for users in Turkey, the default search engine has been set to Yandex. For developers, there is a new animations tab in the Inspector panel as well as a new Security tab in the network panel. For the Android version, the new additions include an improvement to how downloads are handled and the URL bar now displays the URL instead of the page title, by default. Read More

How To Check Camera Make & Settings Used To Take A Photo

Learn by doing is possibly the best way to learn to do anything. It's also not the smoothest way to learn a new skill unless you find a really great starting guide. Photography is one skill that you can easily develop just by taking more photos (selfies not included) and once you've got some basic things like the rule of thirds figured out you want to go deeper. You want to see what cameras are out there and what they can do. You want to see what settings, the level of exposure, focal length, exposure time, etc are used to capture a particular setting and what works best for landscapes. For photos you might find online on sites like Flikr, the information might be made available by the owner themselves but if not, and if it hasn't been wiped, here's how you can check it yourself without needing any extra apps. This works on both Windows and OS X. Read More

Combine Multiple Images Into A PDF File With Photoshop CS5

In earlier versions of Photoshop, combining images into a single PDF document was a very simple process. Under the File>Automate>PDF Presentation option you could easily select your images and have a PDF redy in mere seconds. It was really easy to use but for whatever reason, newer versions of the software no longer have this option. While this particular option is no longer available you can still use Photoshop's later versions to combine multiple images into a single PDF file. Here's how. Read More

Use Custom Templates For Any iWork Productivity App On iCloud

Apple opened its iWork suite up to everyone last year making it super easy for anyone to use its productivity apps. These apps include Pages (documents), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (Presentations). Like any great productivity suite, these come loaded with templates from Apple. You can also buy templates which are downloaded to your computer as zipped files. Unzip them and you've got absolutely nothing that can be used from the iCloud web interface. The templates only work if you've got a Mac. This effectively makes them useless because the web version of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers don't let you load a custom template. There is however a simple way to work around this and use a template you've maybe bought and downloaded to your system. Here's how. Read More

How To View Pages File On Windows & Convert It To PDF

Mac vs. Windows, iOS vs. Android, black & blue vs. white and gold, are just some of the things we like to argue about. They're the finer points of conflict in life that you can bring up when you're bored and conversation is running dry. There does come a time though when the difference actually becomes a problem like when you have to open a platform specific file like a Pages document on your Windows PC. Not only that, you might need it converted to the DOCX or PDF format so that you can view it easily on other non-Apple devices. Here's how. Read More