Using Windows with non-Western writing schemes is a lot like watching a bad movie: All too often, the wrong characters show up on the screen. You can set up Windows to work in a wide range of languages, fonts, and writing systems, but glitches are common, especially when it comes to different character sets. Many international users have discovered LangOver, a free tool that converts your text to the language and alphabet of your choice when you press F10 (it's customizable). With it, users who set Windows to display Arabic, Greek, Cyrillic, or Hebrew characters (for example) won't … Read more
There are plenty of tools that let users convert a variety of different document types into PDF files, but we're not sure we've ever seen one as comprehensive as PDFill PDF and Image Writer Free. This useful tool not only converts documents to PDFs, but also supports a number of different image formats and lets you adjust a wide variety of settings. If you need a way to take advantage of the characteristics of PDF files without investing in expensive software, give PDFill PDF and Image Writer Free a try.
The program can be accessed from virtually anywhere … Read more
Microsoft Word templates can be serious time savers; if you find yourself creating similar documents over and over again, using a template can let you save the basic format and then automatically open it as a new document every time you want to work with it. The problem with templates--also known as DOTX and DOTM files--is that Word 2007 is the oldest version of Word capable of opening them. If you need to access the contents of a DOTX or DOTM file but you're running an older version of Word, you're out of luck, unless you have a … Read more
Apologies for my unannounced absence yesterday; I was attending a funeral and neglected to leave a heads-up on Tuesday.
It seems only fitting, then, that I serve up three sweet deals today. Technically, I've got five, but "five-deal Thursday" doesn't have quite the same alliterative ring.
First up, TigerDirect has the ViewSonic gTablet 10-inch Android tablet for $269.97, plus $7.50 for shipping. It's new, not refurbished, and it comes with 16GB of storage. It's on the chunky side, not unlike the $299.99 Toshiba Thrive from the other day, but the real … Read more
I wasn't expecting much from the Hifiman Express HM-101; it's just a $39 outboard USB digital-to-analog converter and headphone amplifier. Well, this tiny USB-powered (it doesn't need batteries or an AC power supply) device definitely pumped up the sound of my Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones! They sounded significantly better with the Express than they did plugged directly into my Mac Mini's headphone jack. Sure, the Mac's sound is perfectly acceptable--until you compare it to something better.
The Express is a lot better.
Before we go any further, the Express isn't just for headphones, it also has a line-out 3.5mm jack you can run to a set of desktop-powered speakers, like myAudioengine 2s. DAC resolution isn't specified, but it's probably 16-bit/48-kHz.
Switching over from the computer's headphone jack to the Express, the first thing I noticed was that the Express could play a lot louder. That's great, but when playing drummer Ginger Baker's "Going Back Home" CD at equal volume levels from the computer and the Express, the Express unleashed more of the drummer's hard-hitting dynamics. The computer squashed his sound, especially Baker's mighty bass drum. Wow, the little thing delivers. If anything, the Express errs on the side of too much bass fullness, which isn't such a bad thing.… Read more
Wondershare's Video Converter Ultimate is, as its name suggests, the ultimate video utility for Windows users. But more than just a file converter, the program is a DVD ripper, DVD burner, Web video downloader, 2D-to-3D converter, audio ripper, and even a bare-bones video editor.
It's interface is simple and straightforward, as it has all the major functions laid out as icons along the top of the window. All of the controls are intuitive, and it even lets you drag-and-drop video files.
For the most part, Video Converter Ultimate performs exceptionally well. Exactly as advertised, it lets you quickly … Read more
CyberLink PowerDirector 10 is a feature-packed video editor that boasts some serious improvements over its previous iteration. With its revamped TrueVelocity engine and OpenCL support, it makes editing and rendering a bit speedier than before. Plus, it's got built-in 3D support.
As for the basics, PowerDirector can import and handle most of the video file types you would normally come across. You can also use it to easily add text, effects, and transitions; edit audio; capture video; burn discs; and share content online. Plus, it has intuitive, icon-based navigation and ample thumbnails, making it quite easy to zip around … Read more
A great headphone amplifier is one that makes headphones sound better than you thought they were. Judged by that standard, the Centrance DACport will be an awesome upgrade for buyers who have already invested in high-quality headphones.
This component, which was made in the U.S., is downright elegant in its simplicity. There's no power adapter or batteries; the Centrance DACport ($400) runs off your laptop or home computer's USB port, and it doesn't care if it's running Mac, PC, Linux, or iOS. The DACport has a 1/4-inch (6.3 mm) headphone jack at one … Read more
Every couple months, some software vendor I've never heard of pings me about a new DVD ripper or video converter that they're giving away. I always think there's going to be some kind of catch, like the program's in German or doesn't support Adam Sandler movies. (Actually, that wouldn't be a catch at all.)
Instead, it usually turns out to be a decent piece of software with no strings to speak of. And here's a fine example: From now until September 30, you can get uRexsoft DVD Ripper Platinum (Windows) absolutely free. … Read more
QwertyLab's Exe to Msi Converter Free is a simple tool that converts a setup executable file (EXE) into a Windows Installer Package (MSI) that can be distributed and installed on other PCs. It automatically detects the type of installer and lets users add command-line arguments. It's a simple tool that does a simple thing that is very useful to those who need it.
Exe to Msi Converter Free's interface is a small dialog offering two entry fields, one for browsing to or entering the Setup Executable and another for adding arguments. Aside from a Web link to … Read more