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Justin Stravarius

I am an Internet Junkie who loves technology and computers more than anything. In whatever little time I can squeeze between my movie and TV show marathons, I write. You can follow me at @stravarius for nerdy outbursts and rants.

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Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo – all major software giants have a version of instant messenger. They are all free and have millions of loyal users. Many among of us have a problem with this picture. Our friends used to be scattered across all these IM platforms and there used to be an era where you’ll have to literally log into multiple apps to chat with your friends from various networks.

Trillian was the first multi platform chat client I encountered some eight years ago. It always had a free version and it has evolved a lot over all these years. Much has changed they way the app looks now and is way cooler than it used to be. Join me after the break to check out the newest avatar of Trillian.
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Let’s admit it. Going digital has brought in a ton of content overload. Photos, music, videos – every single format type easily consumes tens of gigabytes of hard disk space. Navigating through the hundreds of files to locate the ones you are looking for using a standard file explorer is a painful process.

When it comes music, there plenty of apps that do an amazing job organizing the digital music library. Winamp, iTunes and our very Windows Media player are some worth mentioning. I heard good things about MediaMonkey and thought it would be fun to try this media manager out. Read about my tryst with this media manager after the break.
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Email is an underrated and the most disrespected means of communication. It has been around for decades and has made official and personal communication inexpensive. Of course it has its own set of disadvantages, just like any other form of communication we are used to. To a large extent, the hatred towards email is fostered mainly by clunky and bloated email clients – both on the web and the desktop.

From time to time, Gmail and mail clients for Mac like the now defunct Sparrow reinvent the way emails are handled. Sadly for Windows, we never had slick clients like Sparrow when it came to desk email experience. But, that has changed now. Recently, I was introduced to Mailbird, which I’m sure is gonna take desktop email experience to the next level.

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One of the major pain points of using a Windows PC is the constant attention it needs to secure and optimize it. However, things have improved to a great extent with the current crop of Windows releases. Besides, there a ton of quality apps available to help you make the experience a whole lot better.

In fact, with the right set of apps, you can actually optimize, tune and push the limits of your hardware. After the break we have compiled a list of apps that will come in handy to make the most out of your desktop. Check it out!

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Optimizing and tuning up the performance of a desktop is serious business. It probably could be the second most stuff people care about than keeping their PC’s free from viruses and malware. Windows has gotten a lot better than it was and Windows 7 probably is the best operating system in the market.

But, the more things change, more they remain the same. Let’s admit it, all the enhancements over the past decades have not changed the core of the operating system that generates clutter real fast and slows down performance over time. Being the most used operating system in the World, you don’t have the luxury of writing it from scratch and breaking down backward compatibility.

To give them the credit they deserve, third party companies have done a lot of heavy lifting to make the Windows experience a whole lot better. TuneUp Utilities is a notable one of the lot and after a the jump, let’s take their new release for a test drive.

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At one stage in my life, I was so obsessed with tuning my PC and keeping it clean by trying to remove as much junk, unused files as possible. I’ve used almost all popular paid and open source tools to get the job done. Temporary files, broken shortcuts, registry cleanup – I have done it all.

But, that was a time when the hard disk space, RAM and processing power of desktops were well below what we have under the hood of smartphones of modern times. Things changed real quick and I upgraded to faster machines which made system tune up irrelevant. After a few years, I got curious as to how things are going on in the PC tune up space.

I found that my trusted tune up buddy, System Mechanic is still going strong and has got a shiny new version. After the break, let us find out if the app is as awesome and easy to use from before.

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I love Twitter, but hate the way the company is heading. Nevertheless, it is a treasure trove of information that flows over the brim every passing second. Therein lies the problem. The sheer volume of tweets showing up in a timeline makes it impossible to assimilate, comprehend and act in an informed manner.

SocialBro is a tool to manage and analyze your Twitter community. With SocialBro you will be able to learn more about your community thanks to different search criteria and filters that can be applied to your followers and friends. Come let’s check it out!

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There is no doubt Windows 8 is going to be the star attraction amongst the software lineup of the current year. All Windows releases get a lion’s share of the spotlight and customer attention, but this time the effect is going to be amplified many times over. This buzz is largely due to the Metro interface that’s making a transition from Windows Phone 7 to millions of desktop computers.

At this juncture, each and every tech enthusiast out there has witnessed and appreciated the awesomeness of Metro and people can’t wait to have the same goodness on tablets and desktops. With the Windows 8 Release Preview launch from a few days ago, we are inching closer to the final launch date.

After the break we have covered in detail what’s new and what has changed in Windows 8 since the consumer preview. Hit jump to learn more!

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Microsoft is under tremendous pressure from multiple fronts. Every vertical of the company’s business is facing steadfast competition from battle hardened brands like Google and Apple. Frankly, they missed the smartphone revolution and it looked like they were about to lose the desktop and tablet revolution to the Mac and iPad.

For a company deeply entrenched in bureaucracy, Microsoft bounced back with the stunning Windows Phone 7 and now, Windows 8. Windows 8 is designed to offer the familiar user experience of the past and a brand new one for the future. Join me after the break to find in detail what the future of Windows holds for you.

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People are yet to stop talking about the resolutionary, err.. revolutionary consumer preview of Windows 8. But, the folks at Redmond are hard at work and it looks like they have hit yet another homerun with Office 15. It’s pretty evident that the new Metro style is going to be the UI across the board and the newly leaked screenshots of the desktop productivity suite show us why.

Nokia confirmed its tablet plans, Internet Explorer mocked itself for a promo campaign, new version of Thunderbird showed up, Nokia Lumia phones about to get tethering support, SharePoint Online 2013 details emerged and more. Read on for some of this week’s best Windows app news and updates.

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