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In this world of authors, bloggers, students, poets, etc there hath risen a number of word processing applications: some of em full fledged with bazillion options catering to every conceivable need of those who use it and more.

But with growing options and features came the unavoidable nuisance of clutter which led to confusion, frustration and worse, consulting the manual.

The growing need for simplicity spawned minimalistic text editors. One of them, Focuswriter, got my attention during my search for one such application.

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I’m a big fan of Google products, and for many years I’ve used the web versions, since they’ve met my needs as well as or better than native apps have. When I upgraded to Windows 8, I quickly found an acceptable mail substitute with the default Mail program. My Google Reader was not replaced so easily.

While I’d tried over a half a dozen RSS feed readers for Windows 8, all of them were shoddily made or lacking in features. But finally, I’ve found one that improves on the default web interface of Google Reader: NextGen Reader.

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The failure of a hard drive can be one of the most devastating things to happen to any computer user – within the realms of computing, at least – particularly if you are unprepared and have not been particularly diligent at creating regular backups.

Should the worst happen to you, you could sent your drive off to a team of data recovery experts, but you’ll have to pay a fairly hefty fee if you want your files back. But there are plenty of occasions when your files may not be accessible due to a no-physical problem with your drive, and TestDisk is a free tool that could get your data back without the need to part with a penny.

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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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The FPS genre has always been very popular among gamers. However, when you combine a first-person shooter with an open-world, RPG-like experience, the result is something that is truly unique. The most recent installment to the Far Cry series, Far Cry 3, utilizes this concept to its full potential. Being an FPS fan myself, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of the game after noticing the abundance of popularity it began to receive over the past few weeks.

After Far Cry 2, it seemed as though this series would slowly fizzle out of popularity. Can Far Cry 3 bring it back to life? Let’s take a look and find out.

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Network admins have to think about looking after large numbers of computer, but even home users find that there are often two, three or even more PCs to tend to. If you find yourself having to maintain multiple machines, you’ll probably want to avoid having to physical access each one wherever possible.

This is something that AdminToys Suite can help with, making it possible to monitor and administer not only the computer you are sitting in front of, but also others that are connected to the same network.

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Ever since I first found out that you could run virtualized applications on the internet, I’ve been fascinated by the possibilities it offered. Sure, cloud-based apps themselves are great, but I have used Windows for 20 years now and always find it a bit more reassuring to run a Windows program.

Spoon’s pitch instantly attracted me: running virtualized versions of popular Windows software on any PC. Yes, unfortunately, it’s Windows-only for now, although the developers say other platforms will be supported soon.

There are so many reasons to instantly want to try out an app like Spoon.

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While I do not condone the ripping of rented or borrowed DVD’s or sharing ripped discs via bit torrent, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to record a DVD to your computer. Many of us are fans of home theater computers (HTPC) or have computer-based set-top boxes like Boxee or NeoTV that can stream content from different PC’s and servers around our home. That makes getting all of the discs we purchase onto a hard drive to create a sort of video jukebox a worthwhile endeavor.

There are a number of good free apps, such as DVD Shrink, that can do this but, thanks to ever-changing DRM methods, these can’t handle every disc. DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is a form of copy protection that is used by the movie studios in an effort to prevent their DVD’s from being ripped and pirated. It does absolutely nothing to thwart piracy, but it does cause plenty of problems for legitimate paying customers.

Is it worth your time? Let’s find out!

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Every operating system has its advantages and disadvantages, and in the case of Linux the ease with which software can be downloaded and updated from a central repository is a big plus point. The various app stores that exist for mobile operating system work in much the same way, and Allmyapps brings similar options to Windows users.

You may have decided against upgrading to Windows 8, but this does not mean that you need miss out on having an app store of your own. Allmyapps is a free service that can be used to browse, install, update and sync your apps across multiple computers.

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Friend: “Hey, I wanted to borrow some music from you.”

Me: “Sure, what do you need?”

Friend: “Well, what do you have?”

When you have been ripping music CDs since the last millennium and buying digital ever since the iTunes store opened, it gets pretty much impossible to list all the artists or albums you have, let alone those stray songs.

In fact, the need to list a bunch of files comes up quite often. On past occasions, I’ve needed a file stored on my PC at home and couldn’t remember what it was called or where it was saved. Asking my wife to read out every file over the phone would’ve probably resulted in a call from a divorce lawyer. Is there a better way out? Sure there is!

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