Reviewing All Shareware/Freeware Products
Hi folks! Its been a while since I have reviewed a product on here. Sorry for that, I have been so busy with other work.
I have had an email on the weekend from Brian who has asked me to review VLC Player for Windows. VLC player is a video player and it will literally play ANYTHING!
I will preface this review by saying I, myself use this video player and not only is it THE best video player for Windows (and Mac!), but its FREE!.
I used to use Windows media player all the time, but my problem with that was the fact that if you played a new video file written with new codecs, then it would ask you to download new codecs to be able to play your video. Without the codecs, you would not be able to play the videos – this was always frustrating. I would download a movie and get all ready to watch it, when I played it – I had to go online and get a codec pack because Windows Media Player would not play it.
What I love about VLC player is the fact it just works! You dont, and never will need to download a codecs pack or any other add ons. It just plays the video, and plays it very well. Yes, occasionally it will download its own update when you open it – but this is normal for all software. It needs to download and update to keep the features working and kill off any bugs that may have been reported. In this instance, any codecs that VLC player needs, will download within the same update.
Another reason to use the VLC player is the fact it is a very light program. It loads up pretty quick and plays the movie without any sort of loading or buffering. This makes a huge difference. I have a moderately quick PC so its very quick on mine. For those of you with a slower PC, you dont want a software using up a lot of valuable resources so light software’s a great for this very purpose!
You can also get a VLC remote app for your smart phone, so you can play the video from your PC connected to the TV (or a projector) and sit back, relax and watch your video. If you do need to pause, rewind or skip a scene, or even to turn the volume up or down you don’t even have to get up from your seat, you simply use the app to control VLC via the wifi. It is all very clever, it almost turns your PC and VLC player into a smart TV.
VLC player also has many short cuts, which is very useful for playing videos. The space bar will pause/unpause the video, up and down arrows will turn the volume up and down. Right and left arrows will scan the video backwards and forwards. These are just the ones that I know, I’m sure there are many more.
You can build up a playlist within VLC, so if you are going to watch multiple videos, that just put them in a sequence and play the whole selection. This helps me when watching many short videos.
VLC player plays literally ALL movie file types. I have just bought a dash cam after looking at the best dashboard camera in UK reviews – for those that don’t know, these are little cameras that sit on your car dashboard and basically video your journey. If someone purposely hits your car (for insurance claiming purposes) then you can prove that you were in the right. A great camera to have and here is and a good place to check reviews is http://dashboardcamreviews.co.uk/ or on their Facebook page. The dash cam I bought for myself gives me MP4 files, my partner also got a dashcam and her one produces MOV files. VLC media player, plays both very well and very smoothly. My partners dash cam produces the videos at a 90 degree angle (for some reason!?) and within VLC, you can actually rotate it yourself! And it will keep itself in the right orientation as a saved file.
The VLC player has the ability to make the volume of the video very loud, upto 300% – this can be a very good feature if you are on your laptop in a noisy surrounding and want to hear what you are watching. Be careful of this one if you are wearing headphones though as it can be quite uncomfortable!
I have used a few paid video players and none of them come close the the ease, functionality, and pure quality of VLC.
Overall verdict, the VLC player is the best video player available on Windows and Mac. It is light weight and it is free. It plays all video files and as a bonus you can also make minor video edits to the video file. Seriously, all best things in life should be free!
The tutorial below will demonstrate how to use it in a video guide (as I do not have a video capturing software).
This compression program specialises in archiving files to enable you to maximise the space on your PC.
When compressing or archiving any file the program most universally used is WinZip. WinZip is the best archiving tour around but in all honestly it is not user-friendly. So a complete novice would be a little lost when using it for the first time.
if you happen to start the program without having selected a file, the wizard sees this and knows instantly that an in-experienced user is using the program and it brings up a wizard to help you complete your task.
The programs in you sure window that you would see has three large icons which guide you into the archiving process. The app features are very easy to follow step-by-step process to create an archive.
The on-screen directions are very clear to follow and the buttons also help you in naming your file directory and selecting the above to archive. The process to be able to create an archive is overly simplified and perfect for a complete newbie who knows very little about PCs.
There are only a few settings when you going to the advanced settings option we can password protect zip files into the file path or even choose the compression level the settings are completely optional and a typical newbie would not even have to delve in that area of the software.
My overall verdict for this software is that it is a very simple program to use so ideally for someone who is very new to computers, also the elderly would also benefit from something like this very much.
For the price point which it comes out at $16 it is certainly worth the purchase.
One of the best smart phones on the market today is The iPhone by Apple. It is a very technologically advanced device with some amazing features.
Just the look of it is smart and sleek.
While The iPhone has taken the majority of the smart phone market share, the iPad is leading the market share in the tablet area. iPads are especially powerful and very intuitive devices when it comes to a high end tablet.
With great advances in technology, clearly shown in the features that they offer, the one aspect where Apple falls behind is to give the user the ability to customize their device how they see fit. Apple have always liked putting constraints on their tech, and in effect, on their users.
The ability to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad means to unlock it for you to be able to customize it how you see fit. It basically opens up the device so that developers can create tweaks and themes which, while using the technology of the device, it also surpasses the limitations set by Apple.
The ability to jailbreak your device ultimately frees it up so you can do what you like with it.
There are a lot of people who are scared and cautious when it comes to jailbreaking, but the truth is, it can cause no harm. In the early days, there was a risk as it could brick your phone. Now it is very, very unlikely that it will cause you any problems. In the worst case, you simply restore the device and you have removed the jailbreak and the device is back to its factory settings. This will not even be picked up by Apple staff.
I have personally jailbroken my phone and my iPad as well as many of my friends and we cant imagine life without it now.
Here is a great list of the best Cydia tweaks of iOS 9 currently on the iDevices. This is a Google doc so it is always being updated.
Ultra File Search Standard Who I will refer to in this post as UFS, is a tool that is built into a very strong foundation.
The software itself does not use or include indexing in the background however, it does offer very useful search configurations parameters. These parameters include date and time, text, and other attributes which help narrow down the search and save your time.
The cool thing about this tool is that it can export search results in a variety of different formats these include HTML, XML, and textbased files.
The UFS interface is very simple and straightforward it consists of the search field, a search box and comes along with a browse it all to check and select the different options that it offers as well as the main list and a view for results which has draggable and customisable headings for the columns that you would see in front of you.
The search tool for the software is set and laid out very efficiently so that folders, files, text, date and size, and other attributes can be used as search criteria. This helps to cut the time so the user can easily find what they are looking for.
UFS is able to search and display the results in a wide variety of formats, results which are pending, case sensitivity as well as the ability to search different ranges from various dates when files were created, modified, and last reviewed.
The application also offers high level options such as attributes, we could specify some NTFS-only options for example encrypted as well as compressed, and other types of attributes.
UFS is a very easy to use application and One which anyone who is new to PCs can pick up and use.
Anuko World Clock or also known as AWC is, as you might expect, a world clock.
AWC let you insert as many clubs as you want into your desk top taskbar which makes it very efficient while you are working.
The application is available to purchase for just under $30 but offers a free 30 day trial period so you can test it to make sure it is what you’re looking for before you make the purchase.
This software offers many features, however it is on the expensive side for such an invisible software that you would not really be interacting with directly although would benefit from on a daily basis.
The installation of AWC is quick and easy and doesn’t need a great deal of effort to get the job done.
The interface is user friendly and easy enough to navigate around without having to follow a manual.
As well as the many different clocks from around the world there are also different languages that you can choose from. The program also doesn’t set any limits on the amount of clocks and you can have at the same time either, this makes for a limitless application and one which I praise very much.
Well you can have as many clocks as you want in your taskbar I would say that having any more than one possibly two maybe making your taskbar little bit cluttered and crowded. However if you do need more, then it is what it is.
As a default the app installs two clocks in your taskbar one with the GMT time zone set to London, and one wherever you are happened to be using your PC.
The program has many features to offer as well as further add-ons with useful features which, I have not gone into for this review.
The application is useful enough but would I pay $30 for it? Probably not.
As you can tell by the name the Mac video downloader is it download a software for use on your Mac.
It is a video converter at the same time as being a web browser with an embedded media download feature. The Mac video downloader, with use of the browser that is built in, helps you in finding videos as well as audio files to stream, watch, listen to and ultimately download.
You can use this browser to download video files from any site where you can stream video and audio. It has a massive hundred percent success rate for the main video streaming sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.
The browser that the software features is a multi platform browser, meaning it can change between the Mac the android and iOS devices simulating the aforementioned systems.
Launching the software you will be instantly taken to the browser screen where you are able to find the video or the audio that you were looking to download and you will be given an option to download it. The download is typically fast and that ultimately has a lot of weight on the speed of your connection and time of day.
As mentioned above it can download at the same time as being able to convert however, when running to cost so I will simultaneously, this will be a resource hog and a half.
The software itself leaves you to make your decision on whether to carry on using it or not. The reason I say this is because it does eat up over 500 MB of your systems RAM.
Mac video downloader provides a very effective solution for anyone who wants to download video or audio files to either keep on the laptop or computer or converted to an MP4 format which are suitable for most mobile devices.
The app itself does the job very well however as mentioned it is a resource hog and you do have the option of either using other websites which featured the same service or buying another software which takes up less resource and the Mac video downloader.
Now back to the essence of this site.. Shareware reviews! Todays review is on a software called PC Vault.
All of your data and files which are stored in the vault are extremely safe and secure, devoted self is safeguarded and protected with advanced encryption. This advanced encryption requires your password to be able to access the information within.
The interface of the vault is very much a Windows based system in that it is a drag-and-drop function. You simply drag across any of the files that you want in the vault as you would into a normal Windows folder, the only exception being that it is much more secure than just a normal Windows folder.
When you wish to open the file inside the vault, you can simply open it by double-clicking on the file and it will open.
The program itself can be installed onto your PC is hard drive whether its an internal or an external drive, it can also be installed on a USB flash drive which makes for secure physical transportation of your electronic files.
Having the program on the USB flash drive is a very good idea if you are going to be carrying around sensitive information physically. So if your USB drive did happen to get lost and fall into the wrong hands, no one else will have access to the information without the password to decrypt the vault.
The software itself is very easy to use and no background knowledge in similar software is required. The program is also very effective at what it does and will keep your files secure so in the event of unwanted eyes wanting to see your information, PC vault will keep everything secure.
You may remember my previous post where I spoke about how I managed to stop my smokey habit with the use of ecigarettes. This has been going great for me, in fact, it has me on such a health-crazed mission, that I has started working out too!
I have a weak knee so this stopped me from running. I have always been into running, since running many races back in school, from 100m to 1000m, I was a great sprinter and also a long distance runner.
After having left school, I did give up running for a while as it was just not on my agenda.. what with work and also an active social life, I just couldn’t find time for it.
In honesty, I could have easily made time, an hour early in the morning or even sacrificing a night out with the guys! But sleeping and drinking easily took over the priority list.
Since quitting smoking, I discovered that I had a lot of extra energy during the day. I even found my sleeping patterns had improved massively. I know, its only been a few days but the improvements are definitely noticeable already!
Do I still have cravings to smoke? Oh yeh! For sure! Especially when I drink, I really want to smoke because it is one of the things I associated with smoking. I loved having a drink with a cigarette. It was one of the finest feelings in the world and one which I really used to savour!
I have got a very cool app for my iPhone which keeps me encouraged and gives me hope when I am about to give in to the temptations.
I would show you the screen shot from my app but it doesn’t look as good as my friend’s as he quit before me. So here’s his screenshot! Thanks Jeremy !
Mine isn’t jailbroken yet but I will be jumping on the bandwagon soon as it does seem very cool. In fact I have invited Jeremy to come and do a guest post on jailbreaking soon, which he said he would be happy to do so yeah THANKS BUDDY!
With my new found healthy lifestyle, I have started working out on the cross trainer. I have previously used one in the gym and frankly, I did enjoy it.
With the type of work I do, it isn’t always convenient to go to the gym as often as I’d like to so I ended up buying a cross trainer for my home and the best home cross trainer was The JTX Hill Stride Pro which was recommended to me by Toprevs. I even have a bike and a turbo trainer at home if I want to ride my bike instead.
Toprevs.com is a very detailed and informative site and while browsing it I also picked up a very cool activity tracker!
For those of you who don’t know what an activity tracker is, it is basically a watch-like device that you wear on your wrist which monitors your activity levels throughout the day. Many even monitor your activity and your sleep during the night.
These gadgets are very cool and definitely go a long way in keeping you motivated to keep yourself active. The ones that monitor your sleep also are very clever because, they actually tell you how well you’ve been sleeping. For example, it would show you how many hours you have slept in a deep sleep, how many hours you have slept in light sleep and how many times you have had disrupted sleep!
This data is captured by your movements through the night as you wear the tracker, and some trackers even go so far as to read your heart rate.
The best activity tracker in UK was the Fitbit Charge HR according to Toprevs’ Nancy who does the reviews personally, so I went and bought it. I must admit, it is a very cool device and definitely worth the money! Thanks Nancy!
The site also features some great smoothie makers, so you can become a complete health-crazed person!
Anyway, I have rambled on enough. I hope this post encourages the lazy people out there to get up and start being healthy! If you have any questions, please ask!
New Announcement To This Blog!
As the blog is run by me and me only, from time to time, I have decided that I will be posting information about me as a person. Obviously I will not be going into personal details of my private life but I will be posting major achievements in my life. Today I will start with a big achievement! I have finally quit smoking!
After 5 years of smoking around 20-25 cigarettes per day, I have now totally given up and it has been 10 days today!
I am very happy about this goal and hope that this post encourages some of my followers to do the same.
The way I quit smoking was using e-cigarettes or otherwise known as electronic cigarettes.
I first tried an e-cig that I brought from a petrol station local to me. It was horrible and put me off them. Then I tried one which a friend of mine was smoking and it tasted really nice.
I was so impressed with it, in fact that I asked her where she heard about it and the difference between the one she had and the one that I bought from the petrol station was that hers was good quality.
After some vaping on ecigarettes, I then got into box mod vaping which is a whole new ball game. With box mods, the flavour and the vape is ten fold amazing next to simple ecigarettes.
I found all the information on where to find the best e cig vape mods I needed to buy a good mod right there on ecigbestbuy.co.uk.
The mods are almost like a new hobby now an I find myself spending more and more time researching new and different mods and what to buy next. Check this Facebook link for their page links.
If you are a keen enthusiast of vaping herbs then there are better options than smoking them which not only enhance the experience but are also a more safer and cheaper. The act of vaporizing is far less hazardous than the act of combustion.
If you are looking to vape dry herbs, then be sure to visit http://dryherbvaping.uk as they do have the best dry herb vaporizer reviews, whether you are looking for dry herb vaporizer in UK or cannabis vaporizers in the UK, this is the best site for you!
Well, this is it for todays post, if any of you are smoking, I hope I have given you enough encouragement to quit.
If you need more information, then please feel free to contact me.
Until next time
One of the best video softwares I have recently come across is the QuickTime Player on the Mac.
It is very cool that it can play most file types and without any compromise in video or sound quality.
While it doesn’t play quite as many variations of video (and audio) files as the VLC player, it does certainly cover a large variety.
What makes The QuickTime player a little more special, well it did to me anyway, is the fact that it also has the ability to screen record on the Mac.
So for something like this you dont need to get other software like Camtasia as the stock software QuickTime does a perfectly good job.
Obviously, as with any software, the entire OS will lag and slow down a little (unless you happen to be lucky enough to have a super computer!), but not slow enough to cause any major issues or defects with the video you are recording.
When recording your screen, you get a little notification on the top bar to let you know that you are recording the screen as well as giving you a control point so you can toggle the record, play and pause.
When playing back the video – it is very smooth and the default setting gives you a high resolution finish.
As with any software and hardware from Apple, one expects a very high aesthetic finish as well as a very functional operation behind the scenes and I must say that Quick Time delivers this very well.
Any software looks pretty darn cool on The Mac, VLC player, when compared to Windows, looks very plush with its blurred control bar – and The Quick Time follows trait and looks very nice.
Overall The video player (and screen recorder) from Apple looks very nice, it operates very well and has a good all-round feature set.
CyberScrub Privacy Suite Who I will refer to in this review simply as CPS, is a very interesting software and I am actually quite excited to talk about it today. CPS is essentially a privacy software which will be able to give you privacy on your activity done on your PC. CPS deletes and also destroys private data from your hard disks as well as your browsers and also the caches in excess of DOD standards.
CPS has another feature which I think is a very cool I don’t in that it also monitors your system for active threats. It runs automatically including booting at start up alongside your PC. CPS also includes a feature which enables you to schedule the software for the scan to be run any time would you choose to be optimal.
CPS also includes a nice array of functions such as Data encryption, permissions, password protection, advanced scheduling, commandline functionality, as well as a very generous range of data destruction functionality criteria that it covers.
CPS has a privacy guard which removes files that your computer builds up over time most most of the time without your knowledge and some of the time even without your permission. These files include things like browsing tracks caches windows swap temporary files third-party applications etc.
The scheduling for the software can be set to run automatically at any interval that you may choose. For examples you can have a run every day, every week, twice a week, every month, or even every three months. You can set it however you like and completely customise it.
The wrist monitor is a very interesting feature and this is what actually got me excited for this review is the fact that the rest monitor runs in the background while you are working away on your PC and it will flag up any risk alerts that it thinks you should be aware off.
Overall this is a very interesting softly and a very useful software. It is currently priced at $59 for the full version so it is by no means cheap but the trial of course it’s free.