The Nvidia GTX 690 is real, and it's amazing -- both in specs and in price. But while the tech world swooned at the announcement of the dual-GPU behemoth, another new product outlined at the GTX 690's unveiling holds even more intriguing potential for the gaming world at large: the cloud-based "GeForce Experience," which promises to automatically optimize the graphics settings in games based on the components in your individual PC.
There’s a certain irony, nay, humor in an add-on that’s called “Restartless Restart.” But this isn’t just some lame play on words worthy of inclusion in a typical David Murphy column. No, the developers of this Firefox add-on are completely serious in their task: Their extension requires no closing and reopening of your Firefox browser whatsoever to install, even though the entire point of the add-on is to give you a super-fast way to do just that.
Are you a PC user? Good; you are likely annoyed. Because, let’s face it, there are some parts of the “master of your domain” experience that are downright annoying to do. Novice users have it easy—to them, a computer is merely a portable word processor, a fancy little device that allows them to watch cats frolic online, catch up on the most recent versions of The Office without paying for cable, and surf the web for hours on end.
You, however, are not a novice user. You are intermediate, to advanced, to hardcore, and you don’t like it when you have to expend precious hours fixing up your PC in a variety of different ways. You want a system that works perfectly and you want it yesterday. Well, to that, I offer five meager freeware apps (or free Web apps) that should help trim some of the annoying processes out of your normal system use.
There are few tools more useful for the common desktop or laptop system than apps that automate some kind of system or user process that’s otherwise too tedious to do yourself. I mean, isn’t that the entire point of a computer, anyway—to take care of the things in life that might otherwise prove impossible, extremely difficult, or super-time-consuming? Isn’t it time you gave a little back to your poor PC?
Anyway, I’m taking a look at five different applications this week—all freeware or open-source, as always—that automate different elements of your operating system. That’s a pretty generic statement, though, so allow me to be a bit more specific. First up, I’ll show you how you can set up certain processes to run (including system shutdowns and restarts, amongst other activities) whenever a particular element of your PC reaches a set, measurable state (like CPU idle percentage, the exact time, or mouse and keyboard activity).
As well, I’ll throw a Web app your way that assists your browsing habits by automatically creating site mirrors to replace the normal URL of a site that’s been overloaded by Web traffic. You’ll discover a neat little application for mass-deleting specific kinds of files out of a whole range of folders at once, as well as a background utility that can automatically run programs whenever new files are detected in any folders you specify.
But let’s not spoil the whole show up-front. Click the jump—free software awaits!
There are a ton of apps out there that you can use to automate something you do on your PC. I mean, that's the central conceit of software development as a whole, correct? To somehow ease the time burden it takes one to do a particular task in what would otherwise be a manual, labor-intensive process?
Well, when a number of new apps each seek to automate some facet of your everyday computing life, it should come as little surprise that I'm going to cover them. However, I've also hand-selected a few interesting little freeware and open-source tools that are a bit more esoteric in their operations than what you might typically think of when you ponder the word, "automation."
Case in point: Want to find a way to find and delete all the credit card information you've accidentally left open on your system? Or would you like a method for discovering duplicate images on your system so you can nix unwanted (and space-consuming) shots you don't actually want to keep around?
These are but a few of the situations I'll be tackling in this week's Freeware Files. Click the jump and let's get started!
Make... Chrome... faster? It's not quite a match under this browser's butt, but the helpful extension Fastest Chrome builds in a number of great tweaks for speeding up a number of common functions during your browsing experience. This won't help you render pages quicker per se, but you will find yourself with a host of new features for taking some of the routine out of common browser tasks. And that, in itself, will reduce your total browsing time--which is kind of like making Chrome faster, isn't it?
Wh...what's this? A piece of open-source software from Microsoft that adds speed and portability to the standard Windows 7 installation process? It almost sounds too good to be true, but it's not! There really is such a utility, and it really has been delivered by the Windows 7 manufacturer itself, and it really is open-source!
I might sound a little too excited about this entire concept, but that's just because this tool--the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool--is actually a great replacement for what is otherwise a semi-complex (and hard to remember) series of console commands. If you think I'm exaggerating just for the sake of fashioning up a fun article to read, you're wrong. I couldn't tell you off-hand how to create a bootable USB drive with a preloaded Windows 7 disc. I usually just turn to this series of steps as a general walkthrough.
While the Microsoft tool isn't perfect, in that it won't automatically rip the contents of your Windows 7 CD and fashion a bootable USB key out of that, it's still an awesome way to automate this entire process using a friendly GUI. But don't think that you can just use this tool to make bootable USB keys of any ol' ISO file sitting around on your hard drive. In fact, you can't even rip the Windows 7 DVD and use the subsequent ISO file as the basis of your bootable USB key. Not without some tweaking, that is...
We've been treading in the waters of Google Chrome extensions since their "official" release to the browser's beta channel a few months back. With the number of legitimate Chrome extensions now pushing the 1,500 mark, it's about time for this relatively new soldier on the Web browser battlefield to get its own spotlight. Chrome extensions are here to stay--as well they should be. A number of excellent carryovers from Firefox's extensive add-on library have joined forces with a fresh batch of Chrome-only extensions to create a sizeable number of tweaks, hacks, and plug-ins for your enhanced browsing pleasure.
The inaugural extension in the weekly "Chrome Extension of the week" series does its part to reduce your daily repetition with whatever Web tasks you frequent. Sound confusing? I'd hate to spoil the story by saying that this extension allows you to record and play macros for whatever it is you do on the Internet, but I guess I just kind of did. The extension's called iMacros for Chrome, and its name does an excellent job of conveying just what this helpful little add-on does to your general browsing experience. Quickly fill out Web forms, perform usability testing, run a ton of searches, login to Web sites... the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
Click the jump to find out how this extension works!