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Pokki 0.263.13.310

Find and install free apps on your Windows desktop

by Mike Williams

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Based on 1 ratings
License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 30 May 2013
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 4965
Developer: SweetLabs Inc
RSS News Feed: http://blog.pokki.com/feed/
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/pokki
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamPokki
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Pokki 0.263.13.310
Find and install free apps on your Windows desktop

Pokki is a free framework for finding, installing and running apps on the Windows desktop. And as a bonus for Windows 8 users, it can also restore something like the Start Menu to the taskbar.

Once installed, Pokki adds a button to the left of your taskbar. Clicking this launches the program, and clicking "Browse Apps" will launch its app store. This works much like any other: there are categories on the left ("Games", "Music", "News and Weather", "Productivity", "Travel" and so on); helpful overviews like "Featured", "Popular" and "New"; a "% like" figure below each app name lets you know what others think; and if you click a particular app you can often read reviews from other users before you install it.

The choice of apps is sometimes a little lacking. We clicking "TV and Movies" and expected a big selection, for instance, but actually there was just a single offering, for Hulu.

And "Travel" was another category which should have presented all kinds of opportunities. But all Pokki could offer was a single app, essentially a front end for Yelp.com.

It's not all bad news, though. The "Social" category has useful apps for Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and Linkedin, amongst others. There are plenty of games (including Angry Birds). And you get apps to help you access YouTube, browse Wikipedia, read your Kindle books, listen to music (via Grooveshark, Pandora and others), read the latest headlines and more.

What's more, as these apps are installed, so you'll get to see any relevant notifications from them to the right of its menu. You don't have to launch an app to check up on something; just clicking the Pokki button will show you tweets, your Facebook stream, headlines and more.

And if you're using Windows 8 and missing the Start menu, the program provides another way to bring it back.

Right-click the Pokki button, click Settings, check "Show Start Menu sidebar" and click Save. And from that point, when launching Pokki, you'll see a Start Menu-type system on the left-hand side, with an "All Programs" menu, a Control Panel link, direct links to common folders (Documents, Pictures, Computer, more), and a shut-down menu with all the regular options (shut down, restart, sleep, log off and more).

The latest release has now also been optimised for touch. There's new support for high DPI displays. And some major issues have been fixed, including a few critical crash bugs, and a possible impact on system boot time.

Verdict:

Pokki's app store is a little basic, but there are still enough to be useful, and the program's Start Menu recreation could also be helpful on Windows 8 systems

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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Value:
Free
Rating: