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SmokeScreen 2.2

Instantly hide what you're doing on the computer

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 07 December 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 934
Developer: Harmony Hollow Software
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harmonyhollowsw
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SmokeScreen 2.2
Instantly hide what you're doing on the computer

SmokeScreen is a simple privacy tool which allows to conceal what you're doing on a PC with the flick of a mouse.

You can activate the program by moving it to one of the corners of edges of your screen, for instance; rolling the mouse wheel; clicking the middle mouse button, or clicking both the left and right mouse buttons together.

By default your chosen action will minimize all windows. Leaving a blank desktop could look a little suspicious, though, so the program can also display a decoy screen capture which you take at some earlier time, packed with other applications. This won't stand up to close scrutiny (the clock will be wrong, and you can't click or drag anything, as it's just an image), but if someone just gives it a casual glance there shouldn't be any problems.

There are some design issues here. The program claims it always activates when you hit the "~" key, for instance (only on our PC it seemed to be the apostrophe, presumably some kind of key mapping issue). And you can't turn this off.

And SmokeScreen's activation logic appears to be a little strange (or there's a bug, we're not sure which). We could activate the program once via a mouse action, but that was it: it wouldn't do anything else until we closed and restarted it (or pressed the apostrophe key, which annoyingly worked all the time).

The program is seriously flawed, then, but if you just want to protect yourself in a situation where you're not doing much typing (using a browser, say), it may be just about good enough.

If you decide to try SmokeScreen out, though, be aware that it tries to install a browser toolbar. If that's not what you want, pay close attention during setup and clear the relevant checkbox.

Verdict:

SmokeScreen has some major flaws, but could still be occasionally useful as a way to conceal what you're doing on a PC

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 (v11.0.6)

Free Full Commercial Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 is a compact, simple, but surprisingly feature-packed disc burning suite.

The program makes it easy to create simple data discs and audio CDs, for instance: just drag and drop your files onto the list area and you'll be burning the finished disc in a couple of clicks.

That's just the start, though. Burning Studio 2013 can also create data discs with customised, interactive multi-page menus, perfect if you'd like a more professional way to share and present the disc contents.

A built-in backup tool allows you to create backups which may be encrypted, compressed, and span several CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

And there are modules to create VCD or SVCD video projects; burn video DVDs or Blu-ray discs from prepared folders; create, browse or burn disc images (ISO, CUE/ BIN and Ashdisc formats are supported); copy discs, erase them, design and print disc covers, labels and booklets, and more.

The focus throughout is on ease of use, though, and so Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 remains very straightforward, whatever you're doing. Most disc projects are created via the same simple interface, and for the most part all you have to do is drag and drop the necessary files. But experts will find more advanced options are only a click away, and if you need to then you can set ISO and UDF version, enable Joliet, make a disc bootable and more.

Note the download here will take you to the Downloadcrew Software Store where you can download Burning Studio 2013.

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