The second week of March has been dominated by news from Apple but, not to be outdone, Microsoft has released a couple of interesting tools that are well worth a look. Microsoft Research Cliplets 1.0.1 32-bit is a quite unique program that can be used to create something very impressive from your video clips. In short you can select a short video file and choose an area that should be played as normal while the remainder is montionless. You can come up with some very eye-catching results, and if you’re using a 64-bit version of Windows you should take a look at Microsoft Research Cliplets 1.0.1 64-bit. You may have taken the plunge and installed the Consumer Preview of Windows 8, Microsoft Device Center Beta 32-bit is available to help you to take full advantage of the Windows 8 specific features of Microsoft keyboards and mice. Again, if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows, there is a version for you in the form of Microsoft Device Center Beta 64-bit.
On the subject of Windows 8, the absence of a Start button is something of a controversial point. Start8 0.85 is a free tool that restore the Start button to its rightful place and provides you with easier access to shutdown options. In a very similar vein is ViStart 7.0 (build 3821) which can be used to enhance the Start menu in any version of Windows but, perhaps most importantly, restore it in Windows 8. Whatever version of Windows you happen to be using, you may well have found that Explorer is a bit limited for your needs. Q-Dir 5.00 32-bit is a fully featured alternative tool that boasts a four pane view that makes it easier than ever to work with multiple folders. Q-Dir 5.00 64-bit is also available and both versions can be installed in Windows 8. Everyone loves to tweak their computer with a view to getting a performance boost or just changing the way a particular aspect of Windows works. TweakNow WinSecret 2012 v4.0.0 has been updated with added support for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and now includes even more tweaks that you can apply to your system.
Turning our attention to life online, Adobe SWF Investigator 0.6.1 is a free tool that can be used to dissemble SWF applets so you can see how they work and adapt them to suit your needs. Using the internet need not meaning putting together your own web site and this week there have been a couple of communication tool released. Skype Voice Changer 1.2 is a fun little app that lest you change the way you sound in voice conversations in Skype, while Facebook Messenger for Windows 2.0.4447 enables you to keep up to date with all that’s happening in your Facebook account without the need to visit the site. To help keep you safe when you’re online, Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 Beta gives an early glimpse of what to expect when the security suite gets an official release in the near future.
Another big-name release this week is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 FINAL which is a professional level digital darkroom that can be used to help keep your photo collection organized – and throws a range of editing tools into the mix to boot. While much of the week’s news has been focused on Apple’s hardware releases, there has also been an update to its software. Apple iTunes 10.6 32-bit adds support for 1080p HD movies and TV shows in the App Store, as well as fixing issues with iTunes match. Users of 64-bit operating systems should take a look at Apple iTunes 10.6 64-bit. If you’re in the market for software that helps to make your computer easier to use, Chameleon Shutdown 188.8.131.52 is a handy utility that enables you to shutdown, restart and hibernate your computer on a schedule or timer. Finally this week is Dropbox Folder Sync 2.5. This is a great free tool that makes it possible to control which of your folders are synchronized with Dropbox.
All that remains to mention is the Downloadcrew Giveaway that ends tomorrow. You can grab yourself a free copy of the impressive burning suite Ashampoo Burning Studio 2012. Head on over to the giveaway site to get your copy before the offer ends on Saturday.
That’s it for the time being. Join us over the next seven days for even more software releases, topped off with another roundup this time next week.