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Downloads roundup: 17 of the most important releases from the last week

24 June 2011, Chris Wiles

Font managers are not so readily available on the Windows platform. Possibly because the Mac was the de facto choice for DTP back in the 90s and that’s remained to this day. There are times where you need a simple tool which will enable you to type some text and compare fonts, side-by-side, quickly determining the best typeface for your work. FontViewOk 2.14 will offer you this facility, for free. Type some text, select the font you had in mind, then scroll through others comparing alternatives.

There are tools everyone needs on their system, even if they are used infrequently. An application that enables you to quickly convert between audio and video formats is such as a tool and there are few better than Free Studio 5.0.12 which, as it name applies, is free. Want to watch a video on your iPhone? There’s a converter for that. Another popular option is Any Video Converter Free 3.2.5, also updated this week, alongside Freemake Video Converter One final option is XMedia Recode

Project Featherweight aims to simplify, bring less clutter and make Opera look more like Firefox?

It’s been a browser release week and everyone is probably aware Mozilla announced the much hyped (said ironically as, unlike v4, v5 hasn’t been hyped at all – released with the minimum of fanfare) Firefox 5 this week. Google hasn’t rested on their laurels and Google moved Chrome beta to v13 (see Chrome 13.0.782.32), whilst the developer version reached v14 (see Chrome 14.0.797.0). Don’t get too confused though, as there’s also Chrome Canary (also v14), which is updated each evening. Opera 11.50 should be released officially in the next week. The current build is RC2 and you can see the UI changes planned as part of Opera’s “Project Featherweight”, design to make the UI of Opera 11.50 much sharper, neater and, erm, more similar to that of Firefox 5. Click on the image for visual clues. Look out for Pale Moon 5 which should arrive any day now – this Firefox 5-based web browser will be faster than ever.

We recommend moving to an SSD to speed up just about every aspect of your PC. It makes a huge difference, we can tell you. Snag is, they are very expensive. Most people can justify a 128GB drive, meaning they have to reduce the files and installed data. It’s really easy to fill your drive with clutter, so DiskBoss 1.4 may be worth downloading. This tool enables you to analyse your drive content, see which folders are taking up vital space. You can remove duplicate files, migrate data to an external drive and much more. The free version is limited to 250,000 files, but is worth downloading. There are separate 32-bit and 64-bit editions available.

Two media players updated this week, although we do wonder if they think they can compete against the very popular VLC Media Player. Still, if they can find a USP, they might be worth downloading. UMPlayer 0.97 is the first media player, which is based on MPlayer. One convenient feature is the facility for the player to remember where you stopped watching the last video, so when you next open the player it should restart from where you left off. The KMPlayer is another. Lightweight in use, but Windows-only makes this rather limited.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 2011 was made available after a month or so of public beta testing. Aimed at semi-professional photographers, CyberLink are aiming to repeat their success of PowerDVD and PowerDirector with this photo management and manipulation tool. Early signs are that it looks promising, if not a little expensive. Mind you, CyberLink have promised that you’ll get the 2012 free, on release, so perhaps now is a good time to buy. Try the trial version and see what you think.

Powerful PDF creator, reader and editor

Another big release was Nitro PDF Reader 2. Despite the name, this is more than a basic PDF reader. You can use it to open a PDF, make comments and other annotations, export and send to other users for their feedback. You can use Nitro to produce a PDF from just about any Windows application, add a digital signature to your documents and use a plugin to view PDFs from within your web browser. It’s free and recommended if you’re seeking a new PDF reader.

Other highlights in the last week were the release of Skype 5.5 beta, which includes far deeper Facebook support, Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 1.5 and K-Lite Codec Pack 7.2, available in various flavors!

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