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Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

Widgets are wonderfully versatile additions to your Android home screen. They can provide access to various features of the apps you have installed, make it easier to access settings, display information about your device, and much more. Using Ultimate Custom Widget, you can turn dev and create your own widget without the need to code a single line.

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Recently we took a look at how you can take Gmail further by enabling some of the extra features that are available in the experimental Labs section. If you use Google Calendar to manage your schedule, there are numerous tools and options that can be added through the use of Calendar-specific Labs. Today, we will take a look to see just what’s available.

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Office 2013 is now upon us and, much like Windows 8, there are plenty of people who are unhappy about the way things look. One aspect of the interface that has caused confusion, annoyance and derision is the decision to completely capitalize the tab labels in the ribbon.  If this is something that offends your eyes, it can be addressed in a few easy steps.

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So, you want to head to bed… time to power down the PC and call it a night. But wait… that download hasn’t finished yet. You could stay up and wait for it to finish, but then you will miss out on sleep. You could leave it running, but that’s a waste of electricity. Or you could do is turn to Shutter, which gives you a couple of alternative options.

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After the hubbub surrounding the release of Windows 8 had died down, Microsoft had another software staple to unleash – the latest version of Office. But this time things are a little different from previous years. There’s not only the choice between Home and Professional to make, but also the Office 365 and Office 2013 variants; but what is the difference?

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One of the great things about time-shifting your television viewing is that you are able to watch the shows you love at a time that suits you. Just because you have an appointment on Wednesday evening there’s no need to miss out on your favorite program, particularly if you have a TV card installed – just record and watch at your leisure.

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Most people have more than one email account and if you are using Gmail it’s easy to get things set up so that all of your messages can be accessed in the same place. But if you would prefer to keep things ‘together yet separate’ the Multiple Inboxes Labs feature could help you to work with emails more efficiently.

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Cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox are endlessly useful. Not only can they be used to make your files accessible on multiple computers, they also serve as handy backup tools. Using IFTTT (If This Then That), it’s possible to double-secure your files by automatically copying files between different online storage services

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Android users have not been dealt a great hand when it comes managing their devices from Windows. Different manufacturers provide device management tools ranging from the mediocre to the just plain bad – Kies, I’m looking at you. But I have discovered SnapPea, one of the easiest ways to manage, control and backup Android from Windows.

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Password protecting access to Windows user accounts is now the norm, and a variety of other devices – mobiles and tablets, for example – offer other security features such as PIN protection and facial recognition unlocking. Windows 8 enables you to protect your account with a picture password; but is it a good move?

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File compression is so ubiquitous that it is now built into many operating systems as a standard feature. Zip files are generally the default archival format – occasionally replaced by RARs – but KGB Archiver is a tool that offers unparalleled levels of compression, although it does come at quite a price.

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The idea of running server-side apps is nothing new, but it’s not really a concept that is readily associated with everyday applications such as OpenOffice. There are various online apps available – like Google Docs – but Spoon.net gives you access to a wider range of familiar titles that can be run in the cloud.

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Spend just a short while working with your computer and you will probably find that you are overrun with windows. Keyboard shortcuts and features of Windows such as Aero Snap can help make these easier to manage, but WindowMenuPlus makes things even simpler and provides additional options.

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Many people have an issue with the way power settings are accessed in Windows 8 – there is certainly more mouse and keyboard action involved in shutting down than in previous versions. When you access the power menu you may well have noticed that you are missing the hibernation feature. If you want it back, it takes just a few moments to reinstate.

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Without wanting to start a platform war, we think there are some areas in which Windows could learn from OS X. One seemingly small, but delightfully useful feature enjoyed by Mac owners sees desktop icons created whenever removable disks are inserted. This can be added to Windows with TweakNow DriveShortcut.

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