How to Effectively Work Out at Home (Sworkit)

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Too busy to go to the gym? Can’t spare more than 5 minutes? Don’t have gear or know what exercise to do next? These are all commonly used reasons excuses which I have struggled with when I try to work out. 

Sworkit is a free tool which customizes your home workout based on

  1. Which parts of your body you want to exercise
  2. How much time you have

I’ve been using it for a several weeks now, using it to get my fitness back up to speed, and I’ve been very happy with the results thus far.  Especially for someone like me, recovering from a medical incident, picking short and targeted workouts have really helped to build everything up (strength, stamina, etc.) in a gradual, but yet systematic fashion. 

It’s great and you’ll even probably learn a few new exercises because it has a good variety of routines, and everything comes with video demos for all the exercises just in case the instructions aren’t clear enough.

They’ve got all their bases covered terms of accessibility.  You can run Sworkit on both desktop and mobile browsers, or if you prefer mobile apps, there are both iOS and Android versions available as well, all free (with paid functions having slightly more features).  Friedbeef’s tech gives this app a two thumbs up!

5 FREE File Management Tools that Make Your Windows Experience Better

Hard drives are such an essential part of our PCs, and with the rapid reduction in prices of hard drive disks over the years, it’s easy to take them for granted. But just like any machine, even hard drives need their timely dose of fine tuning to ensure that they perform at their optimum capabilities.

1. How To Recover Accidentally Deleted Data From Your Hard Drive

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Anyone who’s ever accidentally deleted a portfolio of family vacation photos from your camera thinking that you’ve already backed them up to your computer, will know the pain of losing a treasure trove of precious, irreplaceable memories forever, never to be recovered. Thankfully, we’re not the only ones who’ve lost precious data before, and Restoration is here to change all that.

You see, when you’ve deleted a bunch of items from your Recycle Bin, that data isn’t actually deleted immediately. It still sits dormant in a corner of the hard drive, waiting to be overwritten over by another newer file when the time comes; but without the appropriate software to access it, it might as well be lost forever. Restoration changes that by providing a “bridge” to the dormant “deleted” data, allowing you to access it as long as not too much time has passed.

2. How To Significantly Improve Your System Speeds

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Ever felt like your computer was running at speeds comparable to the glacial movements of ice sheets? Always feel like Microsoft Word takes way too long to load? That’s because Windows is an extremely large piece of software, and just like a house left unkempt, there’s bound to be digital dust and cobwebs stranded all over your PC. You could use Windows’ very own Disk Cleanup tool to try and keep things tidy, or you could use Advanced SystemCare Free 5.

Unlike Disk Cleanup or other “sweep” programs, which only targets rouge files and deletes them, Advanced SystemCare Free 5 acts like a Swiss knife with solutions like diving into your network configuration, fixing vulnerability exploits, and fine tuning areas with red flags, in addition to doing the aforementioned “sweep” task.

The differences in speed after performing a check is astounding, and its user interface is simple and welcoming enough, unlike many programs of its type. You’ll probably see the biggest gains on dated PCs which haven’t been reformatted in a long time, but even if you’re running a fairly new computer, you’re bound to see improvements.

3. How To Speed Up Your Windows Boot Time

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Perhaps one of the oldest gripes about running a Windows PC which has continued to persist into the current day is the amount of time it takes to boot up Windows. WinPatrol presents a nice and tidy solution to reducing your boot times. It’s separated into multiple functions, but the 2 you really need to focus on are Startup Programs and Delayed Start.

Startup Programs identifies the programs which Windows automatically loads on boot, and if there are a significant number of programs listed in this pane, you might want to turn off those which you never really use anyway. Delayed Start is an alternative solution to turning off your non-essential startup programs (e.g. Windows Messenger); by delaying loading them until after a few minutes into startup, it allows you to begin your work more quickly than if you had to wait for them to finish loading first.

4. How To Remove Duplicate Files From Your Hard Drive

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Duplicate files are the bane of existence of any photo or music enthusiast, or just about anybody who finds themselves constantly transferring Word files back and forth from a thumbdrive. Aside from the nagging experience of having multiple files with indecipherable names like “IMG_00129”, having a large double backlog of photos, videos and music files can eat up a sizeable amount of disk space.

With CloneSpy, you can quickly let your computer do the work of scanning for duplicate files for you. CloneSpy works not just by identifying files with the same names – it also compares the data within the files themselves for a thorough sweep through of duplicate files. If you’ve always been wondering if you may have duplicate photos tucked away in the recesses your photo album, you could give CloneSpy a try.

5. How To Nurture A Blissful Copy/Paste Experience

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Copy and pasting are probably one of the most-used features of the average computer, and while Windows’ default copy and pasting system is pleasing, it still leaves a lot to be desired. As a remedy, UltraCopier brings with it faster copying times by running extra functions which optimize the copying process, and implements error and collision management methods to reduce copy times and instances which require user intervention.

Ultracopier also introduces a host of extra options, such as the ability to pause and resume copying at will, speed regulation – for times when you want to save system resources for other more important tasks, and a search feature for your copy list – in case you want to review what you may have or have not copied during a bulk file transfer.

This guest post was written by Aaron Pek

8 Best Linux Alternatives to Windows Software

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If there’s one great thing about switching to a Linux-based system, it is that the word ‘FREE’ is encoded deep in its DNA. Open-source, free software is how Linux was built, and most Linux distros (whether Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or Debian) slip onto your computer, without coming anywhere near your wallet. 

Naturally enough, there’s a whole universe of free software, apps and programs out there, all jostling for your attention. But just because it’s free doesn’t make it fabulous. So, to help you sort the wheat from chaff, we’ve put together a list of the very best free software that no Linux desktop should be without. Enjoy.

GIMPshop – Linux alternative to Photoshop

First there was GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), the superb graphics package from the guys at GNU that upped the ante for image manipulation.

Now there is GIMPshop. This takes the rich graphical and image editing functionality of GIMP, and wraps it in an Adobe Photoshop-like front-end. This is a huge step forward, making GIMP much easier to use, and opening up Linux image editing to generation of Photoshop-familiar users. A must-have.

GnuCash – Linux alternative to Microsoft Money

If you’re looking to better manage your cash-flow, or even for a tool able to run small business accounting, then GNUCash could be the answer to your prayers. This software has been built from the ground up with professional bookkeeping in mind, so it has such top-end features as invoicing, stock-tracking, and double-entry accounting But is also very handy for day-to-day tracking of your personal finances, with its checkbook register.

What makes it doubly useful is that GNUCash is not an island unto itself – you can import from Quicken or Microsoft Money. Equally you can export your financial data to standard spreadsheet formats. Add in a flexible and powerful reporting tool, and you’ve got a free financial package that is hard to beat.

Chromium – Linux alternative to Internet Explorer

Google’s Chrome web browser has won plenty of plaudits, for its uncluttered interface, fast loading, synchronized bookmarks, and easy integration with Google’s growing stable of apps. But Chrome isn’t just freely available on Windows; it has an open-source, free-to-use cousin, called Chromium.

This open license means that many open software-based Linux distros now have Chrome in their base installations – including Ubuntu, one of the top Linux installations. So Chrome on Linux is well worth looking at – whether you’ve come from an Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox background. It is now fully featured, fast and stable – and real contender for the browser-of-choice for Linux systems.

Banshee – Linux alternative to iTunes

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For music-lovers out there, Banshee is the program that ties all of the threads of the modern music player together. So, yes, it can play MP3 files (often a hassle with Linux distributions), as well as Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files. Yes, it can play and rip audio CDs. And yes, it has rich music library functionality, pulling play-lists and album art down for you on the fly. But Banshee does much more.

It also integrates with Amazon’s MP3 store, not mention Apple’s iTunes and Last.fm, fully interconnecting your audio multiverse. Oh, and did we say – and it can play videos too.

Ardour – Linux alternative to Garage Band (Yes I know Garage Band is Mac software)

Linux has always had a special place in the heart of music-makers, with a generous suite of open-source audio applications, developed over a number of years. Ardour builds on that tradition, offering a fully-fledged recording and mixing tool that wouldn’t look out of place in a studio.

While it is a little tricky to set up and use, it does allow you to hook up directly into your computers sound system. That ensures fast and professional sound recording. Ardour also allows you to edit soundtracks, apply filters, and mix them together; and it is indispensable for recording CDs, LPs and old-time tapes. Time to shift those old-time media into the online digital age?

LibreOffice – Linux alternative to Microsoft Office

One of the first things that ex-Windows users worry about with Linux is how they’ll cope without Microsoft Office. That turns out to be a non-issue, especially once you’ve taken a look at LibreOffice. Previously known as OpenOffice, this is a suite of productivity apps that matches MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint – and the rest – on everything except the price.

LibreOffice has a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool, which not only have similar functionality – they also share many of the menu layouts and shortcuts of the Office equivalents. They also save documents in standard open doc formats, and you have the option of reading (and creating) the typical MS DOC and XLS formats. In short, the move to LibreOffice is as painless as it is charge-free.

ClamAV – Linux alternative to McAfee Antivirus

Although Linux is often-touted as a much-more secure system than Windows, that’s not to say it’s invulnerable to viruses and malware threats. E-mail is a particular vulnerability, with the bad guys potentially being delivered through attachments. So it’s a good idea to get an anti-virus tool to lock the vaunted Linux security down that little bit tighter.

ClamAV is just such a tool, developed especially for scanning emails for malicious software. It automatically keeps itself up-to-date with the latest viruses. The one drawback is that it’s a command line tool – which some users may find scary. But once setup, ClamAV is pretty self-sufficient, and most importantly, it gets the job done.

WINE – Linux alternative to Windows

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Finally, whatever the richness and breadth of free software coverage in the Linux world, there’s often a Windows tool, app or game which has no real equivalent. That’s where the WINdows Emulator (WINE) makes a very welcome addition to your Linux system. WINE has been under development for a number of years, and does an excellent job of creating a Windows ‘sandbox’ for all of those legacy Windows apps to play in. Get WINE and you’ll never have to moan about what’s missing from your Linux ever again.

This article is a guest post from Chee Seng, a blogger who writes about freeware reviews at BestFreeOnline.net/

5 FREE Java-Based Chat Apps for Mobile Phones

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As I’ve been pretty lazy to carry my laptop around, but I like being in touch with my online contacts, I thought it might be a better idea to install a chat client in my mobile phone.

Once only possible for people with smartphones and the likes, the availability of Java apps has made œnormal phones pretty smart. I’ve scoured the net for Java chat apps which work on my Sony Ericsson K750i (yes, I’m still using that) – it’s old but still does everything well. If the apps work on my phone, it’ll work better on your newer, fancier phone (but I can’t guarantee that, of course).

1. How to Skype on Your (Apparently Outdated) Phone

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Skype Lite is a free Skype App,  took a few seconds to log in but the interface is very handy for mobile. You can chat with multiple contacts in different windows by scrolling right or left including group chat. The phone vibrates and a œmissed call icon is displayed when new message arrives. Skype calls are also possible if you have skypeout credit.

2. How to Keep Your eBuddies in Your Palm

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eBuddy mobile is a multi-network messenger. Just like its web-based counterpart, eBuddy connect you to AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Myspace, Facebook, Gtalk. Overall very easy to set up and fast to use, especially with tabbed interface, scrolling through your chats is a breeze. You can even choose your own theme for the app. This app is good if you’re not into meeting new people and joining online communities etc.

3. How to Stalk Your Friends While Chatting on Your Mobile

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Palringo – what a name, I thought. This mobile messenger turned out to be the one with the nicest looking interface and most features. Although sluggish and unintuitive upon launch, it worked flawlessly once set up. It connects you to more networks than you can handle – MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, AOL, Jabber, Gadu-gadu, Gtalk, iChat/Mobile Me, QQ and best of all, Facebook chat!

Depending on phone model, it can support voice and picture messaging. You can even share your location with the rest of the world or selected some (depending on your privacy settings) – if you like being stalked or like stalking others. Palringo automatically discovers your location based on network towers, Wi-Fi, or GPS and you have an option to update your status automatically. I feel that the chat responses are the fastest among all the apps I tested.

4. How to Chat, Share Photos and Make Cheap IDD Calls from Your Mobile

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Mig33 connects you not only to Yahoo, MSN, GTalk and AOL but also to millions of other mig33 users worldwide. This is especially cool if you like meeting other people besides chatting to your own contacts. Overall this app is pretty easy to set up and fast to use. I also like the clean and minimalist interface.

If you’re not sensitive towards heavier data use, you may also check out mig33 plus, the graphically enhanced version. The cheap IDD call rates are not really cheap in my opinion but that is always subjective on the current rates offered by your mobile operator but it is still a cool feature nevertheless. The only feature I don’t quite understand is the ability to send SMS via the app, can’t we already do that without the app?

5. How to Send Your Voice and Pictures to Anyone, Anywhere

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Rocketalk boasts to be the only application that lets me do video chat (as in not like a 3G video call but record a video and send it to someone), and it does support MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo, AOL and ICQ. Although quite slow to sign in to my messenger accounts but I’m pretty impressed with how many features they packed into one user-friendly main page.

Besides using messengers, RockeTalk, like mig33 also is a community by itself, where you can have you own page, gallery and add other people as your œfriends.

This post was written by Jenny Kok who also writes about her Mac experiences on Made On Mac

Do you IM on your phone?  Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Top 8 Best Windows Defrag Alternatives

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One of the low points of using Windows as your operating system of choice is that you have to defrag its file system once in a while to keep it running at an optimal level. This is because of the way Windows stores and delete files which makes your data scattered all over the hard disk, thus making the process of finding it later becomes slower over time.

To makes matter much worse, the default Windows defragmenter is not that efficient but thankfully, there are many free Windows file defragmenter applications out there that does a better job.

Here are 8 of the coolest, free windows disk defragmenter alternatives:

1. How to defrag just files and folders with Defraggler [download]

Defraggler does not only enables you to defragment selected disk drives, it also allows you to defragment selected files and folders! That way, you can quickly defrag what you want without having to wait for a lengthy, full disk defragment process. It also comes in a portable and single 1MB executable file.

2. How to defragment files that are open for exclusive access with PageDefrag [download]

Unlike Windows NT or Windows 2000 default defragmenter, PageDefrag is able to defragment files that are open for exclusive access which is the highlight of this cool product.

3.How to defrag in the background with IOBit Smart Defrag [download]

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SmartDefrag will perform the defragmentation process automatically without your intervention. Being smart, it continuously runs in the background as you work with your computer. A manual defrag option is also available. This is one of the best, free disk defragmentation program that you can find out there. Best of all, it is free for home and commercial use!

4. How to get a portable defragger with WinContig [download]

Yet another free disk defragmenter that comes with a file / folder specific defragmentation option so you don’t have to defrag an entire disk partition. Does not require any installation and Windows Vista ready.

5. How to defrag using less system resources with JKDefrag [download]

With this tool, defragmentation can be run automatically or manually with the user’s consent. JKDefrag suits techies that prefer extra defragmentation options because it is run from the Windows command line interface. One of its unique features is a screensaver version that shows you the defragmentation process.

6. How to defrag faster with Auslogics Disk Defrag [download]

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This tool supports FAT 16, FAT 32, and NTFS volumes. Comes with a user friendly interface and performs defrag slightly faster than the default Windows defragmenter. Excellent, easy to use user interface for both beginners and experts.

7. How to defrag and optimize file placement with UltimateDefrag Freeware Edition [download]

Another free disk defrag that comes with a file placement tool that aims to place your files effectively so you can have maximum performance from your hard disk.

8. How to defrag files upon detecting changes with Buzzsaw On-The-Fly Defragmenter [download]

This tool install and runs as a Windows Service and will defrag your files as soon as it detects changes, only when your computer CPU usage is minimal, thus reflecting the On-The-Fly catchphrase above.

 

This post was written by Syahid Ali, our new ongoing contributor to Friedbeef’s Tech.  Want to write for us?  Just contact us and we’ll work something out.

How do you feel about defragging?  Tell us in the comments!