How to Effectively Work Out at Home (Sworkit)


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


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


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


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


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


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

linux penguin

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


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, 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


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

How to Remap Your Keyboard

escape key

I recently switched laptops at work and I just could NOT get used to the annoying fact that my delete button has shifted so far away that its became noticeably difficult to use.

Rather than try to adapt (or sprain my hand), I am using Sharpkeys, which is an excellent piece of freeware which allows you to remap your keyboard so your keyboard *ahem* "works the way it’s supposed to".

Want an extra ‘Alt’ or ‘Shift’ key?  Just remap another key to it.  You can also choose to turn off some keys on your keyboard altogether (like capslock), if you they get in the way.

One thing I like about it is that it’s not a program which sits in the background.  Instead, Sharpkeys has no system footprint as it writes all the changes you want directly to the registry itself. 

Don’t settle – Take control of your keyboard!

How to Create Your Own Patches for ANYTHING


The issue of sending large files across has always been a hard one to tackle.  We’ve previously talked about uploading to services like Yousendit as viable solutions, but here’s another approach you can take which may be much quicker. 

PatchOnClick allows you to send and receive updates to large files without having to send or receive the whole file each time.

What it does is it helps you to compare two files, and automatically create a patch which only stores the differences between the two files.  For example, if you have a 5mb document and you added in 3 sentences to it, you no longer have to send over the entire 5mb to anyone who wants an updated copy… you just need to send over the patch which will be a few kb in size!

Aside from email limitations, sending and receiving smaller patch files is less burdensome on servers, firewalls, and security programs which scan data as it is sent and received.

While useful, there are a few minor limitations to this service. 

  • You need the other side to have a copy of the original document before you can send over the patch (obviously)
  • The other side must have PatchOnClick installed to apply the patch to the document

Work around these two simple points though, and you have yourself an incredibly useful freeware as it can work on any file type!

How do send over large files?  Tell us in the comments!