Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Upgrades to MixPad Music Mixer include VST plugin support

MixPad audio production software with VST plugin supportFor recording your band, creating voiceovers, or mixing music, MixPad Multitrack Audio Software has always been a valuable tool. It's both easy to use, and robust enough to handle your biggest audio production projects. And most recently MixPad has had some significant updates that include a tabbed interface for quick access to all of the music mixing and editing features, VST plugin support to apply extended effects to your projects, improved selection making mixing even faster and improved effects chain allows you to apply non-destructive effects to individual tracks. All of these upgrades are available now with the same great small download size to get you working on audio production projects in mere minutes without taking up your valuable disk space.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Create Your Own Photo Mosaics for the Holidays

Create Unique Holiday Photo Mosaics with PhotoPadGive a unique and personalized gift this holiday season as well as share and preserve memories, make a photo mosaic image with PhotoPad photo editing software. The photo mosaic feature is similar to the collage feature but it builds a larger, composite image out of your photo collection using many small images. Unlike the mosaic posters and photos you may have seen on sale at the mall, the mosaics you make with PhotoPad can contain dozens of pictures all of your family and friends.

This a really fun tool to play with since there are a lot of different options and settings to experiment with as you edit the photo mosaic to get the results you want. You can change the numbers of tiles, swap out the template image which is the "big picture," change the folder that the tile images will be taken from, and the size of the image. I changed the background color of the image and made the mosaic smaller to add border around my mosaic.

On the Insert tab of PhotoPad's menu, click the mosaic button and select the image that will be used as the template for the mosaic. The level of detail in the mosaic is proportional to the number of images in the Tile Collection folder and the number of tile columns and rows specified in the Mosaic Image Properties. The default amount of tiles is rather low, so I recommend increasing the initial numbers. I also encountered mixed results when I only had 20 images in my Tile Collection folder. I saw a much greater variation in my final mosaic image when I had dozens of images in the Tile Collection folder, so make sure you give PhotoPad a good variety of photos to choose from.

PhotoPad is free, so download PhotoPad today and try out the mosaic feature. And if you like PhotoPad, check out more of our software gift ideas including PhotoStage slideshow software for another fun way to combine your photos into a unique and personal gift.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Easy Email Encryption Software

Free Email Encryption SoftwareHave you ever worried about sending private information via email? Needed to send sensitive information to someone that could cause problems if it fell into the wrong hands? Privacy and security are of growing concern in the digital world with the rising levels of crimes such as identity theft. This doesn't mean that you should not send sensitive information, but it does mean that you need to be cautious about how you do it. An easy method of protecting sensitive information is to encrypt it.

With MEO File Encryption Software encrypting files, folders, and emails is easy. If you want to encrypt an email, you simply hit the Encrypt an email button from the main window of MEO and type in the To:, Subject: and Body of the email, add any attachments and hit Send. You will need to set a password for the encrypted file, keeping in mind that all of the rules you know and love regarding password strength still apply. Finally, you need inform the person receiving the email of the password or they will be unable to open and read what you sent them. It is up to you to choose a method to share the password with your email recipient, you may tell them on the phone, in another email, or even send them a riddle to figure it out. The original email they receive from you will let them know that they need MEO to decrypt the attachment. Since MEO is a free encryption software, that's really no problem at all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Animated GIFs from Video Files

Did you know that Prism Video Converter can be used to convert video clips into animated gifs? In addition to sharing video files, animated gifs are also a popular way to share short or funny video clips on websites without needing to embed and wait on larger video files to download/buffer.

To create an animated gif simply add the video clip in Prism and select .gif as the Output Format. You should also consider resizing the video in the Video Options, to make an animated gif at a smaller resolution that will be better suited for posting on the web.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Express Scribe Pro for Mac

Express Scribe Pro for MacFollowing the September announcement of the new professional version of Express Scribe, we are pleased to say that now the Mac version of our extremely popular transcription software has followed suit and now there are both free and professional versions of Express Scribe available for Mac OS X as well. Features of the professional version include video playback and support for proprietary audio file formats including dss, ds2 and mvf for those professionals working in legal or medical transcription.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Productivity Increase on Ebay with FastFox

Increase Productivity on Ebay with Text Expansion SoftwareThese days it's impossible to go anywhere without running into someone who's bought or sold something on Ebay. At any given time there are over 100 million active auction listings and each one of those was added by a seller. That's a lot of hours of work if you have several items you are selling on Ebay. I have been a seller on Ebay, and the biggest annoyance and time waster for me was repeatedly typing similar Ebay listings. Or at least it was until I found FastFox.

FastFox is a text expander for Windows or Mac. A text expander, or textexpander, is a form of shorthand software that allows you to paste a chunk of text by typing in a predefined shortcut term. This is much more valuable than a normal copy and paste feature because it can hold many shortcuts each with it's own text value associated with it. How a typing expander works is you set your shortcut term, then set your expanded text in FastFox, and once you type the shortcut term in any browser or program you have instant text conversion to the expanded text.

Now you must be asking "How can this help me to be faster when listing on Ebay?" Well, if you're like me you've dealt with listing hundreds of similar products at one time. Repeatedly typing similar text into my listing software feels like a waste of time. What I like to do is create FastFox shortcuts for all of my auction elements that are the same or remain very similar, and then make small edits as needed. It has quadrupled my productivity while listing.

My example deals with selling baseball cards. I would list a couple hundred baseball cards on Ebay at one time. All of them were from the same year and all of them were similar quality of cards. An auction title read something like: "1961 Topps - Harmon Killebrew #80 - Excellent Condition." The only things that would change in each new auction was the player's name and the card number. With FastFox I could create a basic shortcut that said: "1961 Topps - # - Excellent Condition" and fill in the other information for each card. As soon as I typed in my shortcut, "TITLE," I had most of it finished.

Where this really picked things up was in the category and description of the auction. All of my auctions were in the same category, so filling that out was as simple as typing one shortcut. It really helped to not have to go through and find the correct category. It also eliminated me putting a few cards in the wrong category. Lastly and most important was the description. No more Description Builder! With FastFox I could create a description one time and simply enter the shortcut and add in the player's name and card number. This new way of listing products really sped up my Ebay auction listing process and ended in higher profits over a shorter timeframe.

Learn more about FastFox typing expander on the NCH Software website.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lecture Recordings and Audio Software

Guest Post by Brittany Lyons

With the onset of the digital age, access to resources online has become the norm. The majority of students are digital “natives,” able to find textbooks, academic articles, study help, and any number of other aids for their courses, or even earn entire PhDs, without ever moving from in front of their computer screen. But the one resource not always available to them? The lecture itself. However, many professors have begun to change that, as there are many advantages to having recorded lectures available for students to listen to online at their leisure. But what's the best technology to use for this purpose? And how can non-digital native teachers tap in to the power of that technology?

What makes online recordings so great is that they give students access to the information as many times as they need to hear it. Repeated exposure to difficult concepts can really help students wade through the information, especially if they have an auditory learning style. Knowing the material will be available later also cuts down on students asking for repeated explanations of the same material in class, which means more information can be covered in one lecture period.

Similarly, online recordings provide a ready resource for students who are absent, or for those who are falling behind in class. Rather than having to repeatedly re-teach material during office hours, the professor can refer students to the online recordings to gain at least a basic understanding, and meetings with the professor can then be spent clarifying things the student doesn't understand. This makes one-on-one meetings with students more effective and productive.

Of course, despite the potential benefits of making lectures available online, many professors have concerns. One major concern is that having recorded lectures available will lower class attendance. While this may seem valid on the surface, ultimately it does not appear to be a problem. Glogoff (2009) reports that class attendance is not negatively affected by having recordings of lectures available online; instead, students use the recordings as an additional learning tool on top of attendance. Many use the recordings while reviewing class notes, often adding additional information and solidifying their understanding of the course material. Plus, with the information readily available online, students worry less about taking studious notes, which means they're paying closer attention to the lecture itself.

So the biggest challenge for lecture recordings, then, is acquiring and understanding the technology necessary to produce them. Many professors have trouble with this because they are not digital natives. However, there are many easy options, especially when you consider the programs available through NCH Software.

The most straightforward of the options is RecordPad audio recording software, which will record up to two hours of audio in a single file. The program is easy to use, and can run concurrently with other programs. This means that professors can easily record their lecture on their laptop while running presentation software for their class. Once they've clicked the button to start recording at the beginning of class, the professor can forget about it until afterward, when recordings can be easily uploaded straight from the hard drive for student use.

For professors who want to edit their class recordings (for example, if there was a piece of information intended only for present students, to penalize those who skipped lecture), is an excellent companion product to RecordPad. This software allows pieces of recordings to be cut, copied, and pasted, so that material can be removed if needed. For classrooms with poor acoustics, WavePad audio editor also offers effects such like amplification and noise reduction, which will improve the overall quality of the recording.

NCH Software’s RecordPad and WavePad are user-friendly tools for classroom recording and audio editing that can easily and effectively create lecture recordings appropriate for online use. Both are available for Windows or Mac (including the iPhone), and RecordPad can even be used on an iPod if professors don’t wish to carry a laptop to class. WavePad is available for iPad, making it possible to edit from anywhere—even between lectures. Downloading is quick and easy, and free versions are available for both programs if a financial investment doesn't seem to make sense. And while purchased versions offer many interesting and useful additional options, they also offer free trials so you know what you're getting for your money. For even the most techno-phobic professor, these tools make recording and posting lectures so easy it would be silly not to do it.

Brittany Lyons aspires to be a psychology professor, but decided to take some time off from grad school to help people learn to navigate the academic lifestyle. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where she spends her time reading science fiction and walking her dog.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Business Software On the Go: Web Access

Business software for professionals on the goDo you feel tied down to your business? You shouldn’t; try taking it with you! Many of NCH Software’s business solutions have a web access feature that lets you check your business info and run your business no matter where you are. You can check sales data, create invoices, manage stock and keep your business running smoothly whether you are in your office, at any of your business locations, or on the road with these cost-effective business programs:

Express Invoice
Create and send invoices, print receipts for “quick sales,” and view client contact info and statements while you travel. Download Express Invoice and watch this tutorial about setting up the web access feature.

Express Accounts
Manage every financial aspect of your business, including sales and purchases, accounts receivable and accounts payable, access reports, and reconcile your accounts. Download Express Accounts and set up the web access feature. Also be sure to check out our essential guide to bookkeeping.

A great solution for a single or multiple locations, Inventoria’s web access feature lets you order stock, receive stock, manage stock, and view reports. Download Inventoria and watch this tutorial about setting up the web access feature.

And for those days you are in the office, check out our other Business Software for everything from customer relationship management to employee time management software.
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