Blog Archives

Make the Most of Your Multiple Monitors in Windows 7 [Multiple Monitors]

The price of extra monitors has fallen steadily over the years, quality has risen, and Windows 7 is more multi-monitor friendly than any previous edition of Windows. Here’s how to make the most of your multi-monitor setup in Windows 7. More »







Stop Picasa from Filling Your Hard Disk with Unwanted Screenshots [Picasa]

Picasa is a great photo manager with loads of features and a very high ease-of-use factor. If you regularly take screenshots however, you've likely noticed an annoying "feature"—a disk-gobbling screenshot function you can't turn off. Let's fix that. More »







Photo Friday’s Monitor Calibration Tool Makes Easy-on-the-Eyes Monitor Tweaks [Monitors]

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to adjust your monitors without a lot of fussing with multi-step processes, the calibration tool at Photo Friday can help you tweak your monitor.

Nothing is a true substitute for hardware calibration, but if you're not working in the print industry or as a professional photographer, you don't need to calibrate your monitor to match the physical world—you need to calibrate it so that the contrast is correct and you can use the monitor without straining your eyes.

Over at photography site Photo Friday, they’ve created a simple calibration image you can use to adjust the brightness and contrast on your monitor to an optimum level. Visit the link below and follow the simple instructions to tweak your screen.

If you like your calibration tools to have a few more sliders, bells, and whistles, check out previously reviewed Online Monitor Test. Have a favorite software or hardware tool for monitor calibration? Let’s hear about it in the comments.






Wallbase Helps You Find Fresh Desktop Wallpaper [Wallpaper]

Wallbase catalogs wallpaper to bring you over 350,000 unique wallpapers. Take a peek inside to find something new for casual Friday.

Wallbase is a huge database built by scraping the image boards of 4chan related to wallpapers and high resolution images. The database is searchable by keyword as well as variables like whether or not images are NSFW—we'd caution you that images are user tagged and the database constantly updates so the chances of something sneaking through the NSFW filter are moderately high, keep that in mind if you're browsing at work. You can also specify image size, screen ratio, and whether or not you'll scan all the available boards or a specific sub-board.

For more places to find great wallpaper check out our Hive Five on top wallpaper sites. Have a favorite place of your own? Let’s hear about it in the comments.






Screenpresso Takes Screen Captures, Adds Annotations, and Shares Them [Downloads]

Windows only: Screen capture tool Screenpresso takes screenshots of part of your screen, a specific window, or the whole screen with a shortcut key, then lets you edit, add effects, and even share with email or Twitter.

Once you've installed the utility, you can immediately begin taking a region capture of your screen with the Print Screen key—it's the same functionality you're used to from any number of great screen capture tools, but Screenpresso will guess the region you are trying to capture based on the position of your mouse, allowing you to capture just the content area of an application with a single click. You can still click and drag to select a specific region, but it’s a useful feature that could save you some time.

Once you’ve taken your screenshot, it will be saved into the history window, where you can access all of the screenshots you’ve taken, and either choose to share them with email or Twitter, or open them up in the included editor application, which lets you add arrows, shadows, text, or crop and resize the images.

There’s loads of other options to choose from, and while it’s still not quite got the polish of the reader favorite (and non-free) SnagIt screen capture tool, it’s a very capable free alternative that’s definitely worth a look. Screenpresso is a free download for Windows, though readers should note anonymous usage statistics can’t be turned off in the free version.






Five Best Screencasting Tools [Hive Five]

Thanks to broadband and some excellent screencasting applications, you don’t need to limit yourself to mere static images when you’re trying to show someone how to do something on your computer. Record video, audio, and do even more with these screencasting tools.

Photo by ToastyKen.

Screencasting can be an enormously handy tool for all manner of things: demonstrating a product, broadcasting your favorite software hack to all of the internet, emailing a how-to video to your less savvy friends or relatives to help them finally grok that whole email-attachment maneuver. Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite screencasting tools, and now we’re back with the top five for your perusal.

ScreenFlow (Mac, $99)


ScreenFlow is a Mac-only screencast editor that fills a nice niche between the limited-but-free options and the car-payment-sized options. ScreenFlow sports advanced features, like the ability to decouple audio and video streams for independent editing and audio ducking (if you’re using background music it’s automatically adjusted during speaking portions of the video); the ability to freeze, speed up, or slow down the video to allow you to time lapse or zoom through a more tedious portion of the task you’re demonstrating. ScreenFlow also supports custom cursors and callouts for emphasizing the cursor or foremost window.

Jing (Windows/Mac, Basic: Free, Pro: $14.95 per year)


Jing is the more compact cousin of Camtasia Studio (see below) and great for less complicated—and more economical!—screencasting. Both the free and pro version are limited to five minutes of screen recording and come with a free account at Screencast.com for sharing your captures. The free version can save video as SWF video and is branded with the Jing logo. The pro version allows you to save your videos as SWF and MPEG-4 files, the branding is removed, and you can also share directly to YouTube (in HD) and record from your webcam. Both the free and pro version use the same intuitive and easy menu.

CamStudio (Windows, Free)

CamStudio is a free and open-source offering for the screencasting market. You can record all or part of your screen, customize cursors and text annotations, adjust the quality of the video output, and save screencasts as AVI or SWF files. The interface is easy to understand, and you won’t be overwhelmed with extensive options. In a nutshell, it’s a free and effective tool for creating screencasts without a lot of bulk or expense.

Camtasia Studio (Windows, $299)

Camtasia Studio is a powerhouse in the screencasting world. Packed with features, Camtasia Studio makes it easy to create screencasts with presets for a variety of sharing situations like YouTube, HD displays, Screencast.com, and more. You can edit the audio and video independently so you don't have to redo a whole segment just because of an oops in the audio or video portion. Special effects and edits are easy to manipulate thanks to fine control over the time line—you can select a portion of your editing timeline right down to the tenth of a second. It's far from free, but Camtasia Studio is a well thought out and feature rich screencasting tool.

ScreenToaster (Web-based, Free)


ScreenToaster is the only web-based offering in this week's Hive Five, and it definitely fills a handy niche. Whether you don't screencast enough to want to install a dedicated application or you just need to crank out a quick screencast wherever you are, ScreenToaster can help. You don't get any advanced editing tools—screw up and you're redoing it—but you do get full screen capture, support for picture-in-picture webcam video in the lower right corner, and audio for voice-over. When you're done recording and previewing your clip, you can upload the video to ScreenToaster or YouTube, or download it as a MOV or SWF file. ScreenToaster is free and works with any Java-enabled web browser.


Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the top five contenders for most popular screencasting tool it’s time to cast your vote in the poll below:

Best Screencasting Tool?(online surveys)

Have a favorite tool that didn’t get a shout out? Have a tip or trick of your own for better screencasting? Let’s hear about it in the comments.






Gridvista Makes Organizing Screen Real Estate Simple [Downloads]

Windows: If you’ve looked at screen-organizing tools before but felt overwhelmed by bells and whistles you’d never use, you’ll want to check out the simple but effective layouts and features in Gridvista.

Gridvista has five potential configurations available ranging from the entire screen as a single pane to a four-pane configuration. Multiple-monitor users who have been put off by screen managers that ignore extra monitors can rejoice, you can configure each monitor separately with Gridvista—a really handy feature when you use a side monitor for your social networking, instant messaging, or other partial-screen communication applications.

Gridvista adds three buttons to application titlebars, an extensions button with a send-to-screen functionality, a lock-to-grid functionality to keep windows fixed to their particular pane, and an always-on-top button to keep windows in the foreground. You can also set Gridvista to remember panel configuration and which Windows are assigned to which panels, in between sessions. Gridvista is free and works on Windows XP and up.






Wallpaper Roundup: Ocean Views and Abstract Blues [Wallpaper]

The temperature is rising across the country, and while you may not be able to get yourself to a cool and breezy locale, you can at least plaster your monitor with soothing reminders of one.

Our roundup today is a selection of backgrounds themed in cool blue: oceans, waves, and abstract creations. Each image can be previewed here in the gallery and then downloaded via the source link to the right of the image. Every wallpaper here is available in a full compliment of standard and widescreen monitor resolutions and many of them are available for dual monitors too.

Note: The “Full Size” link directly under the picture only shows you the full size of the sample image we uploaded for this gallery. You need to click on the name of the particular wallpaper in the right hand column to access the full range of sizes at the source site.

Not keen on the gallery layout? See all the larger images on one page here.

Driftin’ by David Stys

Dream Beach by Amecke

Of Me and You by Psychopulse


Hexillus by miniman


Island Boat by dimage

Motion Stripes by rmx

OS X Wave by soggyb


Blue Tiles by salvis


The Lookout by Chris Gin


Paradise Lost by arohlen


Sea & Stone by Tain0s


Splash by Ratow


Flow by pat_s


Broken Waves by mpohanka

Portlock by kipkeston





70 Wallpapers to Dress Up Your Dual Monitors [Wallpapers]

Throw a little eye candy on your dual monitors with this roundup of stunning wallpapers courtesy of Smashing Magazine. Photo by smoovie.

Their roundup features great wallpapers from a variety of sources, including several favored by Lifehacker readers. Check out our roundup of your favorite multi-monitor wallpaper sites for more eye catching wallpaper and DisplayFusion to make managing multiple monitors a snap.





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