Review: Find the perfect color for your Web site with ColorMania

ColorMania helps you get all the color codes and values for any color you pick from your desktop, a Web page, or anywhere else onscreen. With an option to zoom in, you can be very precise on which color you're choosing, and a set of tools let you easily tweak any color you find and save up to six custom colors in a palette.

Installation goes without issues and the program is ready to go as soon as you open it. ColorMania's interface is compact and packed with sliders, a color palette, and small viewing screen for picking … Read more

Review: eMagnifier offers an easy 8x zoom tool for your camera

eMagnifier is at first glance a zoom tool for your phone -- using the camera's 8x digital zoom to zoom in with a separate app. It does, however, also take photos that you can then add to your photo library, send to friends, or edit with controls to use Flash, reset the zoom, or shift zoom between still frames. Not designed as a camera, it can nonetheless take photos of your zoom, as well.

If you look at eMagnifier as a camera app, it would be lacking in many ways. Fortunately, it is not a camera app and is … Read more

Review: Magnifier Free 3D Lens offers nice, if inconsistent, features

Magnifier Free 3D Lens tries to replace a traditional magnifying glass by using your gadget's camera to make text bigger and easier to read. It certainly works in a pinch, but it fails to truly make things easier to read. It will make your text bigger, but that's not always better when you're having trouble reading it.

This app uses your camera's digital zoom to make any text you read with your phone bigger. That means it depends wildly on how good your camera is. Sadly, Magnifier Free 3D Lens will still sometimes make text unnecessarily … Read more

Take OneLoupe around your desktop for a squint-free view

Maybe you have a junk drawer, possibly in the kitchen, full of various tools, implements, and odds and ends. One of the things we would expect to see in such a drawer is a magnifying glass, especially if there are other things we hope to see but can't without first magnifying the view. The same goes for Windows: not the glass kind but the software kind. With super-huge LCD screens displaying super-high-resolution images, sooner or later even eagle-eyed PC users have to squint; and if your vision isn't what it once was, the problem is worse. It's … Read more

Use Magnifier for Facebook to enlarge photos without clicking

When you have many, many friends on Facebook, it can sometimes be hard to get through your whole stream of "news." Photos are a great addition to your Timeline, simply because they can share an idea without needing a paragraph of explanation (unless it's one of those terrible "if this gets 1 million likes" chain posts). Unfortunately, when you see one that is too small to show off all the detail, you have to click to enlarge it.

Instead of clicking on each photo, you can view the enlarged version of a photo by simply … Read more

Android gets a Siri-fighter

Hot on the heels of the Siri announcements coming out of 2012 WWDC, Android users get a little good news of their own. Software startup Magnifis released Robin, a voice-activated natural language mobile assistant for Android devices.

Robin is like a mashup of Siri and Waze. It's a voice-controlled mobile app designed for drivers to use in their cars. Like Waze, it's motion-activated rather than button-activated, which is easier for complying with distracted driving laws and using on the road, and it can proactively warn you about upcoming traffic or speed traps. It also remembers questions you ask, … Read more

Windows 8 will be more accessible to those with disabilities

Microsoft is enhancing some of the accessibility features in Windows 8 to make the new OS easier for people with disabilities.

Certain "assistive technologies" have long been a part of Windows. The built-in Narrator can read text aloud to people who are blind. The Magnifier can zoom in to display content for people who have trouble seeing. Speech recognition allows people who are unable to type to navigate via voice.

But as described in the latest Building Windows 8 blog by Jennifer Norberg, a senior program manager on Microsoft's Human Interaction Platform team, Windows 8 is taking those features a few steps further.… Read more

Google launches music discovery site

Google has a new feature it hopes will keep Music Beta users tuned in.

The Web giant today launched Google Magnifier, a new feature to help users of its online music-storage service discover and obtain new music. In addition to free music tracks, the site has videos of live performances, artist interviews, and a chance to explore music genres.

The move is an effort by Google to distinguish its Music Beta service from competitors such as Amazon's Cloud Music and Apple's forthcoming iCloud service, which is expected to launch in the fall. Google's music-storage service, which launched … Read more

Maximize your screen real estate

Computer screens come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all have in common is clutter. Around the edges of any program window--even the Windows desktop itself--you'll see toolbars, sidebars, and other controls that take space away from the area reserved for your actual work.

The simplest way to remove the various information and shortcut bars from view is to press F11, which expands the currently open window to all four screen edges. Return to the standard view by pressing F11 again.

Likewise, the fastest way to enlarge content on the screen is by using Windows' built-in … Read more

Screen magnifier

OneLoupe from programmer Nenad Hrg is a free screen magnifier. It's compact, completely portable, and very easy to use. It's great for visually impaired users, but anyone who wants to zoom in on a part of their PC screen can enjoy it.

We love seeing old-school tools that pack a lot into a miniscule download, but at 19.5KB, OneLoupe is smaller than the ReadMe files for some applications and is probably the smallest program we've tested that boasts full Windows 7 64-bit compatibility. As portable freeware, OneLoupe requires no formal installation; just click the extracted program … Read more