Sony Noise Reduction review

Sony Noise Reduction consists of four professional DirectX sound restoration plug-ins that can clean up your vinyl recordings and tracks, eliminating noise that has been accidentally introduced or unwanted and annoying sound sources from otherwise good recordings. To use them effectively, however, you need to know what you are doing.


Great performance: Sony Noise Reduction includes Audio Restoration, Clipped Peak Restoration, Noise Reduction, and Click and Crackle Removal, all of which work as advertised.

Plug-in settings: You start with the default values and, if the result is not satisfactory, you can adjust many settings. Once you are happy with … Read more

Review: Change facial expressions in Photoshop with Redfield's Face Control plug-in

Redfield describes its Face Control plug-in for Adobe Photoshop as a precision tool for facial expression synthesis. It applies highly controlled distortions to images, especially faces, to achieve subtle or dramatic effects. It can alter the Mona Lisa's famously enigmatic smile or turn the most charming movie star into a leering, sneering villain. It's optimized for facial close-ups, but it works on any image in Photoshop. It's freeware that downloads with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Installing Face Control isn't quite like installing an ordinary app since you must browse to Photoshop's plug-in folder. Not … Read more

How to re-enable Apple's Web plugin after updating Java

Apple's latest Java updates supply the most recent security fixes for version 6 of the runtime; however, they also implement Apple's effort to push users toward the Oracle-supported Java 7 runtime, especially for running Web-based applets. When you install Apple's Java updates, for systems that support Java 7, the updater will remove Apple's Java Web plug-in and direct you to the Oracle Java Web site for downloading the latest version of Java 7.

While this is arguably the safest and preferred approach for most users, there are some who may still need the Java 6 runtime … Read more

Banish stubborn menu extras in OS X

Menu extras in OS X are small menu bar additions that appear on the far right of the system menu; they include a number of built-in controls such as the volume, Wi-Fi, and date and time menus. Third-party developers can also create their own menu extras. I've written about managing menu bar additions before -- usually you can just hold the Command key and drag the menu extra off the menu bar to remove it. But sometimes, depending on the development method used to create it, the menu extra won't allow you to disable or delete it.

These … Read more

Address missing plug-in notices in OS X Mail

The default e-mail client in OS X is Apple's Mail program, which supports a feature that permits you to view many common attachment file types in-place instead of having to download and open them in another program. For example, if someone sends you a picture you should be able to view it directly in Mail. However, for some people this may not be the case and instead of showing an attachment, Mail will display a gray box that reads "Missing Plug-In."

If this happens to you, the first thing to do is troubleshoot the Internet plug-ins on … Read more

Amnesia for Mac 1.4.3 Review

For users who frequently download applications, finding a program to completely remove them is important. Amnesia for Mac performs this function well and has some easy-to-use additional features.

Download and installation of Amnesia for Mac completed quickly due to the native installer. The program does require that the user accept a licensing agreement before allowing program use. After startup, the program did not offer any instructions, but the interface made them unnecessary. Large buttons at the top of the program indicate the main program functions. Users can designate a specific, known program for deletion, and search for a list of … Read more

Apple fights Yontoo Trojan with XProtect update

Following news of the new adware Web plug-in Trojan found to be affecting OS X systems, Apple has released an XProtect malware definitions update to protect anyone who stumbles across it.

The Trojan, called Yontoo, is initially disguised as a media player or download manager plug-in and distributed on underground file-sharing and movie trailer Web sites. When installed it pretends to be a player called Twit Tube but installs the Yontoo plug-in. This plug-in will work in all Web browsers to track your browsing behaviors and then present ads on legitimate Web sites.

Unlike other malware that can hide itself … Read more

Get rid of resource-intensive Flash content

Everyone loves surfing the Web, but most people do not enjoy intrusive ads. The ClickToFlash for Mac plug-in makes your browsing experience more fluid and less distracting, but does not compromise content accessibility.

Once installed, ClickToFlash for Mac will automatically prevent Flash content from loading and try to convert it to a HTML5 equivalent. The installation part can't be easier, as it takes one click to install this plug-in. Don't get scared by the preference panel that pops up on your first use, as you don't need to understand all the seemingly confusing terms and options. If … Read more

2013 Ford C-Max Energi moonlights as an electric car

For those not ready to jump feet-first into the electric-vehicle pool, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi offers a toe-dipping experience, a chance to check the water temperature before committing to the deep dive. And after experiencing the C-Max Energi, any reservations about electric cars should be erased.

The C-Max Energi is a variant of Ford's C-Max Hybrid, a funky European-derived car abounding in sheer practicality. In our testing, the C-Max Hybrid achieved consistent low-40s fuel economy, while offering a large amount of versatile interior space.

Due to a larger lithium ion battery pack, the C-Max Energi sacrifices some of … Read more

Do you need to uninstall Java to be safe from its vulnerabilities?

Lately Java has been getting a bit of bad press, thanks to several consecutive security holes that have been exploited by malware developers. One notable occurrence was the Flashback malware threat that affected a number of OS X users, which (though due in part to Apple's negligence about Java upkeep) was rooted in the Java runtime. More recently, Java 7 has seen a new zero-day vulnerability that has been circulating in exploit kits.

In response to these threats, many in the tech community have recommended that people uninstall Java altogether. However, this can be impractical for some, as many … Read more