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Category: #Reviews (Page 1 of 4)

Windows 3.0 Is 30 Years Old: Here’s What Made It Special

Thirty years ago this month, Microsoft released Windows 3.0, a graphical environment that represented a dramatic leap over its predecessors in terms of capability and popularity. Here’s what made Windows 3.0 special.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Benj Edwards

The Best Free Websites and Tools for Making Your Own GIFs

GIF Making Resources heroPostmodern Studio/

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a GIF must be an entire conversation! Create your own custom GIFs using these awesome websites and apps, then share them with your friends in chat or on social media.

GIFs are fun to use in any kind of conversation. They’re great for laughs and do a better job of expressing emotions than plain text does. After all, you can say you’re excited, but a GIF of a happy puppy or your favorite TV show character being excited really drives the point home.

Here are our favorite picks for the best apps and websites for creating all the GIFs from images, video clips, and other sources.

Where to Make GIFs from Your Desktop

You can make a custom GIF using images or videos stored on your computer’s hard drive, or create a new one live with your friends or your cat using your webcam. Even if you don’t know how to make a GIF, these websites make it easy to create one in minutes.


Giphy web GIF makerGiphy

With Giphy (Free), you can make your own GIFs on the website and on your iOS or Android device. From Giphy’s homepage, click on the “Create” button at the top, then you’ll be on the GIF Maker page, ready to get creative. Giphy gives you the option to make a GIF out of a photo, video, existing GIF, or using a URL from YouTube, Giphy, or Vimeo.

For GIFs created from videos or URLs, you can select the duration and trim your clip. For those created from images, simply select the ones you want to use from your hard drive, then Giphy will automatically connect them together as a GIF. You can switch up the order each image appears in then decorate your GIF with stickers, filters, a drawing, or add a colorful caption. Before uploading your GIF, you can add a source link and relevant tags, which will make it easy for others to find your GIF! It was also recently announced that Facebook purchased Giphy for $400 million.

GIFSdotcom web GIF (Free) lets you create GIFs from video URLs or files from your computer. You can source content from Instagram videos, Vines, YouTube videos, Facebook videos, and other options. GIFs can be up to 15 seconds long and uploads up to 150 MB. Once you’ve thrown in a link, you can select GIF’s start time and apply other edits to the clip like cropping the image, adding a caption, or even blurring or inverting the image if you want to add an artistic flair. For captions, you can add a general caption, or go frame by frame for extra precision, and customize fonts, font color, alignment, and even add a border. You can add effects, like a Thug Life filter, Pokemon stickers, or other images. It’s easy to personalize the GIF you make, and you add on tags to make it easier to find, and you don’t need an account to make a GIF.

MakeAGIFdotcom web GIF

With (Free), you’ve got plenty of choices for sourcing your GIF material. It works with photo and video files from your computer, lets you upload content from YouTube or Facebook, or allows you to take new photos or videos with your webcam. This website has an impressive GIF editor that gives you granular control over start and end time (and GIF length) down to hundredths of a second, as well as adjustable GIF speed. You can also add simple captions or choose a sticker from their small gallery to put on your GIF. also offers a Premium Membership option for $11.95 per month, which gives you access to lifetime GIF storage, high-definition GIFs, personalized watermarks, faster editing and uploading, and removes annoying ads. You can try this out with a three-day free trial.

and then i was like…

and then i was like... web GIF makerand then i was like…

Cartoons and random animals are cute, but you are adorable. With and then i was like… (Free), you can make GIFs of you (and your friends and your cats and doggos) to your heart’s content using just your webcam. That’s right, no Shocked Joey reaction GIFs here—just whatever you bring to the table. All you need to do is record for three seconds. Once you do, you can move the sliders to adjust the start and end time, and toggle a few of the other limited editing options, like reversing the video, creating a back-and-forth loop (like Boomerang), and speeding up or slowing down the video. And voila! Go share it with your friends!

Where to Make GIFs from Your Phone or Tablet

If you need to make a GIF but you’re away from your computer, you can still make a GIF on the go right from your phone with one of these cute easy-to-use apps.


5 Seconds App GIF maker app5SecondsApp

Many GIF maker apps limit you to three seconds of video, but 5SecondsApp (Free) gives you, as you may guess, five whole seconds to do your thing. And it’s simple to use, so you can easily create, edit, and share your new GIF with your friends within just a few minutes. The app can make a GIF from both videos or photos you have on your iOS or Android device, or you can add effects to existing GIFs you’ve downloaded. 5Seconds has a really good selection of effects you can add to your GIF plus it allows you to add text or stickers then share your new creation with your friends and followers with just a few taps.


ImgPlay GIF maker appImgPlay

It’s super easy to make a custom GIF (or meme) with ImgPlay (Free). You can use images and videos stored on your iOS or Android device, edit an existing GIF, import images from cloud storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive, or create a brand spanking new one with your device’s camera. Once you’ve got your media selected, you can crop the GIF’s frame, trim its length, and adjust its speed until it’s perfect. You can then add multiple text boxes with customizable text, add colorful filters to it as you would on Instagram, and export it anywhere once you’re done. So easy!


Gif Me! GIF making appGIF Me!

With GIF Me! (Free), you can import videos, images, and GIFs from your iOS or Android device or create new photos or videos with your camera. The app lets you alter the image sequence for photo-sourced GIFs and adjust its animation speed before you add other edits. You can add captions, borders, and stickers to your new GIF, and even apply a fun colorful filter to make it pop. GIF Me lets you export your GIF creations to social media and even to Giphy to share with other GIF enthusiasts.


GIFGuru GIF making appGifGuru

GifGuru (Free) is a great Android-only GIF-making app that’s powerful and easy to use. If you’re making a GIF from photos on your device, you can add over 200 images into a single GIF, which is way more than any other app. You can also adjust the aspect ratio of the GIF, control its speed and, of course, add stickers, captions, and filters so it looks just right.

If you’re making GIFs from video files, you can crop and trim the video, or apply other basic edits for up to 50 frames. GifGuru also lets you search for GIFs from Giphy and edit or add effects to any of those GIFs before saving or exporting as well, from adjusting the speed to flipping the image and compressing the GIF size. GifGuru’s editings are powerful and user-friendly.

GIF Maker

GIF Maker GIF making appGIF Maker

GIF Maker (Free) works on iPhones, iPads, and iMessage, and lets you create GIFs from photos and videos already saved to your device, create new memes, and make Boomerang videos for Instagram. Or you can use your device’s camera to create new videos or photos to then turn into a GIF. Once you’ve selected your media, you can adjust the speed and add captions, filters, stickers, and emojis.

You can also upgrade to a Premium subscription for $9.99 per month, $59.99 per year, or for life with a one-time payment of $99.99. Upgrading gets you unlimited GIF and meme creation, premium fonts, stickers, and filters, and removes ads.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

What’s coming in Windows 10 accessibility

I hope this blog finds you, your family and friends and your colleagues all healthy and safe during these changing times. I’m excited to share some of the updates we are incorporating within Windows 10 to make it easier to see and use for people with low or no vision.  These improvements, coming to Windows 10 users in the May 2020 Update, represent the next steps in our journey to empower every person on the planet to achieve more.

Thank you for all the feedback to date. Please keep it coming! Our users, especially Windows Insiders, are continuing to shape Windows 10 accessibility by helping us understand what improvements matter most. Information about how best to reach us is included at the end of this post.

Making Windows 10 easier to see and use

Text cursor improvements

We recently made text and pointers easier to personalize in Windows 10. Millions of people prefer larger text, and larger and brighter pointers to make Windows 10 easier to see and use. Perhaps not surprisingly, many low vision users asked us to continue to make it easier to work with text cursors. More specifically, they told us that text cursors are difficult to find when they are too thin and don’t contrast enough with text. Now users can easily make cursors wider and add a text cursor indicator; we’ve even included the ability to choose custom colors, making it even easier to find their text cursor on the screen.

New Ease of Access settings that make text cursors easier to see and use
Figure 1 – New Ease of Access Settings make text cursors easier to see and use.

We made some related changes in Magnifier. We recently added a Magnifier option to follow the mouse pointer, so that users did not have to scan their display to find the pointer. Instead, they could rely on the mouse pointer to be in an expected location in the center of their display. Again, not surprisingly, users asked us to make it easier to work with text cursors with Magnifier. Now Magnifier will follow the text cursor in the center of the display by default, so that users can find the text cursor in an expected location.

Magnifier reading reduces strain and fatigue

We’ve heard from many Magnifier users that it can be difficult to read and work with text throughout their day; they often strain to read text and end their day with severe fatigue or headaches. We added a new feature that makes it easy to have text read aloud to reduce the strain of reading. Magnifier now includes Play, Pause, Next sentence, Previous sentence and Read from here controls to make it easy to read text in popular browsers including Edge, Chrome and Firefox and other Windows applications like Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. Magnifier will highlight each word that is spoken and will scroll content into view if it is not currently displayed.

Finally, we’ve improved the Magnifier user interface. Magnifier will now respond to larger text and Dark mode settings, so that it is easier to see and use.

Magnifier user interface
Figure 2 – New Magnifier features include reading and support for larger text and dark mode.

Making Windows easier to use without sight, with a screen reader

We’ve made a few sets of improvements to Narrator, which is the free, built in screen reader in Windows 10.

Narrator easier to use

We made reading more natural by reducing unnatural pauses and processing complete sentences to aid with proper pronunciation. We also redesigned Narrator sounds to enable Narrator users to be more efficient. We added sounds for the most common actions while reducing the total number of sounds to make them easier to learn and use. For example, rather than having to hear “scan on” or “scan off” when switching between scan mode and other modes, now you can choose to hear tones instead of the words. By default, both the words and sounds are turned on, to learn the new sounds. You can then change the level of detail that Narrator speaks about text and controls to hear fewer words for common actions. Finally, we improved support for announcing capital words and letters, e.g., when proofing a message or document. Narrator will handle initial, mixed and all cap words.

Smarter browsing

We made multiple improvements to the Narrator browsing experience.

First, Narrator will automatically start reading web pages from the top of the page. Automatic reading is intended to improve efficiency and give users confidence that the intended page loaded. Second, we implemented a page summary on demand. In addition to better understanding the complexity of a page, e.g., the number of landmarks, links and headings, you can also get a list of the most popular links generated by Bing to make it easier to get to where you want to go. Press Narrator key + S to hear the landmarks, links and headings on the page and press Narrator key + S twice quickly to bring up the page summary that includes a list of popular links. Third, we addressed one of the top accessibility issues with poorly crafted web pages. We made it possible to disambiguate links with titles like “Click here” without having to press the link to see where it goes. Press Narrator key + Ctrl + D, the same command to generate an image description, to hear the title of the linked page before pressing the link.

Finally, we made multiple improvements to Narrator with popular browsers. In addition to Microsoft Edge and Chrome, Narrator now supports Firefox. We improved several Narrator experiences, including faster “Find” and more reliable table reading. We also added support for rich text in Chrome and Firefox, which makes it easier to consume content on sites like Wikipedia.

More efficient Outlook mail

In addition to general Narrator and Narrator browsing improvements, we improved Narrator’s Outlook experience. We optimized Narrator for the Outlook inbox to make it faster and easier to triage mail; we read a smaller set of data in the expected order. We also improved the message reading experience. Like when web pages load, we now automatically start reading content when you open a message. We also automatically enable scan mode and recognize and ignore layout tables to make it easier to navigate and read message content. We improved Outlook responsiveness, e.g., reducing lags when arrowing through messages in the inbox or through text in a message.

Please keep the feedback coming

While we are excited to share our progress, we recognize that we have more work to do to create delightful experiences for people with disabilities. Thank you to the many people who have provided feedback — both positive and constructive — to help make Windows great. If you’re interested in providing help or suggestions, we welcome your feedback via the Windows Insider Program. All the features referenced in this blog were shared with and shaped by Windows Insiders. Whether you’re using an Insider build, or a generally available version of Windows, Windows 10 makes it easy to share your thoughts and suggestions — just press Windows logo key + F to launch the Feedback hub and share what’s top of mind.

Finally, if you are a customer with a disability and need technical assistance, the Disability Answer Desk is there to assist via phone (800-936-5900) and chat. In addition, we also have an ASL option available for our customers who are deaf or hard of hearing in the U.S. (+1 503-427-1234). Please contact us, we are always happy to help.

The post What’s coming in Windows 10 accessibility appeared first on Windows Blog.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jeff Petty

DaVinci Resolve 16.2 can take on Premiere Pro CC

cd55b900-9b69-11ea-b9fe-4e644e8381f2Since Blackmagic Design’s Resolve 16 came out last year, a lot of video editors may have been tempted to ditch Adobe Premiere Pro CC. To start with, Resolve 16 is free, and even the $300 Studio version costs less over time than Premiere Pro’s obligat…

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13 Games and Apps You Should Sideload onto Your Oculus Quest

The Oculus Quest is a great piece of tech—being able to play complicated VR games without needing to be tethered to a PC or console is, quite literally, freeing. But it can’t play everything. Oculus picks and chooses what games it allows on the Quest (mostly for performance reasons). However, you can sidestep that limitation with sideloading—a process that allows you to load any game you want onto your Quest.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

Keep Your Kids Safe Online with These Parental Control Apps

Internet-connected devices make it easy for kids to hang with friends or learn new things, but they also offer a way to access inappropriate content. With a parental control app, however, you can limit usage times and block unwanted content.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

Origin PC’s refreshed EON17-X laptop has a high-end Intel desktop chip

f44fcea0-9a7a-11ea-bf7f-95128951eca1When Origin PC first launched its EON17-X gaming laptop back in 2012, it clocked in at twelve pounds and measured over two inches thick — a behemoth by today’s standards, but its specs were otherwise so impressive that die-hard gamers were undeterred…

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Dell XPS 13 (2020) Review: Hail to the Tiny King

For years I’ve read that the Dell XPS 13, or rather the version following the 2015 redesign, was the best all-around Windows laptop out there. As Apple’s MacBook line has taken a few knocks, it’s been called the best laptop, period. After that high praise, I admit I went into this review with a degree of skepticism.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

Google Photos now offers more control over album sharing

9a2765b0-99f2-11ea-bcfd-d6b4eddf5718Google is making it easier to control who gets to see your most cherished memories. The next time you want to send a Google Photos album to someone, the app will prompt you to invite a specific person or group of people to look at your photos and vid…

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