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Read and record

Plus, a new hard-drive cleaner.

Elaborate Bytes has released an update for CloneCD, its CD duplication program. The application is much simpler than most other CD duplicating programs; because there’s no mastering software included, you can copy with just one click. Users will need to have a CD writer capable of writing in RAW, and an IBM-compatible PC with a Pentium-class microprocessor. A couple of caveats: For CloneCD’s Microsoft HTML Help system to work, you should have Internet Explorer 4 or better (although if you order the installation CD, it comes with IE 5.5 SP2); second, the latest update (v. lets you select a faster write speed than the drive allows, but it’s simply a cosmetic glitch that won’t create any problems when copying data. Download the program or order an installation CD from EB’s site. Prices will vary.

Vioio Software’s Read Genius 2 will enable your PC to automatically read back any words, sentences, or paragraphs of text that you type. The text-to-speech player uses TTS technologies and supports more than 11 languages. Features include the ability to set a speaking alarm, specify symbols that will trigger reading, a built-in notepad and time reminder, and the ability to read text copied into your Windows clipboard. The shareware requires a $29.95 registration fee.

Rikster’s ShutdownEr will allow you to schedule shutdowns or log-off times on any Windows system. The program also lets you view and shut down remote machines that have the client software installed. Other features include system-wide hot keys that you can assign to a specific action, and support for command line parameters that will enable you to shut down via batch file. The shareware program requires a $10 registration fee.

XdeskSoftware’s virtual desktop manager, XDesk, is a handy desktop assistant that lets you create multiple desktops on your PC. Features include quick viewing of applications, an application bar for easy access to programs, reminders and alarms, a CPU meter, memory cleaner, hot keys, and more. The program allows for a lot of customizing, and all the features are well-integrated. A simplified version is free, while the full version requires a $27 registration after 30 days.

Haysoft’s HS CleanDeskPro will clean your hard drive of any unused or unwanted files. Clean your system registry of uninstalled software, get rid of unwanted cookies and caches, or uninstall selected software from your system. The program will auto-run at start-up to survey your system, and it automatically detects low memory and refreshes memory space. You can download a demo from Haysoft’s site; registration costs $29.

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