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News - Christian Dunn

Christian Dunn is a Presales Engineer, IT Consultant and Science Communicator specialising in Software, scripts, news, reviews and opinion.

Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:57:48 +1000


Able2Extract Professional 11

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 04:33:52 +1100

 Investintech PDF Solutions have just launched Able2Extract Professional 11 and even if you tried it before it is time for another look. In early 2015 I reviewed Able2Extract PDF 9.0 which excelled in it's ability to convert PDFs back to word, excel, powerpoint, publisher, autocad, image formats and open document formats. I still use it regularly to turn the many PDFs I receive into usable documents. At that time the ability to create PDFs had been launched with some basic editing capabilities that worked but didn't wow, but the PDF OCR engine was amazing and able to convert text and images whether native or scanned with ease. Now with version 11 Able2Extract has matured into a complete PDF creation, editing and conversion tool that replaces the many individual applications I use for editing, splitting and merging, redacting, resizing and annotating PDFs. Somehow they have done this while keeping it affordable for home or office use. So what's new? PDF Annotation with great edit and review options Selective redacting of sensitive information The ability to add and update content including images (jpg, bmp, png, gif and tiff) vector shapes text Improved PDF content editor with drawing properties and image manipulation More precise AUTOCAD conversion for complex images Enhanced PDF security options Improved OCR Engine (I didn't think it could get better, but it did)     To really give it a run for the money I picked the most complex PDF documents I could find with backgrounds, images, text and complicated layouts. I tested converting to and from a wide range of formats and found Able2Extract not just capable but outstanding. I couldn't fault the OCR conversion with perfect spelling and text conversion. I annotated, edited and redacted multiple parts of the test and found it not just simple, but quick and effective. Converting to Word, Powerpoint and Excel was not only accurate but quick, really quick. I found the ability to merge PDFs and rearrange pages a breeze and the visual layout made it easy to confirm my changes before saving them. You can see I even rearranged one of my software user guides while still in PDF format and added some notes for review. In fact I found it almost too good. I tried the most complex and convoluted PDFs I could find and I couldn't break it with theme park maps, ebooks, invoices, questionnaires and more.   A permanent license of the Professional edition will set you back less than the yearly subscription costs of more well known PDF conversion and creation tools and includes access to their customer support and community. This is no ordinary OCR with the engine able to convert text and images perfectly with no mistakes, spelling or grammatical errors. Investintech have excelled in delivering a powerful desktop PDF conversion, creation and manipulation application that provides more advanced functionality for desktop users to supplement their great mobile application and replaced all of my previous PDF tools in the process. If you are looking for a better way to work with PDFs then don't take my word for it, try Able2Extract Professional 11 today![...]

Packet for Windows released!

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 23:23:26 +1100


Packet, a JSON web packet sending tool perfect for System Administrators, Web developers, system integrators and IOT afficianados has now been released.

Packet and IFTTT allows you to automate nearly anything including skype conversations, posting to twitter, linked in or facebook or turning on my lights.

Packet provides the flexibility to send JSON packets to any WEB API including Yo and the IFTTT Maker service. The application can be run silently from the command line or as an interactive application and requires no installation on any machine with .Net 3.5 installed.

I am a big user of IFTTT (if this then that) as an online API that allows me to automate the interaction of many services. While testing the new Maker functionality I identified that I had a program built for a different purpose that would be the simplest way to test and use this service in Windows. I also realised how many APIs these days are based on REST functionality and use JSON packets to transmit data. 

So now that I have built it I am giving it away. If you have a little bit of experience with JSON (or can follow the documentation on your preferred REST API) and love to tinker then this is a great little testing or automation tool for windows.

You can get Packet here.

How Packet Works

Packet allows you to send a JSON packet to any web API by specifying a URL and also the JSON content. You can do this from the command line or interactively.

The user interface is self explanatory with fields for the URL and JSON.


You will receive a confirmation of successful requests and your data is saved in the application to speed up data entry when you next open it.

That's it!

You can get Packet here.

So now the only question is what to automate? I think setting the WeMo CoffeeMaker to make me another coffee every 50 emails is probably a good start....

PDFtoExcel - 100% free online conversion

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 16:10:00 +1000

(image) is a totally unique approach to PDF conversion online:

  • No need to provide email or any other personal information
  • Import PDFs directly from your Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive
  • Really quick conversion (1 minute for average file sizes)
  • Files are kept on our servers only 6 hours
  • Converts scanned PDFs as well
  • Absolutely free service, no hidden costs
  • No ads whatsoever



I found this a refreshing new entry to this market. While there are now a plethora of conversion tools available on the market on mobile, online and offline most are ad-supported or require some form of registration or in-app purchase to get fast, reliable conversions.

Not only could PDF to Excel convert files direct from my desktop I could select files directly from One Drive, Google Drive and DropBox for conversion. No personal information needed to be provided and my file would only be retained on the cloud service for 6 hours before being totally deleted.

During my testing I found most tables within my PDF documents were extracted accurately into their original row and column structure - but in Excel - and now editable.

If you are looking for a fast, easy and 100% free solution for converting PDF files to Excel I recommend giving this a try.

Find out more here:



Upgrade in Progress

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 03:44:14 +1000

I would like to thank everyone who has discovered my site, software and services in the last 19 years since first inception!

This is not a goodbye message but a welcome to a revitalised and to a lot of new users, members and visitors. 

This site is currently undergoing a major transformation making it easier for you to find and download great software, get great insights into IT, administration and system monitoring and to provide additional value to my members.

I apologise for any inconvenience as I work through reviewing and updating my software catalogue and thank you for your patience. If you can't find what you are looking for or I could make it easier for you - Let me know!!



Print Terminator is now FREE

Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:27:53 +1000

(image) It is not uncommon that printer problems can require System Administrators to manually clear jammed jobs from print queues.

Print Terminator makes this easy by allowing you to select any printers on a system and in one click terminate all print jobs. You can also specify an aged time to only terminate jobs that are older than a specified number of minutes ensuring new print jobs are not affected.

Print Terminator can be scheduled using the Windows Task Scheduler and can send an email notification when jobs are purged from any printer.

Print Terminator is now free! Find out more about Print Terminator.

Lookup is now FREE for members

Sat, 23 Jul 2016 03:25:27 +1000


Lookup 8 is a powerful search client for Microsoft Access databases.

Lookup is a simple yet powerful client for searching Microsoft Access databases. Lookup includes links to the most commonly used windows tools and allows you to add 10 of your most commonly used programs as well. These programs can be sorted by you and will link to the function keys across the top of your keyboard (F1-F12) as shortcuts. Our database even comes with the Australian postcode database included as sample data.

Lookup is now free - find out more about Lookup. A full licence is available in the members section of Registration is free.

CometDocs - PDF To Word

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 04:09:23 +1000

(image)  CometDocs has released a new upgraded version of PDF To Word for both Android and iOS.

 This app is free with no limits on file size or number of conversions but does include in-app purchases.

 Here are some of the new features of PDF to Word:

  • No limits on file size or number of converted files
  • Converting files from online services such as Gmail, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.
  • Word documents are optimized for fast viewing and reuse
  • Layout, formatting, tables, images and text look exactly like the original
  • Your file is deleted from servers right after the conversion ends

The user interface of PDF to Word may not be as slick as some of the others but it will convert nearly anything you can throw at it!

Free conversions take approximately 1 hour but an affordable in-app purchase allows you to upgrade to immediate conversions. Conversion is done online so minimal impact on batter usage. I recommend forking out for the in-app purchase to get the benefit of immediate mobile conversion but otherwise a simple but effective app.

Personally I prefer the Android version but don't take my word, try it out yourself...

You can find PDF to Word in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store.


FREE Lookup 8 Licence

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 03:24:01 +1000

(image) As I no longer actively develop Lookup I have decided to give it away for FREE!

Lookup is a powerful search tool for Microsoft Access databases allowing complex, fast searching and analysis.

Become a member of to get your free Lookup licence.

For More Information on Lookup see here.

MonitorThis passes 150,000 hours!

Sun, 10 Jul 2016 03:23:10 +1000

(image) MonitorThis has now passed 150,000 monitoring hours (that I am aware of) and is there any better way to celebrate than to add more functionality.

MonitorThis is an enterprise focused monitoring service configured from a single XML file which includes a suite of monitors that can be configured to perform environmental monitoring checks.

New to MonitorThis is Windows Event Log Monitoring allowing you to configure checks for specific types of events or applications allowing you to proactively identify and resolve any issues before your users do.



Xsemmel MT is a customised version of Xsemmel designed for validating and configuring MonitorThis XML files.

Based on XSemmel by Frank Schnitzer this great XML editor has been further enhanced to assist you in validating your MonitorThis configuration before deployment.

 Find out more about Xsemmel MT and MonitorThis.

XSemmel MT for MonitorThis Released

Thu, 02 Jun 2016 04:56:20 +1000



Xsemmel MT is a customised version of Xsemmel designed for validating and configuring MonitorThis XML files.

Based on XSemmel by Frank Schnitzer this great XML editor has now been enhanced to assist you in validating your MonitorThis configuration before deployment.

 Find out more about Xsemmel MT and MonitorThis.

Print Queue Manager

Thu, 02 Jun 2016 03:08:35 +1000


Print Queue Manager 6 has now been updated to

This update resolves an issue where some HP Printer drivers can send incorrect page counts to the print queue manager logs while printing. An enhancement has been implemented to allow sending a job to print by double clicking a job in the print queue when AutoQueue is enabled.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and always helps to enhance this product further.

Members can add, update or view previous requests through the Support page.

Print Queue Manager

Mon, 16 May 2016 05:22:56 +1000


Print Queue Manager 6 has now been updated to

The latest updates improve application performance, remove 'ghost' print jobs and resolves an issue with MyQueue failing to load. This update has been made mandatory for all previous users of Print Queue Manager 6 and will be received on next launch.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and always helps to enhance this product further.

Members can add, update or view previous requests through the Support page.

MonitorThis Released

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 04:39:09 +1100

(image) MonitorThis has now been released!!

MonitorThis is an enterprise focused monitoring service configured from a single XML file which includes a suite of monitors that can be configured to perform environmental monitoring checks.

I prefer to describe it as a task scheduling service on steriods. It has no user interface and is designed to run as a silent background service which can run tasks regularly at predefined intervals or at scheduled times. It can be installed from the command line, automatically updates regularly from a network share and can save alerts to a network location, posts alerts to a web portal or send email notifications. I have included a basic Classic ASP portal to help you get started.

Out of the box I have included a selection of common monitors and the execute function allows you to run any script or command allowing you to extend this even further to suit your requirements.

Included Monitors

  • CPU
  • PhysicalMemory
  • VirtualMemory
  • DiskSpace
  • DNS
  • Ping
  • Process
  • Service
  • Update
  • Execute
  • FileExist
  • WebRequest
  • MaxChildren

MonitorThis contains the functionality to replace almost all of my previous monitoring applications with the added bonus that it is memory and CPU efficient meaning it can run almost unnoticed on critical and high availability infrastructure ensuring you know if there are problems before anyone else does.

So the next time you just need to MonitorThis, you can do it for free.

FREE Online PDF to Word Converter

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 20:03:53 +1100

(image) I have reviewed many of Investintech's products previously but as you expect the best features always come in premium products. 

Not anymore! Their online PDF to Word converter now allows you to get access to one of the best features of Able2Extract for free and online. Simply select a PDF to have it converted to Word and emailed to you.

What sets it apart from the competition?

  • It converts both scanned (image) and standard PDFs to Word. 
  • It is free to use without limitations.
  • It accurately converts even complex PDF files. 

I attacked it with a few PDFs of different complexity and found it gave almost the same results as Able2Extract and from my earlier reviews you will see how impressed I was. But don't believe my, try it for yourself.

The Desktop is Dead. Long Live the Desktop!

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 05:23:24 +1100

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Mark Twain   30 years ago business computing required a server and a collection of dumb terminals. As the personal computer became prevalent on the coat tails of the Apple II we began to see personal computers become a cornerstone of the office and by the late 90s nearly every office was running personal computers in a loosely connected workgroup. For those running Windows NT or 2000 you may have been big enough to setup a domain tying it together but it wasn't until Small Business Servers started appearing in the 2000s that this became common place. This led to a proliferation of small business networks setup to provide the services an office needed. Then there was internet... When I started developing software in the early 2000s this was the environment I began with and personal computers were everywhere and some people had them on a domain but all software, services and applications were in and owned by the business.  Somewhere around the 2010s this started to change. If I look at what I have done in the last 24 hours, I have admittedly used a local file server, but apart from that I have used multiple cloud (Software As a Service) applications including MailChimp, Office365, Typeform, Facebook and LinkedIn. I don't know where the servers are or how they work but instead I am using these applications and relying on someone else to look after the infrastructure that runs these. Best of all I don't need to manage them or maintain them, but what if I did? I have had a personal website now for 20 years in 2016 and in that time I have followed the ebbs and flows of the industry and even though it has changed dramatically in that time I can still see the remnants of this history in the threads of what I offer. I started with applications like Lookup designed for workgroup business networks and an internet cafe manager which had a component for print management that grew into Print Queue Manager. As personal desktops became media managers, I wrote MediaCentre to manage, playlists, mp3 libraries and catalogue and burn CDs (pre iTunes). I migrated to .Net applications designed to update online but run locally and monitoring applications and system tools for managing individual desktops or small business networks. While some of these like Print Queue Manager have come on this journey with me, others have fallen along the way. Now I see the start of the next generation. Where I started with monitoring apps designed for one computer (WyMI, Network Monitor, Drive Monitor), I grew to apps designed to monitor one or a few servers (Online!, Online.www, Msg, CJD Gadget, Print Terminator) and more recently I am moving even further beyond the desktop. In 2012, I brought Water Testing online and in 2013 it was Stalker Monitoring, a suit of tools to help you monitor specific activities on a server or servers, but still easy to use by administrators and in 2016, this is MonitorThis. An application not designed for users, but designed for servers, to monitor lots of things and feed it back to the people responsible for looking after them. I also have (not yet released) a tool for testing websites and HTML 5 applications. These are now the tools, that monitor and test the systems, that run on the servers, that someone else looks after, that provide you with the applications, you run, on your desktop. The personal computer has gone from being a standalone machine, to part of a network of machines to now being one part of a much larger network of machines known as the internet. We still need the personal computer as it is a practical, powerful and effective tool but it is no longer for or of itself a hub[...]