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Software Worth Paying For

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Connectify

Here’s the problem: You’re in a hotel with easy access to Ethernet-based Internet. You also want to get on the web using your tablet, smartphone, or another laptop, but the hotel’s wireless Internet is horrible.

Solution? Connectify. This awesome pro-gram transforms your laptop or Wi-Fi-equipped desktop into an access point. Assuming that your networking bits and pieces all play nicely—it’s worth checking out Connectify’s trial version just to make sure—you’ll be able to unleash your own password-protected Wi-Fi hotspot for anyone to use. The app even lets you share the connection from 3G and 4G LTE USB dongles!

$45 (lifetime license), www.connectify.me

Blu-ray Playback

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5

Because it costs so darn much for Microsoft to license the right codecs, there’s absolutely no way that the ability to play Blu-ray discs is ever going to find a home in Windows Media Player on a standard version of the Windows operating system. While you can play unprotected Blu-rays with the freeware app VLC , you still have to cough up cash for an awesome third-party app like ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5 if you want to (legally) watch The Avengers on your system.

$100, www.arcsoft.com

Multi-Monitor Happiness

DisplayFusion

If you’re one of those stalwarts who plans to wait out Windows 8, then you’re going to want—nay, need—an app that offers better support for multi-monitor setups than the pitiful options found in Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

DisplayFusion gives you increased control over your multi-monitor setup, including the ability to set up taskbars that span your screens as well as separate wallpapers and screensavers for each monitor. We love it so much that we believe this app should come packaged with every new monitor purchase.

$35, www.displayfusion.com

Mouse Laziness

ReMouse

And here you thought macros for Microsoft Excel were cool. ReMouse allows you to make a recording of your mouse and keystrokes over a given time period. You can then save that recording to a file, load it up at a later date, and play back your actions once, loop them a set number of times, or loop them forevermore.

Purchasing the app’s standard edition unlocks Smart Recording, which will ensure that your recorded movements always match loaded apps based on the relative position of the Window when it appears.

$39, www.remouse.com

Click the next page for desktop organization programs, spreadsheet apps, and more.