Archive for November, 2005

Karaoke with EvilLyrics

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005


Why does a hummingbird hum? Because it doesn't know the words. (My eight-year-old doesn't even think that joke is funny.) Why doesn't it know the words? Because it doesn't have EvilLyrics. Despite its wicked-sounding name, this tool is a must for music junkies: it automatically searches for the lyrics of the songs currently playing in your media player (an Internet connection a must, of course) and displays them in a small window, so you can sing along to your heart’s content. The latest version supports major PC media players such as Winamp, Windows Media Player, Foobar2000, Sonique, iTunes, Winamp, and RealPlayer. You can also download and organize lyrics, auto check for karaoke files, browse Amazon album profiles, and view lyric translations.

Arguably its best feature is the karaoke function, where the program scrolls the song lyrics line by line as it is played. All in all, it's fun software for spontaneous sing-along sessions at the workstation.

Download EvilLyrics

HiJackThis and Eliminate the ‘Spies’

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005


Does your computer bog down regularly due to spyware despite your unending efforts to clean up your system? Find comfort in HiJackThis, the latest weapon unleashed by developer Merijn in its fight against spyware and other forms of malware. Simply click on the “Scan” button to generate a log of suspicious software, including browser add-ons, buttons, and startup items. To delete unwanted items, select flagged items and hit the “Fix” button. The software can be programmed to create a backup of original settings as well as ignore selected folders or areas in the drive.

A word of warning though: HijackThis lists the contents of key locations in the registry and hard drive – areas where both legitimate programs and malware can be found. This freeware is designed for advanced users who are able to inspect, distinguish and remove items on their own. Novice users might want to perform additional research online or post their findings on spyware forums to identify unwanted installations. Nonetheless, HijackThis makes a welcome addition to the arsenal of spyware identification tools.

Download HijackThis

Share your World with Grouper

Monday, November 28th, 2005


Controversies notwithstanding, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks continue to rise in popularity. Grouper is one such program, providing a well-designed (though intimidating to first-time users) interface where users can safely swap music, video clips, and images over a private P2P network. Though still in beta testing, Grouper allows users to share any file (well, almost) regardless of size. It can also function as a chat room that can accommodate up to thirty chat mates at any one time. If you need a media player, Grouper does that as well.

A word of caution though — in an effort to keep the RIAA off its back, the developer has disabled the option to share MP3 files. Nonetheless, MP3s are not the only files meant to be shared, and Grouper is a great choice for passing on photos, film clips and documents to your friends. As the publishers of the software say, get the software because "your life is worth sharing".

Download Grouper

A Serene Screen Saver

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Enjoy floating bubbles on your screen

Back to basics—that seems to be the underlying theme with the Bubbloids screensaver. Bubbloids features a collection of 3D-rendered images with bubbles floating gently over them. You can customize your bubbles, setting the number and size of bubbles, and selecting backgrounds from the collection that comes with the freeware (including themes such as Jungle, Desert, and Spring) or loading your own images. The program features password protection and adjustable speeds (you don't want your bubbles to float by too fast, now, do you?) This screensaver should appeal to the child in you (and those around you) with the stunning graphics and realistic reflections seen through floating transparent bubbles on the monitor. Bubbles floating around gently somehow conjures an almost thereapeutic sense of serenity. Enjoy the experience.

Download Bubbloids

Free Printable Business Cards

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Free Printable Business Cards

If you run a business, no matter how small, you need business cards. But maybe you're not ready to pony up for a box or 500 or more glossy cards: no problem. This new site offers free printable business cards which you can customize and print on your inkjet or laser printer just eight at a time. There are 200 designs to choose from, including serious businesslike designs, funky-cool designs, and fun templates for kids of all ages. All you need to print them out is Microsoft Word (or another word processor that's compatible with the .DOC file format) and, for best results, some heavyweight paper. A cool bonus: many of these business card designs match the free printable stationery designs that we've mentioned here previously.

Get Free Printable Business Cards

Turn On the Music with Quintessential Player

Friday, November 11th, 2005


While digital music players are ubiquitous, the feature-laden Quintessential Player 4.50 is bound to be music to your ears — literally — fulfilling the quest for excellent audio quality, functionality and of course, a ‘cool factor’. The program is small, stable. and doesn't gobble up system resources like some other players. QCD features comprehensive audio file support (including ASX, CDA, MP3, WMA, OGG, AVI, and others.) You can rip a music CD with just one click, and QCD's encoder easily converts audio files between formats. Dragging, blocking, pruning or adding tracks to playlists is just as easy with the Playlist Editor, probably one of the most user-friendly playlist management utilities around.

Download QCD

Keep a Private Diary

Thursday, November 10th, 2005


If you're the type that likes to write a daily diary or journal, but want to keep it private rather than let your thoughts float around in ‘blogosphere’ , iDailyDiary is an ideal application for you. Consider it a private desktop blogging tool.

Pretty slim at a mere 1.4 MB, iDailyDiary is a fully-encrypted, password-protected digital diary that allows you to write daily notes or create journals in lieu of a paper diary. Unlike many paper diaries, you get the option to have 'multiple pages' for the same day, so that you can chronicle a rather eventful day in all its vivid detail without being constrained by space. It is fully searchable, which allows you to look up previous entries, and also supports Unicode. Its “rich text” editor allows you to insert images and hypertext links to websites or to other pages in the diary. If you do decide to create your own web log, iDailyDiary’s “export to HTML format” will turn your thoughts into web pages. However, if you want to export your entire diary, you will need to upgrade to the professional version.

Download iDailyDiary

Easy Encryption for Your Private Files

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005


Are you working with ultra-sensitive files that require Fort Knox-like security? Do you want to create a dedicated disk space that cannot be accessed by other users on a shared PC? If you answered yes to these questions, then turn to Cryptainer LE to provide the right shield.

Cryptainer LE uses powerful, 128-bit strong encryption to create a new virtual drive, accessed with a drive letter just like a regular disk drive. That enrypted drive disappears when you quit Cryptainer LE. Simply drag and drop files into this secure "vault,” and such files are immediately encrypted on-the-fly. There’s no need to manually encrypt individual files. What’s more, it allows you to send files with encrypted email messages (though the use of self-decrypting EXE attachments may result to these messages getting blocked by mail servers). Probably the best thing about Cryptainer LE is that secure vaults can be created even in external and removable media such as USB drives and CDs, so you can access the data practically anywhere.

Download Cryptainer LE

Power Searching with Google Toolbar for FireFox

Monday, November 7th, 2005

Here’s power surfing for you: a combination of one of the fastest growing web browsers with the most popular search engine. Like chocolate and peanut butter, this new download is two great tastes that taste great together: the FireFox web browser and Google Toolbar.

Mozilla Firefox is slowly but steadily gaining mass acceptance since its introduction in November 2004—a recent study by web analytics firm OneStat places Firefox’s share to be about 11.5%– and Google Toolbar was one of the most highly anticipated add-ons to this browser.

Toolbar for FireFox features Firefox-only capabilities such as customization and Google Suggest. Users can add, remove, and rearrange Toolbar buttons by using the View menu. They can also combine Toolbar buttons with the Firefox browser buttons if they choose to. The Google Suggest is similar to “predictive texting” feature of mobile phones; as one keys in text to the Toolbar text box, Google Suggest offers a list of similar keywords in real time.

In addition, Google Toolbar for Firefox also includes easy access to some of Google's best features. New features such as WordTranslator, AutoLink, and Spellchecker can reduce your dependence on tools such as Altavista’s Babelfish and Of course, the Toolbar also has ‘must-haves’ such as a Pop-Up Blocker and PageRank Display.

Download Google Toolbar for FireFox

Have Fun with Digital Painting

Friday, November 4th, 2005


Set your imagination free and get your creative juices flowing. Let the painter in you find expression, and mix metaphors on a digital canvas. Here’s an application for digital art beginners as well as maestros (and of course, wannabes) who want to move on from Windows’ Paint and take their skills to the next level. Available for both Windows and Mac OS X, ArtRage is best used with a graphics tablet or a Tablet PC where the user can use different types of brushes, pens, pencils, and crayons in a seemingly realistic environment, but without the mess. A unique feature of the software is its ability to load a picture that can be used as a canvas, or as tracing paper that can be painted over. Of course, you may opt to start with a blank canvas, utilizing varying canvas textures and background colors to create an original work of art.

However, this freeware is not without its own quirks. Brush strokes lag behind the cursor, and pressure sensitivity can be inconsistent. Despite these limitations, this painting application lets you have some good fun with a few master strokes of the brush.

Download ArtRage