Archive for March, 2007

AutoIT: a not-so-basic scripting language

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

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AutoIT is a Basic-like scripting language that allows you to automate the Windows GUI, interacting with on-screen controls in a way that simulates a human user. AutoIT can generate keystrokes and mouse clicks, interacting with dialog boxes and menus along with its use as a general scripting language. You can enter text, resize windows, drag objects around the screen, and much more–things that VBScript will not allow you to do.

There is a large online forum with examples and ideas for ways to harness the power of this tool.

AutoIT is self-contained, not relying on other DLLs or registry entries. You can even compile your scripts into stand-alone executables, with no runtime module needed.

Download AutoIT

Yo-Ho! A pirate’s life for me

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

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What does a pirate from Boston say? AHHHHHHHHHHH!

A certain Cap'n Jack Sparrow's got nothing on you here. Pirates: Battle for the Caribbean is a rousing action game where you can attack enemy ships, earn gold, and even control Great White Shark, all with 3-D graphics and amazing sound effects. For a change of pace, try playing as the British Captain, and get back at those swashbuckling buccaneers.

Bad pirate jokes not included.

Download Pirates: Battle for the Caribbean

Songbird media player sings a new tune

Monday, March 19th, 2007

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Created by the folks who brought you Winamp, and built on the Mozilla UI package (like Firefox and Thunderbird), Songbird is an open source media player in the iTunes and Windows Media Player vein. Like with Firefox, there are add-ons available that allow you to extend Songbird's capabilities, or you can even build your own extensions. While it can't play DRM'ed content (yet) that's on their "to do" list.

You can play all popular music formats, build custom mixes, and more. Along with importing your own media libraries, you can use Songbird as a music search tool, looking for MP3s and other audio files across the web, or it will recognize media files on your current page, and present them as a playlist for you.

Songbird is cross-platform, available for OS X, Linux, and Windows, and currently in 39 languages and counting. It's still in "pre-1.0" versions, so it's bound to have a few hiccups, but why not give Songbird a spin?

Download Songbird

You don’t need to be an Acrobat

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

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Mac users have always been able to create .pdf files that can easily be uploaded, downloaded, and shared across platforms. For Windows users, it used to take an expensive trip to the local software emporium to accomplish this. With pdf24-creator, all it takes is the ability to configure an additional printer on your system.

pdf24-creator installs as a "virtual printer" on your system. All you have to do to create a .pdf file is to print your document using your application's regular Print command, and then simply select pdf24-creator from the list of available printers.

At over 7MB in size, it may take a bit to download, depending on your connection speed, but a simple install will have you up and running in no time at all, without having to stand on your head.

Download pdf24-creator

Pick just the right shade of green for St. Paddy’s with ColorPic

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

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The folks at Iconico present version 4 of ColorPic, their color-picking, palette-building software. With ColorPic, you can pick any color from your screen, and get its value in hex and decimal. Great for web designers, it displays web-safe colors and their names, saving time and effort. For print designers, you can get CMYK percentages.

With its built-in magnifier and arrow key pointer "nudge", you can pick exactly the color you want. ColorPic works with all browsers, photo editors, or any other application. ColorPic runs on any Windows version from Win95 up, and at about 500KB, it's not going to take up a lot of storage space.

So is the Emerald Isle a Dark Green? A Sea Green? Forest Green? With ColorPic, you will know once and for all.

Download ColorPic

Don’t forget with QReminder

Friday, March 16th, 2007

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Did you ever miss an important appointment because you just couldn't keep track of all those sticky-notes around your monitor? QReminder may be just the ticket for you.

With QReminder, you can quickly set reminders for appointments, jot notes to yourself, and keep track of a list of favorite websites and local files. You can drag its toolbar around your desktop, or even minimize it to the System Tray, where is stays out of the way, but continues to keep an eye on your schedule. With its built in help and straightforward interface, you'll be able to get rid of those Post-Its in no time.

Now where did you leave the car keys?

Download QReminder

Address book for your Mac

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

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SBook5 is a sharp, intuitive address book program for Mac. Instead of being full of individual fields you need to fill in (for example, email address, street address, name), the program can actually recognize the type of data you enter into it, and assign the data accordingly. All you need to do is open the program and start typing whatever information you know about a contact, and the program will organize the data into fields and categories for you.

If you want to import data from other programs, SBook5 comes with import utilities. Files can be exported to your iPod and to other users. It's very each to search your data once it's been entered.

This is a very simple yet extremely helpful program, and would be a great aid to anyone who maintains a contact list. You could also use it to organize information like recipes, or your favorite jokes. SBook5 is available only for MacOS X, and you'll need to be using OS version 10.2 or higher.

Download SBook5

Free 3D animation software

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

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Anim8or is a 3D modeling and animation program. While it's certainly not a top-of-the-line program like Lightwave, it's still an excellent starter program for people who want to explore the idea of 3D animation or hone their skills before branching out into something more expensive. For the average home user who just works with 3D as a hobby, Anim8or probably has all the functionality you need to turn out great results.

With Anim8or, you can create 3D scenes and animation, then and output them as AVI movie files, JPG. or BMP images. The program supports textures, bump maps, soft shadows, spotlights, fog, and much more. There's even a jointed character editor if you want to work with images of people and animals.

One of the most interesting things about the Anim8or website is the user gallery, where you can see examples of what people have designed in the program. The website offers both a forum and a chatroom if you need support or want to interact with other designers.

Get Anim8or

PeaZip: a new type of file compression software

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

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PeaZip is a file archiving program which supports many common compressed file types like ZIP and TAR, as well as 23 others. It even has it's own proprietary compression format called PEA. The program will run on Windows or Linux, but Windows users may not find it quite as intuitive as other archiving programs because it doesn't offer features like drag and drop. The program doesn't need to be installed, and can even run remotely, but the Windows version offers an install/uninstall option for familiarity.

PeaZip is an open source project, and as such, makes a special effort to support open source compression formats. If you've run across an obscure archived file and aren't sure how to expand it, you may want to give PeaZip a try.

Download PeaZip

Remove unwanted files with CCleaner

Monday, March 12th, 2007

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At any given time, your PC is full of unwanted, space-hogging files. CCleaner (a more dignified version of the name, "Crap Cleaner"), is designed to free up space by removing things like temporary Internet files, and it will scan your registry to remove unused dll files, invalid shortcuts, and other file references which are inaccurate and outdated.

Your computer also stores an incredible amount of information about your online activities, so CClceaner will protect your privacy by removing all traces of your online history, your log files, cookies, autocomplete records, etc. The program will work with IE, Firefox, and Opera, and runs very quickly.

Get CCleaner