Archive for May, 2007

Sleep soundly at night with File Waster

Monday, May 21st, 2007


How much sensitive data do you have on your system? Can you be sure it won’t accidentally–or otherwise–fall into the wrong hands? Passwords, financial data, the list goes on. It’s just too dangerous to have that kind of stuff sitting around. You need some way to protect yourself and that important information.

File Waster securely encrypts your files, using state-of-the-art encryption methods. You can also choose to compress your files as they are encrypted, saving space at the same time that you are protecting your sensitive data. And File Waster will recurse subdirectories, so you can encrypt multiple files or whole projects all at once.

Secure data is not much good, though, if the original files were just deleted at the operating system level. After it’s done encrypting your files, File Waster goes back and wipes the originals, making it impossible for anybody to get them back. You can even use this cleanup facility if you aren’t encrypting your files, so you may want to integrate it into your regular machine maintenance routines.

File Waster will run on any Win32 system from '95 up to Vista.

Download File Waster

What is all this stuff?

Sunday, May 20th, 2007


How complicated is your computer? Is your system optimized to run as fast as possible? With processor, memory, storage, connection information, system and application software, it’s a wonder anybody can figure it all out.

Belarc Advisor will take an inventory of your hardware, software, and settings, and report back to you. It’ll generate a list of your software serial numbers. Missing Microsoft patches? They’re listed also. You can have in one place an exhaustive list of everything important about your system.

Belarc Advisor runs only on your local machine; even though your configuration info is displayed in your web browser, it is never sent to a server, so your information is safe. Everything you see displayed is generated on your system. You shouldn’t even have to be connected to the ‘Net to run it.

Belarc Advisor will run on any Win32 system, and requires version 3 of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator or later, and is compatible with many other browsers as well.

Download Belarc Advisor

Any port in a storm?

Saturday, May 19th, 2007


Your computer's a busy place. Things happening, data coming and going; how do you keep track of it all? CurrPorts is a good place to start.

CurrPorts keeps track of which ports on your system are open and who is using them. For all TCP and UDP connections, you can see instantly which process–by name and PID–is using it, who owns the process, and when it started. Suspicious processes, those without version information or application icons, are highlighted so that you can pay special attention to them.

If you see something unwanted happening, you can choose to close a given port, or even kill the offending process. Along with monitoring activity on-screen, you can also save log info to .html or .xml files, or as tab-delimited text files.

CurrPorts doesn't support Win98/ME, but it will work with NT, Win2k, and later.

Download CurrPorts

What’s an 0xED?

Friday, May 18th, 2007


Different applications open different files: Word opens Word docs; Excel opens spreadsheets; Adobe Reader opens .pdf files; text editors open text files. Each of these has its place, but each of them also imposes their respective world view on the files that they open. Formatting information, numeric precision, Postscript instructions–these all come between you and the actual data in those files. Sometimes you just really need to look at the unfiltered, raw data in a file. Sometimes you need a "hex editor".

Hex editors, short for "hexadecimal editors", are applications that allow you to edit files on a byte-by-byte basis. Open a file and you see exactly what’s there. If an errant end-of-file character somehow ends up in the middle of your file, you cannot get to the end of that file, unless you break out your hex editor, the Swiss Army Knife of software applications. Go in and tweak that character and you're good to go.

0xED is a Mac hex editor. It's a Universal Binary, so it will run on MacIntel and PPC machines. It requires OS X 10.3.9 or better.

So what is "0xED"? "0x" (zero-ecks) is an oft-used abbreviation for "hex", so 0xED is literally "hex editor".

Download 0xED

Stormy weather

Thursday, May 17th, 2007


METAR (an acronym from a really long French phrase) is a format used for reporting weather information and conditions. Typically used by pilots as part of their pre-flight weather briefing, METAR information communicates a lot of information in a very little amount of space. Through clever use of abbreviations and data format conventions, it is possible to fully communicate weather data if very few characters. Unfortunately, to the uninitiated, it looks like just so much gibberish.

MetarWeather has the smarts to translate this cryptic data into useable information for us human beings. For a given reporting station, which are usually located at airports, you can get the current temperature, dewpoint, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and other important weather information. METAR data is typically updated hourly.

With MetarWeather you can monitor as many locations as you want, both domestically and internationally. Data in the United States comes from NOAA, the official government weather people, so you know the data is as as good as you can get.

MetarWeather runs on all 32-bit Windows systems, and requires at least version 3.0 of Internet Explorer.

Download MetarWeather

What you see is what you get

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007


Wink is a screen capture application with a difference: you can save not just static screens, but movement onscreen as well. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words do you suppose a movie is worth?

Use Wink to to automate presentations, or to build tutorials that show your viewers what is actually happening on their screens. Mouse movements, mouse clicks, dropdowns–they’re all there. You can save your sessions as Flash movies, which makes it easy to use them for the web, or you can save them as standalone executables (.exe files) for local use on PCs. In addition, Wink also allows you to save your sessions as a series of .pdf files, making it easy to incorporate their content into printable documents as well. You can also record audio, and use your voiceovers to fully explain the action on-screen.

Wink is available for Windows and popular Linux distros as well.

Download Wink

What’s a six-letter word that starts with “r”?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007


We all enjoy word games and puzzles. Sometimes they are interesting and challenging. Other times they are frustrating and aggravating. What is that missing word? How am I going to fill that hole? Can somebody help me?

Using Word Finder Pro is like having the “cheat” codes for a crossword puzzle. If you know you need a six-letter word that starts with an “r”, you can generate a list of all possible words that will fit that space, subject to the words in Word Finder’s word list.

Word Finder Pro comes with a list of some 172,000 words, so you can make Scrabble or the New York Times crossword puzzle cower before you. You can also add your own word lists, or download additional and updated lists from the publisher’s web site.

Amaze your friends. Hold your head high. Be the envy of all those around you. Do your crosswords in ink.

Well, maybe not that self assured….

Download Word Finder Pro

Is it chicken or fish? Chicken of the VNC

Monday, May 14th, 2007


VNC, virtual network computing, is a technology used to remotely control another computer. While you can use Telnet or SSH to run another machine from yours, those only work with terminal applications. If you’ve got a GUI app that you need to run on another system, you’re out of luck, unless you use a VNC client.

We’ve looked at RealVNC in the past; today we visit Chicken of the VNC, a Mac VNC client for systems running OS X.

Chicken of the VNC can attach to any computer that is running a VNC server. Whether across the room on your network, or across the world via the Internet, you can connect to any machine. By entering the IP address or hostname of the target machine, you can connect with that remote system, running Windows, Linux, OS X, or virtually any other operating system.

Help your technology-challenged parent get online; run “headless” servers in your office (no monitor required); support your end users; the list goes on.

Chicken of the VNC will run on just about any Mac running OS X.

Download Chicken of the VNC

Breathe easier with BabyMouse

Sunday, May 13th, 2007


Like a cat on the keyboard, a toddler on a mouse can wreak havoc on your system. There are a lot of good programs that younger–or not so young–users can avail themselves of on your computer, but sometimes they can get themselves into trouble, and this may be bad news for your computer.

BabyMouse is an application that basically turns-off everything but the main button on your mouse. By disabling the secondary mouse button, you do away with right-click context menus; with the scroll wheel disabled, you won’t have web pages run away from you while you are looking at them. This means that your mouse behaves like a mouse, and nothing else. Taking away choices, including potentially bad ones, makes working with your little one safer and less nerve wracking for both of you.

BabyMouse is a Windows app, and requires version 1.1. of the .NET framework, which you can also download via a link on the publisher’s site.

Download BabyMouse

Icon magic with ImagIcon

Saturday, May 12th, 2007


You can’t always find just the right nifty little icon. What if you already had the right image, but it wasn’t in the right format?

ImagIcon will take your .bmp, .jpg, or .png and convert it into a Windows .ico icon file. There are five standard sizes available (16-, 32-, 48-, 64-, and 128-pixels square), so you are sure to find just the right size. You can also use ImagIcon to convert between any of the supported graphic formats as well.

With a simple drag-and-drop interface, you already know how to use ImagIcon. Drag multiple files and make your conversions go even faster.

ImagIcon is a Windows app with low expectations: it will run on P-200 with 64MB of RAM under Win98.

Download ImagIcon