Archive for October, 2007

You can take it with you with HTTrack Website Copier

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

screenshot of HTTrack

HTTrack is a website copier. Even in this day of total connectivity, there are still times and places where you can't connect to the 'net, but you need to browse a website. With HTTrack, you can grab your favorite site, download it intact to your local machine, and take it with you.

With versions available for both Windows (WinHTTrack) and Linux (WebHTTrack), you'll be able to download your target site, including its directory structure, all images, and even PDF documents and other content from the site.

HTTrack supports multiple connections, so you won't have to wait all day to download your target site. It can update your mirror when the original site changes, making sure you have the latest version of the site available. Interrupted downloads can be resumed where you left off. You can configure HTTrack to choose how deep you want to go, so that you don't try to download Amazon's entire catalog, for example.

Offline doesn't mean out of touch any more.

Download HTTrack

How is a secure file transfer like an exotic lunch?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

screenshot of Fugu

Fugu — a delicious and potentially deadly Japanese treat? or the preeminent SFTP client for OS X?

Actually it's both, but since you can't download sushi, we'll focus on the SFTP client instead. SFTP, or Secure File Transfer Protocol, is FTP's more secure cousin. Using the same secure connection as the secure shell (SSH), SFTP allows you to upload and download files without the risk of having your actions and passwords intercepted in the process.

Fugu is a GUI front-end to OS X's SFTP application that makes file transfers easy, and doesn't require you to be a whiz at the UNIX command line. Using a pair of control panes, it's easy to drag and drop files from your local machine to remote server, and vice versa.

Along with moving files, you can easily navigate up and down through the directory structure on both the local and remote systems. You can create new folders and trash files as well. A constantly updated history list makes it easy to jump around from location to location within the directory structure of both systems, without having to walk back through directories in the order you accessed them originally.

Fugu is a Mac app and runs on most OS X systems. Wasabi not required.

Download Fugu

Get yesterday’s technology today with Old-Versions

Monday, October 29th, 2007

screenshot of Old-Versions

Sometimes the latest and greatest isn't what you want. The state of the art moves so quickly sometimes that you can be left in the dust. Whenever the latest version of your favorite application comes out, there is some hardware configuration that is no longer supported. Whether it's an old Win98 machine, or a Lombard PowerBook, there are plenty of perfectly good machines out there that won't run today's cutting edge software. Most software distributors only feature the new stuff on their download pages, making it impossible to get what you need for your machine.

The flip side of this is older content that won't work with newer applications. If you have a perfectly good copy of the CD-ROM Guide to All the Birds of Europe, you can't run it with recent versions of QuickTime.

Old-Versions tries to give you a hand with this problem. Rather than the latest and greatest, these folks pride themselves on having yesterday's technology today. Whether it's a down-rev version of IE or Safari, or that easy-to-configure version of ZoneAlarm's firewall, it's all here. The applications featured are the same ones you would have been able to download for free–no paid commercial software or warez here–if their distributors still made them available.

It looks like most of the apps offered here are Windows versions, so your Lombard may need to look elsewhere, but you're in luck if you're looking for that ancient version of Eudora for Windows.

Check-out Old-Versions

True understanding may be just an org chart away with Dia

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

screenshot of Dia

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes we can explain something in words until we're blue in the face–or blue in the fingers, if we're typing it–and still you see that blank stare coming back from your audience, meaning that they just didn't get it. Sometimes a simple diagram is all it takes to show the relationships between entities, or the flow of a process. You can try to draw that diagram on a paper napkin, or maybe you can take advantage of slightly more robust technology.

Dia is a free diagramming tool released under the GPL license. Reminiscent of Microsoft's Visio, Dia is aimed toward slightly less formal uses. Using the included objects, it's fairly straightforward to create flowcharts, network diagrams, and relationship maps. Users can add their own shapes as well. Dragging objects around the screen, adding connecting lines and arrows, aligning shapes, and formatting text will help you wipe that blank look off everyone's faces. You have taken them from confusion to comprehension in short order.

While documents are saved natively to a custom XML file, they can be exported to EPS, WMF, and PNG formats, as well as others, allowing for compatibility with other productivity tools.

Dia is available for Windows and Linux platforms.

Download Dia

Gnumeric–the Gnome Office Spreadsheet

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

screenshot of Gnumeric

Everybody pretty much agrees that monopolies aren't the best way to run things. While it may make sense on have only one water company in town, there are a lot of other areas where more competition would probably be a good thing.

Gnumeric, the Gnome Office Spreadsheet, is another way to avoid the pitfalls of being locked into one software supplier (and you know who you are) but to still maintain compatibility with your peers.

Licensed under the GNU General Public License, Gnumeric is a fully functional standalone spreadsheet. Not designed to be a clone of "Brand M", it reads other popular spreadsheet formats, while allowing you to customize it so that you can work the way you want to. Gnumeric is designed to be able to handle even the largest spreadsheets fast, and its accuracy is the stuff of legends.

Along with all the functionality of the name-brand spreadsheet, Gnumeric boasts over 150 additional functions, in addition to all the graphing functionality you would expect, and page formatting and drawing objects.

Gnumeric is a Linux app.

Download Gnumeric

Free Graph Paper is off the charts

Friday, October 26th, 2007

screenshot of Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

A polar bear is a Cartesian bear after a coordinate transform.

Not too many graphing jokes out there, but we've always liked that one. And speaking of graphing, we've found a great place to download almost every graphing format imaginable. Free Online Graph Paper has a huge collection of customizable graph and grid paper downloads, all available in PDF format. Ranging from plain vanilla graph paper to paper with only dots instead of lines, five-line music staves to accountant's ledger paper, to calligraphy and Chinese character guides. Many of the grids are customizable, allowing you to select colors, and even decide whether the heavier index lines should be every five lines or ten lines and so on.

All you need to do is to find the type of grid you're interested in, enter your specific details, and download the resulting PDF file. The author even says that if you need a type of grid that isn't already featured on the site, send him an email and he may give it a try.

Since all these grids are in PDF format, they're compatible with any system that supports an app to read the files, meaning that just about anybody can take advantage of them.

Download Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs

“Free” as in “free books”

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

screenshot of O'Reilly Open Books Project

O'Reilly Media is a recognized leader in the world of tech book publishing. From their humble beginnings as technical writers and consultants, O'Reilly has gone on to publish many of the definitive tomes for various technologies. The "camel book" Programming Perl by Larry Wall is the Bible for Perl Programmers.

With as many books as they have published out there, there are always going to be some that go out of print. Whether they address issues that are no longer at the forefront of current technologies, or because they have been supplanted by later editions, these books and the information they contain often just go sit in the corner never to see the light of day again.

The O'Reilly Open Books Project is an effort to keep this wisdom available for everyone. The Open Books site features many titles of interest to O'Reilly devotees. In some cases, links are provided to offsite locations where these titles are available, as for The Cathedral & The Bazaar, the commentary on the open source software development process; in others, O'Reilly hosts electronic versions of some of their older out-of-print titles, like CGI Programming on the World Wide Web, a well-worn copy of which resides on our bookshelf.

All you need to take advantage of this accumulated wisdom is a web browser, so these titles are really available to anyone.

Visit O'Reilly Open Books Project

Your web pages will step out in style with Astyle CSS Editor

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

screenshot of Astyle CSS Editor

Cascading Style Sheets are a boon to webmasters. They allow you to separate the formatting of information on pages from the data itself, and really make it easier to lay out and format websites. With CSS you can use HTML tables to lay out tabular information, instead of relying on them to format your pages.

Astyle CSS Editor is a tool that'll help you to keep your CSS code under control. The main window features a tree control that allows you to browse through the hierarchy of your code; a preview window lets you see what your page looks like as you make changes to the stylesheet information. Along with viewing your code, you can also generate new code by choosing page elements and applying styles directly to them. Play "what if" games to see what your changes will look like before you fully commit to them.

Astyle CSS Editor is a Windows app that will run on anything from Win98 on up.

Download Astyle CSS Editor

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

screenshot of WorldTimes

It's a hectic world out there. Everybody is coming and going, and our communities often stretch around the world. The kids are in Europe for the semester, mom's sampling sushi in Tokyo, and you're collaborating with an engineer in southern Asia. You need to contact one of them. But what time is it there? Sending an email isn't a big deal, but what happens if you phone right now? Will you wake them? Are they at dinner? How many hours do you add or subtract? And what about daylight time?

WorldTimes is a cool little app that lets you keep track of the time for the places you're interested in. You can track up to a dozen separate locations, and customize the names you display. Choose your locations for a list, or go generic and pick from a list of time zones with exotic names like "GMT-5". WorldTimes is clever enough to know when daylight time is in effect for various locations, and it knows about odd time zones like India's 5 1/2 hour offset from UTC.

WorldTimes is a Mac app and requires Jaguar (OS X 10.2) or later.

Download WorldTimes

New This Week at

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

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