Archive for November, 2007

MozBackup saves your profile data from Mozilla apps

Friday, November 30th, 2007

screenshot of MozBackup

Whether we perform them regularly or not, we pretty much all agree that backups are a good thing. Why would you want to lose data if a simple backup would save your bacon? There are plenty of answers to that one too. It's too complicated. It takes too long. The list goes on.

What about the data you really care about? Your web browser and email client may be the two tools you use most often, and whose content you would most miss if it went away. If you use tools from the Mozilla family, MozBackup may be what you're looking for.

MozBackup is a specialized tool that backs up and restores the information that held in your profile under Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, and even Netscape ver.. 7. You can grab your bookmarks, email, contacts, extensions, and all that good stuff. It's taken you a long time to gather all that information, so it would be a shame to have to go find it all again.

MozBackup is a Windows app (sorry, no Linux or Mac version is available).

Download MozBackup

Counting up and counting down was never so easy before Online Stopwatch

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

screenshot of Online Stopwatch

Sometimes you just need to have a stopwatch or a timer. But do you always have one just sitting at your elbow, ready to jump into action? You do now, with Online Stopwatch.

Online Stopwatch is a slick little tool that does just those two things: it counts up from zero, acting as a stopwatch, and it counts down to zero, acting as a timer. Both tools allow you to count down or up for 99+ hours, so it's not likely that you'll fun out of room before you finish your time-related project–your tea probably won't need to steep, or your phone call probably won't last, that long.

Online Stopwatch is available as an online service, or you can download it onto your Windows or Macintosh system. When run online, it (obviously) uses your browser; when you run it locally, it need you to have Flash player installed on your system.

Download Online Stopwatch

Recuva helps bring your deleted files back from the Beyond

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

screenshot of Recuva

One of the arguably good features of Windows over *NIX systems is the fact that deleted files can often be un-deleted. We all know the trick about dragging files back out of the Recycle bin on the desktop, but what happens to files when you empty the Recycle or delete files from the command prompt, or worse yet, when system problems or malware lead to the deletion of files from your system?

When Windows deletes a file, it doesn't really delete it, it just marks the space the file occupied on the hard drive as available to use in the future. If you can grab that space before its contents have been overwritten, you can recover that file. Windows doesn't provide that functionality, but Recuva (as in "recover") does.

Point Recuva at your hard drive, or your MP3 player, or even the memory card from your digital camera, and you can look for specific deleted files, or just browse the medium and look at what has been marked for deletion. Grab the files you to bring back, and depending on whether their data has been overwritten by new files, you may indeed be able to bring back those deleted files. You success will depend on how long ago the files were deleted, and whether they have been overwritten, but Recuva will give you its best guess as to the prognosis of your recovery efforts, from Excellent (probably can get it back) down to Very Poor (hope you have backups).

Recuva runs under Windows and requires Win2k or later.

Download Recuva

Monolingual helps save space by speaking your language

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

screenshot of Monolingual

Monolingual is a tool for removing un-needed and un-used resources from OS X. Rather than keeping all of the language resources that come with OS X and applications added after the fact, you can choose to keep only those languages that you will actually need, whether that be English or any other language. Getting rid of the un-needed resources can free up gobs of space on your system, space that could be better used for storing data and programs that you will actually use.

Cleaning your system is simple; just fire-up the app, check the languages you want to get rid of, and click the "Remove" button. The superfluous resources will be cleaned out, and you'll get a list of the all operations to written to a log file.

Certain Adobe applications won't run correctly after language resources have been removed, so you'll want to make sure that you omit those apps from the "remove" list.

Monolingual is distributed as a Universal Binary, so it will run on both PowerPC and Intel-architectured machines. It requires OS X version 10.3.9 or later.

Download Monolingual

iTALC – Intelligent Teaching and Learning with Computers

Monday, November 26th, 2007

screenshot of iTALC

Computers have added a whole new dimension to teaching. The abilities to drill for mastery of content, provide instant feedback, and work interactively between students are just a few of the opportunities available with computers. There is a potential downside as well.

Assuming that "no good deed will go unpunished", having students working on computers adds a whole layer of administrative attention that must be brought to bear. You don't need much tech support with a paper and pencil, but computer systems aren't so easy.

iTALC, the tool that provides Intelligent Teaching and Learning with Computers, can help make this part easier. Its ability to control machines remotely means that teacher can "look over the shoulders" of students, to examine their work and help coach their efforts. iTALC can also flip that around, putting the teacher's screen in front of each student at their remote workstations, making it an ideal platform for demonstrations. This functionality is not limited to a shared subnet, so remote systems can be included as well, great for students who are at home rather than school.

It can also lock workstations, so that students are paying attention to instruction, rather than being distracted by their systems. And at the end of the day, teachers can power-off an entire lab full of computers, saving lots of time.

iTALC is a free download, and runs under both Linux and Windows (Win2k or better).

Download iTALC

Microsoft HealthVault features medical info storage and search

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

screenshot of HealthVault

When you think about the major players in the current health care crisis in this country, one of the names that doesn't generally come tripping of the tongue is Microsoft. Their new HealthVault service, currently in beta, may help you bring some sanity back to healthcare for you and your family.

HealthVault is a free service that combines an enhanced healthcare search engine with online storage of your medical records, as well as an interface for certain enabled medical devices, such as blood glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, and peakflow meters.

The search functionality is available to anyone without creating an account. It can be helpful in digging deeper into topics that interest you than working through your usual all-purpose search engine.

The information storage and retrieval functionality allows you to collect and store your personal or family medical information, prescription records, and health insurance info, and to share it with medical professionals as appropriate.

The third piece is the HealthVault Connection Center, which can interface with various health and fitness devices. This enables you to save these values directly into your account.

Privacy of your health information is always a big concern, so you'll want to read and be comfortable with HealthVault's privacy statement before you create an account and begin adding your information.

HealthVault won't fix our healthcare crisis, but it may help add some sanity to your own healthcare management. The search and account functionality are online, so they should support most modern web browsers. The Connection Center requires loading device drivers to a accommodate your various medical devices, so you should expect that Windows XP or later will be required.

Download HealthVault

Make the world safe again with Alien Arena

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

screenshot of Alien Arena

Did you ever think that maybe there just weren't enough dead aliens out there? Did you want to do something about it? Alien Arena may be right up your alley.

A first person shooter in the tradition of Quake III and Unreal Tournament, you'll be up to your ankles in blood-n-guts in no time. You can run Alien Arena in single player mode, server mode for playing against others, or even start up your own dedicated server.

There are several different game modes here, including Death Match, Capture the Flag, and others. The carnage is configurable, so you can have just the experience you're looking for. With the ability to reset everything, you can't break things in the configuration screen.

The lead developer claims that the game has been downloaded over half a million times in the last couple of years, so there's a big installed base out there. There is a large online game forum so whether its a configuration issue, or just a chance to gloat over your accomplishments, there's a big group of folks out there eager to hear what you have to say.

Alien Arena is a 3-D game, so you'll want to make sure your system has the horsepower required.

Alien Arena is available for both Linux and Windows systems.

Download Alien Arena

AppTrap deletes Mac apps and associated system files

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

screenshot of AppTrap

What's the simplest way to get rid of an application? Sure, you can throw the app in the trash, but what about all the other pieces out there: preferences, system files, and so forth?

AppTrap is a smart Mac application deletion tool. Once you've got it up and running, you can just forget it's there. Drag apps to the trash and they go away, along with all of their attendant system pieces. Nothing fancy–no bells and whistles–just reliable deletion of the app. There aren't a bunch of things to mess with here. AppTrap runs in the background and has its own preference pane, but that's about it. Drag your app to the trash, click the Move Files button on the AppTrap dialog, and you're target program is as good as gone.

AppTrap is a Mac app and requires OS X 10.4+ and runs on both PPC and MacIntel machines.

Download AppTrap

Free your text from its formatting with Free Text Mining Tool

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

screenshot of Free Text Minig Tool

There is a wealth of text out there. PDFs, web pages, Word docs–it's everywhere. Along with the text itself comes all the formatting. Fonts, layout, illustrations, all that good stuff.

Sometimes you want all those bells and whistles, other times you want just the text and nothing else. It can be a real pain to copy and paste from those source documents, and then have to go back and delete the extras. Even worse, you may have to copy content to the clipboard, paste it into a text editor, and then copy and paste from there into the ultimate destination file. Too much work.

Free Text Mining Tool comes to the rescue here. Taking your formatted text file, it strips out the formatting but leaves its text-y goodness intact. Save it off to a new file, and you're golden.

Along with the supplied GUI, Free Text Mining Tool comes with the console tool "minetext", which you can run from the command prompt. Supply an input file name and an output file name, and this tool will take care of things automatically for you.

Free Text Mining Tool is a free Windows application. It requires the .NET 2.0 framework.

Download Free Text Minig Tool

SEO Note helps non-SEOs get organized as well

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

screenshot of SEO Note

SEO Note is an organizer for your personal and business notes. Originally designed for use in search engine optimization, it's probably going to be useful for anyone who takes a lot of notes and spends more time trying to find them than actually using them to get work done.

SEO Note stores everything in a single file, but allows you to organize the content within that file. You can group your notes by topic, or organize them in trees so that you can always find what you're looking for.

It's small enough that you can load SEO Note onto a USB thumb drive and stick it in your pocket and take it with you. Ideal for situations where you need your notes, but don't want to drag your laptop along with you.

SEO Note requires Windows 2000 or better.

Download SEO Note