Archive for February, 2008

Clone your Windows partition easily with Winclone

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

screenshot of Winclone

Do you like to cover your bets? Play both sides of the street? Use Boot Camp to run Windows on your Mac? Here's a tool that you can use to clone that Windows partition.

Setting up a new machine, it's easy to copy your XP or Vista partition and install it on that system, either on a separate drive, or on your OS X boot drive. That makes it easy to deploy a whole network full of Boot Camp-enabled machines.

With a simple UI, you won't have to work all day to figure out how to run Winclone. You can create your clone while booted from the boot drive, so you don't have to boot from secondary volumes or FireWire devices.

Everything runs fast, too. They claim that you can restore a 10GB drive in as little as ten minutes.

Winclone is a free download. It's a Mac app and requires Boot Camp.

Download Winclone

ChatStat lets your visitors know you're available

Monday, February 18th, 2008

screenshot of ChatStat

Do you run a website? Do your customers need to communicate with you? Is email too slow for your needs? How about adding Live Chat to your site?

ChatStat lets you chat with your visitors—soon to be your customers—in real time as they work through your website. Not only can yo chat with visitors through your site, but since it supports the major IM clients (AOL, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, GoogleTalk, and Skype), you can chat with virtually anybody. This free version supports two operator seats, so you don't have to be tied to your desk all the time.

For the ultimate in security, ChatStat supports 128-bit encryption. This means not only are all your sessions private, but you can put chat buttons on secure pages without getting the dreaded "there are secure and non-secure items on this page" message.

ChatStat is a Windows application and requires that you be running Windows 2000 or later. You must also have the .NET 2.0 Framework.

Download ChatStat

No more "what is that color?" with Instant Eyedropper

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

screenshot of Instant Eyedropper

Okay, so you've just seen the coolest color ever, and you want to incorporate it into your document or website. How do you replicate it? Take screenshot, paste it into your graphics editor, grab the RGB values, and go from there. That's a lot of work to have to go through.

Instant Eyedropper is a neat little tool that cuts through all that and gets you directly to that color value that you really want. Fire it up, point it at the color you're interested in, and you're good. Now you've got the hex value for that color on your clipboard, just waiting to be pasted into your document. Savings? A whole lot of time not wasted on this trivial task.

Choose a resolution that works for you, so that you can grab just the right pixel. Set it to load into the System Tray on startup so that it's always read and waiting for you. Save your values out as hex, RGB, or any of several other formats, depending on where you're going to use them.

Instant Eyedropper is a free tool. It requires Windows NT / 2000 or later.

Download Instant Eyedropper

Wubi may be the world's least painful Linux installer

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

screenshot of Wubi

Okay, so you've been reading all about Linux, and you've decided maybe you'd like to try it on for size. You've got a huge investment—money, sweat, and tears—in your Windows system and don't want to kill it just to try Linux, but you don't have a spare box lying around to load it on either. Maybe you should give Wubi a try.

Wubi is a Linux installer for Windows systems. Rather than having to reformat your hard drive—and lose all your applications and data—Wubi will let you install a fully functioning Ubuntu Linux system on your machine without having to mess with your current partitions and data. Instead of a separate partition, Wubi puts the entire Linux into a file in your Windows filesystem. It simply adds a Linux entry to the Windows boot menu. At any point, just reboot your system, choose Linux, and you're off and running. It comes with all the goodies you'd expect on a Linux system.

As a simple installer, you just run Wubi like any other Windows app—there's no need to burn ISO disk images to CD, or anything else like that. And at the end, if you decide you don't want to keep it on your system, you can use Windows' own uninstaller to remove all traces from your system.

Wubi is a free download for Windows, and supports all flavors from Win98 and later.

Download Wubi

CreaToon turns your doodles into animated movies

Friday, February 15th, 2008

screenshot of CreaToon

Ranging from simple flip books, through big deal mid-century Disney features, and on to the latest creation from Pixar, animation runs the gamut in terms of creativity and technology. If you've ever wanted to try your hand at animation but were intimidated by the prospect of the tedium involved in photographing drawings one frame at a time, maybe you should give CreaToon a look.

With a low cost of entry—free, that is—CreaToon allows you try your hand at simple and even not-so-simple animations. With several tutorials, you can quickly learn how to use the tools here, and then let your creativity take over as you become the next big thing in the entertainment biz.

Not a soup-to-nuts animation solution, CreaToon has some rudimentary image editing ability, but for the most part it assumes that you are creating your content elsewhere—a paint program, scanning images in, etc.—and then using CreaToon to bring them to life.

CreaToon is a Windows application. It will run on most Win32 platforms.

Download CreaToon

Spicebird brings your world together

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

screenshot of Spicebird

Collaboration can be a real challenge, especially if your team is scattered around the office or the world. Keeping in touch with everybody can be a challenge, and running a handful of apps just to stay in contact can quickly exhaust your screen space, to say nothing of your system resources.

Spicebird is a collaboration tool that helps people work smarter together. It integrates all the tools necessary to make sure that everybody's on the same page: calendar, tasks, contacts, email, and chat are all represented. Built on top of Mozilla's Thunderbird (email), Sunbird (calendar), and SamePlace (chat) platforms, you have access to all these tools in a single application.

Individual tools are accessed via applets that sit on the desktop. You can choose which applets to activate, and customize their content, adding, for example, your favorite news feeds to the RSS applet.

Each of the individual tools boasts the standard functionality you would expect: the calendar allows you daily, weekly, or monthly views, for example. The email tool will examine incoming messages and if it spots time information, it will ask you whether you want to schedule an event that corresponds with that time. The email and chat tools let you know in real time whether your contacts are online, making it easier to ping them right now if you need to communicate with them.

Spicebird is a free download, and is available for Windows and Linux.

Download Spicebird

Remember The Milk: So many tasks, so little time

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

screenshot of Remember The Milk

How can you possibly keep track of all the "stuff" you've got to do? There are lots of organizers and calendaring tools out there, to be sure. Even then, it's not always easy to stay on top of things. Sure, if you're at your computer, an Outlook-generated reminder is fine, but what if you're using a different machine? An emailed reminder may suffice. Need more flexibility than that?

Remember The Milk is a free online service that allows you to easily create reminders, but it comes with more. Along with pop-up and emailed reminders, you can have it send reminders to your favorite IM client. Or even send SMS text messages to your phone. Now you'll be on top of your schedule no mater where you are or what you're doing.

Along with the basic functionality, Remember The Milk supports a bunch of plug-ins. Use the iGoogle Gadget to manage your life from your homepage, use the mobile version on your iPhone, or even do it all offline with the Google Gears browser plug-in.

Remember The Milk is an online service. You should be able to use it with most any modern web browser.

Download Remember The Milk

You won't get crumbs on your keyboard with ToasterClone

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

screenshot of ToasterClone

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (the late '80's), our computer screens were filled with visions of flying toasters. Those days have returned with ToasterClone.

Featuring the winged appliances of yore, and a healthy dose of toast, ToasterClone brings back the joy (and silliness) of cookware on your computer screen. You can choose the classic white-in-black motif, or the modern full-color version.

ToasterClone is a free download (distributed under Creative Commons), and is available for both Mac and Windows systems.

Download ToasterClone

PixelToolbox is a handy tool for editing those little images you use every day

Monday, February 11th, 2008

screenshot of PixelToolbox

There are all kinds of graphic manipulation tools out there. Clean up red eye in your photos. Create elaborate logos for stationery. The list goes on, with an almost limitless list of apps to do serious editing to your images. Most of these are aimed at relatively larger-sized images, whether it's your vacation photos or your website. But what about the smallest sized images we interact with regularly?

PixelToolbox is a specialized graphics editor for use in creating and tweaking desktop graphics for Windows. You can build your own icons, cursors, and wallpaper tiles, or edit existing ones. Because it's designed to manipulate these little files, it gives you a big enough grid to work on so that you can actually see what you're doing. That's a lot easier than working in Photoshop with a 600% zoom. There's a full complement of tools to use, with the standard drawing and painting tools like pencil, brush, eraser, and more. There are several canned patterns and color palettes so that you'll be up and running in no time.

PixelToolbox is a Windows app and will run under Win95, NT, or anything later. Not demanding in its hardware requirements, it'll do its thing on a Pentium II-200MHz with only 32MB of RAM.

Download PixelToolbox

Build your own online calling card with Hyplet

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

screenshot of Hyplet

Way back when, you used to leave a "visiting card" with the servant of somebody you wanted to visit with, in essence announcing that you were out there standing in the street waiting for an invitation to enter. You don't see those too much any more. In the real world, they have more or less been replaced by business cards, serving as a reminder of somebody you've just met with. There really aren't any business cards on the Internet, but the need to introduce yourself and remind folks who you are is still just as real.

Hyplet lets you build a "hyplet", a little ID card or business card, suitable for placing on a web page or attaching to an email as a signature. With a bunch of templates to choose from, you can add your name, contact info, web page, and other pertinent information to get people to where you are. Personalize it with a photo, or add an avatar to present your alter ego to the world.

Hyplets can be used as "flyers" also. Need a quickie image to publicize your blog or announce you next big event? Build a hyplet with time and date; add contact info and you're good to go.

Hyplet is an online service. It should be compatible with most systems with a modern browser.

Download Hyplet