Archive for April, 2008

Process tons-o-images with Picture Resizer 2.0

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

screenshot of Picture Resizer 2.0

If you've got a whole pile of pictures to resize, you certainly don't want to do them one at a time. A batch tool that lets you manipulate a bunch of images at one time is the order of the day here.

Picture Resizer 2.0 allows you to do batch resizing of JPEG images. To accomplish this, you just drag your images—whether individual pictures or whole directories full of JPEGs—and drop them on the executable's icon. It will automatically resize your images and drop them back into the folders where they live. The resized item will have a new name, based on the original, that will let you know which is which.

Configuration of this tool is a little complicated. Since you literally just drag and drop, there is no real GUI here to interact with the app. Instead, you rename the executable itself, and in that new name, you will give it configuration instructions. If, for example, you want to resize images to 200 pixels rather than the default 400 pixel size, you rename the executable from PhotoResize400.exe to PhotoResize200.exe. What to handle folders? Change it to PhotoResize400R.exe. There is an add-on, PhotoResize Options, available on the site to help overcome this, um, unique way of configuring the tool.

Picture Resizer 2.0 is a Windows app. It requires Windows 98 or later, and is also available in a 64-bit version.

Download Picture Resizer 2.0

YemuZip lets you tailor your ZIP files to Mac or PC

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

screenshot of YemuZip

Archive files are a good thing. Collect all your stuff and jam it into a single file. Easy to keep track of; easy to transport. Hey, with ZIP files, you can even share them across platforms. When you go from a Mac to a Windows machine, though, you can get a bunch of nasty looking Mac-only stuff. Don't freak out your Windows-using buddy—try YemuZip.

YemuZip creates ZIP archives, but with a difference. You can choose whether your intended audience is running a Mac or a Windows box. Archives created for Mac bring all the goodies along; those intended for Windows cut all the Mac-specific meta data out, so you get a nice, clean looking archive, instead of one that prompts a lot of questions.

YemuZip is a Mac application. It requires OS X 10.3.9 or later. It's distributed as a Universal Binary, so it's equally at home on PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Download YemuZip

CuePrompter makes your Ted Baxter dreams come true

Monday, April 28th, 2008

screenshot of CuePrompter

Whether you're reading the evening news, speaking before a crowd, or just want to be able to easily read text from a distance, you may have used a teleprompter. These clever devices allow you to look at your audience, or into the lens of a TV camera, and read text, making it look like you've memorized it. Better than cue cards that require you to focus your attention elsewhere, or a written script on your desktop, the teleprompter makes it look like you're much more connected to your audience.

CuePrompter is a free service that simulates the effect of a teleprompter. Paste your script into the textbox, select your text options (large or small screen and font, black-on-white or white-on-black), and give it a go. You can choose the scrolling speed so that you can read at the right pace for your audience. Set the display for normal or mirror mode, where the screen is reversed to read correctly in a mirror.

CuePrompter is an online service, available for both personal and commercial use. It should be compatible with all modern browsers. The publishers recommend that to take advantage of all its features, that you should be running Win2k or later and IE 5.0 or newer.

Download CuePrompter

IdleBackup makes sure you're always backed-up

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

screenshot of IdleBackup

IdleBackup is an easy to configure, easy to use system backup tool. Allowing for both full and incremental backups, you select the data to archive by means of a "tree" control with checkboxes—select the branches to back up, deselect what you don't want to record. You can create a backup manually, or set it to work automatically—an "idle backup"—when the system doesn't see any keyboard or mouse activity for a predefined period of time.

You can back data up to a local drive, network volume, or even removable media like USB thumb drives.

IdleBackup comes with a regular Windows installer routine, but if you want, you can use just the executable—great if you're cramped for space, or need to run the app from removable media.

IdleBackup is a Windows tool. It requires Windows 2000 or later.

Download IdleBackup

You'll put your abacus out of work with Calq

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

screenshot of Calq

You're reading along in a document or web page and come across some numbers. You want to do a quickie calculation, but now you're stuck—do you start-up the ten-key sitting on your desk—you do still have a desktop calculator, right—or do you fire-up Excel? Neither of those is a particularly satisfying option. Wouldn't it be nice to have an on-screen calculator that would let you do that quick calculation without making a major production of it?

Calq is just such a tool. You can start Calq up when you need it, or add it to your start up items and call it up with a hotkey combination. Either way, you get a calculator that overlays the windows on your screen and lets you do calculations through the keyboard. It's so unobtrusive that once you're done using it, it even puts itself away—after several seconds of inactivity, it hides itself, just waiting for you to call it up again.

Calq is available for both Mac and Windows. The Macintosh version requires OS X version 10.4 or later. The Windows version wants XP or Vista.

Download Calq

Pencil helps you bring out your inner animator

Friday, April 25th, 2008

screenshot of Pencil

Pencil is a free open-source animation program. Not aimed at professionals, it allows just about anybody to create old-school 2-dimensional animation. Working with layers, it supports both bitmapped and vector drawings. Using virtual "onion skins", you create one image, and then use that to create your next one by displaying a semi-transparent rendering of your first image, just the way the great classic animators used to painstakingly create all the old pre-computer cartoons. You can draw your images within Pencil, or you can import drawings from other apps, or even scan them in from your real-world drawings.

The camera layer lets you move the viewer's point-of-view around your drawings. There's also some support for a sound layer, so you can add voices or music to your creation.

When you're all done with your masterpiece, you can save your animation to the default XML format, or as a series of PNG images. You can also save it as a Flash movie, or as a QuickTime file (Mac only).

Pencil is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows users.

Download Pencil

Keep track of your email with POP Peeper

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

screenshot of POP Peeper

How many email accounts do you have? Home, work, clubs. POP accounts, webmail accounts like Yahoo and Gmail. The list goes on and on. How can you possibly keep track of all this?

POP Peeper is a tool that sits in your Windows System Tray and helps you keep track of all your comings and goings in the land of email. Sitting unobtrusively in your task bar, it'll let you know when new messages come in for your accounts. It's compatible with POP3, IMAP, and most webmail services.

An account creation wizard makes it easy to configure POP Peeper for your accounts. You can enter account information manually, or import it from your current email client.

You can configure it to play a sound for new arrivals with your choice of either one sound for all new messages, or select a different sound for each account. Once new email has arrived, you can choose to read it and respond through POP Peeper, or it can open your regular email client for you.

POP Peeper is a Windows application and should run on most systems.

Download POP Peeper

DeskSave saves your desktop layout—and your sanity

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

screenshot of DeskSave

Has this ever happened to you? You've got your desktop icons all laid out just the way you want them. Maybe it's applications over here, and documents over there, or work and personal, or whatever arrangement makes you feel like you're really gonna' get some work done. And then you change the resolution on your screen.

Whether you're coding a new app or looking at a web page, sometimes you need to see what it looks like at a different screen resolution. Now you've done it. Your carefully arranged desktop icons are totally trashed. Windows has been very helpful and rearranged them all for you. Only, now you can't find anything. What makes perfect sense to the O/S makes no sense to you. Despair sets in.

DeskSave is a tool that keeps you from being the victim of Windows' helpfulness. Once you get your desktop configured the way you want, you can save that layout. Now when you have to change your screen, when you restore the original resolution, you get your layout back. If you regularly jump from one size to another, you can save multiple arrangements, so that things always look the way you want them to. No more despair!

DeskSave is a Windows tool. It runs on systems using Win98 or later.

Download DeskSave

RapidoWrite speeds-up your typing

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

screenshot of RapidoWrite

RapidoWrite is a cross-application text replacement tool. If you're constantly typing the same text into letters, forms, and so on, why not automate the process? Now instead of typing your whole address, just type "addr" or any other string of characters, and it will expand out to the text you've assigned to it. Use it for signatures, addresses, or even whole documents—it's up to you. It's easier and quicker for accessing regularly visited web pages than digging through lists of bookmarks.

To use the power of RapidoWrite, you just type your abbreviation and hit [Return], and that's it. It will automatically replace the abbreviation with your selected text, and you're on your way. It works with any application, so you don't have to use one tool with your word processor and another one with your web browser.

RapidoWrite is a tool for Macintosh users. It requires OS X version 10.4 or later. It will run on both PowerPC and Intel machines.

Download RapidoWrite

PngOptimizer helps keep your images in line

Monday, April 21st, 2008

screenshot of PngOptimizer

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files were designed to be the best of both worlds: they don't require the licensing of the technology behind GIF images, and they are a lossless format so that you aren't losing data from your image files. They can suffer, however, from being rather large in size.

PngOptimizer is a free tool that can help you to optimize your PNG files. You can clean-up your existing files, making them smaller in size, or convert them into other lossless formats, such as BMPs and GIFs. It also allows you to make PNG screenshots, which are handy to insert into documents or post to the Web.

PngOptimizer is a Windows app, and requires Win2k or WinXP. It's available in both a GUI version, and also a command line version, suitable for scripting and batch files.

Download PngOptimizer