Archive for October, 2008

IP utilities with training wheels

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

screenshot of HoverIP

Whether you're a sysadmin or just a plain old user, chances are you're connected to some sort of network. Now matter how insulated you may be from the actual care and feeding of that network, there are times when you just have to dig a little deeper and get your hands a little dirty, network-wise.

What is my IP address? What exactly is the syntax if you need to ping a host? Portscan? Forget it. What you need is a simple way to generate these commands that doesn't make your head explode in the process. You need a tool that helps put training wheels on these functions.

HoverIP is just such a tool. Now instead of having to memorize some arcane command, just click on the appropriate tab, type-in the information, click the button, and you're good to go. Get your own IP address, ping another machine, find out if that server is really dead, and more.

HoverIP is a Windows application. It should be compatible with systems running Win98 and later.

Download HoverIP

Free Printable Grocery Lists

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

screenshot of Free Printable Grocery Lists

The experts tell you that you should never go shopping without a list. You know the drill: you head off to your local Mega-Mart with the best of intentions, but between the impulse buys (but that display looks so pretty!) and the "wow am I hungry" stuff (who really needs two dozen doughnuts?), next thing you know, both your diet and your finances are history. What you need is a good shopping list.

You can make that list on a scrap of paper, or stick it on the back of an envelope, but are you really being serious then? What you need is a dedicated shopping list, a list that stands up and takes control—in other words, a shopping list that you're going to take seriously. What you need is a free printable grocery list from Free Printable Grocery Lists.

They've got two dozen different designs to choose from. Choose from simple shopping lists or more complicated shopping lists. There are lists where you just fill in the blanks, and there are "smart" lists that already include items and categories. They've even got specialty shopping lists that help you buy for your camping trip, or to fill your pantry. Or be really good and grab a Low Carb grocery list to make it easier to stick to your diet.

These lists are all free to download and use. All you need is a copy of Adobe Reader installed on your computer to print 'em out.

And you can still buy a couple of doughnuts if you really want to.

Download Free Printable Grocery Lists

Wordie: Like Flickr, but without the photos

Monday, October 20th, 2008

screenshot of Wordie

Are you fascinated by words? Does the sight of a new word make a shiver run down your spine? When you run across a word you don't know, do you have to drop everything and go look it up? You may have a serious addiction, and Wordie may be just the site you need.

Wordie presents itself as "Flicker, but without the photos." In the same way that Flickr lets you collect and display photos, Wordie lets you share your favorite words with the world. Make lists of words you love, words you hate, words you want to share, words you want to keep private. You can join discussions about your lists, or the lists of others. Add citations to show your words in their natural habitat. And if you don't run up against enough words in your day-to-day life, they've even got a "random word" for you to check out.

Wordie is a free service. It should be compatible with most current-generation web browsers.

Download Wordie

Take control of Windows with PowerPro

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

screenshot of PowerPro

When everything is laid-out just so, it's so much easier to get work done. When you sit at your desk, you grab your favorite pen and your pad of paper; you bring your desktop calculator over here, you push the phone over there. Now you're all set, and ready to go. Why should your computer be any different?

PowerPro lets you work the way you want to. It starts with the features of an application launch bar, and adds the ability to manipulate application windows, send keystrokes to different programs, and even run virtual desktops, a UNIX favorite. Make it easy to start your favorite apps, the ones you use every day. Add alarms and count-down and count-up timers to make sure you're staying on schedule. Use your mouse to run apps from user-configurable launch menus, or assign system-wide or application-specific hot keys, and you'll never have to take your hands off the keyboard.

PowerPro is a Windows application. It's compatible with systems running anything from Win95 on up.

Download PowerPro

Easy event planning with SimpleSeating

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

screenshot of SimpleSeating

Whether you're planning The Social Event of the season, or just a little get-together, you're faced with the same challenge: where do you put everybody? Specifically, where will you seat them? If you're only expecting a couple of people, it's easy to just plunk them down around the kitchen table. But what if you're aiming a little higher than that?

SimpleSeating may be the solution you're looking for. You can use it for free for planning a single event with up to 50 attendees, or you can upgrade to paid versions for more and bigger get togethers. There's virtually no learning curve as you drag and drop your guests (or at least little onscreen widgets that represent your guests) to put them into just the right places. Need to keep Mr. and Mrs. Jones together? Need to keep Uncle Charlie away from Cousin Tom? Done! Save your arrangement and come back later. When everything's all in place, you can go ahead and print your seating chart.

SimpleSeating is a free service. It's compatible with systems running Internet Explorer or Firefox web browsers.

Download SimpleSeating

Take your favorite website with you

Friday, October 17th, 2008

screenshot of PageNest

Do you ever need to look at a web site when you're not connected to the Internet? What about taking a peek at your company's intranet while you're at some remote location? It would be nice if you could take it all with you.

PageNest is an offline browser that lets you do just that. Whether it's a couple of pages or a whole site, you can grab a local copy of any site and bring it along with you. Now whether you're on a plane or anywhere else where connectivity is not an option, you can still browse that site. You'll get the pages themselves, along with all the images that are embedded in them. Even if you're not traveling, it may be handy to have reference- or other sites that you access regularly squirreled away on your machine—no time wasted downloading the same page today that you grabbed yesterday.

PageNest is free for non-commercial use. It runs under Windows, and requires Win98 or later.

Download PageNest

Print smarter with GreenPrint World

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

screenshot of GreenPrint World

Long, long ago the talk was all about the "paperless office". People were positively giddy at the promise of no more mess, no more waste. Of course that was many reams of paper and many new filing cabinets ago. Turns out maybe there really isn't such a thing as a paperless office. But what about an office that doesn't use any more paper than it needs to? Maybe that's an achievable goal.

GreenPrint World is a tool that can help you get a handle on all the wasted paper in your organization or home. It's easy to use: just print the way you always have. GreenPrint World looks at what you're printing and tries to figure out if there's a way to print less. How about the website printout where the last page contains only the site's URL? Maybe it's the legal mumbo-jumbo that prints out and then goes directly into the trash? You'll get a display of what's being sent to the printer, with the option of not printing those wasteful pages, saving all that paper. Remove images if what you really want is the text, or remove text if you're looking for the pictures. Or you can decide to remove everything and PDF the output instead, and save all the paper you were going to use. It even tracks your savings, so you'll appreciate how much paper and toner you haven't used.

GreenPrint World is a free download. It's a Windows app and runs under any system from Win2k on. It uses version 2.0 of the .NET Framework.

Download GreenPrint World

Free file sharing with RapidShare

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

screenshot of RapidShare

Need to share files, but not interested in paying a ton of money for the privilege, or digging down into the deep dark bowels of a server to set up a suitable platform? You may want to give RapidShare a try.

A free file hosting platform, RapidShare lets you share files with friends, co-workers, or more. Password protect files so that only people you authorize can download them. Free accounts are limited to files with a size of no greater than 200MB, although you can break larger archives into smaller ones to bypass the limit.

Once your file is uploaded, you get a unique URL that points to your file. You can use it yourself, or email to those with whom you want to share the file. Nothing too tricky about that.

RapidShare is a free service. It should be compatible with most systems using a modern web browser.

Download RapidShare

AirRadar tells you about the networks around you

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

screenshot of AirRadar

There are networks all around us. With the huge number of wireless networks out there, it's a wonder we don't all sport a golden tan from all the excess RF flying through the air. How much do you know about the networks around you?—or your own, for that matter.

AirRadar is a free tool that lets you take a look at the wireless networks that surround you. Along with seeing just how many of them there are, you can check-out their relative strength, and even see which ones are open. Now you can piggyback on them (being well behaved in the meantime), grab the free ones at your favorite coffee vendor or college library, or provide a public service by going and telling your neighbor that their network is open and that anybody can browse through their hard drive, thank you very much. You can also check out your own network, to verify just how strong your signal is.

AirRadar is a free Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.4 or later.

Download AirRadar

Screenshots done better with MWSnap

Monday, October 13th, 2008

screenshot of MWSnap

We're always looking for a better tool to make screenshots with. Most operating systems have the built-in ability to capture as an image the entire display of a system, or to grab just the active window. If you're looking for much more than that, you're pretty much on your own.

There are some tools that let you define a region to grab—click and drag crosshairs on your screen—and even let you save the results into different graphical formats, such as BMP, JPG, PDF, and more.

MWSnap can do all these and more. Unlike many tools, you can grab the other "stuff" that you see on your screen that is often left out of screenshots. You can grab a menu, or an individual on-screen control. If you're showing somebody how a program works, or demonstrating an error for a developer, this extra ability can be most helpful.

No complex installation is necessary—just drop the app where ever you want it, and don't worry about messing up your system with a bunch of extra DLLs or Registry entries.

MWSnap is a free download. It's a Windows application and runs on any Win32 platform.

Download MWSnap