Archive for September, 2009

Download all the files with DownloadThemAll

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of DownThemAll

If you're prowling the web looking for images, audio files, or other tasty downloadable stuff, you know that finding a page you're interested in can be a mixed blessing. Sure, there's all those files you were looking for, but it also means that you have to download them, probably one at a time. That's going to take you all afternoon.

DownThemAll is an add-on for Firefox that lets you grab all the links or all the images on a web page. Just fire it up and you get a list of links on your page. Select the links you're interested in—maybe thumbnail images, maybe MP3 files—and download those items pronto! As a smart downloader, it lets you build filters to grab just the files you're looking for. It's easy to rename them as they're downloaded as well, so you can make sense out of that pile of files you just grabbed. It can even auto-increment numbered files so that you won't have to worry about downloading file "x" only to have it overwritten by file "y". And it splits files into multiple chunks as they're downloaded, so the process all goes much faster; in addition, you can interrupt and resume your downloads with no problem.

DownThemAll is a free Firefox extension. It should run on version 3 or later of Firefox.

Download DownThemAll

Cut and paste gets smarter with Smart Clipboard

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

runs on Mac
screenshot of Smart Clipboard

We're big fans of the system clipboard. Having the ability to copy-and-paste text and images from here to there is a great timesaver. The only real alternative would be to save stuff off to individual files, and then insert them into your documents—not a lot of fun there. The only real drawback is that your system only has one clipboard. That's fine if you're not doing anything too complicated, but if you want to push the envelope a bit, pretty soon you're going to wish you had another clipboard or three.

Enter Smart Clipboard. Simple in concept, it's profound in its usefulness. Starting with a default number of four clipboards, you can add additional ones so that you have all the little cubbyholes you need for your data. It sits unobtrusively up in your menubar, waiting for you to click on it. You choose which clipboard will be active, and that's the one that new stuff will be added to or pasted from. Choose a different clipboard and store a second item in there; you get the picture. You can even choose to save the contents of a clipboard to a file, for more permanent storage. There's a preview feature included so you can remember which data is on which clipboard. And finally, you can actually save the contents of your clipboards from session to session. Restart your system and your clipboards are still there. Nice.

Smart Clipboard is a Mac application. It should run on just about any flavor of OS X.

Download Smart Clipboard

Swap file names with Switcheroo

Monday, September 28th, 2009

runs on Windows
screenshot of Switcheroo

You're not quite sure how you did it, but you know you did: you've got two files, but they're named wrong. And not just any wrong—their names are reversed. FOO should really be BAR, and vice versa. Simple problem, but not so simple to fix. After all, you can't rename those files in just one step. First you have to rename FOO to TEMP, then rename BAR to FOO, and finally change TEMP to BAR. That's a lot of wheel spinning for sure.

Switcheroo is the quick and easy way to exchange file names between two files. Open Windows Explorer, drag your files onto the Switcheroo window, press the magic Switch button, and your files are renamed. No more having to think the process through; no more getting lost in the middle and not knowing what you have.

Switcheroo is a free Windows app.

Download Switcheroo

Choose more than one default browser

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

runs on Windows
screenshot of Browser Chooser

If you're a web designer, or just somebody with a very particular way you want to work, then you probably use several different web browsers. Between IE, Firefox, Opera, and more, it can be a lot of work to keep them straight. And then there's the whole question of the "default" browser—you know, the one that opens up when you click on a link in an email or document. It'd sure be handy to have more than one default browser.

Browser Chooser gives you that power. Once it's installed, it then functions as your default browser. Now when you double-click on that link, instead of opening a real web browser, you get Browser Chooser, and it offers you links for each of your installed browsers. Finally you can use the tool you really want without a bunch of extra twisting and turning.

Browser Chooser is a Windows app. It's designed for Vista and Windows 7.

Download Browser Chooser

Keep track of mounted volumes with Volumizer

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

runs on Mac
screenshot of Volumizer

If your hard drive is of any size at all, you've probably got it partitioned into several individual volumes. Or you may be lucky enough to have several discrete drives in your computer. Either way, you need to be able to navigate through your system to- and from these volumes. Maybe you've got work stuff on one drive and fun stuff on another. You can always open a Finder window and browse around to find what you're looking for, but it might be nice to speed that process up by not having to open that window just yet. This is where a tool like Volumizer comes in handy.

A Mac application, Volumizer sits in your Menubar just waiting for you to click it. Fire it up and it displays a list of all the volumes currently mounted on your system, including local drives, network shares, and even removable media that are active on your system. Click on the icon for the volume you're interested in, and it will open a Finder window, open at the top level of that volume. Now it's easy to get where you want to go, all without breaking a sweat.

Volumizer is a free application. It runs under any reasonable version of OS X.

Download Volumizer

Track your financial investments with Portfolio Viewer

Friday, September 25th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Portfolio Viewer

Whether you're taking a beating in the current financial situation, or you're on top of things and positioned to lead us all back out of recession, everybody can agree on one thing: you won't know how you're doing if you don't keep an eye on things. If you've got a portfolio of more than one or two investments, you probably already get some help from a high-powered tool like Quicken or Microsoft Money, but sometimes you just want to take a quick look at what's going on today, without having to wade through layers and layers of complicated stuff.

Portfolio Viewer is a tool that lets you keep an eye on your investments. It can handle multiple portfolios. Track your positions, with automatic updates of share prices, so you'll always know the value of your investments. Use charts and reports to help you tweak your asset allocations. And since all your data is stored locally, you're not going to have problems with your information being compromised, as well as the fact that you can take advantage of much of this tool's functionality while you're offline.

Portfolio Viewer is built on the Adobe Air framework. It should run on any system that supports that technology.

Download Portfolio Viewer

Count keystrokes with KeyCounter

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

runs on Windows
screenshot of KeyCounter

How much do you type in a given hour or day or week? No matter how many mouse clicks you generate over time, that number pales in comparison to the number of good old-fashioned keyboard key clicks you do. You might surprise yourself if you take a look at what you've been up to with KeyCounter.

KeyCounter is a tool that keeps track of how many times you've pressed a particular key on your keyboard. You choose the keys, and it keeps a record of the number of key presses. Designate a specific key or two ([Windows] key, [F1]) or choose from pre-defined classes of keys ([a] through [z], punctuation marks, etc.). While it is logging keystrokes, it's not like those monitors that grab what you're typing to steal passwords and all that—this guy just counts individual keystrokes.

Why use it? Who knows—maybe it can help you keep an eye on repetitive motion issues you're having; or if you write apps, looking at [F1] usage may give you a heads-up as to the number of times you have to ask for help when you're running your program.

KeyCounter is a free Windows application.

Download KeyCounter

BlogBridge industrial strength news aggregator

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of BlogBridge

There are two types of people in the world: those who break the world down into two types of people and those who don't. Okay, old joke, right? But seriously, there are a lots of ways in which people can be broken down into two different groups based on their attitudes or behaviors. Take news feeds, for example. For some folks, it's all fun and games: keeping track of the comings and goings of friends, new music and video releases, and other general recreational stuff. For others, it's strictly business: vendors to watch, competitors to track, that soft of thing. This latter group usually has a whole bunch of stuff to try to keep track of; they need a tool that's as serious about it all as they are.

BlogBridge is an industrial-strength blog and newsfeeds aggregator. It supports all popular feed formats, and lets you keep track of what you've read and what's still waiting for you. With installs on multiple machines, you can keep your life synchronized between work, home, and even on the road. It's got heavy-duty search tools that let you find what you need fast, too.

BlogBridge is a free download. It's a Java app, so it'll run on systems that have the appropriate runtime installed, including many flavors of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Download BlogBridge

Flesh out your family tree with Personal Ancestry Writer II

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

runs on Mac
screenshot of Personal Ancestry Writer II

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Does this apply to our personal history as well? In other words, will we each become our parents? That may be good—or bad—but either way, it's a good idea to know where we come from on a personal level. Thus is born the study of genealogy.

Once upon a time it may have been easy enough to keep track of who's related to whom, but any more with nuclear families, blended families, multigenerational families, adoptions, in-laws, out-laws, and every other possible combination, it can be challenging to try to keep track of it all on a legal pad or two. This is a place where software comes in handy, with its ability to do all the heavy lifting without getting a headache in the process.

Personal Ancestry Writer II (PAWriter II) is a tool that deserves some attention. It has a fairly straightforward editing interface, so entering family members is pretty easy. You can work your way up- or down the various lines, or you can jump to a specific individual. It's smart enough to deal with people who are related in multiple ways (e.g. brothers married sisters). It can spit out several reports, so you can get the "big picture" on where you came from as well.

PAWriter II is a free Mac application. It runs under OS X, as well as OS9.

Download Personal Ancestry Writer II

Unleash your inner Mozart with Noteflight

Monday, September 21st, 2009

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Noteflight

Back in the day, any of the great composers—Bach, Haydn, Brahms, and the rest—had to suffer for their art. We're not just talking about the agony of a Beethoven composing while deaf, or even of Robert Schumann jumping into the Rhine in a suicide attempt. They all had to take pen to paper to record their musical masterpieces. From the looks of some of the autograph manuscripts that many of these guys produced, it's a wonder that their compositions were ever played, as they didn't all have the best penmanship imaginable.

If these guys had been around today, they could have tried Noteflight. This online tool lets you compose and play back your work, and do so in such a way that you can actually read what you've written. You run it from within your browser, so there's nothing to download. Your pieces are all stored on their servers, so you never run the risk of losing your work.

You use your mouse to enter notes and rests for as many different musical lines as you need. It's easy to add accidentals, change time- and key signatures, or to even transpose whole pieces. It's all pretty slick.

Noteflight is a free service. Once you register, you'll be able to access their Flash-based tool, which should run in most recent web browsers.

Download Noteflight