Archive for June, 2010

Track your finances with RQ Money

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of RQ Money

The saying goes "watch the pennies and the pounds (or dollars) take care of themselves." While the notion of paying attention to details and letting the big picture alone might be attractive, it's probably not a viable financial planning tool. If you want to keep track of the pennies and the pounds, you might be advised to use a more appropriate financial tool.

RQ Money is a tool you might want to take a look at. It's small in size, but not small in features. It supports unlimited accounts and categories for in-come and out-go. You can automate recurring transactions so you won't forget to pay the cable bill. Print reports of transactions, or export your data to Excel for further analysis. It's built on a reliable SQLite database, so your data will be there when you need it. There's no installer, so all you need to do is unzip it on your hard drive—or your USB drive—and go.

A free download, RQ Money is a Windows application. You should have no problem running it on something as humble as your (ancient) Win9x system, or the flashiest new Windows 7 box.

Download RQ Money

Clean up your text with CleanHaven

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of CleanHaven

When is text not text? When it's got a bunch of extraneous formatting and "stuff" mixed in with it. Sometimes that's great, but if you're writing code, or want to manipulate the text yourself, often you have to "fix" all the stuff that's there in order to then put your own stamp on it.

One way to help take care of this type of problem is with CleanHaven. This tool is designed specifically to help clean up text. Choose to change the case of words (ALL CAPS, all lower case, Title Case), sort lines in ascending or descending order, remove duplicate lines, strip out extra newline characters, and more. Sure, you could do all this stuff yourself, but why not put your computer to work for you? It's easy to paste your source into the window, press the button, and then examine your result. If you like it, you can go from there, but if not, you've still got your original. And you can run the text through multiple times, so that you can alphabetize it, and then remove all the resulting blanks lines.

CleanHaven is a free download. There are versions for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems.

Download CleanHaven

Keep your life in order with ToDoList

Monday, June 28th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of ToDoList

Everybody knows there's not enough hours in the day. That means you have the choice of moving somewhere with a longer day (the moon takes about a month to turn on its axis, but it's hard to get a Wi-Fi signal), or better organizing your time here on good old Mother Earth. We choose the latter.

ToDoList is an aptly-name tool to help you keep track of what you need to, umm, do. Like any good time management system, you can enter tasks, prioritize them, assign them to various people, track progress, and all that. ToDoList also lets you divide your tasks into sub-tasks ad infinitum, so you can specify more particularly the who and what for those smaller chunks of work, while maintaining the "big picture" overview. Your data is stored in XML, so you'll never lose control of your information, as well as being able to easily manipulate it outside of the program for reporting, etc.

You can grab your copy of ToDoList for free. It's a Windows application.

Download ToDoList

Present.ly is like Twitter with privacy

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Present.ly

Like it or hate it, Twitter's here to stay. The ubiquitous microblogging platform has everybody tweeting "what's happening?" While reaching out and touching folks may be handy, sometimes there's a limited number of people you want to interact with. Like maybe only your coworkers or your clients, and not everybody and their cousin. In that case, Twitter may not be for you.

Present.ly is a microblogging service that lets you post updates and for others to follow you, but it's private, meaning that only the people you let in have access to you. Create groups for projects, departments, or whatever strikes your fancy. You can even use it to share documents with others. And like Twitter, you can access it via your computer, as well as your smart phone, or virtually any other device that can access the 'Net.

Present.ly is a free service. If you decide you need a more robust version that you can host on your own metal, they'll be happy to sell you an enterprise license for your organization.

Download Present.ly

High-powered file-renaming machine

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of Ant Renamer

There's no two ways about it: renaming files can be a pain in the neck. By extension, renaming a bunch of files is a BIG pain in the neck. There are several tools out there that can help make the process bit easier, but in our experience most of them remove some but not all of the aforementioned pain.

Ant Renamer seems to have several features not shared by all the available tools, several of which may actually be useful. For example, it can access MP3 ID Tags from your audio files, meaning that you can end up with file names that add actual information to your files. It can also pull EXIF data from image files, making those filenames smarter as well. In addition, you can use regular expressions in choosing and naming files, allowing you almost unlimited power in your renaming schemes. It's available in nearly a dozen different languages, and supports Unicode characters, so you aren't restricted to only Latin alphabets.

A free download, Ant Renamer is a Windows application. It doesn't run under Windows 95, but should be okay with just about every other flavor.

Download Ant Renamer

I Love PDF

Friday, June 25th, 2010

runs as Online Service
screenshot of I Love PDF

PDFs are everywhere, and there seems to be no end of tools out there to read PDF files (Adobe Reader and a wealth of free and open source apps) or even to create them. There do seem to be a somewhat smaller number of tools to manipulate those PDF files. Say you've got a great big PDF that you need to break up into more easily digested chunks. Or maybe you've got a pile of smaller documents that it would make sense to combine. Scissors and tape may be a solution for real-world documents, but they don't work so well for electronic files.

I Love PDF is a free service that lets you merge and split PDF files. Choose to break a PDF up into smaller pieces, or to grab just selected pages and extract them. Or take up to 10 individual PDFs and combine them into one. In either case, this service supports PDF files up to 8 MB in size (split one 8 meg file or combine several 8 meg files), so you've got a fair amount of room to work with.

All you need to use I Love PDF is a web browser with Flash installed and JavaScript turned on. And a pile of PDFs you want to work with.

Download I Love PDF

Screenshots done better

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of Greenshot

The ability of take a screenshot is important to just about anyone who does serious work on a computer. Whether you're a blogger who wants to quote (visually) an image or another site you've visited, or a software designer who needs to document some tweak you've made in the UI of your latest creation, it's important to be able to grab that image. Most systems have the built-in ability to do this kind of thing, but as is often the case, the out-of-the-box solution is pretty weak and doesn't really cover all your image-capturing needs. Enter the third-party after-market solution.

One way that solution may look is a lot like Greenshot. This tool lets you grab an individual program window or a whole-screen image, like just about everybody else, but then it adds some extra functionality. You can also capture part of a screen, for example, by marking the bounds of what you want to grab and then snapping that region. In addition, you can go in to your newly-selected image and make edits, annotations, and more. Insert rectangles or ellipses, or even a textbox. Now instead of having to choose between just text or just picture (it's worth a thousand words, you know), you can have both.

Greenshot is a Windows application. It comes both with- and without an installer, presumably allowing you to install it easily on your system or to a removable drive.

Download Greenshot

Quickie list management with ListSquared

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of ListSquared

One of our go-to tools is Excel (or its generic equivalents). Oddly enough, this isn't always just for number crunching. While its native habitat seems to be analyzing the life out of a pile of numbers, the rows-and-columns thing is really well suited to dealing with all kinds of data as well. Remember that in databases, they often call the records and fields "rows" and "columns" for a reason: this format makes it easy to look at a lot of data at once.

While you may be able to justify the cost—in dollars for Excel, or size for Brand X—sometimes you don't need all that power for a little simple data management. That new red Ferrari may be awesome, but it's overkill to use it to bop down to the corner 7 Eleven for a snack.

ListSquared is a spreadsheet-like tool that's designed for simple list creation and management. There's no calculations involved, just a neat tabular way to keep track of stuff. It supports find and replace, copy and paste, and all that. Create your own lists with this tool, or import delimited text files created with other apps. You can save your data to HTML, CSV, and tab-separated text files.

You can use ListSquared on your Windows system. While it may not function correctly under Windows 95, it should be right at home on most any other Win32 platform.

Download ListSquared

Audit your network with Open-AudIT

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Open-AudIT

Networks come in all sizes and shapes. It may be a simple file sharing convenience on your desktop between your main system and your laptop, or it may be an enterprise-wide behemoth covering half the planet. No matter which extreme you're closer to, you know that with networks come complications. You've got machines, connections, protocols, applications, data, and a zillion other considerations to keep track of, and even if you're making a conscious effort to stay on top of things, there's more than a break-even chance that you're going to fall behind.

Open-AudIT is a tool that you might be able to use to stay in control. You can enter information about your network into it manually, but it can also reach out and touch your machines (Windows and Linux) and collect information about your network automatically. The best thing about automatic, or course, is that you can't "forget" or get too busy to do what needs to be done. Schedule regular scans and you stay on top of things—and you may learn about other things happening on your network, like installation of unapproved software or unauthorized machines joining in.

You can run Open-AudIT on Windows and Linux (Fedora, Ubuntu) systems. If you go the server route, you'll also need Apache or IIS and a MySQL install.

Download Open-AudIT

High-powered Recycle Bin

Monday, June 21st, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of RecycleBinEx

Ah, regret. We all suffer from it from time to time. Maybe it's the relationship we cut off too soon, or the snotty remark we made at work (maybe to the boss, hopefully not). Or maybe its the files that we deleted, only to think that maybe we'd like to have them back. Well, we can't help you with your interpersonal issues, but maybe we can suggest some help for your files' MIA problem.

RecycleBinEx is a tool that lets you manage your Windows Recycle Bin. Now you can sort your trashed files not only by name, but also by delete time, disk they used to live on, and more. You can also create rules that let you delete permanently stuff that you deleted a day or a week or a month ago automatically. Along with the usual pretty GUI mode, it's also got a command line mode that lets you script actions so you don't even have to get in there and dirty your hands. It's one thing to take out the trash; it's another when the trash takes itself out. Next: the self-cleaning catbox.

This Windows application is compatible with systems running at least XP and later. And if you happen to have multiple versions of Windows installed, you can deal with each Recycle Bin at once—no need to reboot just to fiddle with deleted files.

Download RecycleBinEx