Archive for March, 2011

List Numberer

Monday, March 21st, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of List Numberer

Sometimes it seems the world is run from lists. You've got grocery lists, to-do-lists, lists of shows to watch, lists of music to listen to, and so on. Heck, that was even a list of lists right there—they are everywhere! Sometimes lists are just collections of items, but other times, there's an order to those items, and the easiest way to order a list is to assign items numbers to each member of the list. When you work the list in order, #1 happens before #2, and so on. So what if you've got a great big unordered list you want to turn into a great big ordered list? You could do a lot of typing, or you could check out List Numberer.

List Numberer, as its name suggests, is a tool that can prefix numbers to items in an unordered list. Just copy and paste your list into the application window and it will insert numbers at the beginning of each line, auto-incrementing them along the way. You can format your numbers to your choosing, and even add a prefix (maybe a number sign) and a suffix, whether a right parenthesis, an em-dash, or some other character. You can even choose the interval between adjacent items, so your list can go "1-2-3" or "10-20-30", or any other amount you like. Once your list is fixed up the way you want, copy and paste it back into your original document, and you're on your way.

List Numberer is donationware, which means you can download it and use it absolutely free, although if you were so inclined, you could throw a couple of bucks their way. It runs under Windows.

Download List Numberer

FDAD Extra:

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of FDAD Extra:

Software comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, with a lot of different business models behind it. There are the big corporations with names you recognize, like Microsoft and Adobe, but there are also the little Ma and Pa shops, the lone coder banging away in obscurity on some cul-de-sac out on the edge of the Information Superhighway. Some applications come with a hefty price tag, while others—like those featured on this site—are available for free. Shareware typically is free to use at first, but often is limited in functionality or has a time limit on it and ultimately requires payment. And then there's "donationware". Apps in this category are free to download and use, but you always have the option of making a donation to the publisher—kind of like the tip jar at your local caffeine dispensary: you don't have to pay to use it, but the folks behind the counter don't mind if you throw a couple bucks in the jar. is an outfit that supports this business model. On their site, they've got software from many different programmers covering a wide array of applications. All of their listed apps are available for free, but you can always choose to make a donation if you're so inclined. Among their activities, they sponsor an annual NANY Challenge (New Apps for a New Year). We're highlighting several of this year's entries on Free Download A Day this week. Enjoy!


Hardship Letters

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Hardship Letters

Sometimes your life runs smoothly: job is good, kids are healthy, everything hums along. Hopefully you live most of your life in that space. Unfortunately, though, sometimes things just don't work the way you'd like. Whether it's a cut in work hours, unexpected bills, or just not making the best choices in our lives, we can run into trouble. That's a time when a hardship letter may be required.

Typically a hardship letter is going to be addressed to a creditor, asking for some help in working out payments. It may be a bank or credit card company, or it could be a medical provider or even your mortgage holder. While it may be tempting to just hide our heads in the sand and hope that by ignoring a problem that it will go away, generally a better approach is to be open and communicative with creditors, letting them know exactly what's happening, and asking them to work with you to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

Hardship Letters has over twenty different hardship letter templates you can use. Starting with one of their letters, you can tailor it to your particular situation and hopefully reach some agreement with the bank, lender, or even the IRS that will work out for everyone. They've also got several articles on how to write a hardship letter, and what kinds of things you should be sure to include in your letter.

Hardship Letters are available as free downloads. They're all formatted as Microsoft Word DOC files, so you can open them in most word processors to customize them with your information. And good luck!

Download Hardship Letters

Manipulate text with Text Mechanic

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Text Mechanic

No matter how many pretty pictures you see and work with on your computer, behind it all is a bunch of text. Websites, desktop applications, data—it's all text. But what do you do with all this text? You can type it, edit it, move it around, but what if you're looking to do something more than that? What kinds of tools are there out there to manipulate your text?

Text Mechanic is a suite of web-based text manipulation tools. Using a web browser with JavaScript enabled, you can manipulate text in just about any way imaginable with the tools on this site. They run the gamut from the simple addition of text to the beginning or end of a line, changing the case of text, or sorting lines of text, up to random selection of a line (maybe to choose a contest winner?) and even encoding text in Base 64. It even has a tool that lets you reverse text, flip text upside down, and more.

A free online service, all you need to use Text Mechanic is a web browser and some text to work with.

Download Text Mechanic

Integrated to-do list tool

Friday, March 18th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Anxiety

Keeping track of the stuff in our lives is one of the jobs that computers excel at. They don't lose little slips of paper with important reminders written on them, and their handwriting is always legible.

Anxiety is a Mac-based to-do manager that integrates with iCal and Mail. You can use Anxiety for keeping top-level lists of the things you need to do, but when you double-click on items in your list, you'll open the full task or event in the other app, where you can keep all the details. Once you've completed a task, deleting it in one app removes it from all, keeping your life in sync. Anxiety is designed to stay out of your way: its icon can appear in the Dock, or you can stick it in the Menu Bar. And depending on how you work, you can create a single list of "to-do's" or use separate lists for home, work, or individual projects.

Anxiety is a free download. It's a Mac application and runs under OS X 10.5 and later.

Download Anxiety

See what's taking up your disk space

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of JDiskReport

As hard drives get bigger and bigger, they seem to fill up faster and faster. Sure, there's a lot of good stuff you want to hang on to, but it's also easy to let things get out of control. Next thing you know that terabyte drive you invested in is 90% full just like that 40 GB drive was last year. So where did all the space go? Or maybe more correctly, what did we save on there that filled it all up?

JDiskReport is a tool you can use to get a handle on where all your disk space went. Yes, you could just run directory listings and sort by size or date and such, but with JDiskReport you can look at a bigger picture. It helps you to identify what you've got out there, and presents it to you in easy to comprehend charts and graphs, as well as textually. Sometimes that pie chart or a bar graph can make sense where a big screen full of numbers just won't do. You can examine things not only by size, but also by size distribution—how many files you have that are 4- and 16 MB as opposed to between 16- and 64 MB, for example. Or look at modified date—how many older files do you have compared with the number of more recent files? It also breaks them out by file type, so you can prove you have more Word DOC files (all those important reports) than you do MP3 files.

JDiskReport is a Java application, so you can use it on any system with an appropriate Java runtime installed. That means it's right at home on your Linux system, your Mac, or your Windows box.

Download JDiskReport

Date-based file manager

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of Nemo Documents

Sometimes when you're looking for files on your Windows system, you're most interested in their names. Windows Explorer is the tool to use here, since its default is to list documents and images in name order. But there are other ways to look at the world. Maybe you're interested in files you used last Tuesday instead. Yes, you can search on dates as well, but maybe there's a better way to go here.

Nemo Documents is a file manager that follows the idiom of the calendar. That means that you can see all the files you accessed on a particular day in a glance. This tool recognizes Office files, like those from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as PDFs, various image and video files, and more. Now instead of having to remember what that file was called, you can look for it based on when you used it last, and sometimes that's a lot easier.

You can grab a copy of Nemo Documents for free. It's a Windows app and should be compatible with most systems.

Download Nemo Documents

Free form note taking tool

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Growly Notes

If your idea of jotting a few notes includes a cocktail napkin or the back of an old envelope, maybe it's time for you to be dragged into the twenty-first century. And maybe you'd like to let Growly Notes do the dragging.

Growly Notes is a tool for taking and keeping free-form notes. It supports plain old text, formatted text, and even images and video clips. It supports sections so you can store your information hierarchically, making it easier to find that important note you jotted down yesterday. Built in search functionality lets you look for specific text in your notes, and you can even add keyword tags to your entries, making finding it all even easier. It comes with several pre-fab page templates, or you can use your own, which is going to be helpful if you happen to have a lot of similar pages of information.

Growly Notes is a free Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.5 (Leopard) on Intel machines only.

Download Growly Notes

Free backup and archiving tool

Monday, March 14th, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of AceBackup

Breaking news flash: your computer is not perfect. While you may spend a lot of time with it, and sometimes it may feel like it's your only friend, the day will come when it will let you down. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but at some point it's going to fail. And when it does, you really have to be ready. If that failure involves your hard drive, that means having good backups.

AceBackup is a tool that helps make it easy to back up those important files on your system. Whether it's work files, your music collection, or last summer's vacation pictures, you want to make sure you've got good archival copies just in case this is the day when it all comes undone. And speaking of archives, what about using this tool to keep track of changes to files in an ongoing project? Making a copy of today's version of a project may be valuable to you when, a month down the road, you decide you've headed off in the wrong direction and wish you could roll the clock back to a version that worked, instead of the mess you've created since. With AceBackup you can choose individual files or groups of files, and back them up to another hard drive, as well as saving them to removable drives, optical media like CDs or DVDs, or even to a remote FTP server. And if you like, you can encrypt it all. Nice.

AceBackup is a free Windows application.

Download AceBackup

System clipboard enhancement

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of ClipMenu

As we've mentioned numerous times before, we're big fans of the system clipboard. The ability to copy and paste text from one application to another has saved our bacon on a number of occasions. Whether it's a big chunk of text that we're moving from document to document, or some really complicated password that we need to enter into an app or a web page, there's nothing like not having to type all that stuff over and over again. And then there's the pictures: being able to copy and paste an image makes life much easier. If only we could work with more than one picture or one chunk of text at the same time.

ClipMenu is a clipboard enhancement for your Mac. Instead of being able to track only one item at a time, this tool will let you grab as many clips as you like, up to the point that you run out or RAM. Heck, its default is to track 20 clipboard history items, more than enough for most purposes. It can deal with text—both formatted and unformatted—as well as images. You can even save text snippets so that they're always available for you—maybe a favorite website, an often-used email address, or even some fancy signature for you to use.

ClipMenu is a Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later, and it features 64-bit support under Snow Leopard (10.6).

Download ClipMenu