Archive for May, 2011

Free online audio recorder

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of AudioExpert

So many of the things that we can do today with a personal computer could only be dreamed of not so many years ago. Word processing, number crunching, communications, and more have really changed the way we think and work. Another of the areas that have been opened up by that computer sitting on your desk—or lap—is that of audio recording. It used to be that making sound recordings that were worth anything required a big studio with industrial-grade recording equipment; now you can do much of that on your computer.

AudioExpert is an online audio editor and sound recorder. With this free service, you can record sounds, edit them (cut, crop, or merge files), convert them between any of several popular formats, and more. Create new ringtones for your phone, record a podcast, tweak the tags on your MP3 files, go nuts. It may not be as interesting as a trip to Abbey Road, but it's much more convenient, as well as a lot cheaper (it's free).

If you want to use AudioExpert, you'll need a web browser, files to be edited, and a microphone if you want to record new material. And thanks to Jason for turning us on to this site.

Download AudioExpert

Scientific calculator for Mac

Friday, May 20th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Magic Number Machine

When you get right down to it, no matter how fancy your computer is, with the latest displays and accessories and cutting edge software, it's basically a number-crunching machine. Whether its dealing with digits, text, colors, shapes, or what have you, under the cover it's all numbers. For most of the things you do, it doesn't really make any difference what's going on there, because you're insulated from it all—after all, you're not programming in binary like they did back in the beginning. From time to time, though, sometimes you really need to manipulate numbers, and that's where a calculator application comes in handy.

While the calculator that comes out of the box on most systems might be suitable for balancing your checkbook, when it comes to heavy duty number manipulation, nothing beats a full-featured scientific calculator like Magic Number Machine. Along with normal run of the mill arithmetic functionality, this app also supports all the commonly used trig and logical functions, different bases (decimal, octal, hexadecimal), as well as statistical functions, while maintaining up to 25 digits of precision. Your little desktop calculator will be green with envy.

Magic Number Machine is a Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and later.

Download Magic Number Machine

Set up a free website

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Coralrift

How hard is it to create a presence online? You can sign up with Twitter or Facebook and be seen with very little effort. And that's okay, if you're willing to operate within their idea of how the world works. But suppose you've got other ideas? All of a sudden you may be looking at setting up a web server and dealing with a hundred and one headaches involved with the care and feeding of that setup. Or you might try out a service like Coralrift.

With this service, there's nothing to set up and no configuration necessary. Build your website on your local machine—pages, images, links, all that—and then archive it all into a ZIP file. Upload your archive file to Coralrift's servers, and you're on the air. You choose where your site lives—each site is hosted in a subdomain on their main website—and you're good. You now have web presence without having to plumb the depths of Apache or becoming a complete propeller-head sysadmin. Use this service to host a little site, a bigger one, or just as a place to build prototypes before cutting over to a more full-featured web hosting arrangement. If you're just using them to test a site, it all goes away at midnight tomorrow, but if you're a registered user, your site stays up forever, or at least until you take it down.

Coralrift is a free service, and doesn't require anything fancy on your end—just a web browser to upload and view sites, and whatever your favorite text editor and archive tools are to create them.

Download Coralrift

Quick notes on Windows

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of ResophNotes

If you're like most of us, you are awash in information. Important facts, critical meetings, don't-lose-this URLs, and all kinds of other goodies. Back in the day, if you were well organized, you probably carried all this kind of stuff around in a spiral notebook or a composition book. If you were less organized, it might have been a pocket stuffed with little notes or a bulletin board bristling with pushpins. Well, it's time to come into the twenty-first century, pal.

ResophNotes is a tool that can help you tame all that unruly info. It's not super fancy—it supports plain text—but it definitely gets the job done. Enter your notes, make annotations, even link them together. And once you've entered your notes, it's easy to get them back, since this app supports built-in real-time search, with highlighting, for both the title and the contents of individual notes. If you search for "widgets", you're going to find all your widget-related notes in no time. And it syncs with Simplenote, so your notes are never further away than the nearest web browser.

ResophNotes is a Windows application. It runs under WinXP SP2 and later, as well as Vista and Windows 7.

Download ResophNotes

Free RSS/Atom reader for Mac

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Vienna

We're constantly awash in information. Newspapers, magazines, TV, web, and more—how can you possibly keep up with it all? In all actuality, you probably can't, but the next best thing may be to keep an eye of the various news feeds available out there. With an RSS reader, you can monitor news stories, blogs, and any of a zillion other information sources.

Vienna is an RSS reader for your Mac. It's easy to add new subscriptions, and you can organize your info with group folders and smart folders, that let you filter the stories you're most interested in. In addition, it has built-in support for Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to share all those goodies with your friends and followers from inside the app—no more cut-and-paste between tools required.

Vienna is a free, open-source application, and the most recent release runs on systems using Leopard (OS X 10.5) and later.

Download Vienna

Press Release Templates

Monday, May 16th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Press Release Templates

Everybody's got a story to tell. Whether it's talking with the kids about how the day went, or sharing some juicy bit of gossip over the back fence, we all want to pass the word on what's happening to all the folks around us. If you run a business or are part of an organization, you may have higher aspirations in terms of getting your message out: for you, there's the mass media. And the best way to get the word to the media is with a press release.

Press Release Templates has a dozen easy-to-use templates to help you draft your own press release. Whether you need to publicize an event, a new product launch, or even a book you've just published, there's a press release template for you. And along with the templates, there are several articles giving you tips on how to approach the process and write your own press release,

You can grab a press release template for free. They're all in Microsoft Word DOC format, so once you make your selection and download it, you can open your template, edit it, and print out your personalized press release. And who knows—maybe they'll even let you yell "stop the presses" when you release your information to the media.

Download Press Release Templates

Send big files easily

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of WeTransfer

Sharing files with other folks can be as easy as attaching them to an email message or as complicated as setting up an FTP server and dealing with its care and feeding. Somewhere in between is the world of file sharing sites. Many of those require signing up for an account, and then sharing a complicated URL with your recipients.

WeTransfer is a file sharing service that doesn't require any setup. There's no registration to worry about, although they do want your email address to send you a confirmation that your file upload has been successful. They will notify your recipient that there's a file waiting for them, and even give them a nice download button to click, so there is no complicated copying and pasting of addresses. You can upload up to 2 GB of data at a time, and your files are available for two weeks after you upload them, allowing even the slowest friend or co-worker ample time to get it together and grab that file.

A free service, all you need to have to use WeTransfer is a Flash-enabled web browser. Thanks to Roy for giving us a heads-up on this service.

Download WeTransfer

Free Project Management Software

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of jxProject

Sometimes a project is just a little bit of this and a little bit of that—the stuff you need to do to get your work finished for the day. Other times, it's an enterprise-wide undertaking that involves all kinds of people, resources, and the complex interaction between them all. For the simple stuff, a legal pad may be all the project management tool you need, but for the bigger jobs, you can't beat dedicated project management software.

jxProject is designed to support the most complex projects. Define tasks, allocate staff, track dependencies, and more. Look at things from a high level, or drill down as specifically as you need to. You choose the units that make sense for you, whether it be seconds, weeks, or years. Drag and drop lets you rearrange tasks without tediously re-entering data. And its reporting capability helps you to see what's really happening, and to spot bottlenecks before you start missing deadlines.

jxProject is a free project manager. It's written in Java, so you can use it on Linux, Mac, Windows, or any other platform with a current Java runtime.

Download jxProject

Batch process image files

Friday, May 13th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of SmallImage

Sometimes smaller is better. That great big luxury car may be nice, but when you're looking for a parking space that subcompact looks a lot nicer. Or the super-duper sized soda at the convenience store looks like a bargain, until you have to actually drink a half gallon of lemon-lime all at once.

SmallImage is a tool that can help make your large digital images smaller. And by smaller, we mean both in terms of the number of pixels high-and wide the picture is, as well as the size of the actual image file itself. This app is designed to help you batch process your JPEG files, scaling and resizing them to a uniform size, as well as tweaking image meta-data and even stripping out preview icons. Play your cards right and that big pile of pictures will become a smaller pile, just the right size for your website, blog, or image gallery.

You can download your copy of SmallImage for free. It's a Mac application and runs under Leopard (OS X 10.5) and later.

Download SmallImage

Note taking tool

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Tomboy

With all the information that comes across our desks over the course of a day or week, it can be a real challenge to keep track of it all. While there's certainly a lot of stuff that isn't that important, there's plenty that we really need to keep an eye on. If Post-Its and odd scraps of paper just don't cut it any more, maybe you should check out Tomboy.

Tomboy is a straightforward note-taking tool. Scribble your notes down to keep track of appointments, contact info, websites you really need to visit, and more. In addition, Tomboy supports wiki-like linking between notes, and those links are updated even if you change the names of your notes. Now rather than having just an electronic stack of individual notes, you can develop a system with built-in cross references, making your notes much more powerful. It's also got built in search functionality, as well as a table of contents that lets you browse your notes in the order they were last modified. In addition it also supports several different plugins to give it greater functionality.

You can download a copy of Tomboy for free. It runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows systems.

Download Tomboy