Archive for the ‘Free Service’ Category

Free Word Search Puzzles

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Free Word Search Puzzles

We love puzzles. Whether it's a rainy afternoon or a long ride in the car, it's fun to work on and solve paper and pencil puzzles. One of our favorite formats is the word search puzzle. You get a block of seemingly random letters all jumbled together and your goal is to find the words hidden in among all the letters.

Free Word Search Puzzles offers dozens and dozens of puzzles that you can print out and solve. There are puzzles focusing on history, science, and religion, or just plain old fun. And once you've exhausted the possibilities there, they've also got a tool where you can build your own word search puzzles. Start with simple ones with the words laid out nicely in rows and columns; jump to medium difficulty puzzles where the words can also be backwards; go to hard puzzles where words are laid out on the diagonal; or even to difficult, where misspellings are included as well. Puzzles can range from a tiny 9 x 9 all the way up to a large 20 x 20 grid.

Free Word Search Puzzles, including your custom puzzles, are all available for free. All you need to use them are a web browser to download them, and a sharp eye to find all those hidden words.

Download Free Word Search Puzzles

Screenshots for social networks

Friday, August 19th, 2011

runs as Online Serviceruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of TinyGrab

Whichever social networks you're active in, you're there because you want to share stuff. Whether it's your thoughts and ideas, or maybe your pictures, you're looking for an easy and painless way to get it all out there. One way to help with getting your screenshot images out into the world is with TinyGrab.

TinyGrab is both a desktop application and an online service. Once you install the app on your system, hit the trigger keys, drag the crosshairs across your display, and off your image goes. In return for your not-so-hard work, a URL for the destination of that image is stuck on your clipboard, which will let you paste it into IMs, emails, tweets, and so forth. You've now shared that interesting thing from your desktop to all your dedicated followers out there in social network-land, and you didn't have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make it happen.

You can grab desktop clients for Mac (OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and later) and Windows (XP and later, with .NET ver 4 installed).

Download TinyGrab

Online HTML5 WYSIWYG authoring tool

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Maqetta

So you've heard all about HTML5 and figure you probably ought to start looking into it. But of course you're running a business and don't have time to sit down with some zillion-page long manual to figure out the syntax and new tags and all the other stuff you'll need to make pages that actually take advantage of this new technology. Or maybe you can give Maqetta a try.

Maqetta is a free online tool for authoring HTML5 pages. As a WYSIWYG app, it makes it easy to drag and drop buttons, textboxes, and all other onscreen widgets around to place them just where you want without having to figure out the actual code to make the magic happen. Add headings and text and you're good to go. You can spend your time getting work done, instead of fighting with the syntax.

While the code generated by Maqetta should work fine for any browser that supports HTML5, in order to use it you need to be running a fairly recent browser (Firefox 4, Chrome 5, Safari 5 or later) for your page building adventures.

Download Maqetta

Sketch and draw with free online service

Friday, August 5th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Sketchpad

We all have the need to draw. As far back as those guys painting buffalo on their cave walls, we've described the world around us in pictures. Little kids unselfconsciously draw and paint, and even adults with no particular talent for creating images can't stop doodling on stray scraps of paper.

Sketchpad is a free online, umm, sketchpad. It's got all the controls you would look for in any paint program—paintbrush, eraser, marquee tool, fill, text, and more—but you don't have to download it and you don't have to install it on your system. Various palettes are available for you to choose colors, textures, and patterns to add to your masterpiece. For a different effect, you can choose to "light" instead of "paint", giving your image a much brighter appearance. Once you're all done, it's easy to save work locally as a PNG file.

There's no cost to use Sketchpad; indeed, you don't even have to log in to use it.

Download Sketchpad

Use your web browser as an FTP client

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of net2ftp

Getting files from here to there is a big deal. Whether you're collaborating on a project, sharing vacation photos, or making your next great application available for download, you've got to get the files up on some server before anybody else can access them. There are no end of services available to host and share files, but back in the beginning was FTP. If you're starting from scratch, you may not want to go through the effort to set up and configure an FTP server, but if it's already up there, you might as well use it.

Back in the day, the only way you could get files up onto that FTP server was to fire up the dedicated FTP client. If your desktop is already littered with applications and documents, the last thing you probably need is to open up yet another one. So how about using your web browser?

Net2ftp is a free online service that lets you FTP files up to a server using only your web browser. Of course, you still need to tell it what your server name is and log in with your user name and password, but once you give it that info, you get a relatively full-featured FTP tool that you can use to upload, download, and traverse the directory structure of your online file repository, but without needing to open that additional app.

Download net2ftp

Graphity Diagram Editor

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Graphity

Nothing explains like a diagram. While you can detail a complicated process or relationship in words, sometimes just drawing that flow chart or putting that org chart down on paper can make everything all clear. Back in the day, creating a diagram like one of these required that you grab a pad of graph paper and a plastic flow chart diagram template. Things have come quite a way since then (no more quill pen and green eye shade), so maybe it's time to modernize your process.

Graphity is a free service that makes it easy to draw whatever diagram you need to explain it all for you. Most of the shapes you're likely to need are already included in palettes along the left edge of the screen. Choose a category and drag the shape you want into the main drawing space. It's easy to connect shapes by simply dragging your mouse from one spot to the next. Add labels and you're good to go. Save your handiwork in Graphity's default GraphML format (similar to XML), which allows you to go back and edit your diagram, or export to a PNG to include in your document, blog, or web site.

You don't need anything fancy to use Graphity, just a web browser running a recent version of Flash. You don't need to sign up, and since files are saved to your local machine, you don't have to worry about giving away any secrets.

Download Graphity

Build your own dot-to-dots

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Picturedots

Almost everybody loves dot-to-dot puzzles. It's always fun to be faced with a page full of nothing but dots, and then to see it turn into something interesting as you draw the lines to connect those dots. We've looked at sites in the past that offer downloadable dot-to-dot activities, but here's one that lets you build your own.

Picturedots is a service that lets you create your own dot-to-dot puzzles based on your own pictures or other artwork. Just pick an image available online—if you have a photo on your local machine that you want to use, you'll need to upload it to Flickr or some similar service—and start drawing. You just click around the outline of your picture and this tool automatically places the dots and numbers them sequentially, so that by the time you're done clicking around the edges in your photo or drawing, you'll have a dot-to-dot that you can download, or even share with other users. It's pretty easy to use, but they've got an online tutorial just in case. So instead of doing a dot-to-dot of a cute little dog, you can do a dot-to-dot of your cute little dog.

Picturedots is a free service. All you need to use it is a web browser (and maybe a cute dog).

Download Picturedots

Check name availability at social networking sites

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Namechk.com

If you decide that you need to build your brand, probably the first requirement is that you have a brand to build. You may come up with the most clever domain name in the world, but if that name's already taken on Twitter, Facebook, and a bunch of others, you're already fighting an uphill battle. It would be handy to be able to check out the lay of the land before you start, stop, and try again to become a contender.

Namechk.com is a service that can give you a hand with this job. Pick a user name you'd like to be known by, plug it into their form, and they'll take a look and see if it's already been taken on any of over eighty blogging and social networking sites. It only takes a few seconds to run a query, so you shouldn't have to spend all day figuring out just the right handle to get your message out there.

Namechk.com is a free service. All you'll need to access it is any old web browser.

Download Namechk.com

Capture what's important to you with Catch

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Catch

Keeping track of all the little bits and pieces of info you come across during the course of the day can be a job in itself. Thoughts, reminders, URLs, and all that stuff can fill a legal pad or notebook in no time. And then if you've got all this good stuff squirreled away at work, how do you access it at home? Now you're in trouble.

Catch is a service that can help you deal with that information overload. It's easy to get your stuff into their system—use a web form, upload an image, even send an email, and it's all included in your account. Sort by date, subject, or keyword, and it supports Twitter-like hashtags, so you can filter by keywords as well. Access to Catch is easy via the Web or from your mobile device. Record your ideas once and they're available to you where ever you are.

A free service, all you need to use Catch is a web browser. And there are add-ons for Chrome and Firefox, as well as an accelerator for IE, making it even easier to keep track of your notes.

Download Catch

Qlock world clock

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

runs as Online Service
screenshot of Qlock

We live in an interconnected world. Whether it's breaking news or the people you're collaborating with on that big project, things are happening all around the world. But what time is it over there? If I send an email, it it going to hit during business hours, or are they all sound asleep? That's one of the questions you can answer with Qlock.

Qlock is a website that features an interactive map that shows you what time it is at various places around the globe. Type the name of the location you're curious about into the "Find a city" box, or just drag your mouse around on the map, and you'll get a little popup box that gives the city name and prevailing local time at that location, including whether they're on Standard Time there, or if they're observing some local version of Daylight Time, as well as the number of hours they are offset from GMT. Maybe you can finally get it—they're not snubbing you by not responding immediately to your frantic email: they're just not in the office. I'm sure they'll give your request the attention it deserves when they return.

Qlock is a free online service. All you need to access it is a web browser.

Download Qlock