Archive for the ‘MacOS Internet’ Category

Turn Firefox into a full-blown file transfer machine

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of FireFTP

Back in the day there were web browsers. You used them to visit sites and, umm, browse the web. Then came Firefox. Sure, you can still use it to look at web pages, but with the advent of Add-ons, now you can do all kinds of extra stuff, from analyzing the structure of web pages to setting-up to-do lists, and more.

FireFTP is a full-blown FTP client that comes as a Firefox Add-on. Once you go through the install process, you've got a fully functioning FTP tool to use for file transfers to- and from your system. It supports both plain vanilla FTP transfers, as well as encrypted SFTP uploads and downloads. Even though the browser and Add-on are platform independent, you will need to go through some extra machinations to get SFTP to work on your Mac or Linux system. It's got enough options to let you customize its behavior in ways that make the most sense to how you work, including saving login info, default directories, and such.

FireFTP is a free download. Since it's a Firefox Add-on, you'll need the Firefox web browser (version 3 or later) to use it.

Download FireFTP

Simple CSS is like stylesheets with training wheels

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Simple CSS

There's no doubt that Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the wave of the future for web page layout and formatting. Gone are the days when everything was a table and <FONT> tags ruled the day. Stylesheets give you much greater flexibility and accuracy in your text formatting and page layout. Unfortunately it's not always easy to figure out just which commands to use to get the job done.

Simple CSS tries to help make the whole stylesheet thing easier. A desktop app, you can use a series of dropdown lists to build your style rules. It's almost always easier to pick stuff from a list that to pull them up from memory, and this seems to be no exception. Text formatting, page layout, borders, and more are available to you. Use it to create new stylesheets, or import existing ones and use it to tweak them and get them just right.

Available in both Windows and Mac versions, Simple CSS is a free download. The Windows version runs under Win98 and later; for Mac it's a Universal Binary and runs under OS X and should do fine with Tiger (10.4).

Download Simple CSS

Quiet Read lets you bookmark web pages temporarily

Friday, December 4th, 2009

runs on Mac
screenshot of Quiet Read

As you browse the web, you're (hopefully) going to run across things that interest you. Some stuff, like news stories, are read-once encounters; you look at it, read and understand, and go on your way. Other stuff you may want to revisit. If you're looking at a page that's really important to you, then you'll want to bookmark it. Use your browser, or tag it for del.icio.us, and you'll always be able to come back to it. And then there's the stuff in between.

Quiet Read lets you bookmark pages on a more temporary basis. When you've seen content you want to come back to, but you don't need to remember it forever, all you need to do is drag it to the menubar. The Quiet Read icon sits there unobtrusively waiting for you to drag and drop the link. When you've got time to revisit the site, just click the icon, and you'll get a list of the pages you've saved. Double-click the link, and you're back. It's easy to delete links as well, so you don't have to worry about having dozens—or hundreds—of "it seemed important at the time" entries, like with your regular bookmarks.

Quiet Read is a free download for your Mac. You'll need to be running OS X and update to Snow Leopard (10.6) to use it.

Download Quiet Read

Use your webcam with multiple applications at the same time

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of ManyCam

Lots of systems now ship with a webcam as standard equipment. It's pretty handy to be able to video conference from the convenience of your desktop. For that matter, there are lots of uses for that technology. Unfortunately, if you're using more than one of them at a time, you may be out of luck as far as your camera is concerned.

ManyCam lets you use your webcam with multiple applications at the same time. Whether you're chatting or streaming live, your single camera handles it all. In addition, ManyCam includes several fun features you can use, including adding text, including local date and time, to your video feed, and background effects. It's almost like having your own green screen backgrounds, but without all that tedious painting.

ManyCam is a free download. It's available for Windows (requires Win2k or later) and Mac (OS X 10.5+, Intel machines only).

Download ManyCam

File transfer is easy with Classic FTP

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Classic FTP

If you run a blog or have a website, you know all about FTP—File Transfer Protocol. These three simple letters can mean several different things: the language that computers use when talking to one another about moving files around; the tool you use to do that moving; and even as a verb, in describing what you're doing, as in "I'm going to FTP those files up to the server." The use of FTP is almost as complicated as talking about it.

If you FTP from the command prompt, then you're probably already confused. Between all the PUTs and the GETs, it's a wonder anything gets done. A graphical FTP tool can be a real time saver, as well as doing wonders for your sanity.

Classic FTP is a pretty straightforward GUI FTP client. It features drag-and-drop uploads and downloads between your local machine and the server. Add default local and remote directories, and you'll save even more time, since you don't have to manually reposition yourself every time you connect.

Classic FTP is a free download. It's available for Windows (Win 2000 and later), PocketPC, and Macs running OS X (10.2+).

Download Classic FTP

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

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

Keep track of passwords and more

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of LastPass

Everybody agrees that when it comes to passwords, bigger is better. After all, one of the best ways to frustrate a brute-force attack is to increase geometrically the number of combinations of characters that are necessary. Add to this all the other safeguards that are included in any robust password protection scheme—upper- and lower case alphabetic characters, numbers, and a few punctuation marks, no dictionary words, etc.—and you've gone a long way toward keeping your accounts secure. The flip side of that, of course, is the impossibility of remembering dozens of unique 40-character passwords for all of your financial- and other accounts.

LastPass is an online password manager. All you need to remember is your password to get into LastPass, and everything else can be as complicated—and safe—as you want. Along with passwords, it also remembers all that other fill-in-the-blank stuff you need to speed-up the process of entering your information into web forms: name, address, credit card numbers, the whole thing.

It's available as a desktop app for Windows, or as a plugin for your Windows, Mac, or Linux web browser.

Download LastPass

lightweight and user-friendly e-mail client

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Sylpheed

Everybody's got an email client they swear by. Of course, there are other times where they've got a client they swear at. If you fall into that latter category, maybe you're in the market for a new mail program. This might be the time to check out Sylpheed.

Sylpheed uses a standard three-pane design, with a folder hierarchy on the left, and messages and individual message preview on the right. A small footprint means that system resources aren't taxed by this app. With powerful search and filter capabilities, you'll always be able to find just the message you're looking for. You can even save your results into a search folder, so you won't have to execute your query a second time. Smart junk mail control means that the more junk you receive, the less you'll actually see, as its filters improve with use.

Sylpheed is a free application. It runs on Windows (Win2k and later), Linux and other *NIX platforms, and Mac OS X (sorry, Intel processors only).

Download Sylpheed

Free Blog Editor

Monday, July 27th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Qumana Blog Editor

If you run more than one blog, there's a good chance that they're on different platforms. Trying to keep track of "who's on first" when you're jumping back and forth between WordPress, Blogger, Moveable Type, and others, can make you crazy. What you need is a uniform way to write your posts so you can focus on their content, instead of getting bogged down with the mechanics of making it all work. You need a Swiss Army knife for your blog posts.

Qumana Blog Editor may give you a leg up on this. Using a single interface, you'll never have to remember what the difference is between how you post an image to WordPress as opposed to Blogger. Just type into the editor, and it handles all the heavy lifting. You can even post while you're offline—save your posts to your hard drive and upload them the next time you go online.

Qumana Blog Editor is available for Windows (SP and Vista), Mac (OS X Tiger and Leopard), as well as Linux.

Download Qumana Blog Editor