Archive for the ‘Windows Communications’ Category

Slimmed down newsreader

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of Feed Notifier

Even in this day of Twitter and instant communication, there is still a place for subscribing to and monitoring RSS feeds published by sites that make them available. Whether you're following news, politics, tech stuff, of more, newsfeeds make their content available to you and make it easy to stay on top of what's going on. One of the drawbacks of many RSS aggregators is that they can grow huge, with all kinds of features you may not be interested in, as well as being resource hogs and taking a big bite out of your system's performance. Feed Notifier tries to take care of that problem.

Feed Notifier is primarily interested in getting you the latest news fast, without a lot of bells and whistles. It just sits there in the System Tray, keeping an eye on things. When a news item arrives, it pops up a message, but doesn't drag your whole machine into it. You can set how often each feed is checked for new content, as well as deciding how long that pop up will stay on your screen. And when an alert does make itself known, Feed notifier doesn't grab keyboard or mouse focus, so it's not going to make a mess of whatever else you're working on.

Feed Notifier is a free download. It's a Windows Application.

Download Feed Notifier

Send email from the command line

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of SendEmail

There are lots of straightforward ways to send email out there, with all kinds of email client applications. There are some more complicated ways to send email as well, like talking directly to sendmail or postfix. Apps with GUIs are nice for humans, but not so easy to incorporate into scripts. Command line tools are scriptable, but they can be complicated to set up, configure and run. There is, however, a third way.

SendEmail is a Perl script that you can use to send email messages either directly from the command line, or by incorporating its functionality into batch files or shell scripts. You basically include all the regular bits and pieces required for any email message—to, from, subject, body, name of the SMTP server you're using—in the command that invokes the app, and then just send the message. While it may be a bit complicated to do this from the command prompt yourself, sticking it all into a script is pretty easy, and now you can send messages programmatically.

A free download, SendEmail is available with installers for Linux and Windows, although it's no great challenge to use it on your Mac as well. All you need is a Perl install on your system, and you're good to go.

Download SendEmail

Stop that spam

Friday, May 6th, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of Spamihilator

There's a Nigerian prince out there, and he's looking for you. You may have gotten an email or two from him somewhere along the line. You know you can put an end to that, right?

Spamihilator is a spam filtering application that you can stick in there between your email client and the Internet. It acts as a proxy, grabbing your mail from the various POP and IMAP mail servers you connect to, and filters out the crud before passing it along to your regular desktop mail client. It's got a trainable filter, as well as letting you enter your own stop words and regular expressions making it easier for it to detect spam the more you use it. And just in case of a false positive, it keeps track of everything it flags as spam, so you can go in and check things out yourself to make sure that you're not tossing out good email along with the bad.

You can use Spamihilator on your Windows system. It runs under Win2k and later, and supports just about all POP3 and IMAP email clients.

Download Spamihilator

Add screenshots to your tweets

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of DesktopTweet

Some of the more interesting tools out there are mashups of separate applications that just seem to fit together. If you're a fan of the peanut butter cup, then you know what the right kind of synergy can accomplish.

DesktopTweet is an app that lets you easily take screenshots on your system and tweet them. Give it your Twitter login credentials, and you're good to go. With this tool up and running, you take your screenshot—a user-defined region, the whole screen, or even an image file—write a quick tweet, and then upload it all to your favorite Twitter picture service. It currently supports TwitPic, yfrog, and several others. Whether you're giving out elaborate instructions or just passing along a snapshot of that weird thing you saw on your screen, it's easy to let the world see things through your monitor.

DesktopTweet is a Windows application. You can download it for free.

Download DesktopTweet

Tool helps manage your IMAP mail

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

runs on Windows
screenshot of IMAPSize

One of the advantages of an IMAP email system is that you don't have to worry about your mail taking up all the space on your local hard drive. With POP3 mail systems, you download all your messages, and after a while, that can add up to a fair chunk of disk space. IMAP, on the other hand, leaves messages on the server, so there's no hit to your local drive. Obviously, however, that comes at a price; namely, that your mail will now fill the server's drive instead of the drive on your desktop box. So what are you gonna' do?

IMAPSize is a tool that can help you keep a lid on your IMAP mail. It's easy to see at a glance which messages and folders are taking up all the space—maybe putting you in danger of exceeding your disk quota—and lets you decide what to do about it. You can, for example, manage attachments, such that you get rid of beta-level items without touching final documents, either by deleting them, or by downloading to your local drive and archiving them. Organize your mail, making it easier to find the messages you're looking for. You can even back up parts of or your entire IMAP mail hierarchy or replicate it on your local drive if you like.

A Windows app, IMAPSize is a free download.

Download IMAPSize

Use Google Voice without your browser

Friday, February 4th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Google Voice Desktop App

If you're a fan of Google Voice, you know how handy it can be to use its voicemail and calling features. What you might not find so handy is the fact that you have to open your browser and be logged in to use it. Until now. Meet the Google Voice Desktop App.

With this desktop app, you don't have to worry about silly browser mistakes getting in the way of making or receiving your calls. With this app, built using the Adobe AIR platform, you don't even need to open a browser, much less worry about accidentally closing it in the middle of a call. But you still have all the functionality you expect from Google Voice: calls in, calls out, voicemail, SMS text messages, and more.

The free Google Voice Desktop App is compatible with all systems that support the Adobe AIR platform, including Linux, Windows, and Mac (G4 processor or later).

Download Google Voice Desktop App

Consolidate all your inboxes with Inbox2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of Inbox2

If you're really plugged-in, communication-wise, then you're monitoring several email accounts, as well as a bunch of social networking sites all at once. This means that you're probably running several different applications on your desktop, as well as having several windows open in your web browser. While you're going to know the latest and greatest by looking at all this stuff, you still have to look in a lot of different places. By the time you check Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, a POP mail account or two, and whatever else you've got on tap, you've worn your fingers to the bone, to say nothing of the likelihood of your missing some important stuff in there.

Inbox2 is designed to give you a hand with this problem. It lets you incorporate all your communications needs in one window. Now instead of having to wander around your desktop, you've got one consolidated inbox to receive all your mail and social network updates. No more having to jump from here to there, and much less chance of overlooking something in the process.

You can download Inbox2 for your Windows system.

Download Inbox2

Gmail notifier

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of Spiffy

Back in the day, when you handled all your email with Eudora, it was easy to see when you received a new message. Now that you're using Gmail, it's not so easy to know when you've gotten your latest communication from the Nigerian Finance Minister. After all, you've got to have your machine up and running, be online, and have your web browser up and pointing at the Gmail site. If not, who knows what has recently shown up in your in box.

Spiffy helps make the whole "you've got mail" process easier to keep track of. Running as a desktop app, Spiffy can monitor up to five individual Gmail or Google Apps mail accounts. Customize your alerts so that you're always on top of things. You can set it to autostart, so whenever your machine is on, you'll know what's happening in Gmail world.

A Windows application, Spiffy is a free download. You should be able to use it on systems running XP, Vista, or Windows 7. You'll also need to have version 2.0 of the .NET Framework installed, as well as a Gmail or Google Apps account.

Download Spiffy

Gmail Backup tool

Friday, August 20th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Gmail Backup

Sure, you do regular backups of your data, right? You know you'd be sunk if you lost all that stuff: financial information, customer database, reports, and more. But what about your email? Back in the day, you used a desktop email application. When you backed up your system, you were sure to grab your email at the same time. But now that you use an online system for email, that little piece has gone away. If your email service of choice is Gmail, you're in luck: you've got Gmail Backup.

Gmail Backup is a tool that lets you back up your Gmail account. If you use Gmail in your business, you really can't afford to lose your important mail. You'd like to assume that Google will always be there, and that your data will always be safe, but then again they thought the Titanic was unsinkable as well. With this app it's pretty easy to do an "incremental backup", where you grab all the email since your last backup, so you don't have to grab several years worth of messages each time you run it. You're backing up the "All Mail" folder, so everything you really care about, including all sent, received, and draft messages.

A free download, Gmail Backup runs under Linux and Windows. There's an unsupported command-line only Mac version as well, if you're feeling particularly adventurous.

Download Gmail Backup

Super simple email client

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

runs on Windows
screenshot of QM

How many times a day do you need to send off a quick email? It's nothing too important, and certainly not very complicated, but you need to send it anyway. Fire up your full-blown email app, browse through a ton of incoming spam, compose your message, send it off, and there you go. Or if you're a fan of Gmail, start up your browser, log into Gmail, dig through all the spam, etc. Pain in the neck. Try QM.

QM, short for "Quick Mailer", is a tool that you can use to dash off a quick email without getting bogged down in all the other stuff. It sends—but doesn't receive—so you don't have to dig through the junk of be inundated with a constant barrage of offers from Nigerian princes of riches beyond your wildest dreams. Your messages can specify both your recipient's email address and a "friendly name", and it supports multiple "to" addresses, so you can send to several people at once. Give your message a subject, enter your text, and you're good to go. QM also supports attachments, so you've really got most of what you need to send your messages, but without a lot of the bloat that you don't need. You can run this app through its minimal GUI, or even from the command line if you want to keep things super simple.

QM talks directly to your SMTP server to send mail, so you will need to configure it with the appropriate settings to make that happen. You can probably use your ISP's server, so if you've got a desktop mail app, you most likely already have that information on your system.

A free download, QM is a Windows application. You should be able to use it with any Win32 platform from Windows 95 up through Windows 7.

Download QM