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Election 2008: These Web Sites Verify the Facts September 10, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, News, Online Service, Politics, Technology, Worth a Look.
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Voters in the 2008 Presidential elections deserve to know the facts. Candidates can get carried away with rhetoric at the expense of the facts. FactCheck.org is an unbiased web site dedicated to confirming, clarifying or denying the facts referenced in statements made by Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

As they said on the classic TV show Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Well, that’s all FactCheck.org cares about. They want to help voters understand the facts so that Americans are choosing a President based on substance and not style.

Another web site to visit is PolitiFact.org, which is a service of the St. Petersburg Times/CQ.

Get the facts and make an informed decision this November. Vote for the candidate that you think will help you the most, but please base your vote on substance and not style. America’s future depends on it.

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Family Fantasy Sports – A Game for All September 6, 2008

Posted by Mike in children, family, Freebies, Fun, Learning, Online Service, Sports, Technology, Worth a Look.
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The NFL Football season begins tomorrow. Millions of men and women will devote hours of time each week playing fantasy football at the expense of family time.

Well, why not include them in the fun?

Fantasy football can easily be enjoyed by families, much like board games or card games.

Don’t overlook its educational possibilities either. Math skills are key to keeping score, so young children can play with an adult and practice their addition, subtraction and multiplication while spending time with Mom and Dad.

Well, now there’s a free fantasy sports site for family fun. Check out http://www.familyfantasysports.com and enjoy the best of both worlds on Sundays this Fall: Family time and football!

Recuva is Terrific Data Recovery Software August 23, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Reviews, Software, Technology, Worth a Look.
3 comments

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Have you ever emptied the Recycle Bin and instantly regretted it? Well, as most techies will tell you, that data can usually be recovered. With Recuva software, that task is easier than ever.

The user-friendly wizard will help guide basic users. With straightforward questions like “What sort of files are you trying to recover?” and “Where were the files?” and a list of logical answers to select, it is clear to me that the developers at Piriform know the formula for software success: Make it useful, make it easy to use and serve it for free.

Free, easy and useful? You betcha.

Once you’ve answered the questions in the wizard, the program will scan the depths of your hard drive for the lost files. Once the scan is complete, it will display the results in a sensible table with columns labeled “Filename, Path, Last Modified, Size, State, Comment.”

The “State” column contains descriptions like “excellent, very poor and unrecoverable”. This should give the user a clear idea about the data’s chances of being recovered.

The “Comment” column contains statements like, “This file has been overwritten” or “no overwritten clusters detected.”

Check out the screen shots on their web site and you’ll get the idea.

The software can also search for deleted files on media cards or in a folder or directory specified by the user.

There is also an “Advanced Mode” button for those who’d like a few additional options at their disposal.

All in all, I’m very impressed with this program. I’ll tip my hat to the folks at Piriform on a job well done. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from the folks who make the wonderful CCleaner program (also free).

Download Recuva here.

Download Ccleaner here.


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Enroll in Automobile University with an Audio book Service July 17, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, iPod, Learning, Online Service, Technology, Worth a Look, Worth the Money.
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The phrase “Automobile University” will be familiar to anyone who’s read a Zig Ziglar book or heard him speak. It essentially refers to the idea that personal productivity and development can be increased by using commute timecap and gown.jpg for self-improvement and learning. Audio books and podcasts are excellent options for individuals looking to improve their productivity during their daily commute.

Of course, buying audio books isn’t cheap (podcasts are though), but you can take advantage of several online rental services. The various rental plans vary by price and many offer rentals without any late fees or due dates or shipping fees.

The web site eHow offers an article about what you need to do to listen to podcasts.

You can find a variety of inexpensive rental plans and prices from the sites listed below. Some even offer an audio download option , if you’d rather play one on an iPod or other handheld device.

Audio book Rental Services:

  1. Audible.com (celebrating its 10 year anniversary)
  2. SimplyAudiobooks.com offers CD rentals and MP3 downloads.
  3. Booksfree.com offers rentals for audiobooks and good, old fashioned paperbacks.
  4. Audiotogo.com offers a free trial of their service.

Of course, you can rent a good fiction novel to listen to in the car too. With thousands of choices, you’re bound to find a book to make your commute more educational, or at the very least, more enjoyable.

TIP: For many, money is tight these days. If that’s true for you, you may want to visit your local library to see if they carry any audio books. After all, the LIBRARY IS FREE and their selection may surprise you.

Test Driving the Blog Editor in the Flock Browser July 13, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Freebies, Learning, Online Service, Reviews, Software, Technology.
3 comments

The ultra-cool new web browser, Flock, incorporates a blog editor for speedy posting.  I thought I’d try this out with this post.

Here’s how I used the blog editor in Flock:

  1. I surfed the web with Flock for an article to blog about.
  2.  Once I found one, I went to the VIEW menu, the sidebars sub-menu and then clicked on the “Web Clipboard”.
  3. With the web clipboard now a visible column on the left, I dragged/dropped a link and an image onto the sidebar.
  4. Next, I went to the TOOLS menu and chose the “Blog Editor” tool and a new window opened.
  5. On the blog editor window, I again went to the VIEW menu and chose sidebar and clicked on “web clipboard”.
  6. In the blog editor, I see the link and the image that I previously saved to the clipboard in step 3.
  7. I drag n’ drop the saved link and image into the body of the blog editor to use in the post.

All in all,  that’s an easy way to post to your blog from your web browser.  The blog editor is fairly basic, not a lot of whistles and bells, but it’ll help you post quickly.  Here are some of the features included in the blog editor:

  • Choose Font, Size, Bold/Italic/Underline, color
  • Bullets or numbers for creating lists
  • Indent buttons
  • Button to create link
  • Button to insert images (if you haven’t used the web clipboard)

Before Flock can send the post to your blog, you’ll need to configure your blog account into the Flock blog editor. It can be configured for a blog hosted on a free service like WordPress.com or a self-hosted blog. This is done from the TOOLS menu in the Blog Editor.

When you’re ready to publish your post, you can choose to create the entry as a new post or to replace an existing one.  You can also assign categories.


SAMPLE LINK:

http://www.engadget.com/ 2008/ 07/ 12/ kodak-intros-the-c913-m1073-is-and-m1063-chea…

SAMPLE IMAGE:

Kodak Cameras

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Ymail – Get the Yahoo Email Name You Always Wanted July 12, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, News, Online Service, Politics, Technology, Worth a Look, Yahoo.
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yahoo-logo.JPGIt’s been said that there is no one else in the world just like you. Well, that’s true. However, the same truism doesn’t apply to your name. If you’re like me, then you discovered that your #1 choice for an email name was already taken when you signed up for the ever-popular Yahoo Mail.

Unless you were an early user on Yahoo or you have a unique name like Barack Obama, chances are you settled for a 2nd choice. The John McCain’s of the world settled for adding numbers or a middle initial, which often causes confusion. (My apologies for the appearance of politics in a tech blog, but it is an election year.)

Well, Yahoo is giving you a second chance to get the name you always wanted….sort of.

INTRODUCING……YMAIL!

(They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Google should be blushing).

You can now get an email address that ends in @ymail.com. If you already have an @yahoo.com address, you’re not guaranteed to get the same email name with the @ymail.com. In other words, all email names are again up for grabs.

The @ymail.com account can serve as your primary Yahoo ID, if you choose. You’d need to login to Yahoo services with the full email address.

What are you waiting for? First come, first serve! Go get that email name of your dreams right now!

Browser Wars: Newcomer Flock Looks like a Contender June 11, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, News, Reviews, Software, Technology.
7 comments

Browser Wars.jpg

I just downloaded and installed Flock. I’ll provide a more complete review after I’ve familiarized myself with the software, but here is my initial reaction:

  1. WOW
  2. WOW
  3. WOW

Internet Explorer better watch out for this one. It is actually built upon the FireFox browser, so I can’t call FireFox a direct competitor.

Here’s a news article I found on BusinessWeek that led me to try Flock:

In Browsers, Flock May Lead the Flock.

Visit Flock’s web site to download this free program.


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My New Favorite Yahoo Widget June 6, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Photos, Software, Technology, Yahoo.
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Yahoo’s free widgets, over 4,000 and counting, allow users to display bits of information right on their desktop for PCs or Mac. Microsoft’s Windows Vista OS has built in widgets, but those of us still on Windows XP can “widget-ize” our desktops courtesy of Yahoo.

For more info and a widgets definition, go here: Yahoo’s Widgets click here.

My Favorite New Widget:

Inspiration by Martin Koistinen (click to view download page).

It cycles through inspirational quotes to help motivate and inspire you. However, my favorite part is that I can add my own quotes simply by editing a text file stored in ‘My Documents’ folder.

For example, I’ve added memorable quotes from my two boys so that I don’t forget the amusing things 3 year olds say. Those quotes cycle through along with ones from famous folks with wisdom to share.

Here’s a link to a list of other widgets created by Martin Koistinen for Yahoo! Widgets.

Widget of Honorable Mention:

Any widget that helps you enjoy digital photos by displaying to you a different photo on your hard drive every minute.

For example: One Photo Yahoo! Widget

What widgets do you use?

A Blogger’s Best Friend: Zoundry’s Blog Writer Software June 4, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Freebies, Organize, Reviews, Software, Technology.
3 comments

zlogo-beta.png

Attention fellow bloggers!

Zoundry’s Blog Writer software will make your life easier.

How, you ask?

  1. Free software (click to visit download page) makes it easier to compose and upload your posts to popular blog sites like WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal, etc.
  2. Download your existing posts (and categories) into the Blog Writer software for faster editing and updating.
  3. Innovative “Create Link to” feature allows you to quickly locate product images (very helpful if writing a product review) on web sites like Amazon.com and Buy.com. For example, It helped me grab images when writing my post about Father’s Day Gift Ideas.
  4. Use the software to backup your blog posts. After downloading your posts, you can save them as HTML files on your PC.
  5. The software allows you to quickly ping Technorati, Google’s Blog Search, Feed Burner, My Yahoo and and other similar sites.

And more good news…..Zoundry is updating Blog Writer to make it even better. The new version, in beta, is called Zoundry Raven and is available for download now.

Read more about it on Zoundry Raven’s blog.

If this software isn’t to your liking, you may want to try BlogDesk software instead.

Powered by Zoundry

Just for Fun: Create a Google-like Graphic Instantly June 3, 2008

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Technology.
2 comments

While doing some blog surfing yesterday, I came across Yousef’s post about PimpMySearch.

PimpMySearch is a fun, simple site that let’s you create a graphic in the Google style.

How? Type in any word(s) you want and they’ll be google-ized instantly.

You can then save the graphic as a JPEG file by right-clicking on the image.

For example:

wordpress.jpg

Try it. You know you want to.

Oh, did I mention it is free?

Jott for Blackberry: Reply to Emails with your Voice! June 1, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blackberry, Freebies, Online Service, Software, Technology, Worth the Money.
2 comments

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Jott’s new service, Jott for Blackberry, will make that device even more user-friendly than it is right now. Now you can respond to any email using your voice, instead of the keyboard and give your tired fingers a break.

When installed on your Blackberry, the Jott software will transcribe your message and send it off in an email, with your fingers never touching the keypad.

The software is free while in beta and will likely be any Blackberry user’s favorite new app. It will definitely be worth the money when it comes out of beta.

I’m glad to see Jott is finding new and useful ways to integrate its technology into products. I’ve blogged about their service before, and you’re welcome to read my earlier post by clicking here.

What’s your favorite Blackberry app?

Free Wireless Amber Alerts on your Phone to Help Find Abducted Children May 25, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, News, Online Service, Technology.
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Something as simple as a text message on your phone could help you save a life.

This free service, sponsored by the Wireless Foundation in Washington D.C, will send a text message to your phone once an Amber Alert has been issued in your area. It will also send you a text message once the alert has been canceled.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

It is fast and easy to do and it may help quickly locate an abducted child before its too late. Click here to learn how it works.

You can specify from 1 to 5 zip codes in which to receive Amber Alerts. This means, your phone won’t receive a text message from an Ohio Amber Alert when you live in California. Unless, of course, you’ve chosen an Ohio zip code in your settings.

Here’s a link to an FAQ page if you want more information as well.

Saint Patrick’s Day Fun: Turn Yourself Into a Leprechaun March 17, 2008

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Holidays, Humor, Online Service.
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HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’ S DAY!  If you’re looking for a wee bit o’ fun, try transforming yourself into one of Ireland’s beloved Leprechaun’s.

In the spirit, of ElfYourself and ScroogeYourself, this free web site should be called LeprechaunYourself.   Like the first two, this one is also sponsored by a corporation (Irish Spring, of course) and may be slow during periods of high Internet traffic.

Upload a photo to this web site and see how you’d look as a Leprechaun:

http://www.colgate.com/app/IrishSpring/US/EN/Bodywash/GetIrishNow/Microsite/Shenanigans/Turn-Irish-Now.cvsp

 P.S.  Just for today, feel free to add an O’ to the front of your name and enjoy your favorite green beverage.

LogMeIn Baby! February 2, 2008

Posted by Mike in Business, Freebies, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
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Who do you call for tech support?

To paraphrase the Beatles, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

For most of us, that’s quite true when it comes to computer problems and questions. Most of us don’t like to pay for it unless its absolutely necessary. Parents may get their tech-savvy kids to fix things. Girlfriends may call boyfriends or vice versa. Friends call in favors.

That’s great if your tech superhero lives nearby. What if they’re across town or across the country? Maybe you’re on a trip and want to retrieve some information on your home computer. Or, perhaps you want that tech superhero living in New York to be able to help you in California.

Just logmein, baby.

Logmein.com is a free web based service that allows a person to remotely access a computer over the Internet. Its like flying them across the country and having them sit right next to you to see the same screen at the same time. You no longer have to write down cryptic error messages or struggle to follow over-the-phone instructions from your tech superhero.

The basic premise is much the same as Microsoft Remote Desktop or PC Anywhere software. You can connect to a PC to view screen activity, retrieve a file or help a person. However, in my opinion, LogMeIn is much easier for the basic computer user to setup and use.

For instance, just the other day I was working in an office and had my laptop directly wired to a Comcast cable Internet modem. My colleague used my LogMeIn.com account to connect to my laptop to check the settings on the modem.

In my situation, I setup a free LogMeIn.com account and then shared my username and password with my colleague. The computer that will be accessed using the service needs to have free LogMeIn software downloaded and installed or else remote access isn’t possible.

The free account has limited features, but it works fine if you just need remote access. It’s quick and easy to setup and use. I created my account in less than 5 minutes. There are five different LogMeIn plans, each with different features and pricing. The LogMeIn IT Reach plan has the most whistles and bells.

Of course, there’s one problem your tech superhero can’t resolve using LogMeIn.com: a loss of Internet connectivity.

WordPress Bloggers Can Blog from YouTube January 9, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Freebies, Technology, Videos.
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YouTube has a feature that allows bloggers to associate their blog with their YouTube account. WordPress is one of the blog services that works with this feature. Other services include Blogger (naturally, since both are Google owned sites), Friendster, LiveJournal, Pizco and FreeWebs.

By adding your blog to your account, you can quickly compose a blog entry about a video you’ve seen without leaving the YouTube site.

When you’re logged into your YouTube account and viewing a video, click on the SHARE icon beneath the video. You should see a link to “add a blog/site” to your account.

Once your blog is added, this is what you’ll see when you click the SHARE button:

Screenshot of YouTube

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Just For Fun: ElfYourself or ScroogeYourself December 7, 2007

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
4 comments

Happy Friday & Happy Holidays!

If you’d like a quick laugh, try turning yourself into an elf or a Scrooge by using ElfYourself or ScroogeYourself. These sites allow you to paste photos onto the bodies of singing and dancing elves or “Scrooges” who will then do an energetic little song and dance number for your amusement.

The service is free and sponsored by OfficeMax, so you can expect a pop up ad and a little branding too.

All in all, it is quick and easy to do and definitely fun. You just upload a photo, use the tools on the web site to resize your photo onto an elf’s body and you’re done! You can then copy a link and paste it into an email or a blog.

Here’s what I’d look like as a jolly little elf:

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1217182128

The web site does get busy, so you may experience occasional problems accessing the site. It’s popular and it’s free so it may not load up during periods of high Internet traffic.

Retrevo Helps Answer Your Tech Questions Quickly December 5, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Hardware, iPod, News, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
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The catch phrase on their web site is “matching people and electronics.”  Retrevo.com compiles lots of useful information about a product in a matter of seconds. 

Need a product review before you buy? Retrevo has them.  I typed in iPod Touch and Retrevo listed expert reviews at ilounge.com, zdnet.com and playlistmag.com.

Need a manual for an electronics product?  Retrevo can help find them. I typed in HP Deskjet 5850 and the site found the manual for me.  True, I can go to HP.com to get it, but then it may take a few minutes to narrow my search and find the manual.  Retrevo got the link for me in less than 5 seconds.

Doing the math:  If time=money, then time saved=money saved.  Retrevo’s service will save you money!  Of course, that’s far-fetched claim that you won’t find anywhere on their site, but maybe it’ll help you find the best deal on that iPod Touch which could save you some real coin.

Want to shop for a Slingbox?  Retrevo will give you plenty of sites to browse.

Retrevo will also list blogs, forums and manufacturing info on a given product (when available).

Trust me, this site is worth a look and a bookmark in your favorites.

Tips on Setting up a Holiday Budget November 22, 2007

Posted by Mike in Finance, Freebies, Holidays, Learning, Money, Online Service, Organize, Software, Technology.
2 comments

Holiday Candles

How does holiday budgeting find its way onto a blog about technology? Well, it just so happens that technology can help you setup a budget and stick to it. Not to mention, there are web sites and blogs out there with good advice on personal finance.

While November and December is the time for family, turkey, thankfulness, holiday lights and gift giving, January tends to be the time for credit card bills and financial shock and awe.

Hopefully, setting a holiday budget can help you get the best of both worlds: Happiness in November and December without the shock and awe of credit card bills.

With Thanksgiving upon us and Black Friday Ads enticing us to shop and save tomorrow, I’ve located a few tools and advice web sites for you to use.

Do you have any tips or tools that you can share regarding a budget? If you do, please share them.

Happy Holidays!

Just for Fun: Create an Old West “Wanted Poster” Online November 14, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
4 comments

wantedposter.jpg

Create a free Wanted Poster online at GlassGiant.com.

You can customize the name, reward $$ and crime that they’re wanted for. Oh, and upload your own photo of course.

Lots of fun and easy to do! You can create one in minutes and save it as a photo file.

Enjoy!

BlogDesk Software Helps Bloggers Post November 3, 2007

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Freebies, Reviews, Software, Technology.
14 comments

blogdesk-logo

I’ve recently started using BlogDesk software to write and upload articles to my blog. I like the fact that I can write my post in a software program offline and either save it or upload it to my WordPress.com blog when I’m done.

The software feels more like Microsoft Word and I think its more user-friendly for writing and editing than the free online word processing tools offered by WordPress.

BlogDesk is totally free of charge and optimized for the blog systems WordPress, MovableType, Drupal, Serendipity and ExpressionEngine as well as the bloghosters Blogg.de and Twoday.net.

COOL FEATURES:

  1. FREE (is always cool)
  2. Work offline on your blog writing.
  3. Edit existing blogs offline
  4. Easier to insert images and edit text.
  5. Good, user-friendly image editing tools.
  6. ‘Manage Blogs’ feature allows you to import your existing blog posts and categories for editing.

NOTE: I did have a few problems getting the import feature to work for my WordPress blog, but its worth the trouble. You’ll need to get it working to be able to upload your finished work to your blog.

What if Google & Yahoo Didn’t Exist? Fun Alternative Search Engines to Try October 19, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Learning, music, Technology.
5 comments

Have you ever imagined, for just a moment, that Google and Yahoo didn’t exist? Blasphemy? Hardly, but it is an interesting thought.

I decided to step outside of my comfortable search engine routine to see what existed outside the Yahooniverse and the Land of Google.

My quest quickly led me to Charles Knight’s archived article from February 2007 on the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines.

Naturally, with a title like that, Charles has done most of the work for me. I simply cherry picked from his list a few of the alternative search engines that sounded interesting and tested them out for myself.

Here’s a list of 7 alternative search engines that I enjoyed:

LivePlasma.com – niche search engine for entertainment information on bands, movies, actors and directors Displays the info on a visually appealing map.

See a sample.


The goal is to help you find info on an artist and also show you other bands, artists,
movies or actors with similar qualities that you may enjoy.
You can email your info maps to friends.

Pipl.com – a dedicated People search!

Google-esque in its simple look, Pipl asks you to type in a person’s name and location to find info about them. I searched for my friend’s name and it showed the address of each of his last two residences, his LinkedIn profile and a court case record from 1999 from the Superior Court of California for a speeding ticket! D’oh.

This engine may be a little too good.

Askvox.com – Would you like a talking avatar to read you answers?
Then this is the site for you! In addition to displaying search results, it will also try to locate an exact answer to your question. If it can find an answer, the avatar will read it to you.It’s more for fun than anything else, but it’s a fresh take on searching.

For Example:
I typed in a quote from the Tim Burton Batman movie, in which the Joker asks, “Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?”
Well, Askvox.com had an answer for me which I found amusing. It doesn’t always have an answer though….but it doesn’t hurt to ask the question.

MsDewey.comWould you like an attractive woman (not an avatar) with attitude to talk to you while you search?
This is quite possibly the most original search engine going right now.

Just try it.

You’ll be in for a treat.

IceRocket.com – a search engine dedicated to blogs!

Searchbot.net – create your own robot to help you search for answers!
It’s fun to build a robot, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it once that novelty wears off.

With my quest complete, I’ll now return to reality and tell you about a nifty new search from Yahoo. This search engine of theirs allows you use a horizontal slider bar to re-prioritize search results based on either commercial (i.e. shopping) or research (i.e. info). I thought it was an innovative and effective enhancement to the search results page.

Try it for yourself! It’s called Mindset.

All in all, I had fun using these alternative search engines and will likely use several again in the future.

Do you have a favorite search engine?

Quick Tip: Drag n’ drop to change your driving directions on Google Maps October 13, 2007

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Freebies, Online Service, Technology.
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I just noticed this feature in Google Maps. You can call up driving directions and then re-do your travel route right on the map.

I’m not sure how new it is, but Google is promoting it as such. Maybe it’s a few days new or a few weeks. Heck, maybe its old news. At any rate, it’s news to me so I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s quite simple…….just drag the blue line on the google map along the new route and drop it. The map will update and the turn by turn directions will too.

I found this feature quite helpful one day when Google’s directions chose to take me on a scenic route instead of taking the freeway.

Click here for a sample screenshot.

Which mapping site do you use most often?

Record and Share Your Screen Activity with Jing October 2, 2007

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Business, Freebies, Learning, Online Service, Reviews, Software, Technology, Training, Worth the Money.
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You need to try Jing software by Techsmith. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and am very pleased with its ease of use.

What does it do, you ask?

Here’s a quick definition, courtesy of the JingProject.com web site:

The concept of Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video from your computer to anywhere.

Why do I like it?

  1. Easy to use.
  2. Great for sharing.
  3. Great for troubleshooting computer problems.
  4. Great for demonstrations and training.
  5. Great for blogs.
  6. Easy to share recordings with others.
  7. Free (for now). Hopefully, inexpensive when out of beta.

# 6 deserves additional explanation. Techsmith has integrated JING with its Screencast.com file hosting service. When you complete a recording, you can click a SHARE button and the recording is immediately uploaded to your account on the screencast.com web site. From there, you can share the recording as a URL.

I believe the Screencast.com web site is fee-based, but Techsmith offers a free account for those using JING in beta. I am not expecting the free Screencast.com account to last forever, but it is impressive to be able to quickly upload my recordings to their site and share them.

What don’t I like?

The one down side for me is the 5 minute time limit on your recording. Users cannot record longer than 5 minutes.

The program does a good job of tracking your time left with a clock during the recording process, so you shouldn’t be surprised when the recording stops. It would still be helpful to have the option to record a bit longer though.

Please keep in mind that this software is simplified screen recording. It also can capture screenshots in better quality than your “Print Screen” button. It is designed for the masses to capture and share these recordings. It doesn’t allow you to edit your recording after the fact. That said, if you don’t like your recording, then your only option is to delete it and re-record.

How to Use Jing

How many times have you written up instructions about a computer process for a family member, a friend or a colleague?  If you’re like me, the answer is a lot.  

With JING, you can now show someone how to do it. 

Best of all, you can record the steps quickly and send the person a link to view them.  It may not be a polished, presentation ready demonstration, but it is intended for an individual not a group.  Jing gets the job done quickly and that’s what counts.

Competing Products

Adobe Captivate 3 and Camtasia Studio 4. In basic terms, both of these products offer screen recording/capture. However, these two programs have much better editing tools and options for formatting and presenting these recordings. They also have a much higher price tag.

Final Thoughts

Try it. You’ll like it (sort of like green eggs and ham). Ideally, I think this type of technology should be included in future operating systems. The ability to quickly record my PC activity and share it with others is a great way to educate and train users on new products and features via email, blog or instant message.  It is also a great way for a person to show tech support exactly what steps they took to get an error.

The 5 minute time limit is a little short. However, realistically, most people have short attention spans and a 5 minute video may be enough to get your point across.

As an example, I used JING in an earlier blog post to demonstrate how to mail merge.

For details, FAQs and to download the software, please visit JING Project.

Grab the Popcorn and Watch My 5 Minute Video: How to Mail Merge in Microsoft Word September 18, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Learning, Software, Technology, Training, Videos.
4 comments

I’ve created an online video demonstration (with audio) to walk you through the steps of doing a mail merge to create mailing labels. I used MS Word 2003.

My video demo assumes that you have your data in an MS Excel spreadsheet.

No worries. The video is only 5 minutes long. You can sit through that, right?

In my opinion, mail merge has way too many steps. I can’t improve the process but hopefully this video will help you learn it because it is a useful function!

Learn How to Mail Merge Video

I’d appreciate your feedback on this demo. I’m using a new software program called Jing by Techsmith. I think it’s great for training (I’ll right a review on it soon) but would like your opinion too!

My Top 5 List of Free Software Programs for Your Consideration September 7, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Photos, Reviews, Software, Technology.
5 comments

Computers are expensive. If you can find a free software program that works as well as one that costs you money, why not at least give it a try?

I’ve put together a Top 5 list of my favorite free software programs that I use right now.

1. Openoffice.org

The OpenOffice suite of programs will serve as a useful alternative to Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, Access and PowerPoint. You can even open existing Microsoft Office files in OpenOffice. The only software equivalent it lacks is one comparable to Outlook. There’s always Outlook Express which is free but doesn’t have as many features as Outlook.

Microsoft Office Program OpenOffice Equivalent
Word (word processing) Writer
Excel (spreadsheets) Calc
PowerPoint (slideshows) Impress
Access (databases) Base
Publisher (newsletters, flyers) Draw

2. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition by Grisoft

This little gem is a good, free Anti-Virus program. Keep in mind, it is only an Anti-Virus program. These days companies like McAfee and Symantec are selling all-in-one security suites. They pack their suites with anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls, spam blockers, email scanning, anti-phishing and identity protection.

That’s overkill for me and the amount of computer resources (memory, CPU) these programs demand of a computer is ridiculous. It slows down the performance on many a PC.

I just want anti-Virus protection. Grisoft’s Anti-Virus scans for viruses and downloads periodic updates to keep my PC protected from the latest viruses.

NOTE: Those of you with children who use your computer would be wise to invest in a more comprehensive all-in-one security suite.

3. Picasa from Google

This is a great free software program to help you manage, edit and share your digital photographs. It is packed with features and is quite user friendly. It works well for basic photo editing, like reducing red eye, but won’t satisfy those of you looking for more sophisticated editing tools.

4. Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware SE Personal & SpyBot Search & Destroy

These are two separate programs for detecting and removing spyware. I chose to list them both because I think it’s a good idea to use two programs to detect and remove spyware. They’re free to use and regular updates are available. In my opinion, Ad-Aware is more user-friendly for the average PC user. If you only want one, go with Ad-Aware.

5. Google’s Web Accelerator

This software helps improve your web browsing experience by helping web pages load more quickly. In my B.C. years (Before Children), my wife and I could afford the luxury of cable internet service. However, diapers are expensive (especially when you’ve got twins) so we switched to the slower DSL service and saved some money.

I tried out the web accelerator and it helped. It won’t boost your DSL service to cable internet speeds, but it does seem to help. Maybe it is just psychological. It also keeps track of how much time it has saved you while web surfing, which is fun to see.

I‘d like to know what you think. Are there any free software programs that you find useful?

I look forward to your comments.

Google vs. Yahoo! – Battle of the Email Titans: One Reason Why Gmail is Better August 23, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Online Service, PC ABCs, Reviews, Software, Technology.
5 comments

Yahoo vs. Google

One reason why Google’s Gmail is better can be summed up in three words:

Free POP Settings.

Yahoo requires users to upgrade to the Yahoo! Mail plus service for an annual $19.99 in order to get to use POP Settings. 

For many, POP settings are important.  It is a fundamental feature that isn’t sexy or flashy, but it is useful. 

For the average computer user, the phrase POP Settings may not mean much.  It is an abbreviation for “Post Office Protocol.” These are email server settings that need to be configured into software programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird and IncrediMail. Once configured,  a person can download their email into one of those programs to manage their email.

To be fair, POP settings have been considered a “premium” feature for free online email services for quite a while.  Google is just re-writing the rules and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yahoo! and others follow suit in the future to keep their users happy.

If you’re looking for a new email service and want to be able to manage your email in a software program like Outlook, then I’d suggest looking at Gmail

After all, it’s hard to beat free.

Which email service do you prefer?

Allway Sync: Free Software for Data Backup or Synchronization August 21, 2007

Posted by Mike in Data Backup, Freebies, Software, Technology.
2 comments

Allway Sync Software

Synchronizing, transferring or backing up data can be a tricky process for the average computer user.  It is a topic that comes up often when I talk to clients because data loss is a person’s biggest nightmare. 

Some of my previous blog entries have talked about various products and services to help backup data.  (See Mozy – online data backupWestern Digital Passport External Hard Drive and Supercopy.)   Well, I’m about to add another product to the list.

Allway Sync is a good, user-friendly software product for synchronizing or backing up data.  It is free for personal use while business users should purchase a license and upgrade to the pro version.

Using the software, data can be synchronized between a PC and an external hard drive or between two networked computers.  The software allows for two-way synchronization (both data locations receive the most current copy of each data file) or one-way synchronization, which is essentially copying your data from one location to another and creating a backup.

After the backup job is configured, Allway’s software will analyze the files to be backed up and report on any modifications or deletions.   The user can then review the report prior to synchronizing.

Allway’s web site offers a more comprehensive list of software features.

I think Allway Sync software will work well for:

  1. Users who need to synchronize files between networked PCs.
  2. Users who have an external hard drive but no software to help automate a regular backup process.

 Allway Sync is a well designed piece of software that also manages to be easy to use.  Other people think so too.  Take a look at quotes from other software users who like to use Allway Sync.

Download Allway Sync here.

Regardless of how you do it, just be sure you backup your data.  Computer hard drives will crash sooner or later and an ounce of prevention is much less expensive than a pound of cure.

Pingme and Jott: Two Great Services Mashed Up Together! August 20, 2007

Posted by Mike in Business, Freebies, Online Service, Organize, Technology.
1 comment so far

In my earlier post about PingMe,  I casually suggested that combining the services of PingMe and Jott would be an excellent enhancement to both; kind of like combining chocolate and peanut butter.  Both products benefit. Mmmm. Peanut butter.

 Lo and behold,  Stephen Lombardo of Zetetic LLC was reading.  He and his software development consultancy created PingMe and they’ve now created a PingMe/Jott mashup that turned my suggestion into reality! The mash up allows someone to create a PingMe reminder by calling it in via Jott’s phone to email service!

 Stephen will give you all the mash-up details on the Zetetic site.  Read all about it!

 Thanks, Stephen!

Do You Need a Reminder? Pingme’s Free Online Service will Keep You on Task August 17, 2007

Posted by Mike in Business, Freebies, Online Service, Organize, Technology.
5 comments

 pingmelogo.png

Pingme has designed an easy to use reminder service to help us remember what’s important to us. If you’re like me, you have too much to remember in your daily life. To keep track of it all, I resort to post-it notes stuck to computer monitors, messages scribbled on the back of scraps of paper or emails sent to myself with a “to-do” list.

Whether its a grocery list, an anniversary date or a reminder to pick someone up at the airport, Pingme can help.

With a free Pingme account, you can setup the service to send a reminder to your email address or your mobile phone as a text message. These reminders can be recurring (i.e. once a year to remember your anniversary) or a one time reminder to pickup your friends at the airport.

Pingme also has a “pester” option that allows me to send my reminder more frequently, say every hour, 30 minutes or 10 minutes.   I’d get irritated (at myself) quickly if I received a reminder every 10 minutes.  However, to each his/her own and that may be a valuable feature to you.

When I setup my account, I was asked to verify my email address and mobile phone number (via text message). After doing so, I logged in to create a new reminder for myself. You can add multipe emails and phone numbers too. You’ll be able to choose where to send the reminder (email, phone or both).

I think the folks at Jott and the folks at Pingme should join forces to create a stellar service.

Jott’s voice to email technology could be modified by PingMe to quickly create reminders when I’m driving in my car and not in front of my computer.

Take a look at Pingme and keep it in mind the next time you’re staring at your post-it covered computer monitor trying to remember what you forgot.

Time for some Fun: Create a Simpson’s Character from a Photo August 10, 2007

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Simpsons, Technology.
2 comments

Mike McGinley - Simpsonized!

It is Friday, so it’s time for a little fun!

What can be more fun that turning photos of yourself, your friends or family members into Simpson-style characters?

I simpsonized myself (see above) so now I know what I’d look like in Homer’s world.

I highly encourage you to try it yourself.  The web site is Simpsonizeme.com.  Yes, it is sponsored by Burger King. No, you don’t have to enjoy fast food to use it. 

It’s just good old-fashioned, high tech fun.  And free, of course.

You can even save or email your creations to friends and family. 

It’s a blast!

MusicRescue – Transfer Music from Your iPod to a new PC August 9, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, iPod, music, Software, Technology, Worth the Money.
1 comment so far

iPodsiPods

If your computer dies and takes your music with it, you still have your iPod, right? However, iTunes only lets you transfer tracks bought from the iTunes Store back to your new/fixed computer. What about those tracks ripped from CD, or lovingly recorded from your vinyl collection? Enter Music Rescue – the answer to your nightmare.

Quote from the MusicRescue web site

Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I’m entitled.
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth.
Col. Jessep: You can’t handle the truth.

 

Here’s the truth:

If you’re assuming that your iPod doubles as a backup device for your music, you’ll be in for an unhappy surprise if your PC does crash. As stated above, music that you’ve put on your iPod that does not originate from the iTunes store cannot be transferred back to a PC with the standard iTunes/iPod software.

For example, you take your favorite Dave Matthews Band CD, Busted Stuff, and copy those songs from the CD to your iTunes software and then to your iPod. These songs didn’t come from the iTunes store so they won’t transfer from your iPod back to your iTunes software in the event of a hard drive meltdown or laptop theft.

Don’t believe me? There are folks on Yahoo Answers looking for a solution to this very problem.

I assume Apple designed it this way to limit the possibility of music piracy (Arrgh, matey!) and ease the concerns of the music industry. I think it’s a bit late for that, but it is what it is.

MusicRescue is a nicely designed piece of software to help you solve this problem. You install onto your iPod and it then allows you to transfer all of your music from your iPod to any PC. MusicRescue calls this their iPod License.

There is also a different type of registration (called the Computer License) that allows you to install MusicRescue onto a PC and then transfer it to as many different iPods as you like. This may be a solution for a family of iPodders who share one PC or one music collection.

The MusicRescue software has both a free and a paid version. The features in both versions are the same. However, the free version “politely” reminds you that you should pay for the software while you’re copying music.

I haven’t tried the free version, so I don’t know if the “polite” reminder pauses the copying process and requires your presence to click OK. I suspect that it does, which means that you may find yourself glued to your PC clicking an OK button for however long it takes to transfer the music.

Keep this product in mind in case you find yourself in this type of situation. It works well on a Windows PC or a Mac.

You may download the software from MusicRescue web site by clicking here..

VFlyer.com: Create and Distribute Flyers Online for Free August 1, 2007

Posted by Mike in Business, Free Kittens, Freebies, Online Service, Technology, Worth the Money.
2 comments

A colleague of mine at work sent around an email the other day.  She found 6 adorable kittens under her house and wanted to find homes for them.  Her husband is very allergic, so keeping any of them wasn’t an option. Her last resort is to turn them into an animal shelter, but she doesn’t want to do so for fear they’ll be euthanized.

I offered to help her by creating an online flyer using vflyer.com.  Their service is great and the flyers are easy to use.  You begin by selecting the purpose of your flyer.  In other words, are you selling your house or your car? Advertising a job opening? Offering your computer services for hire? Classes? Tryouts for a sports team?

They didn’t quite have a flyer for “Free Cats”, but I just took their template for Pet for Sale and set the price to $0.00.  That seemed to do the trick.

 With the flyer created, you can choose to:

  1. Print the flyer
  2. Email the flyer
  3. Publish the flyer to the online marketplace of edgeio, Oodle, Vast, Trulia, Google Base, Craigslist, etc.
  4. Send the flyer to mobile devices, like phones.
  5. Embed the flyer into a widget and post it to a blog.

 Vflyer offers various pricing plans as well as a free account. Not all of the features are available to free account users. 

All in all, it is a very user-friendly and effective service. I’d suggest you give it a try the next time you’re trying to sell your car, your computer or searching for homes for a few cuddly kittens.

AnyPassword.com – A Free, Easy Software to Store Passwords for Your Accounts July 28, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Passwords, Software, Technology.
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Passwords are out of control, multiplying like rabbits.

Something must be done before we have more passwords than brain cells.  The ideal solution would be a universal username/password that would grant you access to all of your Internet accounts from Yahoo to Google’s Gmail to YouTube to Amazon.  Of course, if the ideal solution existed you’d need to keep your universal username/password as an uber-secret or you’ll be universally munsoned

So, what happens? We end up with too many usernames/passwords for our memory to retain and we create a list of them.  We then live in fear that this covert, coveted list will fall in the hands of evil-doers so we stash it as a file on our PC in an obscure folder or under a pseudonym, save it to a USB drive or print it out and store it in flour jars, old college textbooks or shoeboxes under a bed.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for the growing password problem. However, I have found a free software program that will help you securely manage your ever-growing list of usernames/passwords and give your memory a break.  Instead of remembering dozens of passwords, your over-taxed memory must only remember one.

Anypassword.com is a free and easy software program.  Using their product, you can store your plethora of usernames/passwords and web sites into a software program. The information resides on your PC as an encrypted file with a master password.  Don’t forget this password or you’ll be munsoned (again).  Since it is a file, it is vulnerable to hard drive crashes, so be sure to backup your PC data regularly.  If you need a backup service, take a look at MyTechOpinion’s blog about an online backup service called Carbonite.

The program is easy to use and easy to install.  In fact, it has won multiple awards which the company proudly lists on its site. 

If you’re looking for a better solution to manage your username/passwords,  you owe it to yourself (and your memory) to give Anypassword.com a try.

Click here to visit their download page.

YouSendIt.com – How To Send Large File Attachments July 25, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Humor, International Lawyer, Online Service, Technology, Worth the Money.
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YouSendIt.com

It is bound to happen to you sooner or later.  You’ve got an attachment that is too large to email.  Your email service may limit the size of an attachment you can send or perhaps the recipient of your email has a service that limits their attachment size.  Or, you’ve got no size limit but the sheer size of the attachment brings your email service to a grinding halt as it tries to send the attachment.

Sooner or later, you’ve got to ask yourself if there’s an easier way. 

It happened to my friend James.  James is a globe trotting lawyer with a zest for life and a sense of humor.  This latter character trait led him to an open mic night at a comedy club in Asia.  Now, he thinks he’s funny.  He says he has proof. He has a video. 

He wanted to post it to YouTube but the video is 70 MB in size and he isn’t sure how to compress it.  Emailing it was not an option. Burning it to a CD and sending it via the postal service is so 2001.  We’re in Web 2.0 nowadays, so James found yousendit.com.

YouSendit.com allows you to securely upload large files and then email a link to a person to download the file.  They have a FREE version (gotta love it) and they also have subscription accounts with more oomph, should you need it.

YouSendit.com has been selected as one of the Top 100 private companies for 2007 by AlwaysOn. They were also recently awarded a place on the Webware 100 list, so they’re a highly regarded company.

Their service is easy to sign up for and use. The free account is great for personal use. Small business owners looking for an inexpensive file sharing solution may want to subscribe to one of their business accounts. By doing so, you can securely share files and not have to worry about purchasing computer hardware and hiring a technician to maintain the hardware.

As always, visit the company’s blog for the latest news.

As for my friend James….is he funny? I’ll let you know as soon as I download his video.

Who’s Your PollDaddy? Create a Poll for Free and post it online! July 22, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Online Service, Technology.
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PollDaddy.com

PollDaddy.com makes it fast, easy and free to make a poll and publish it to a page on MySpace, FaceBook or a blog.

It’s a 3 step process. You begin by creating a question and the multiple choice answers. Step 2 is to select a style for the poll or create your own. Step 3 is to get the code you need (javascript, Flash, or a simple hyperlink) and then copy/paste it to your blog, etc.

Here’s a poll that I created on their site. It took me 5 minutes. Please take a moment to answer. I’m curious to see the results.

Poll Question: How do you backup your data?

Terabitz.com – Real Estate Information made Real Simple July 18, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Online Service, Real Estate, Technology.
1 comment so far

Terabitz.com 

Everybody needs different information when it comes to real estate.  Imagine being able to pick and choose the information you want on a piece of property.  Do you want an estimated price? A list of nearby schools? Restaurants in the area?  Grocery stores? Health care services? Places of worship? Weather? A graph showing housing market trends? Crime stats? Nearby sex offenders?

 Terabitz.com makes it possible.  For free. 

You begin by searching a residential property address in the United States. Using their innovative Dashboard, you can drag and drop up to 9 different modules of information (they call them “bitz”) from a menu of available options. The 9 modules (or bitz) then form a customized snapshot of information on that property and its surrounding community. 

 When you’ve got the modules you want, you can click a button to take a snapshot of the page and either email it to someone or create a URL to share.  If you sign up for a free account, you can store your snapshot for the long term.

Click here for a sample of a snapshot that I created.

The web site is very user friendly and, dare I say, fun to use.  The drag n’ drop functionality is intuitive which will help the average user customize the dashboard to suit their own needs.

Give their site a try.  I think you’ll like what you see.  You can also read the Terabitz blog for a bit more FYI about the site.

Blinksale – Easy Online Invoicing for any Business July 17, 2007

Posted by Mike in Business, Freebies, Online Service, Technology, Worth the Money.
2 comments

Do you need a professional looking invoice for your business? Look no further than Blinksale.  I logged into the site today and took advantage of their free account to create a Sample Invoice.  It took me about 15 minutes. 

If you only need to issue the occassional invoice,  the free account allows you to create and send up to 3 invoices per month.  If you’re doing more business than that, you should consider upgrading to a pay account. The prices are reasonable, ranging from $12 per month to send up to 50 invoices to $49 a month to send up to 1500 invoices.  Click here to read more about pricing. 

A nice feature is the ability to view open, closed and past due invoices via your Blinksale account.  You can email or print invoices.  With a pay account, you can also generate the invoice as a PDF.

All in all, it seems like a good service for the small business person who is looking for an inexpensive yet professional invoicing service.

Checkout the Blinksale blog for more information too.

Need How to advice? Take a look at ExpertVillage.com July 16, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Learning, Online Service, Technology, Training, Videos.
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ExpertVillage.com logo  

As I mentioned in my “About me” section on this blog,  I like to find useful sites, services and software to help make my life easier.

 I recently purchased a gas grill and needed some grilling advice.  I needed an expert since my grill skill is still developing.  I needed ExpertVillage.

ExpertVillage.com provides FREE how to videos on a variety of topics including cooking, fitness, music, beauty, automotive, parenting, sports and bartending. Their videos are also found on YouTube, so you can find them easily on either web site.

Some of the videos have brief commercials at the beginning, but it’s a small price to pay for quality advice.

Need to know How to Clean a Gas Grill ? Expertvillage has the answer.

Need advice on ceiling fans? Then, you need George A. Finn III : How To Install A Ceiling Fan.

Throwing a party? Need to learn how to mix drinks? Check this out: Hurricane: Bartending Guide for Rum Drinks.

Need to know How to Deliver a Baby in the Backseat of a Taxi Cab? Yup, Expertvillage comes through again!

The point is that the web has plenty of resources to help you with lots of projects and problems.  Many times, a quick Google search will do the trick.  However, it’s good to know where to find a village full of experts when you need to learn the right way to do it.

Get Organized with “Tidy Start Menu” Software July 9, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Organize, Software, Technology, Worth the Money.
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Do you get tired of looking through the long list of installed programs on your start menu?

I know I do. So did Dennis Nazarenko and he decided to do something about it. He created a software program called “Tidy Start Menu.” The program allows a user to quickly and easily arrange the list of installed software programs on a computer into categories.

He offers two versions. One is free and the other is an “extended” version that currently costs $19.99. Either version can be downloaded from his web site, www.tidystartmenu.com.

Click here to download the free version.

Click here to register and download the pay version.

I downloaded the free version to test it out. The version I installed is v3.3 and I used it on a Windows XP Professional Operating System.

I found it very intuitive and easy to use, especially if you choose to operate the software in “Simple Mode”. It is not a misnomer.

In the free version, you are not able to create your own category names. You must use the ones that come in the program.

These categories are:
Office, Utilities, Games, Entertainment, Internet, Programming, Graphics, Security and Other.

If you aren’t satisfied with these options, then the pay version is a better choice for you.

I do suggest taking a moment to use the Backup feature in the software. You can store a backup of your original start menu and revert back to it in case you don’t like the results when you use Tidy Start Menu.

The program organized my programs menu with ease. However, a word of caution: It also organizes the programs menu for ALL other profiles on my computer. I happen to use both a work and personal profile on my computer, so the changes I applied using Tidy Start Menu on my work profile carried over to my personal one.

For me, this is not a problem. However, it may be if you share a computer with a family member, colleague or roommate who logs in with their own profile and doesn’t appreciate your attempts at organizing the cluttered programs menu.

I also found it interesting that the Tidy Start Menu program only appears on the Program Files Menu of the profile that you used to install it. I installed it using my work profile. The program doesn’t display on the programs menu for my home profile, so I couldn’t use it easily from my home profile.

Often, software programs offer the installer a choice to make the program available to ‘everyone’ or to ‘just me’.  This program didn’t.  I uninstalled and re-installed it just to make sure I didn’t miss the option.  It isn’t there.

All in all, those are small issues and the program works well as advertised. I recommend it as an option to someone looking to get their computer organized.

SuperCopy – An easy way to copy files in Windows July 6, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, PC ABCs, Software, Technology.
2 comments

It’s always nice to find a piece of software that takes a task and makes it easier.  SuperCopy, created by Nathanael Jones, takes the file copying process (good ole’ copy/paste) and improves it for the average user.

Oh, and did I mention it’s free?   Nathanael’s program is also Open Source, which means he welcomes other people to take his work and improve upon it.  If you’d like to read about why he created the program, please do so here.
DOS commands are fairly simple in theory and quite useful in general. However, they’re seldom used by the average computer user, who is scared of the DOS prompt. SuperCopy helps the average user take advantage of one of these commands in particular, XCOPY.

According to Nathanael Jones:

“Super Copy provides a very robust way to copy files in Windows. Super Copy does not prompt you for more information once the copy has started; all options are specified beforehand. This is simply a lightweight interface for XCOPY, and will not negatively affect your system’s performance.”

SuperCopy allows a user to select the files and folders to be copied on their hard drive and then create and save a batch file. When the batch file is run by the user, it automatically copies and pastes the selected files. Click here for(more info on batch files.)

Here’s how I use it:

1. Using SuperCopy, I select the files and folders I want to copy on my computer and specify the location to copy them to (in this case a USB hard drive).
2. I create a batch file using SuperCopy and save it to my computer.
3. I connect an external USB hard drive to my computer.
4. I click on the batch file to run the commands to backup my files.
5. I remove the USB hard drive and I’ve completed my backup.

To make the 5-step process even easier, I can go to into the Control Panel in Windows and setup a schedule to run the batch file on a weekly or daily basis using “Scheduled Tasks.”

With that done, my 5-step process to backup my data files is now a 1 step process.

What’s my 1 step?

I just need to be sure my USB hard drive is attached to my computer when it’s time to backup my files!