Software and Web tools that rule  

Posted by Stephen Lowe

I have found some of the coolest software and web tools in the past couple of months that are very useful. I don't recommend stuff unless I have used it for a while and checked them out thoroughly. I highly recommend these and they are all FREE! Let me know if you use these already or try them and like them. Enjoy.

xobni - If you use outlook, this tool is awesome. much better search capability than microsoft or google for searching within outlook. It does a bunch of other cool stuff like linking common contacts together, showing all attachments received from a specific contact, ranking contacts by frequency of communication and even a bar graph by the hour for each contact showing when they email you. I live in outlook and this tool has saved me hours in productivity.

JamBase - I love going to concerts but have non-mainstream tastes in music. This makes it hard to find out when bands that I like are playing locally without doing a lot of digging around. Those days are gone! Jambase allows you to create an account and enter your location along with all your favorite bands and immediately creates a calendar of shows in your area from the list. It will even create calendar appointments for outlook, google calendar or you can add shows to your own JamBase calendar and share it with friends.

PassPack - I used to use the same or a variation of the same password for everything. Stupid huh? PassPack is an online password database and password generator with a simple and secure interface. You can add a new entry, generate a secure password and include a link to the login page on the site. Using a bookmark link in your browser, you can click the link to the site from within the passpack interface and it will auto login for you to the site. This is a much more secure solution and the login process to your PassPack account is a two step process that requires passphrases instead of passwords to access. Check it out, I love having secure passwords accessable from anywhere and not have to worry about remembering them.

Jott - This is the service I have used for the least amout of time but I can't figure out how I've lived without it. I'm notorious for remembering things I need to do while driving and trying to type a task or email myself from my blackberry while driving. With Jott, you create an account and enter you cell phone number as part of your account information as well as loading as few or as many contacts as you want into the system. Need to send yourself or another contact an email? Pick up the phone and call Jott's toll-free number, tell it which contact you want to send to (or myself as an option), wait for the beep and blabber your message. Jott uses voice recognition to transcode your voice into text and email the contact you specified your message along with a link to the original audio recording of your voice if needed. The cool thing is, Jott will integrate with many other online services to do other things. Create tasks in your Remember the Milk account using voice. Create a new post in your wordpress, typepad or blogger blog using voice. Twitter using Jott. The list goes on and on.

Foxit Reader - Need a PDF reader that doesnt take forever to load and crash your computer in the process? Kick Adobe to the curb and install Foxit Reader, it's fast and very lightweight compared to Adobe's Reader.

Virtual CloneDrive - Ever download an ISO image and want to access the data within without burning a physical disc? Have a laptop that doesnt have a CD/DVD drive? Virtual CloneDrive creates a new drive letter on your machine and allows you to mount a ISO, BIN or CCD image as a drive letter and read it as if it was in a CD drive. It's way faster than reading off a disc too. - Need to do some in depth photo and image editing but dont want to drop the cash for Photoshop? Check out, it's a free, very robust image editing package that include support for layers, image effects, and unlimited undo capability. It's not quite Photoshop CS3 or Paint Shop Pro, but for the average user that needs to clean up some images or is looking to learn some additional editing skills, you can't beat the price.

Audacity - This one is old but still rocks. Completely free audio editing tool lets you edit mp3's and other audio files. Add fade in's and out's, normalize the level of a file, crop, trim and add effects as well. Very useful for editing podcasts. Huge support base and current updates, very widely used software.

Still testing the following but worth a mention:

Trapster - I need this to work in a bad way. It ties mobile phones with GPS to a notification system to let you know where speed traps are being run at. Users run an app on their phone and send a ping when they see a speedtrap, the system logs their location and notifies other users in the area that subscribe to the service. Keeping "the man" off your back.

Microsft Pro Photo Tools - Advanced metatag editor for your pictures, includes advanced options for geotagging pictures as well.


About Me

My name is Stephen Lowe. I'm a Christ follower, Husband, Father, Technologophile and Metalhead. This is where I dump my observations and opinions on whatever strikes me as noteworthy. Enjoy, discuss, disagree, I'm cool with whatever.

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