Friday, September 30, 2005

GmailThis!

GmailThis! is a quick way to send Gmail messages: just click a bookmarklet on your browser toolbar, and an email containing a link to the page you're visiting and the highlighted text will be ready to be sent.
For you Blogger crowd, it's quite like the "BlogThis!" feature you're familiar with.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

What should I read next?

Whether you're an avid reader or you simply don't know where to begin, What should I read next? could be a helpful site: just enter a book in the proper field and click the button: you'll get a list of recommended titles, based on registered users' collections.

Example: entering “Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates” I got: The Public Burning - Robert Coover, The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. - Ron Chernow, Goodbye to All That - Robert Graves, A Wave: Poems - John Ashbery, Burr - Gore Vidal, Galatea 2.2 - Richard Powers, Mr. Vertigo - Paul Auster […]

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rave post: Weather Pulse

I'm not really into weather forecasting, but it doesn't hurt to know when you can [almost] safely wash your car. Even though I was quite happy with the excellent Forecastfox, I decided to give Weather Pulse a try.
I must admit that I'm quite impressed so far: the nuisance of using a standalone tool instead of a built-in browser feature is fully paid off with a vast range of bells and whistles: Radar/satellite/doppler images from all over the World (I'm watching you right now!), ultra-detailed infos about real/felt temperature, humidity, dew point, wind, UV index, visibility, pressure, sunrise/sunset time; hourly and 10 day detailed forecast, weather alerts (even via e-mail), fully customizable tray icon, weather desklet, wallpaper, skins support and more: all in an intuitive and nice GUI.
To start, just install it (really quick), when required type your location and you're done.

And, well... it's free.

P.S. Another thing I like is the attention the developer pays to customers' requests: after a user reported in the official forum an
issue of the new release with Win 98/ME, they immediately fixed the bug and released a new build (quite an uncommon
policy, considered that many companies are slowly abandoning the Win 98 crowd).


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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy birthday Mr.Google

Happy 7th birthday to Google

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Monday, September 26, 2005

iFirs+Aid - audio tutorials

You ER wannabes, remove some Robbie Williams tracks from your iPod and make space for iFirs+Aid, an audio-kit from St. John Ambulance containing the basic First Aid techniques; the files come in .mp3, AAC and Real format and include: Primary Survey, Rescue Breaths, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Recovery Position, Fractures, Burns, Bleeding and Shock.

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Some serious Firefox extensions

[Updated: 02 Aug 2006]

Here's a list of Firefox extensions you should try:

  • FlashGot: highly configurable extension to make FF handle several download managers;
  • NoScript: from the same author of FlashGot, an extension to allow java and java script only for selected sites;
  • Spoofstick: extension to detect spoofing;
  • AdBlock: block unwanted ads and banners;
  • FlashBlock: displays an image instead of a flash banner; click it to see the flash;
  • Cookie Culler: cookie manager;
  • Permit Cookies: allow/allow for session/block/remove cookies by clicking a single button;
  • Tabbrowser Preferences: don't tell me you know what tabbed browsing is, until you've tried this...;
  • Tab Mix Plus: enhanced tab browsing + session saver/manager;
  • Make Link: adds a context menu item which allows you to copy links to the clipboard in text, Html or forum-code format;
  • Spellbound: checks the spell in web forms;
  • Dictionary Search: looks for a highlighted word in an online dictionary;
  • BBCodeXtra: adds to the context menu commands to easily insert XHtml, Html, BBCode
  • ScreenGrab: amazing screenshot taker (read this post);
  • Sage: RSS/Atom feed reader for Firefox;
  • Web Developer: tool for developers and designers: tons of features... a must-have;
  • Live Lines: add feeds to Bloglines or Sage just clicking the RSS button on the status bar;
  • Smooth Wheel: allows the user to smoothly scroll the pages with the mouse wheel;
  • TextMarker: highlight text in 3 different colours;
  • Growe Search Toolbar: manage more than 20 search engines, Gmail, Blogger and (really) more;
  • Mass Installer: install many extensions with a single click;
  • Performancing: full featured blog editor that sits right within Firefox;
  • Stealther: surf the web without leaving traces in your local computer;
More extensions at Mozilla Update and Extenisons Mirror

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Subliminal flying

Here's another sinister news: Virgin Atlantic Airways is going to start (from 10/2005) an onboard service called InnerTalk, consisting in a series of subliminal positive messages transmitted through relaxing sounds and music. The passengers will be able to choose between four programs including stop smoking, accelerate healing and well being, relaxation and positive mental attitude.
For those afraid of flying, the company offers the Flying without fear session, though I suppose it's too late, when you're already on board...

(via Luxist and Internet Travel News)

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Dermal Display - I've got you under my skin

This is interesting and somehow disturbing at the same time: Robert A. Freitas Jr. (in Nanomedicine, Vol.I: Basic Capabilities) writes about an application of nanotechnologies which could turn our hands into "programmable dermal displays" (take this, iPod color): a gigazillion pixel robots, implanted under the epidermis, will emit photons resulting in images "printed" on the skin. What's the point? You'll be able to keep track of your health in realtime, thanks to another squad of bots that will constantly patrol your entire body.
I can see myself complaining to my doctor about that bothersome screen-urticaria.

See the Animation.

(via engadget / Medgadget)

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Findory online RSS reader

Findory just launched an online RSS reader service, quite similar to Bloglines (which feeds can be easily imported in OMPL format); the service includes a personalized homepage, which contents change according to the user's reading habits: the more feeds will be submitted, the more accurate Findory suggestions will be.
The registration requires just a user name and a password and the service is quite fast; as far as I can see; my only complaints are:

  • the feeds aren't organized in folders;
  • the images accompanying the articles aren't displayed;
  • in order to read the full post, you have to click a "(read more)" link and leave Findory;

[Via The Blog Herald]

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

RWB "Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents"


Reporters Without Borders just published a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents, aimed at those bloggers who represent the only expression of free speech and independent journalism in "countries where the mainstream media are censored or under pressure".
The booklet provides technical tips on how to start a blog remaining anonymous, avoid censorship and, most of all, how to gain credibility through an ethical behavior.
The book, written in collaboration with journalists and bloggers from all over the World, is on sale for 10€€ or can be downloaded in English, Chinese, French, Arabic and Persian.


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GameMan

You just got a tiny, new PSP. So what?
Wouldn't you prefer a fully functional 3 feet tall GameBoy?
Built at the University of California along the lines of the "bigger is better" modern lifestyle (I'm talking to you, SUV drivers!), the GameMan comes with a few full-size 8lb cartridges including Tetris, Super Mario Land, Pokemon Red Version, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Kirby's Dreamland.

Check the official site for more photos, construction process and more infos.

Via boingboing


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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A real mouthful of technology [news]

A drunk guy broke apart his cell phone and literally ate the memory in front of a phone retailer clerk who refused to give him a refund.
Kudos to this guy who took so seriously his privacy and the title of this blog.

Via engadget

ScreenGrab [download]

ScreenGrab is an extension you Firefox geeks should try: as the author says, it
saves webpages as images by scrolling around and stitching the result together. In particular it also will save just a frame as an image
.
If you like this Web2Pic and SnagIt feature, you'll love this tool.

Requires Java 1.4+ and Firefox.

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Guy discovers ancient building using Google Earth

A guy, looking for his house (near Parma, Italy) in Google Earth, noticed a strange eye-shaped area and some straught lines. After further investigations by local archaeologists, the signs turned out to be the ruins of an ancient roman structure.

Read more at Nature.com and Corriere.it (italian).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A hot dish of freebies

[This post is constantly updated - Last update: Aug 02 2006]

Opening giveaway
: a hot dish of freebies to play with.
Here's a list of some tools you'll never see me without;

(Please note that many of the programs listed below are free only for personal use. Check the homepage and EULA before downloading).

Internet:

- Mozilla Firefox: open-source browser; themes; extensions; virtually unlimited features;
- Opera: lots of features, themes, builtin mail client, now without ads;
- K-meleon: another lightweight Gecko-based browser;
- Maxthon: IE-based browser, with lots of security/privacy features;

- Thunderbird: great e-mail client from the Mozilla Foundation; extensions and themes to make it suit your needs;
- M2: excellent e-mail client embedded in Opera browser;
- iScribe:
small and fast email client with an intergrated contact database and calendar
- PopTray: mail checker. A little icon on your tray will warn you whenever an email arrives in your mailbox. It supports multiple accounts, POP3, SSL, IMAP4;
- Pimmy: small but valuable mail checker, RSS/Atom reader...and mp3 player. It fits in a floppy too.

- FeedReader: open-source aggregator that supports RSS and Atom formats;
- GreatNews: RSS/Atom feed reader with Bloglines.com support;

- Filezilla: open-source, fast and light FTP client;

- Bandwidth Monitor;
- Netstat Live: tool to monitor the network speed;
- NetMeter: network speed monitor with realtime graphic;
- 3d Traceroute: visual traceroute utility (and more);

- Free Download Manager: full-featured download accelerator and manager;
- Leech Get Personal Edition: my 2nd favorite download manager;
- Azureus: Java Bittorrent client;
- U Torrent: lightweight but powerful bittorrent client;

- Miranda: cross-platform, multi protocol instant messenger client; fully customizable with plugins, skins and themes;
- GAIM: cross-platform, multi protocol instant messenger client;
- Trillian: Multi-protocol IM client;
- Skype: application to make phone calls through VoIP;
- X Lite: VoIP software phone;

- Screamer Radio: freeware Internet Radio player;


Graphics/Photography:

- The GIMP: cross-platform open-source software for photo retouching, image composition and image retouching. Levels, filters, scripts and plugins. It has quite a steep learning curve, but it's worth the time spent;

- Virtual Photographer huge set of Photoshop filters;

- Paint.NET:
image and photo manipulation software;

- ArtRage: a painting package designed to provide a realistic and fun simulation of using paint on a canvas, along with pens, pencils, crayons, and other tools

- Inkscape: Open-Source Scalable vector graphics editor;
- Sodipodi: another Open-Source SVG editor;

- IrfanView: excellent image viewer/converter/optimizer (and more) with tons of features and plugins;
- XNView: another free image viewer;
- Picasa: image organizer/editor by Google;
- FastStone image viewer:
image browser, converter and editor

- Noiseware community edition: tool to remove digital noise;
- MWSnap: flexible tool to capture selected parts of the screen;
- Screenshot captor: amazing free screenshot tool. Probably my favorite one;
- Snippy: standalone program to cut-out selections from the screen;
- SimplyCapture: another free snaphot captor, with some effects;


Multimedia

- VLC: cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.
- QMP: multimedia player, cd ripper, mp3 encoder (w/plugin), tag editor; plugins and skins;
- Foobar 2000: lightweight audio player for Windows; excellent sound quality;
- Media Player Classic: Open Source media player;
- Media Monkey: media player and manager with powerful tagging capabilities;
- mp3tag: tag editor;

- Evil Lyrics: Automatically searches for lyrics as your song is played in your player;

- EAC: cd grabber and encoder;
- CdEx: audio ripper and encoder;
- Audiograbber: CD ripper, now free;

- K-Lite codec pack: collection of codecs;
- Quicktime alternative: free tool to play .mov files;

-
Audacity: audio editor and decoder;


Privacy/Security

- Kerio 2.1.5: still the best free firewall program. Discontinued (but Google might help :))
- TinyLogger: Kerio/Tiny log viewer;
- Sygate Personal Firewall;
- Zone Alarm Personal: firewall;
- Netveda Safety.net: lightweight firewall with some nice extra features;
- Filseclab: another light and open-source firewall;

- PortPeeker: utility for capturing network traffic for TCP, UDP, or ICMP protocols;

- AVG Free: free and light antivirus;
- AntiVir: another free AV; no e-mail checker, but great heuristics;
- Avast! Home: full-featured antivirus package;
- F-Prot for DOS: line command antivirus;
- A-Squared free: anti-trojan application;
- Ewido Free: anti-trojan software for Windows 2000/XP;
- DrWeb CureIt!: anti virus utility;
- BitDefender free;



- Ad-Aware Personal Edition: anti spyware/adware tool;
- Spybot Search and Destroy: anti spyware/adware program with lots of extra features;
- Winpatrol: Scotty the terrier is a registry poller, startup manager and more;
- MJ Registry Watcher: registry poller;
- Winsonar 2005XP: process monitoring program;
- Sentinel: file integrity checker and more;

- Spywareguard: real-time protection solution against spyware and other potentially unwanted software;
- Spywareblaster: prevents the installation of malware on your pc;
- MRU blaster: finds and removes software usage tracks; good cookie manager;
- Eulalyzer: analyzes those boring EULA agreements for you;
- Doc Scrubber: analyze and remove hidden data in documents;
- HijackThis: homepage hijackers detector and remover;
- CWShredder: small utility for removing CoolWebSearch;

- Eraser: tool to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns; scheduler; fully customizable.
- DBAN: self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers

- K9: anti-spam application;

- KeePass: open-source password storage software; strong encryption; fits in an USB key; effective auto-type feature;
- AxCrypt: AES-128 File Encryption, Compression and transparent Decrypt and Open in the original
application; really light;
- GnuPG: complete and free replacement for PGP;
- TrueCrypt: open-source disk encryption software;

- Bluetack HOSTS: huge hosts file;

- Hostess: HOSTS manager;
- Hoster: HOSTS manager;


System/file Utilities

- RegSeeker: excellent standalone registry cleaner;
- CCleaner: system optimization and privacy tool;
- Easy Cleaner: Registry/system cleaner;
- Vilma registry explorer: simple registry editor;
- DLL archive: finds and archives DLLs without references in the system;
- Double Killer: searches your pc for identical files;

- Everest: free diagnostic and benchmarking utility;
- SIW: system information utility;

- Process Explorer: standalone process monitor;
- ExplorerXP: file manager for Windows 2000/XP;
- A43: Standalone dual-pane file manager;
- Free Commander: alternative file manager;
- Xplorer2: Windows explorer replacement;
- MMM: context-menu management program;
- Iconoid: Windows desktop icon manager;

- Unlocker: tired of "Cannot delete file: Access is denied"? Ok, you need it;
- Clipomatic: simple clipboard cache program;
- Ditto: excellent open-source clipboard extension;
- ArsClip: another great clipboard manager;
- Newdefrag: defrag utility for Win98/ME;

- Pc Inspector File Recovery: data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems.
- Restoration: another tool to undelete files;

- Allway Sync: free file and folder synchronization software;

- IzArc: multi-format archive utility;
- 7-Zip: Open Source compression utility;
- ALZip: free (and cute) compression utility;

- Atomic Clock Sync:
This program will reference an atomic clock server to get the current time

- Ultra VNC: Open Source. With Ultra VNC you can work on a remote computer, as if you were sitting in front of it, right from your current location.

Office/Productivity:

- OpenOffice: multi platform and open-source office suite;
- AbiWOrd: free word processor;
- w.Bloggar: multi-platform blogging interface;
- Foxit PDF reader: fast and light PDF reader;
- PDF Creator: open-source; creates PDFs from any Windows program;
- Notepad++: open-source Notepad replacement;
- PSPad: notepad replacement (and more);

- Essential PIM: powerful and simple Personal Information Manager;
- AceMoney Lite: personal finance manager;
- JGnash: cross-platform OpenSource personal finance manager;

- Stickies: virtual Post-Its on your screen;
- ATnotes: another Post-It software (discontinued, but still excellent).
- Timer: highly confugurable timer;

- TopStyle lite: CSS editor;
-
Nvu: cross platform open-source WYSIWYG html editor;
- HTML-Kit: full-featured HTML editor;

- Graph: Open-Source tool to draw mathematical graphs in a coordinate system;

- Bruce's Unusual Typing Wizard: free typing tutor;

Miscellaneous:

- Weather Pulse: weather program;
- World Wind: Open Source alternative to Google Earth;
- Google Earth: satellite imagery and maps;

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