Archive | Cool Software

Great Add-Ons for Gmail: Rappaportive and Cloud Magic

If you use Gmail all the time like I do, then there are two great add-on products that you really need to install.

The first is Rappaportive. I’ve been using this software for awhile now and it is really cool.  What it does is try and pull the contact information from anyone who emails you from various social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.).  If it finds information, it will display it along the right-hand side of your Gmail window.  This includes things like their photo, location, and links to the various social networks they have profiles on. It’s really great to see a photo and information about the person you’re emailing, especially when you may have never met before.

The second is Cloud Magic. Cloud Magic is a plug-in for Firefox and Chrome that adds super fast searching to Gmail. Yes, Gmail does have Google’s search built in,but Cloud Magic improves on Google’s search by through a number of things. First, it uses a floating toolbar that allows you to search without having to open a new tab. This is extremely useful when composing an email and needing to find some relevant bit of information to include. It also allows you to link all your Google App accounts and search through the email in each of those accounts as well as the one you have open. (I have about 6 different Google Apps accounts, so this is extremely useful).

You can find out more about Cloud Magic in the video below:

Both tools are incredibly useful and add a lot to the Gmail experience.

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New Version of Picasa Includes Photo Editing, Face Movies and more

I made the switch from Mac to PC just over a year ago, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  I love my MacBook Pro and most of the Apple software is amazing.

That being said, I’ve never really liked iPhoto.  I tried to use it, organize my photos with it – really get into it. Unfortunately, it just didn’t seem intuitive to me.  Luckily, Picasa for the Mac is available and in my opinion, it’s the best photo manager around.  In Picasa, things just seem more intuitive and straightforward. Folders are organized effectively. Using Collections is a breeze. Uploading to Picasa Web Albums is free and easy (1GB of space is free and 20GB only costs $5 for the year.)

Now, the latest version of Picasa adds online photo editing with Picnik, batch uploads to  Picasa Web Albums, some meta data improvements, and a very cool feature called “Face Movies” which allows you to create a video from anyone’s photos which will always display their face in the middle throughout the entire photo slide show.  You can check out the one I made here:

[vimeo 14269383]

I’d recommend dumping iPhoto and getting Picasa now.

– via Picasa 3.8: Face movies, Picnik integration, batch upload, and more [Google Photos Blog]

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Cool Software: Rappaportive

If you use Gmail, you have to install Rappaportive.

I’ve been using this software for awhile now and it is really cool.  What it does is try and pull the contact information from anyone who emails you from various social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.).  If it finds information, it will display it along the right-hand side of your Gmail window (where the ads usually appear).  This includes things like their photo, location, and links to the various social networks they have profiles on.  It helps to make email a lot more personal, especially when it pulls up a photo of someone you’ve never met before.  It’s also free, which makes it even better.

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Software I Can’t Live Without: KeePass Password Safe and ZumoDrive

KeePass Password SafeWorking with new technology on a daily basis, I invariably come across some really great software programs that make my life a whole lot easier. I decided to start a blog series titled “Software I Can’t Live Without.” And yes, the title pretty much says it all.  I’ll be featuring programs that are either indispensable to me or are really cool and useful. I hope that these reviews help you to find some programs that also become indispensable to you.

The first program that I had to feature is KeePass Password Safe. This is one that I only started using three months ago and now don’t know how I ever managed to get along without it. Oh wait, I didn’t. I would have some Excel spreadsheets with passwords, forget others, use the same password for many different web sites, etc.  Now, with this program, I easily store all my account information in one secure place and have secure and unique passwords for all the web sites I visit.

KeePass allows you to create entries for all your web site passwords, pin numbers, credit card information, etc. – pretty much anything you would like to store in a secure manner. It stores this information in a secure AES and Twofish encrypted database that you only have to remember one master password to open.  In addition to storing passwords, it also allows you to auto-generate long secure passwords, which can then be copied from the program when needed. You can also create groups, enable enhanced protection and memory protection, and much more.  The best thing is that it’s free!  Not only that, the code is open source, so the software can be evaluated to make sure there are no backdoors or security problems. There’s also a number of plugins which further extend its functionality. The main downloads on the site are for Windows, but there are also ports and builds for Mac OS, Linux, iPhone, PocketPC, Blackberry and more.

It’s very easy to use, but like any new program it takes some time to make it part of your routine. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll also wonder how you ever lived without it.

ZumoDrive Cloud StorageI also mentioned ZumoDrive along with KeePass in the title of this post.  ZumoDrive is a cloud-storage solution that works on Windows, Mac OS and iPhone. It’s a bit unique from other cloud-storage solutions in that the files you store there do not also take up physical space on your hard drive. ZumoDrive sets up a “fake” local drive (Z: by default on Windows) and then streams those files over the Internet when you need them. They’re not actually local, even though it looks like they are.  This is great for devices like the iPhone or NetBooks that do not have a lot of storage capacity of their own. They give you 1GB of free storage, and larger plans start at only $2.99 per month.

The way to combine KeePass and ZumoDrive is to store the KeePass database on your ZumoDrive cloud-storage drive.  KeePass operates exactly the same way as always, but now your encrypted database is stored on the cloud and you can access it from your home computer, work computer, laptop or iPhone and it will always be in sync and backed up automatically.

These are both great products and they both have some great uses!  Hope this post helps you to better manage and secure your accounts.

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Cool Software: NetDrive (Free For Home Use)

The NetDrive software allows you to map any FTP server to a local drive on any Windows machine. This is great because you no longer have to worry about using a FTP client to connect to the server everytime. You can simply drag and drop files to the FTP server just by going to it’s mapped drive letter. Plus, it now makes any program you have automatically work with files on a FTP server, so you can use an editor and edit the files directly without having to download and upload them again.  Even better, it’s free for home use.

Here’s some other features:

  •  Mounts remote storage as a local hard disk on your PC
  • Data transfer by drag and drop files in windows explorer
  • Able to run files(video, audio and any other .exe files)
  • Able to run NetDrive as a system service when Windows starts. Mounts drive automatically when Windows starts.

Get it at http://www.netdrive.net/

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