Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [June 21st]” plus 9 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [June 21st]” plus 9 more

Link to MakeUseOf.com

Cool Websites and Tools [June 21st]

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE (or come with a decent free account option). No trials or buy-to-use craplets. For more cool websites and web app reviews subscribe to MakeUseOf Directory.

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Soundation – Nowadays, thanks to the internet, in order to create music, you no longer need to know how to play an instrument. If you want to create something pleasing to the ear, you can use various online services and mashup "music loops" to create something unique. Read more: Soundation: Free Music Mixing Program Online.


ProfileWatch – With all the privacy issues Facebook users are experiencing, it is not an easy task to determine exactly how exposed your Facebook profile is. ProfileWatch is a simple tool that helps you with that. Simply enter your Facebook profile URL and PrivacyWatch will generate your online privacy score. Read more: ProfileWatch: See How Exposed Your Privacy On Facebook.



IdentifyFonts – We often come across websites with really cool fonts but can't seem to tell what font it is. Trying to identify a font is a difficult task but there is a tool to help with that. IdentifyFont lets you upload a sample of any font as JPEG and identify it online. You can also provide a URL to identify fonts used on a webpage. Read more: IdentifyFonts.net: Easily Identify Fonts From a Sample.



IsParade – Twitter clients can be too texty and boring at times. IsParade provides a cool alternative by letting you view twitter conversations as a cute animated parade. Each friend of yours is represented by a miniature guy marching in the parade with his head being the profile picture. Read more: IsParade: View Twitter Conversations As An Animated Parade.



PhoneFinder – With new phones coming out every week, it is hard to keep track of what's good and what's not. Plus, not every phone works for everybody. GSMArena has put together a cool PhoneFinder that lets you find & compare smart phones by specifying your criteria. Read more: PhoneFinder: Find & Compare Smart Phones.


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These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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10 Most Downloaded Clipboard Apps [Movers & Shakers]

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 06:31 PM PDT

It's time once again for our featured Movers and Shakers post. Each week, we take one software category and list the top ten most downloaded free apps.

This week we will be covering clipboard software.  These applications help us work with or enhance using the Windows clipboard. This clipboard is normally activated by highlighting something and pressing CTRL + C or choosing copy from the right click context menu. We can then paste what we copied elsewhere.

But we also have applications that allow us to add multiple items to the clipboard or strip the formatting of what you are copying. Check the applications out below and if something that you use is not on the list hit us up in the comments.

1. Screen Print & Capture 32

1 This application allows you to effortlessly capture the entire screen, a portion of the screen or a user selected area with a single hot key. You can resize, add headers, footers, fade, use multiple file types and you can paste the shot into any other application. For the low price of free.

2. M8 Free Clipboard

2 Have you ever had the need to copy multiple items to your clipboard without having Windows replace the last one with the new one? M8 free clipboard allows you to grab up to 25 items and save them to the clipboard to be pasted anytime and anywhere.

3. Copy/Paste Clipboard Extender

3 This one is for writers or coders. You can copy multiple TEXT items to multiple clipboards. The application is 100% portable and needs no installation. You can print or paste them but you cannot save them. This is a small application and uses very little memory.

4. PureText

4 Have you ever copied a chunk of text to paste into Word only to find that it is accompanied by some strange formatting or other junk? Well PureText can strip all that unsightly garbage and just give you the text. That’s right, the text and nothing but the text.

5. ClipX

5 This small application will allow you to tell it how many clipboard items it should remember. Then you can easily access everything that you copied from the left click menu. You can also see other options by right clicking on it. They call it a clipboard history manager.
  1. Clipomatic This program assigns different hotkeys so you can paste  items stored in the clipboard cache.
  2. Flashpaste Lite Save pieces of text that can easily be accessed by their menu. It is very easy to use.
  3. Ditto Open source extension to the built in Windows clipboard. Search and reuse your clips.
  4. CLCL Archive all your previous clips and recall them at will.
  5. CopyFilenames Copy only filenames and folder names to the clipboard from Explorer.

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Hunter Suite – A Free Media Suite For Book, DVD & Games Collectors [Mac]

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 04:31 PM PDT

There are several websites for cataloging your media collections, but if you want a similar application beyond the net, developer Joel Ares's media catalog suite might well be the perfect solution for you.

Titled the Hunter Suite, this collection of four free Mac apps (donations gladly accepted) include one each for books, DVD’s, and games collections. It also includes a handy iPhone application that syncs with all three desktop applications.

The interface and process for each application work the same, so I will focus on the Book Hunter app.


Adding Books

Getting books into the collections is very simple. But there's also a few little features that you might at first overlook. The Hunter apps are pretty much like cataloguing your music collection in iTunes. They consist of a library of all your saved and imported media that you can rate and label.

Like most applications, you start off selecting File>New book from the menu bar or the New Book icon in the tool bar. This will bring up a dialogue box that can be filled automatically after you type in the title of a book or the name of an author, and click the Autocomplete button at the bottom of the search window.


You get back a list of search results in which you select the one that fits what you're looking for. The application mainly uses Amazon's search to download all the information about the book, including title, publisher, and genre. Most of the information you will probably want or need will be included in the download.


Other panels include Advance Info for adding tags, date read or acquired, page length, etc. If you're in the habit of loaning out your media, these media apps enable you to keep track of loan information. If you have a collection of existing books in your home library, you can use a FireWire video camera to scan the barcodes of books. Those scans will retrieve information about the book and download it to the application.


App Interface

The interface includes several features that you would find in iTunes. You can create folders for various types of collections or genres, or better yet and easier, you can create smart folders based on rules that you set.

So each time an item is added to the collection it will also be added to the folder that matches one of several smart folders you set up. Rules can be based on several criteria, including titles, author, genre, ratings, and date purchased.


Other iTunes-like features include Cover Flow, and viewing by list or icon.


Viewing books in List view provides you with nearly 25 items ( e.g. title, translator, ISBN) that you can add to your viewing panel. You can also right or Control-click on a book title and mark the book as Read, Unfinished and To Read.


Of course there's also a sharing feature for emailing and Tweeting book titles and related information. You can even customize the template for sharing.


iPhone App

Last but not least, the developer also built a iPhone application that easily syncs your media data on your desktop to the Hunter Touch app (iTunes Store link). The iPhone app pairs over a Wi-Fi network and contains all the pertinent information that you might need on your mobile device.

The only shortcoming to the mobile app is that while you can delete items for your books, games, or DVD’s lists, you can't add items.


Overall, the Hunter Suite is a collection of straight forward, clean cataloging applications that help you keep your media well organized and updated.

Let us know what online and desktop media cataloguing applications you use.

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Control Your Windows Screen Space With The Portable SecondShell

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 02:31 PM PDT

I am always a bit wary of anything that goes to work on the Windows Shell. Tweaking the normal way Windows is supposed to function always comes with a bit of risk. But making Windows better is always a great temptation.

Improving Windows with a tweak to the Shell is easier (and safer) now with a bunch of applications that do it with a click.

So it is with SecondShell (ver.1.0.7) – a tiny little freeware that brings productive enhancements to the Windows shell.

SecondShell's 372KB downloads in a blink. The fact that it is a portable software which will not mess with your registry while installing and uninstalling should set the mind at ease. Like most portable software it operates from the system tray at your beck and call.

SecondShell works on Windows XP and Vista. Windows 7 is not mentioned, but it's worth a tryout. SecondShell is really meant to work well for netbook and laptop users with limited screen estate. Its main calling card for these devices  is mentioned in the first two features listed below.

Get More Screen Space With A Click

The usual way to get more horizontal or vertical space in a window is to move the edges with the mouse. SecondShell saves you the effort with shortcut keys. A combination of CTRL+ALT and the arrow keys maximizes a window horizontally or vertically. You can toggle between the views.

It's useful when you need to keep a window open but not at full screen. Think of how you work with Excel for example and you will get an idea.

Get More Screen Space With Smooth Moves

SecondShell makes it very easy to drag a window to a new location or resize a window for better viewing. With the shell enhancement you can click anywhere on the window to drag it around with the mouse or resize it to your custom size. Using the Alt key and Left mouse button combo drags it. Using the Alt key and Right mouse button resizes it.

Moving windows around without reaching for the title bars or dragging the corners to resize them makes everything faster. You will appreciate it if you work in a graphic app like Photoshop with a bunch of image files in their independent windows.

Get Rid of Them With A Click

There's no need to reach for the crossed close button or the minimize button. The same job can be done by clicking anywhere in the titlebar. Right click to minimize, left click to close. This feature feels like the right thing to hide away a window before your boss gets a chance to figure out what you are up to.

Get Back The Middle Mouse Button

The Caps Lock can be toggled and used as a middle mouse button if you don't need it that often. The middle mouse button has productive uses, for instance, in browsing and for some games. So if you want a tradeoff, you can go into SecondShell's secondshell.ini config file and change the setting.

When you need the Caps lock again, you can do it with a SHIFT+Caps Lock or suspend SecondShell.

Get A Lot More Done With Your Own Application Hotkeys

SecondShell helps you to define 10 application shortcuts in the config file. The config file can be opened with any text editor. Explanations are lucidly provided. You will see default hotkeys for Notepad and Microsoft Calculator mentioned.

After modifying the config file don't forget to reload SecondShell.

SecondShell is a neat little application that adds a dash of productivity to the simpler tasks we do. As a Shell enhancer it is not an overwhelming software. Even before using the freeware, you can guess that from the functions that come up with a right click on the system tray icon.

If you like simple portable apps that enhance Windows, you should give SecondShell a try.

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The Top 5 Free Shoot ‘Em Up Games

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 01:31 PM PDT

shoot em up gamesModern shoot ‘em up games have come a long way from Galaga and Space Invaders, but at the same time their popularity has dwindled outside of Japan. It’s not surprising then that most of the best free shoot 'em ups that are still bringing fun new gameplay to the genre are Japanese-made.

This can make them pretty hard to come by, which is why I’ve listed some of the best ones here for you. A testament to their quality is that some have actually been commercially released.

The shoot ‘em ups listed below are compatible with most PCs. The default controls usually require the arrow keys to move, the Z key to shoot, and the X and C keys for other abilities if applicable.

Warning Forever

shoot em up games

Your enemy in Warning Forever (download here) is a single boss that keeps transforming to become more powerful. How it builds up its attacks and defenses in its next transformation depends on how you fought its previous transformation. The boss intelligently adjusts to include more armor and weapons where you focused your attacks before.

It’s easy to play Warning Forever over and over as you try to figure out the best way to attack the boss without allowing it to develop protections against its weaknesses. And you can challenge yourself to find as many of the different transformations as possible!

Tumiki Fighters

shoot em up games

Tumiki Fighters (download here) is a unique shooter because, once you defeat an enemy, you can fly into its broken pieces to make them stick to your own ship. Your ship will grow, and the individual pieces will shoot extra bullets and add to your firepower. You can get pretty powerful this way, but you'll also become a larger target and it will be more difficult to keep from getting hit by a bullet and losing pieces.

The game was good enough that it provided the basis for Blast Works, a Nintendo Wii game. Blast Works includes Tumiki Fighters and several other free shoot'em ups made by the same developer, as well as a level editor.

Every Extend

free shoot games

You don’t actually do any shooting in Every Extend (download here). Instead, you have to blow yourself up to destroy enemies. The idea is to blow yourself up at the right time, when the enemies are close enough to each other that their explosions will link together and score you a chain bonus. It’s an unusual gameplay premise, but it’s surprisingly fun and addictive to try to make your chains of explosions longer and longer.

free shoot games

Like Tumiki Fighters, Every Extend inspired a full commercial release. Every Extend Extra is an enhanced version of the game released for the Sony PSP.

Cave Shooters

Alright, I'm cheating a little bit with this one. Instead of recommending just one game to you, I'm recommending all of the shoot ‘em ups made by the Japanese arcade game company Cave. Cave makes manic shooters, also known as “bullet hell” shooters, and you'll see why that's a fitting title.

free shoot games

In Cave's shooters, the screen is often filled with colorful bullets, sometimes to the point of causing slowdown (but, trust me, slowdown can only help you). Getting through all of those bullets requires precise movement, a little bit of memorization, and a little bit of luck.

These games are mindbogglingly difficult, but it's easy to get addicted trying to improve your skill at them. Because they're arcade games, you can insert as many credits as you like to get through them. But to be among the best players, you'll have to do a one-credit completion: no extra quarters.

games of shoot em up

Some of the best Cave shooters available as ROMs are DoDonPachi (first image above), ESP Ra.De (second image above), Progear, Guwange, and Dangun Feveron. You can find them for download at a ROM site such as ROM World. To play them, you'll need to use MAME, an arcade game emulator that you can download here. You can read more about how to use MAME here.


If the Cave shooters are giving you trouble, you might want to turn to BulletGBA for help. BulletGBA includes over 300 patterns of bullets, many taken from Cave shooters. You can select from several different modes to play and challenge yourself to stay alive as long as possible.

games of shoot em up

BulletGBA (download here) is a ROM for the Game Boy Advance portable gaming system. The easiest way to play it on your computer is to download Visual Boy Advance, a Game Boy Advance emulator. After downloading and opening the emulator, select File and then Open…

games of shoot em up

Then select bulletgba-5.0.rom.gba.zip from the directory you downloaded it to, and you should be all set to play BulletGBA. You can read more about playing ROMs on your computer here.

These are just some of the best free shoot’em up games. There are a lot of other fantastic games out there. What are your favorites?

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Create A Professional Photography Portfolio In 5 Minutes With Pullfolio

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 12:31 PM PDT

photography portfoliosThere are many ways for professional photographers to put together a sleek photography portfolio that reflects their style and portrays a certain image. But what if you’re an aspiring photographer who needs a professional-looking portfolio, but don’t want to invest in anything paid just yet? A lot of budding photographers probably already have a Flickr account (and if you don’t, you really should sign up for one).

Pairing your Flickr account, with Pullfolio offers the perfect solution for photographers who are just getting started. Pullfolio is a free website which takes photos already uploaded to Flickr, and transforms them into a professional slideshow photography portfolio with minimal effort on your part.

No coding knowledge is necessary so you won’t have to mess around with web design, hosting or custom themes. Simply link your Flickr account to Pullfolio and follow the easy steps outlined below.

The great thing about Pullfolio is that it literally “pulls” the photos from Flickr, so you don’t have to take the time uploading them to yet another site. Not only does Pullfolio you time,  it also gives you the peace of mind of leaving your photos on the Flickr servers.

After you have signed up for your free account, the first step is authorising your Flickr account, following the easy steps outlined for you on the site.

photography portfolios

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start creating as many portfolios as you want.

Pictures can be pulled from your Flickr account based on two factors – either based on their tags, or based on your photo sets. If you haven’t already tagged, or placed your photos in sets on Flickr, you’ll have to put in the extra effort of getting a bit organised.

If you’d prefer to create a portfolio based on your tags, fill in your photography portfolio name, an optional artist statement and for image search type, select tag(s). Below that, fill in the tags that you want to be included in your portfolio. If you have selected more than one tag for any given portfolio, you can choose to select only photos that are tagged with all of the words, or any of them.

photography portfolios

Click on the Preview button to see the photo thumbnails, and then click on Create.

how to put together a photography portfolio

If you would rather create a portfolio based on your sets, fill in your portfolio name, an optional artist statement and for image search type, pick photoset. You will then be prompted to select from a list of your Flickr sets.

how to put together a photography portfolio

Click on the Preview button to see the photo thumbnails, click on Create, and your portfolio is ready to be viewed. Pullfolio will gather all the photographs as per your selection, and at the click of a button, you have a professional looking portfolio to share with prospective clients or even just with friends.

how to put together a photography portfolio

If you create more than one set of photographs, you can choose one as your main Photography portfolio, so when anyone visits the link, it will default to that specific set of photos.

make a portfolio photography

Navigating between different portfolios can be achieved by clicking on the portfolio link at the top of the page, and a drop-down menu will appear with all the available sets of photos.

make a portfolio photography

Pullfolio automatically updates as you add new photos to your Flickr account.

Once you have your portfolios created, you can choose from a variety of themes, with either a white or black background. Pro users can create their own themes, as well as use their own domain name, and benefit from third party analytics and SEO features.

make a portfolio photography

Pullfolio also gives you a Profile page, which features your Flickr avatar, and  additional information you would like to include, such as a bio and your phone number.

If you would rather not place your contact information on your portfolio, you’ll be happy to know that it includes a contact form which anyone can fill out. Any messages sent through the contact form will be sent to the email address you used to sign up.

If you want to be listed in the Pullfolio directory, be sure to choose a category when accessing your settings, by clicking on your username at the top of the page.

It is also worth mentioning that any photos that you have uploaded to Flickr privately will appear on Pullfolio if they are tagged with any of the keywords you choose to use for your portfolios.

iPhone/iPad users can also benefit from the free Pullfolio app, although in comparison to the site it certainly leaves a lot to be desired. After logging in, you are redirected to a list of your portfolios, but free accounts can only access your main portfolio. You can then browse the thumbnails of the set of photographs, or even watch a slideshow of the photos. Syncing your portfolio allows you to view the photos in offline mode.

If you’re looking for more ways to share your photography online, take a look at these 4 websites that make it easy to share one photo a day as well as some of the best Tumblr portfolio themes.

Do you have a quick and easy way to put together a free professional looking Photography portfolio? Let us know in the comments.

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How To Add Cool Javascript Rollover Effects To Images

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 11:31 AM PDT

javascript rolloversJavascript image rollovers are used to bring interactivity to webpages. The use of the rollover is one of the most popular forms of Javascript on the web. Javascript rollovers (or mouse-over effects) are fairly common on today’s websites and can be used very creatively.

You’ve seen them. Images that have been constructed this way change when you drag your mouse over them and change back when you remove the cursor. Mouse-over effects are very easy to create and they can really add life to your images or website.

In this article I’m going to show you how to add cool Javascript rollover effects to images on your website.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? If you want to become more familiar with Javascript, I invite you to check out the article Varun composed last week entitled What is JavaScript and How Does It Work?. Also, you can Quickly Check If You’re Running A JavaScript Enabled Browser.

Now that you’re feeling a little more confident we can begin.

Step 1: Create Two Images

In order for this effect to work properly, you need to create two images. Ideally, these should have the same dimensions (height and width) and should reside in the same directory. It’s important that you can remember and differentiate between the names of the images, so don’t name them anything too long or difficult.

javascript rollovers

For this example I have named my images testbox1.gif and testbox2.gif.

Step 2: Create An HTML Document

After creating the images, it’s time to create the code. In Notepad, start typing up a simple HTML file.  We will insert our Javascript after the <head> tag.

javascript rollovers

All we are doing here is defining the images. Although my code has testbox1 and testbox2 you can change these to the names of your two images.

The <body> tag is where we’ll insert our call to action. Within the <body> tag, insert the image source code the way you would any other HTML image, except in this case we have to add the mouseover and mouseout functions to the code to achieve the rollover effect.

javascript image rollovers

When finished, save the file as a ‘.html’ file. You can double click the file and it should open up in your web browser with your images and rollover effect working properly. Now that you’ve tested your code you can add it to your website and begin amazing people with your flashy Javascript.

To see it in action, click here and mouse over the image to see what we have just created.


This code should be all you will need to utilize any rollovers you want on the webpage. The ‘over’ and ‘out’ functions are what will be doing all the work here. They call the images when the mouse is moved over them and off of them.

For the image source, you only need to type the name of the image, so long as the HTML file is saved in the same folder the images are. If they are not, you need only to point to the images’ location like you would any other image in HTML.

Was this article helpful for you? Will you be utilizing JavaScript rollovers on your website? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below!

Image Credit: Noah Sussman

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Run DOS Applications Through A GUI Interface With DOSShell

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 10:31 AM PDT

run dos applicationsIf you have never used DOS yourself, you may find it hard to believe that anyone ever did. Jumping in and getting started with DOS is difficult even for computer-savvy individuals because DOS uses an entirely different form of interface than modern operating systems. Everything today is a GUI (Graphical User Interface). But you’ll find none of those fancy-smancy graphics in DOS, kid. Its all about pounding out arcane codes to perform simple functions.

The difficult nature of DOS can be quite a problem if you want to run a DOS application in a modern operating system. You can use DOSBox as an emulator, but this approach also has problems because you still have to use the DOS interface. If you want to be able to download and run DOS applications straight from your GUI operating system – no DOS involved – you’ll need another program called DOSShell.

Getting Starting With DOSShell

DOSShell is a program which assists DOSBox. It is not a DOS emulator itself, so if you try to download and run programs simply by using DOSShell it just won’t work. The first thing you should do then, is go to the DOSBox website and download that program. Then download and install DOSShell.

run dos applications

Once you have both programs installed, you’ll need to connect DOSShell with DOSBox in order to make programs work. You can do this by going to Edit > Preferences. This will open a menu, at the top of which is the DOSBox Folder Path field. Click Browse and navigate to the main installation folder of DOSBox. You just need to point DOSShell to the folder, not a specific file.

While we’re here, let’s deal with a few other settings. There are three checkbox options.

  • The first is for running programs in fullscreen. This is on by default, but I suggest you disable this option. Most DOS software runs at a much lower resolution than your computer monitor.
  • The Hide Console option is off by default, which means that the DOSBox window will also open in the background when you run a program through DOSShell. Turning on Hide Console means you won’t see DOXBox at all.
  • The last option lets you decide if you’d like to also close DOSBox when you close a program running through DOSShell. This option is turned on by default, and I suggest you leave it that way unless you actually want to use DOSBox.

Running An Application In DOSShell

Once you have connected DOSShell to DOSBox you need to add an application if you want to run it. I’m going to use a game in my example, but any sort of DOS program can be used with DOSShell.

The first thing you need to do is add a new entry into DOSShell. This can be done by clicking on the green addition icon in the upper left hand corner of the program.

run dos applications

The Name and Group fields can be filled with whatever you’d like. They will be used to categorize your application, however, so its best to make sure they make sense. If you run Games, put them into the Games group, for example. The Group selection will create a new tab in DOSShell so that you can organize your applications based on their use.

The Path to Executable field is where you need to point DOSShell to the program you want to run. Click on the “…” button to open explorer and then find the executable file you’ve downloaded. In some cases, you may need to first point to the INSTALL file to run the DOS installation and then point to the executable file after install is complete.

Path to Icon is where you tell DOSShell what icon you’d like your application to be represented by. This is a GUI, after all! You can pick any icon you’d like or create your own with GIMP or another image editor. The Description section can be ignored or used to provide a summary of what the program is. When you’re done, click OK.

dos applicationsAt this point you can just double-click the icon to run the program. Again, if your DOS application does not require installation, great! You’re done.

When you double click the icon the program will start. You will see an orange screen appear, which is the DOSBox loader. The DOSBox interface may briefly appear, but your program will launch momentarily.

DOSShell really makes using DOS programs easier. I sometimes want to play DOS games, but I hate having to mess with DOS itself. DOSShell lets you run DOS programs without ever having to deal with the frustrating command line interface.

If you’re like me and you enjoy old DOS games, check out our post about sites where you can download free DOS games.

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4 Cool Applications To Make You More Productive With Text Editing

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 09:31 AM PDT

text editing softwareWorking on the computer, you have to deal with text all day long. Be it programming, typing an email, updating your social networks, taking notes and countless other things, you are more often than not working with text.

You might want to summon a tool to auto-correct all your spelling mistakes as you type, or maybe you want a set of characters to be replaced with a snippet of text every time you type it, or perhaps have access to the line of text you copy-pasted an hour ago?

Ever ran into a similar situation? Here are some text editing software tools that would take care of such text manipulation, auto correction and auto-completion needs:


text editing software

TriX actually does a lot more than manipulating text alone. You can translate text, encrypt or decrypt text, search for selected text on popular search engines and convert text from one unit to another.

In addition to these wonderful functions, TriX also provides a lot of options when it comes to reformatting text. You can quickly re-format text to uppercase, lowercase, title case and the likes. Or you can strip out all the formatting altogether.

TriX also lets you extract the names of files and folders, links and emails from a selected piece of text. You can then export the data to Word, Excel or Notepad++ to work on it some more.


text editing software

Transfz is another similar text editing software tool that is worth a mention. It lets you search major search engines from your desktop and performs the regular text manipulations as mentioned above.

A great plus point with Transfz is the customization that it supports. There are a number of plugins and extensions available on the Transfz site that can help you add functionality to Transfz as you see useful. There are extensions like a text magnifier, on top toggler, white space remover and some other extensions offering integration with Twitter, Stumbleupon and more.

Transfz also gives you access to the clipboard history, making it easy to work with multiple cutting and copy and paste operations.


editing text

Most text editors feature a search and replace functionality. Some allow you to do a case sensitive search while others allow you to use regular expressions. wReplace does a lot more.

wReplace allows you to create a set of rules that will be applied to the text in hand to make the substitutions. In addition wReplace can handle diacritical variations and different character representations (” and &qout; for example).

In addition, wReplace can also substitute your text with some of the common substitution ciphers out there if you are looking for some fun along the way. You can read more about it here.


editing text

PhraseExpress is a text replacement tool. Not in the traditional sense which you might be familiar with in that you don’t replace text after you have finished editing or typing in all the contents. PhraseExpress on the other hand is more of a replace as you type tool. That mean that you can type something like muo and have it replaced with MakeUseOf, or perhaps you very often type ‘loin’ when you should be typing ‘lion’. No problem, PhraseExpress handles such typos as well.

PhraseExpress also features a program launcher and a clipboard manager. Karl took a detailed look at it a while back.

All of the above mentioned apps bring something a little different to the table. You can mix and match according to your requirements. However, if you really aspire to be a text editing expert, we would recommend using something like Vim or Emacs. These are the all powerful text editors that can more or less do everything mentioned above with a little customization.

Which is your favorite text editor or utility? We would love to hear about them.

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Monitor Activity On Your PC with Elite Keylogger [MakeUseOf Giveaway]

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 08:30 AM PDT

Does this sound familiar? That’s because we’ve featured Elite Keylogger in a previous giveaway. The app was so popular that we had to have it make a second appearance.

This time, we’re bumping up the prize by giving out 20 copies of Widestep Security’s Elite Keylogger 4.7 PRO worth $1980 (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 32-bit compatible).

This giveaway post and walkthrough is based on Elite Keylogger 4.6 PRO. But rest assured, the software will operate similiarly. So, let’s dive in and find out what you’ll be getting.

Have you ever wanted to ensure your children aren’t giving out personal information online? Even if you’ve had a lengthy discussion with them about staying safe online, a child may not realize just how much information they’re giving out. Or are you an employer who wants to monitor the work habits of your employees? These are possibly two of the most common uses for a keystroke recorder.

Before we begin, MakeUseOf would like to state that we do not condone the use of key-loggers for malicious purposes. This giveaway is to support its use in the business environment i.e. monitoring employees or supervising your child’s internet activity and the like.

Elite Keylogger 4.7 PRO comes with all the features you could need for monitoring a user’s actions on your computer and it does it with a simple interface. You can set it to record every keystroke typed, what programs were used, which web sites are visited and even take screenshots at a set interval.

Elite Keylogger Full-Screen

Elite Keylogger hides from the user’s view completely. It doesn’t show in the taskbar, control panel, or processes. In my tests, it even bypassed virus scanners. If I didn’t install it myself, I wouldn’t know it was on my system. After installation, you are given instructions on how to unhide the program for configuration.

Elite Keylogger Instructions

After following these instructions, the program loads for you to set the options.

On the right menu you can select the date for the logs you want to see. After that, you select which type of log (keystrokes, screenshots, etc.) to view. The keylogger can email the logs to you privately. The program logs all keystrokes, including passwords, so be aware of this when sending any information over email.

You’re able to select specific items to track and set it for specific users. Even when recording keystrokes and taking screen-shots every 20 seconds, I didn’t notice any drop in speed or extra RAM usage on my 3 year old laptop, so the software does a nice job of running efficiently.

As shown above, the software also keeps track of what applications are used and even the specific times they are launched and closed.

Screenshot tracking alone can tell you a lot about a person’s computer use. If you take frequent screenshots, I recommend lowering the snapshot quality to 8-bit to preserve disk space. All screenshots are shown in an easy-to-view thumbnail gallery and can be enlarged with a click.

If you’re looking for an undetectable, low resource, and easy to use keystroke tracker, I highly recommend Elite Keylogger 4.7 PRO. Download the fully-functional 7-day trial and check it out for yourself.

If you don’t mind your users knowing that they’re being watched, try out their free Quick Keylogger.

Free Keylogger Full-Screen

The free version is visible in the taskbar and easily detected by virus/trojan scanners. You can password-protect the logs, but users can shut down the program if they see it. The free keylogger has fewer options compared to its big brother, but if you’re just looking to record keystrokes then this can do the job.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

Here’s our new giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Share it on Facebook

Or on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, 25th June at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email the next day.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Amy from WideStep for her generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf fan page on Facebook. Over 20,000 fans already!

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