Aviary: Edit images, screenshots, and audio online

September 2, 2010

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to edit an image, but didn’t have the software to do it on your computer? What about editing audio, or taking web page screenshots? Aviary is an amazing tool that lets you do this online in a Flash-based interface. You can create an account, or sign in with an account such as Google, Twitter, etc. Try it @ Aviary.com



Free Microsoft Office Alternatives

June 26, 2010

In the next few days, I will review some of the best alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite. You might want one of the alternatives for…

…your kid’s computer

…your home computer

…your small business

or any time you’d use Office.

I will review some of the best free titles and web app Office alternatives including:

  • Google Docs
  • NeoOffice/OpenOffice (they are very much the same thing)
  • Zoho Office

Some other alternatives include Docs.com, but docs.com requires a Facebook account to login, which I don’t have.


How to send free text messages

June 19, 2010

You are probably tired of rising costs of sending a simple text message- which cell phone companies often charge inflated costs for just because they can. Or, maybe, you don’t even have a cell phone (gasp!). Either way, this article is for you. In the following lines I will show you the best ways to send text messages for free.

1. With a web-app

  • Txt2day.com lets you send text messages right from their homepage- you can include an email address to receive a response
  • Onlinetextmessage.com does the very same thing as above, in case it doesn’t work

2. With a dashboard widget (mac only)

  • Use the Safari Web Clip feature to select the useful area of either one of the above websites to put it in your dashboard for convenient use

3. With your email

  • Popular Mechanics gave me this idea, but I can’t really put it on this page without stealing their content so I’ll give you the link below
  • Their article tells you how to email a text to Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and AIM
  • This could be the easiest way if the recipient’s carrier is supported because you could just add the text email address to your contact list and text them just like you’d send someone an email
  • Click here for Popular Mechanics Article


Best Free Antivirus

June 3, 2010

Looking for free antivirus? In this article, I will cover the reasons you need to have antivirus, and the best free software titles to get.

If you use Windows, some of the best software titles are AVG Free Edition, Avast Free Antivirus, and/or Malwarebytes Anti-malware. Don’t install too many antivirus titles to your computer- this will slow it down and the programs will interfere with each other in some cases. Antivirus is especially important if you have Windows. Windows is the prime target for hackers and phishing scams. Even if you are careful on the internet, you could get a virus from a colleague, friend, or family member who plugs a flash drive into your computer. Additionally, you could install ThreatFire along with your other antivirus: It notices the general trick patterns that viruses use and detects them before a normal antivirus program even knows it exists.

If you use a Mac, you are not quite as vulnerable, but vulnerable nonetheless. I’ll put it this way: If you’re a hacker/virus maker, you want to steal someone’s identity or get money from the victim. More people use Windows than Mac, so you’ll get more money attacking Windows. Some still attack Macs though. That’s why there’s iAntivirus and ClamXav. On the iAntivirus download page, click the green button that says “Get Free”- you don’t want the blue TrialPay one.

Everyone should have antivirus- even if your computer doesn’t have sensitive information, you could unknowingly pass a virus on to a friend or coworker who does. Also, don’t fall for ads on webpages that say you have dozens of viruses or registry errors- they don’t know that for a fact and when you click on it to download the “fix,” it blocks access to the files on your computer and makes you pay to get them back. This a mostly a threat for Windows, but Mac users should be cautious too.

Tell your friends with the share button so they can protect their computers. Know of a virus or phishing scam you’ve noticed or been affected by? Tell me in the comments below.

UPDATE: I was recently linked to in a question about Google, and another antivirus software is VirusBarrier Express, which is on the new Mac App Store.


Adobe Acrobat: Free Online Alternative

June 1, 2010

Have you ever needed to create a pdf? Maybe someone didn’t have Word or Excel and needed a file from you, or you wanted to restrict editing. Adobe Acrobat does this, but it isn’t free. FreePDFconvert.com is. It allows you to upload a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document and then have it automatically converted and sent to your email address. It can also convert from PDF back to Word or Excel, if you need to edit something. If you are using a Mac, you can just select PDF>Save as… from the print dialogue. On Windows, you could install PrimoPDF or PDF995 to do this for you.

UPDATE: PDFhammer.com provides an online editor- upload the PDF, edit in your browser, and download again.


Goodsearch.com: Make your searches worthwhile

May 23, 2010

Have you ever wondered how you could make your searches more useful? Probably not. You just Google your query, click a link and use the page, thinking  nothing of it. Sometimes, though, you might have wondered if there was a good alternative to the search giant Google. There is, and its called GoodSearch.

Goodsearch is a charitable search engine that donates money to charity nearly every time you perform a search on it. You don’t even need to sign up to use most of its features.

First, select the charity you want to benefit under “Who do you Goodsearch for?”.¬† This is important because it you don’t, the money raised will just go to sustain the website.

Goodsearch charity selection

Select a charity

Then, it will state your charity in place of the selection box- I chose the ASPCA. Goodsearch also has a feature called GoodShop- if you search for a product on their engine and then end up buying it, a designated percentage goes to your charity.

If you run a non-profit or know someone that does, the “Add New Charity” feature might be useful. Just go to http://www.goodsearch.com/addcharity.aspx and fill out the form. It could be a useful strategy in fund-raising for your organization. They provide a table that shows how many searches earn how much money.

Goodsearch is powered by Yahoo Search, so you should get decent results. Try it out


Access Your Files Remotely with FeelHome

May 21, 2010

Nuxinov.com download button screenshotHave you ever been in a pinch and needed a file off of your home computer? Maybe it was a report for work, or an assignment for a class. For MobileMe customers, the answer is as simple as using the “Back to My Mac” feature, but for the rest of us who don’t want to shell out $99 every year there is a simple solution: FeelHome.

FeelHome is a donation-ware application that you can install on multiple computers that allows you to access your files from any Internet-enabled computer. First, you sign up for an account on http://www.nuxinov.com. Then, download the software to any computer you want to access from a remote location, and add your account to it. To make your files accessible, start the server application. Your files should be available to download from any web browser @ nuxinov.com.

This app works on Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can access multiple computers with one account.

Obviously, there is always a security concern when dealing with remote-access clients. Even though it uses HTTPS and SSL, someone could guess your password or find some other way in, which could lead to theft of sensitive info or installation of malware. Be sure to set a secure password with different case letters, numbers and symbols. Also consider turning the desktop app off on your computer when you are sure it won’t be needed. If you finish a session with the web app, you can even shut your computer down remotely.