The Freeware of the Moment today is a simple utility for Android that fills a very specific need. ShootMe is a screen capture tool for Android that is simple to use. When the screen is displayed that you want to capture, you simply shake the phone.
Good utilities are often those that do a single thing, but do it extremely well. That’s the case with the Logitech TouchMouse app for the iPhone. It connects to PCs and Macs over Wi-Fi and provides multitouch control over the computer, all from the iPhone.
With clients on nearly every other mobile platform, where is the Foursquare app for Windows Mobile? One enterprising developer couldn’t wait, so he created his own. WinMoSquare offers a solid alternative to the Foursquare mobile website.
If you’re anything like me, you likely have a good number of USB drives on hand. They’re all over our house actually — these little digital storage cabinets seem to multiply faster than Tribbles. So when the kids need to use one, there’s no shortage of choices. I simply grab the nearest one and hand it over without a thought. I generally assume there’s nothing on them, but occasionally the kids tell me that there’s little or no free space — that’s because residual data is there even though I’ve deleted it from the drive.
Download Squad points out Curb, a free solution that cleans out the trash on removable drives with Mac OS X. I installed the small app this morning and it works as advertised. It couldn’t be easier to dump the extra trash bits from a USB drive either — simply drag the removable drive on to Curb and it takes care of the rest. The result is a squeaky-clean flash drive.
With Curb, you can be prompted for trash removal or have the software simply wipe data without asking. And the application supports three secure removal options as well — Single Pass, 7-pass and 35-pass — plus an option to zero out all blocks after overwriting. I’d love to see Apple (s aapl) build this type of functionality into the native Trash Bin. Instead of dragging a USB drive for ejection, the OS could securely wipe the drive. Until then, I’m using Curb which can be found on the MRR Software site.
The good thing about smartphone applications is that they add extra tidbits of functionality to a handset. The not so good aspect is that adding tons of apps can overwhelm you from a user interface standpoint. Stock Google Android devices have a small number of “home” screens where you can place software shortcuts, for example. You could go old school and create home screen folders to contain apps, but that’s a pretty manual method. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an app to easily organize your apps?
Android Guys points out that there is — it’s called Apps Organizer and it’s freely available in the Android Marketplace (s goog). With it, you’re essentially creating app folders, but with a twist. You can apply labels to your applications, which helps to automatically organize and group your handset software. Upon installation, Apps Organizer scans your Android device so it knows what apps you already have and lumps them together with standard labels like Android, Games, Internet and more. At that point, you can apply your own custom labels for organization. And adding a labels shortcut is a snap — just long press your home screen, choose shortcuts and you’ll see an option for Apps Organizer. Selecting it provides a list of your labels that can be added to your device.
I’m a sucker for nearly every kind of data synchronization tool on the planet — case in point: today’s news of Mozilla’s Weave Sync add-on beta for browser data. So when I read on Lifehacker that Microsoft updated their SyncToy power tool to version 2.1, I had to share the details. SyncToy generally does one thing, but it does it well: it replicates files and folders from one place into another. Using Echo mode, you replicate files on the left to files on the right, while the Synchronize mode syncs data in both directions. A third mode, Contribute, copies from left to right, but doesn’t delete any data.
Version 2.1 of the free tool doesn’t add much new functionality, but does include new features:
- Better Performance: The speed of file copy operations is significantly increased across the board.
- Improved Robustness: Much more resilient to transient network and file system errors and better error reporting which pin-points which file the sync failed on in case there’s a fatal error that stops the sync.
- Folder pair configuration backup: Folder pair configuration is automatically backed up under %localappdata%microsoftsynctoy2.0. User can replace SyncToyDirPairs.bin with the backup copy to resolve last saved configuration.
- Fixed the data corruption issue when using SyncToy with NAS drives.
- Fixed the issue that prevented uploading files to SharePoint when using SyncToy 2.0.
- Fixed the issue that prevented delete changes from being synchronized when the sync option is set to “Echo”
- Fixed the UI issue where reported file time were off by the difference between local time and UTC when destination is a FAT volume.
The free SyncToy is avaialble directly from Microsoft and is supported on Windows XP, Vista and 7. I have it installed on my netbook and use it to keep audio files in sync between the Windows XP and Windows 7 partitions.
Now that I have two mobile phones and no landline, Google Voice is part of my daily life. The service helps me manage my calls, regardless of which number people use to reach me. On my iPhone 3GS, I simply use the mobile Google Voice site to manage devices or listen to voicemails — pressing play on a voicemail opens up the Apple Quicktime app so I can hear it. I use the free gDial Pro on my Palm Pre, which is nearly as good as the native Google (s goog) Voice software on an Android device. It’s not perfect, but it meets my needs well enough.
Up to now, I’d access Google Voice on my Mac or netbook right through my web browser. But over the weekend, I started using a nice Adobe (s adbe) AIR implementation of Google Voice called GVoice. Even cooler is the fact that one of our own readers created it! RStoeber is a regular here at jkOnTheRun, and he pinged me to share the app. I’ve been running it nonstop ever since he told me about it — you can find it here, along with a few other projects.
In this early version, the app is exactly like the mobile version I see on my iPhone. Voicemails even play within GVoice — I tested it with a message James left me because Google’s translation went awry in a few spots. Since GVoice runs on Adobe AIR, it’s cross-platform so I can run it on either my Mac, my PC or a Linux box. While I could just leave a tab open in my browser for Google Voice, I like this standalone implementation better. It refreshes the Inbox every minute, so I’m always up to date on my voicemails and text messages without having to look at my phone. Of course, I can send texts from it or initiate a call to a contact from one of my two phones, as well. Developers started to add Growl support to Adobe AIR last November, so a future version of GVoice could support instant notifications of messages, too.
That shiny, new netbook you’re using does everything you want it to do, but Windows XP is definitely showing its age with the old-school interface. What you need is a free utility that adds lots of features with updated graphics. That’s where XPize comes in, as it adds lots of pretty bells and whistles.
XPize is the product of a project run by volunteer developers, and it updates many of the UI elements in Windows XP to make them look fresher. It adds a number of nice visual styles that don’t change Windows XP; they just make it look more modern. It is perfect for netbooks, most of which run XP. Give it a try if you want to spruce up that old XP interface. There is also a Vize for you Vista users, and the group plans a Sevenize once Windows 7 is released.
(via I Started Something)
Phil Ferris, our man in Cornwall, England, got the jump on me today. I normally read Business Hacks during my daily routine, but Phil beat me to it. Of course, he’s several time zones ahead, so I’m going to have to visit him and have a local RSS reading challenge soon. 😉
Phil pointed out another useful battery meter utility, and since I’ve been taking a closer look at Windows 7 on my UMPC (more on that later), the timing is perfect. I’m always looking at different battery meters because I like to auto-hide the Windows taskbar on the small screen. That, in turn, hides the native battery icon in the Windows system tray. Business Hacks thinks that BattCursor could work for folks like me. The free app adds your remaining battery level percentage to the cursor on your screen.
That might sound annoying, but you can customize the transparency level of the notification. And your cursor can be configured to turn yellow or red when the battery level gets close to the critical level. The software can even turn your Aero Glass windows yellow or red as you approach a low battery level. The BattCursor devs say this uses an undocumented feature of Windows, so that function could disappear. As your battery levels decline, the utility can auto-dim your screen and disable Aero Glass in order to save a wee bit more juice.
BattCursor runs on Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 (s msft), at least up to the Release Candidate of the latter. Thanks, Phil!
So maybe you’re not ready for a web-based operating system but you still like to flit from computer to computer. That’s great for hitting up the web but not always so great for playing media files. Sure, if you’re sticking with Flash-based vids or a common file format, you’re likely in the clear. But you can’t expect every major codec installed on every PC you come across, can you? Lifehacker says that with VLC Media Player Portable, you don’t have to.
The highly flexible media application is part of the Portable Apps suite, which means you can carry VLC on a flash drive in your pocket. The download is 20MB, but will only take up to 37MB on your flash drive. The portable version has may of the same features as the latest desktop version and supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg and many other media formats.