ConveyThis for Android: Simple Translator in Your Phone

Travelers know that trips abroad can go much smoother when you can convey your needs in the local language. Phrase books have been popular for years but an electronic version that sits in your phone would be just the ticket. ConveyThis, which offers simple translation into 40 languages, has just been released for the Android (s GOOG) platform.

The free program offers on-the-go translation of simple words and phrases. The translated phrase appears on the screen and can be played in audio with the tap of a button. Having a translator in your pocket can turn a difficult situation into a good one and the program is free, so trying it out is simple.


Freeware Analyzes Music BPM, Updates ID3 Tags

mixmeister-bpmWell, that 32 GB iPhone 3G S (s AAPL) is arriving tomorrow, which will hold all of my music and then some. Now I can finally take every tune with me when I run. Yes, I admit the sacrilege: I run with my iPhone…miles at a time. A smaller, flash-based digital audio player would probably better suit my lifestyle, but I take advantage of device convergence when it makes sense. So the larger iPhone solves all of my problems, right? Wrong…I really need to make some playlists based on the BPM, or Beats Per Minute.

Lifehacker must have sensed my immediate need because they mentioned the free MixMeister BPM Analyzer for Windows and Mac today. The software is really meant for the DJ scene, but BPM means the same to DJs and runners, so I grabbed it. You just drop tracks or whole folders in and the software will analyze the music to figure the BPM. I have one or two iTunes DRM-protected albums and it didn’t work on those, but all of my other music looks supported. MixMeister updates the ID3 tags of the files, too, although I had to do a “Get Info” on my music files to see the change take place. That feature should help me make a few smart playlists for various workouts. After this, I might have to splurge for one of the Nike+ sensors for tracking data since the new iPhone supports it. Wow, the hardest part of my workout will just be the running part after all this tech. ­čśë

CardStar: A Better Way to Get Reward Cards Into an iPhone

cardstarDo you carry barcoded merchant “Reward Cards” with you when you shop? I used to attach the mini versions to my keychain but I had too many: Borders, Barnes & Noble, Giant and several more. Of course, when I removed them from the keychain, they were never with me when I was shopping at my favorite locations, so I never got the “rewards.” Sometimes the store will try to find my account by phone number, but that’s hit or miss.

For a while, I tried to use my iPhone camera to capture and carry the barcodes around, but it’s just not suited for close-up, detailed photos. I’d say I had a 50 percent or so success rate with that method.

The Consumerist just made mention of CardStar, which you can find in the iTunes App Store. It’s currently free, but only for a limited time, so I just nabbed it. At some point, it will cost 99 cents, which I still think is a bargain. CardStar doesn’t need the barcode image from your reward cards. Instead, you simply enter the numbers from your card and CardStar creates the barcode for you. It makes for a much cleaner look and should be easily readable when at the store.┬áCardStar includes support for over 190 merchants, and you can add your own using the Advanced features.

Skyfire Mobile Browser Hits the Big 1.0

hulu_htc_touch.jpgHoping to take mobile web browsing to new places, Skyfire finally goes gold with the release of version 1.0. The browser has been in beta form for some time, but has impressed us nonetheless. Today, anyone with a Windows Mobile (touchscreen or not) or supported Symbian S60 device can download the application for a richer Internet experience.

Richer in what way, you ask? Skyfire supports Flash 10 and Silverlight 2.0, so you can get your YouTube and Hulu on, to name just a few sites that are often taboo on handset browsers. And the Skyfire folks added a real-time activity wall recently, too. With it, you can find all of your favorite RSS feeds, Twitter updates and Facebook statuses.

Have a look at the new version, demonstrated by Skyfire’s CEO, Nitin Bhandari, and tell me you don’t want to download this app.

Thought My SD Card Was Hosed; a Free Utility Proved Me Wrong

sdformatterSo I took delivery of that new Canon EOS Rebel T1i this week. I bought the DSLR, because it supports high-definition video recording. Yet, you haven’t seen any sample videos just yet. Have you wondered why?

For some reason, the 16GB SD memory card I was using suddenly got hosed. I’m not blaming the new camera because I’ve had this same problem with the older XSi that the T1i replaced and I’ve even seen it happen with my Kodak Zi6. I can’t determine the exact cause, but at random times, the cameras simply can’t read the card. They know the card is there, but the files can’t be seen nor can I format the card using the camera. Essentially, the memory card becomes utterly useless…and so does the camera I’m trying use.

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Free Utility Recovers “Lost” Photos and Data


Have you ever lost data due to file corruption? Jonathan Greene lost around 100 digital pictures recently. Actually, his Nikon D70s did that for him and he wasn’t happy at all about it. The digital camera somehow corrupted the photos on the CompactFlash storage card and Jonathan figured that he’d never see those images again. Since they were from his son’s birth, it’s not like he could set up for a re-shoot. Luckily┬áPhotoRec rescued every single image!

This free, open-source utility “ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data“, which is exactly the aggressive type of approach these situations require. The software runs on practically every platform and can recover data from several filesystem formats: FAT, NTFS, EXT2/EXT3, and HFS+. Best of all, it doesn’t just work on hard drives. PhotoRec can be used with optical media, flash storage cards, and even portable media players like the iPod (s AAPL). Over 180 file types are supported for data recovery.

I’ve actually never lost any pics on my Canon XSi but it’s nice to know that this free utility worked for someone; especially since the new Canon T1i is arriving shortly. Oh wait… did I just hear a UPS truck pull up? Gotta run!

Freeware of the Moment- Rocketdock

My call for your favorite utilities for UMPCs has gotten me some good recommendations and one of those is our Freeware of the Moment. Our friend HG pointed out that the Rocketdock program is good for UMPCs as it provides a customizable dock that is very finger-friendly on UMPCs. I had to try it out right away, and HG wasn’t kidding; Rocketdock allows you to create a tailored launcher/ taskbar/ gadget dock that fits your needs as well as your screen.
Rocketdock is donation-ware so if you use it you should drop them some coin so development can continue. The program is great, with all aspects of it customizable, from the skin to the icons used. The developers have a nice collection of gadgets you can download for free to extend the usefulness of Rocketdock. Rather than try to explain how cool and useful the program can be just take a look at my current UMPC desktop. I’ve included snaps in both landscape and portrait orientation to show how well Rocketdock makes the transition.

Outlook Thread Compressor Saves Precious Space

tc42I stopped using Microsoft (s MSFT) Outlook some time ago, but I know many of you are still using it. And why not? It’s a great mail client and is often found in the corporate world. When I used it, I was always looking for ways to save space in my mail store, mainly because of hard storage limits in the environment. It’s too late for me, but you might be interested in the free Thread Compressor for Outlook.
I’ll warn you now that this free add-on will delete mail from your mailbox. Of course, that’s the intent of it, but I wanted to disclose the risk right up front. Thread Compressor uses the “conversation” threading feature of Outlook to identify and then remove redundant messages in the thread. Essentially, using TC will remove all messages in a thread except for the most recent, that way you have the entire thread in one single message and the rest are deleted to save space.
Again: This add-on is designed to delete mail from your mail account, so be careful! Thread Compressor for Outlook works on all versions of Outlook on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
(via Jason Langridge)

Freeware of the Moment: EASEUS Partition Master for Windows

partition-copy1A partition manager is something that you rarely need, but when you do, you really, really need one. These utilities are the ones that let you reconfigure your hard drive partitions in your operating system. Good ones make it simple to modify partition sizes and to merge partitions when that makes sense.
I have used commercial solutions, but it’s hard to justify paying more than $50 for one when you use it so rarely. That’s where freeware EASEUS Partition Master steps in. This free utility (personal edition) does everything the big boys do but at a cost that makes sense for seldom-used utilities. The program can do all of the copy, re-size, move and conversion functions you’d expect and works on Microsoft (s MSFT) Windows XP and Vista.
(via Techblog)

Free BlackBerry Call List Manager Great for the Professional

callclientdeviceA professional’s work time often revolves around phone calls and the information that’s gleaned from them. Perhaps talking to a client leads to information that needs to be remembered for some future dealings. Some professionals need to keep track of phone call information for billing purposes. What is needed to make this work better is a good call list manager.
Call Client is a free manager for the BlackBerry (s RIMM) that aims to address this need. It is a simple-to-use call list manager that keeps track of every call made or received on the BlackBerry and adds the useful ability to add call notes by hitting a button. Information can be added as appropriate to make sure nothing gets overlooked.  Call Client has a decent feature list for a free program:

  • Handles multiple call lists
  • Unlimited phone numbers with Call Client call lists
  • Add notes
  • Unlimited Call Client call lists supported
  • Indicates status of each phone call (complete or incomplete)
  • Import and export any properly formatted .CSV file
  • Tons of shortcuts for easy use in one hand

The ability to export the call list comes in handy at client billing time.
(via Blackberrycool)