That’s the first thing I said upon installing the Google Chrome extension, “Ozone,” because there’s simply no way around it: This extension is search to the extreme, period.
What do I mean by that?
Suppose you want to search for the name, “Nathan Edwards,” across a whole host of sites. Perhaps you’re interested in all the articles he’s written, or maybe you want to pull him up on Facebook or Wikipedia, or maybe even—god forbid—he’s acted in a movie you really like. Or maybe you sent him a Gmail that you need to look up. Or maybe you want to research his life on Linkedin.
Sounds like quite a task, eh? Good thing that Ozone can do it all... at the same time!
Some of my favorite kinds of freeware apps to find (and install) are the ones that build new functionality into the Windows operating system. I'm running Windows 7 right now, but even this latest version of Microsoft's OS has substantial room for third-party improvements.
It's not difficult to find free or open-source apps to boost the common interactions one has with one's operating system. The tough part is in the classification: I'm really not sure how to best lump this week's applications together, save for the fact that they're all awesome ways to enhance Windows with new and useful features. And I'm not talking about super-complex, command-line scripts or what-have-you. No, these apps are all super-easy to use-if you even see them at all, given that most will modify some form of your Windows OS without needing any further interaction past the installation screen.
Anyway, if you can think of a better way to classify this week's Freeware Files other than, "Apps that Make Windows Rock," I'm all ears. Otherwise, click the jump and get ready to take your operating system to new places!
It doesn't happen that often, but, sometimes, your favorite Web sites insist on loading links on their pages into a new browser window. That, or you simply like having multiple instances of Chrome running in separate windows-I won't judge your preference. That's cool.
So, when this does happen, how do you go about reducing your multiple windows to a single browser entity that's split into multiple tabs? You could always drag-and-drop these separate windows into a single Chrome instance, but that can be a time-consuming, laborious process depending on just how many different windows you might have open at once. A quaint little extension called JoinTabs eliminates this difficulty by giving you a one-shot button that automatically mashes all of your open windows into one, tab-drenched browser.
If you browse a lot of text on the Web--and who doesn't, given one's typical commuting habits and/or easy access to 3G USB dongles--then you probably find yourself scrolling over huge pages of copy without any real way to make notes on what it is that you're reading. This might not be the biggest deal for the casual surfer, but there's always a time when it would be nice to just have some way to mark an especially pertinent passage for use later.
You can save pages via bookmarks, but you can't really do much with the information contained within these pages unless you copy and paste it over to your word processing app of choice and go to town. A Firefox add-on looks to change this up a bit, and it delivers a very simple feature that's surprisingly omitted from, well, every browser there is.
PDFs. Why do we use PDFs? It's a question I've asked myself time and time again during the following scenarios: my default PDF reader crashing my browser whenever I erroneously click on a link to the blasted extension, an image- or page-packed PDF consuming all of the system resources on my work machine, and while I'm spending extra time to convert a perfectly likable file (.doc) into a new format that's compatible with even more people. At least, I think that's the reason.
But really, though, why do we use PDFs? Perhaps it's the wrong question I should be asking, however. Sad to say, PDFs are here to stay. And I must confess, filling out a PDF form has a certain elegance to it (and built-in digital signature support) that you just can't find in a standard text file or Word document (or OpenOffice.org document).
So instead of asking ourselves how we can rid the world of PDFs, we should really be thinking about the various ways we can improve our interactions with PDF files. That's where this week's Freeware Files comes into play. I'm going to show you five freeware or open-source apps that'll hopefully ease the burden you face when you're trying to manipulate this quirky file format. As well, I'll show you a few more features and tricks you can use to turn your own PDF routines into nothing short of a master class.
For the longest time, Xmarks has been my Firefox bookmark synchronization tool of choice. I've been using it forever, and I can't recall the last time it's presented me with any kind of problem--that's because it never has. Simply put, Xmarks is an amazing tool for keeping your bookmarks in check across multiple installations of the Firefox browser.
But this post isn't about Xmarks. Mozilla itself has released its own synchronization tool dubbed "Weave Browser Sync," and it offers up even more possibilities than the trusty ol' Xmarks add-on. So why am I not fawning over this extension outright and declaring it to be the greatest browser synchronization tool since the sliced bread, er, synchronization utility? Well, a few stability issues reported by other Firefox users have left me a bit cautious to suggest that Weave is the answer to all of your dreams. It's certainly worth trying out, just don't put all your eggs in your woven basket should it not ultimately work on your browser--or worse, accidentally nuke your bookmarks.
Click the jump to find out just how tangled a web Weave has woven!
Quick. A project just came on your radar, but you've got a lot on your plate already. You don't want to forget about a key fact or detail of what you have to do, but it's almost closing time. Or maybe you're just lazy and don't have any of those yellow sticky notes nearby to write down the details. Or maybe you just don't feel like logging on to your Google Calendar to create yet another reminder of whatever it is you have to accomplish.
Lots of possible scenarios, one awesome solution. This week's featured Web app is the ultimate reminder tool for any little fact or meeting time that you need to keep on your radar. It's extremely simple to use--in fact, it would probably take you less time to schedule yourself a little task update using this tool than it would any other software application there is, period. It's even faster to access than Notepad.
The name of the app is (appropriately enough) Remindr. Don't schedule the reading of this post for later. Click the jump right now and I'll give you a quick look at what this awesome Web app actually does!
Seesmic, popular creators of the Seesmic Desktop and Seesmic (for Windows) Twitter utilities, have partnered up with Microsoft to unleash a new way to browse the real-time Web. Don't roll your eyes just yet: I realize there are just about as many different ways to engage Twitter from a computer as there are tweets to track. I, too, was skeptical upon downloading the company's new Seesmic Look client. These fears didn't last long. It's clear that Seesmic has really put its time into a thorough analysis of the existing market, because there simply aren't any other Twitter clients that look quite like, well, Look.
Sometimes, you just need to make some folders--a lot of folders. More than 5 folders, more than twenty folders, more than a hundred folders--you need to generate more folders than you've ever created in a single setting. Maybe this is for work, maybe you're finally getting organized with all the pictures you've taken over the past five years, or maybe you just like makin' folders.
Either way, the typical folder creation process goes a little something like this: you find an open directory, you right-click somewhere, you select "new folder," and you repeat this process a thousand times (with a few extra hours thrown in for renaming).
A handy little application has just come to my attention and, by handy, I mean, "it saves you countless hours of having to repeat the aformentioned frustrating process." If you've ever needed to create and customize a number of folders in a single sitting, then you'll definitely want to click the jump and behold the wonders of this week's top download: New Folder Wizard!
Ahh, the new year is nearly upon us. And, naturally, it's that time to start making a list of all the things that you'll likely end up putting off in 2010. The dreaded "New Year's Resolution" list is really just a fancy way of saying, "I'll get to it." Right? But it doesn't have to be. Post-it notes can be ignored and shopping lists can be misplaced, but there's no stopping a concrete digital solution from reminding you of all the things you promised yourself come the drop of the ball January 1.
That said, you don't have to use this week's batch of friendly to-do and reminder tools to just keep track of your resolutions. These various free and open-source software programs do much more than just that. From integrating with existing online tasks lists, to delivering GUI-free methods for organizing tasks, to tracking your online auctions (no less), these apps deliver a virtual smorgasbord of options for keeping your life in check. You'll never look at another Outlook calendar or Google reminder the same way again.
Make reading this post your first big resolution of 2010, and then click the jump to get a head-start on organizing next year's big projects!