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!
Listening to the Maximum PC podcast #131 this past week (I'm behind) brought back some fond memories. Not only was there a little glint in my eye because I was actually mentioned on said podcast, but I was also tearing up a bit at the realization that the very art of podcasting could serve as an excellent Freeware Files roundup.
Thus, here we are! Podcasting is a huge topic in itself, so I'm trying to bridge a bunch of different worlds in this week's list of awesome applications. Just interested in listening to podcasts? Don't worry--I've got you covered. Looking to make a Maximum PC (or Freeware Files) fan podcast of your own? You'll find a fun trick or two within the bits and bytes of this week's post. Tired of all the same-ol', same-ol' podcasting programs that you read about on all the other tech sites (like iTunes, cough cough?) Well, I'll do my best to surprise you with a new app or two!
Even if, like me, you think that 99-percent of all podcasts are lame and not really worth your time, you can also use some of the enclosed apps and utilities to exert some editing influence over existing audio files. As well, you'll even find an awesome player for video and music files that even comes with a built-in Bittorrent download capability.
As always, slap on your favorite pair of headphones and click the jump--it's podcasting time!
It's difficult to envision a life without email. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Suffice, digital messaging is just a fact of geek life that we all have to deal with on a daily basis. Whether your inbox gets flooded with messages like the Nile during rainy season, or it's barren as one of those outback wastelands that Bear Grylls likes to visit, you probably aren't using your email client of choice to its fullest potential.
That's ok. Neither was I before undertaking the research for this week's open-source and freeware roundup. But now that I have seen the light, as it were, I would never go back to the ol' vanilla installations of Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, or whatever one's particular email utility of choice happens to be. There are just too many interesting ways to tweak and alter the normal email experience to better enhance your ability to read, organize, and shuffle your messages.
That's kind of "the big point" of the roundup this week--making your email work better for you. Click the jump, and I'll show you five apps and utilities for taking your email processing to the next level!
It's back! I've covered Songbird before, but that's only because it's one of the best open-source alternatives to Apple's iTunes. Well, Songbird just got bumped up to version 1.4.2--a brief fix for a UI glitch that was affecting its December 21 release of version 1.4.1. The latter is really the meat and potatoes of Songbird's latest update, representing as good a time as any to try out this unique and easy-to-use application!
Why Songbird? Well, you won't be locked into using Apple's proprietary iTunes platform... sort-of. For while Songbird supports device synchronization for the app's music files and playlists, users of those i-named Apple devices will still have to use Songbird's clever iTunes export workaround to sync music to their devices. Beside that, Songbird offers a comprehensive amount of media sorting, organizing, and tagging--including playlists that automatically update with new pictures, videos, and tour dates for bands of-interest.
In fact, this is one of Songbird's strongest features. Its built-in Internet-based enhancements deliver a wealth of additional information and functionality beyond what you'd expect to find in iTunes and it's... well, it's single connection to Apple's own Music Store. Shoot, you can even purchase concert tickets through Songbird, not to mention pack a bundle of additional add-ons and customizations to truly trick out your media player/organizer as you see fit.
So what's new with this super-handy music app? Click the jump to see all the big 1.4.1 changes!
Apple is all about controlling their products and services. So it’s no surprise that they have locked the Palm Pre out of iTunes again in the new version of the software. The 88.5 MB update, v9.0.2, added support for the new version of the Apple TV software, but for those Pre owners that didn’t investigate fully, it also broke their syncing capability.
Apple and Palm have been playing this game since the Pre came out back in June. Palm knew from the start that Apple could continue issuing updates forever, but they hoped to get some support from the wider tech community. After having their complaint to the USB Implementers Forum thrown out, Palm was also told that their practice of faking Apple’s USB ID was unacceptable.
There are numerous ways to sync music with a Palm Pre, but Palm seems only to be interested in iTunes. There’s an argument to be made for Apple here: It’s their software, and they can do what they want. Would it be nice if they let the Pre sync? Sure, but it probably isn’t going to happen. In the meantime, Palm just isn’t providing their customers with a reasonable syncing experience. Should Palm just get over it? Should Apple take the high road and stop the patch battle? Let us know in the comments.
Douglas Gresham, software engineer for Google’s Mobile division, announced today on the official Google Mobile blog that they have enabled Push support for Gmail for iPhone and Windows Mobile devices. While other applications such as calendars and contacts already had the capability, Push connectivity for Gmail could only be accomplished using third-party applications.
Smartphone users have been requesting this connectivity for quite some time due to its “always on” feedback. Once new email arrives in your box, you will have it quickly on your phone. In theory, the Push connection method should also reserve battery life because the device is not polling for messages on a set interval, even when there is nothing new.
From my experience, once properly set up (takes about 5 minutes) it took my phone (iPhone 3GS) about 45 minutes to fully retrieve all of my data over 3G. So, be patient. The first thing transferred that I noticed were my contacts (just under 100 entries), the last thing was my calendar, email fell somewhere in between.
Have you set it up on your own device? Let us know.
Further, you can also setup the connection to work both ways and synchronize tweets into your MySpace activity stream. The synchronized tweets are advertised as “from MySpace” and offer a link back to your MySpace profile.
MySpace is jumping on the bandwagon after AIM began offering similar functionality through its Lifestream service earlier this month. The canoodling is likely an attempt, by all parties involved, to steal market share from social networking giant Facebook.
The life of a technology and gadget aficionado is filled with challenges. With so many amazing computing options available to us these days, we tend to go a bit overboard with the number of devices we own. In addition to the desktop, we live digital lives on our laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and even the work PC at the office. While each machine has specific functions and advantages, problems arise when we sit down in front of just one device and wonder if it has the latest version of our documents, contacts, and bookmarks.
Keeping your mobile life in sync is becoming an increasingly difficult task these days, and with each device you add to your lineup, the challenge multiplies exponentially. It becomes even more complicated when you start mixing and matching platforms that have conflicting file systems and format support. On the bright side, there has never been a better time to automate the process, allowing you to keep every aspect of your digital life in sync. This guide will educate you on the best ways to sync files, bookmarks, passwords, emails, and even your contacts / calendars, to any platform or device you may have. We deep dive into the major sync technologies being offered today; showing you step by step how they work, so you can decide for yourself what solution will work best for you.
Earlier this week Google announced their Google App Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which they hope will give them the edge in the business email world.
“Many business users prefer Gmail's interface and features to products they've used in the past. But sometimes there are people who just love Outlook. For them, we've developed Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook,” writes Eric Orth, a Software Engineer on the Google Apps team. “It enables Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for business email, contacts and calendar. And they can always use Gmail's web interface to access their information when they're not on their work computer.”
Best of all, Google makes this that much easier by providing a tool that takes care of all the heavy lifting. Microsoft Outlook servers, you’re officially on notice.