Tag Archive 'stuff'

Jul 30 2012

Say “Night, Night” to Long Installation Sessions with Ninite

A new computer is a popular high school graduation gift, and a great one at that! However, getting all your favorite applications and software isn’t as exciting, and can be a very time-consuming process. Luckily, Patrick Swieskowski and Sascha Kuzins–two awesome people at Secure by Design, Inc–have created a way to streamline that process for us!

Click here to visit Ninite, a website with a long list of popular software that you can download in a single bundle.

Ninite Software Options

What would you like to download?

Check the software you want on your machine–Ninite (which takes suggestions of what apps to include) offers a multitude of selections in categories such as browsers, imaging, media, developer, and documents.

This is great if you are (as we hope you are) a devout user of Firefox and Chrome, because your average Windows machine, for instance, comes only with Internet Explorer. How about another free favorite of ours, the imaging app Gimp? Yup! It’s there too.

Ninite's Installer

Easy to download the bundle!

After you’ve made your selections, download the installer and treat it like a dot exe file–execute it! All the programs you want will quickly download. It’s as easy as that!

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Nov 11 2010

Dropbox it like it’s Hot

Dropbox is one of those great tools that I can’t believe we haven’t talked about yet. If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox the name should give you a hint as to what they do. Dropbox not only acts as an online storage space but provides an easy interface to share files with people. The free account gets you up to 2GB of online storage (with up to 100GB of storage for a paid account). Sign-up and you’ll be able to download a desktop dropbox folder that syncs with your online account automatically when you add new files. With Dropbox you can upload any type of file and it is available the Mac, Window and Linux Operating Systems.

Like I said before besides being a place to back up your stuff, Dropbox gives you a public folder (that allows you to control access) that makes it easy to share files, like those old family photos you have been so diligently scanning, with other people. So rather than large e-mail files that you know will bounce because of the size, just stick it in Dropbox and share the link with friends and family.

Besides software and web access Dropbox has free applications for your mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) allowing you to access your files on the go and I know how you young kids are always on the go.

So go ahead and sign-up so you can finally back-up those important files (like your senior thesis) I know you have been letting sit on your hard drive unprotected. Don’t forget to tell your friends about it so you can share files (legally of course) back and forth.

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Oct 15 2010

I <3 Free Tools

Published by under Misc Stuff

computer_crash_again Over the summer my computer appeared to be infected with a virus. So I decided to wipe my computer and do a clean install of my Windows XP OS. After re-installing I realized that I had a long list of free and useful software applications that I had accumulated over the four years of owning my laptop. As I went back through re-installing all my lost programs I thought I’d keep a list and share with you some of the applications I thought were worth re-installing.  So here is a list and a brief description of those various applications.

The First Section is those applications we haven’t blogged about (yet):

Evernote – Their motto is “Remember Everything” and they certainly make possible to record things in lots of different ways and view it in lots of different locations. This is a great note-taking advice and we hope to blog on it more extensively soon.

Skype – Is a great tool for instant messaging, voice calls and video chats. They have many other features and you can even call land-lines using Skype. I’ve used it many times to talk to a friend all the way in China with a lot of success.

Foxit Reader – A PDF viewer that has none of the bloat of Adobe’s Reader. I downloaded this after this I got fed up with the way Adobe was acting. Foxit lets you highlight and add notes and comments too, so that is always a plus.

IrfanView – This one is Windows specific (sorry Mac and Linux users). It is a quick and easy image editor that supports a huge variety of formats. This great for quick editing job and has many other capabilities such as creating pdf from images and creating slideshows. A real neat tool that has lots of little features.

HTML-Kit – A great code editor whether you do a little coding or a lot of coding. As described on their site, “HTML Kit is a full-featured editor for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other text files”.

VLC Media Player – Simply put, this media player plays nearly everything. Don’t put up with other media players that choke on codecs, just use this player.

This second section is stuff we are already blogged about so check out the links to those those SfSS posts:

Browsers: SfSS post on Google Chrome & SfSS post on Firefox
– Also see related posts on cool add-ons for those browsers: Diigo, Zotero, Talon, Delicious,

Audacity – audio editor

Jing – screencasting

Hope you enjoyed this list and check out some of the new stuff (and some of the old stuff too!). Hat-tip goes to Andy Rush for this blog post idea.

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Aug 23 2010

Fall 2010 Orientation Links

Published by under Uncategorized

Here is a list of links to all the tools we discussed at the presentation!

Aviary – suite of creation tools

Flickr – image hosting and sharing

Diigo and Delicious – social bookmarking and annotation

Zotero – organizing your research

Doodle – creating polls and scheduling events

Evernote – remember everything note taking tool

Enjoy!

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Jun 16 2010

Get Some Chrome For Your Internet Ride

Google Chrome RideA long long time ago, in a blog post far far away we discussed the virtues of the Firefox browsing experience. We still stand by Firefox as a great browser (especially when put up against something like Internet Explorer) but recently Firefox has come against some good competition from Google Chrome. Chrome is fairly similar to Firefox in terms of features it provides. It has add-ons for extending the capabilities of your browser and while it may not have as many as Firefox, the library of add-ons is growing at an increasing rate and many of the popular ones can easily be found. Right now Chrome’s claim to fame (besides looking pretty slick) is that it is fast and from my intensive research (read: me using Chrome) I have found that it does move quicker than Firefox for most things. YouTube seems to load faster but, of course Google does own YouTube so who knows what crazy tricks they can pull.

For some people what browser they are using doesn’t matter much but, if you are open to the possibility that there may be something better out there then Google Chrome may be your answer. Test it, try it, love it (?) and let us know about your experience if you give Google Chrome a go!

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Mar 04 2010

Need your system specs? Get Speccy.

Whenever I work with the hardware on my PC, be it dealing with RAM or system cooling, I inevitably have to check my hardware specs to troubleshoot (RAM timings or CPU core temperatures, for example).  I’ve used dozens of programs for this purpose, be it Coretemp or Everest, yet none have held a candle to both the amount of information given or the sleekness in which this information is delivered than Piriform Speccy, a lightweight yet extremely informative system spec analyzer.  Need your RAM timings?  Your motherboard model? Your graphics card temperature?  Your SMART hard drive information?  Speccy will give you everything you could need, both for troubleshooting purposes and pure curiosity.  If you ever need any information on what is in your computer, Speccy will give it to you.  Although its information is lacking in the software department, that can be easily remedied by any number of programs, including the aforementioned Everest, but when it comes to hardware, Speccy is a great go-to program.

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Feb 12 2010

You Are What You Annotate

Now that the semester is moving forward you are probably trying to focus on being a productive student. So you came here to find some help in, right? Of course right. If you spend a lot of time researching on the internet there is a site called Diigo that you should check out.

To put it briefly Diigo is a highlighting, bookmarking and site sharing tool.

One of the reasons I started using Diigo was, it gave me the ability to highlight and place sticky notes on webpages. When I have to read a long online text for class a tool like Diigo gives me the option to directly annotate (take notes) on those pieces. So instead of printing out a bunch of pages I just bring my laptop to class and read my (searchable) notes. Plus, I am saving the environment, right? The notations have different setting: private, public, or shared with group. So depending on your need there are different settings. A fun little bonus to using Diigo is if anyone else has it installed on their computer and they place a sticky note on a webpage and make it a public note then anyone else who also has diigo can see it too.

Another great feature of Diigo is the ability to archive webpages in html and image formats. This is more than just being able to bookmark a page for later use, it gives you the ability to capture a site at a moment in time. This can come in handy for websites that have an ever changing face, like Wikipedia. Once you have saved a page in this format through Diigo they become searchable within your personal archive. So, if you can’t remember what words you used to tag a bookmark (or didn’t tag at all, shame on you!) you can find the page by remembering words that appeared on the page itself.

Whether it is strictly for your own personal use or for building a list of resources in a community, Diigo is a powerful way to organize and annotate the content on the web.

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Jan 15 2010

Fun Foto Effects

Maybe you are still thinking about the awesome winter break you had and my suggestion to create collages wasn’t enough for you. Perhaps you are feeling creative and want to spiff up some of you favorite photos. Why not try some fun photo filters? Before you complain about not having Photoshop or even the knowledge on how to create cool filters, why don’t you take a look at Rollip?

Rollip is a professional online photo effects site with 40 photo filters. Say you have a picture of NYC and you want to get artsy with your photo you can go easily go from this:

Rollip NYC Pic

to this:

Rollip NYC Effect4

Now you look like a professional photographer that knows how to change saturation and hue (insert other photography words) to create a new image, with a new feel. Rollip has an easy to use interface, it is all done online so you don’t have to worry about downloading any software to use and of course best of all it is free.

So, grab some favorite photos, try out some filters and tell your friends you worked for hours to get the right white balance…or something. Happy filtering!

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Jan 11 2010

Collages Made Easy

It is a new year and school is starting back up for starving students everywhere.

I’m sure during your winter break you took plenty of pictures of family, friends and perhaps some tropical locales you were lucky enough to visit. Now that you have all these lovely pictures I bet you are thinking about all the cool ways you can display them, right? You could spend your time printing pictures out and arranging them in a neat collage like you did back in middle school or you could head over to Photovisi and make a collage there.

Photovisi gives you lots of great template options to choose from and you can crop images inside the site too.  Best of all you don’t even have to sign-up to use their very easy to use  free tool. When you are done it creates an image perfectly sized for wallpaper on your desktop background. In a few minutes I made this:


cc licensed flickr photo shared by umwdtlt

Ok, so maybe I am not the most creative person in the world (yes that is a pizza box as the background) but, I am sure someone like you could make a collage much better than mine in no time at all. So go ahead and make that collage of you and your friends making fools of yourselves or maybe a secret collage of your celebrity crush. Also, if you happen to make a collage worth putting on everyday items you have the option personalize various products with your collage. Didn’t you always want a mug with your mug on it?


cc licensed flickr photo shared by umwdtlt

So try it out and let us know how it goes. If anything, the best part about online collages is not having to worry about getting glue all over the place or maybe that is just a personal issue…anyway happy collaging!

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Oct 26 2009

What is in a Resizing?

Since it has been awhile since we pointed out the handy work of new media specialist Andy Rush, I figured it was time again to give him props.

While it seems like a deceptively simple question, “How do you resize an image?” if you stop and think about it for a moment you will realize this is no easy matter. Sure you could bust out your MS paint and and do terrible things that new human being should ever do with it or you can take a look at a great resource list Andy blogged about.

So now that you have some tips from the new media pro himself go out and properly resize that blurry image you have on that social networking tool you use, we are tired of staring at pixelation.

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