Tag Archive 'tool'

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 10 2011

Unzip It ith 7-Zip!

If you’ve ever spent time on the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly encountered zip files. Zip files (.zip) are typically used as a means to send multiple files from one computer to the next in an easy fashion. However, unless you’re a computer science major, you may have had some trouble understanding how to easily open them. Some people turn to programs like WinZip, for which you have to pay, in order to handle the job. You, however, are a poor but savvy UMW student, and you want a better option!

The Express Zipper

"The Express Zipper" by Tam Nguyen Photography at Flickr

I offer you a free program that is just as easy to use: 7-Zip. It’s an open-source freeware for Windows and Linux that I’ve been using for years. In fact, I’ve been using it for so long that when I went to research this post, I desperately needed to update the program from the 4.65 incarnation I was using to its latest, 9.20. That’s how good 7-Zip is, and how useful. It’s a simple program–1mb in size–that never devalues.

7-zip also features an active forum for support and questions. Give it a try, and make your file transfers much easier–and cheaper!

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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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Aug 19 2009

Help Is On The Way

Like we stated many many months ago when Stuff for Starving Students was first kicking off, we are huge fans of Firefox. One of the best features of Firefox is that ability to use add-ons to extend the functionality of your browser. We have discussed a couple of add-ons in the past, like Zotero, Delicious and Aviary. Today we present another add-on to decorate your browser – Video DownloadHelper.

Video DownloadHelper Icon
cc licensed flickr photo shared by umwdtlt

Video DownloadHelper is capable of searching a site you are on for videos and allows you to download the video off the site so that you can repurpose them in ways you need. Nothing illegal going on here (unless you choose to use the content you download illegally of course) it just gives you easier access to content that your browser is downloading anyway. Wondering how you might use this neat add-on? New Media Specialist Andy Rush has a post on embedding YouTube videos in PowerPoint presentations offline using the DownloadHelper add-on.

After enabling the add-on in Firefox whenever you see the DownloadHelper icon (it looks like a molecule) light up and rotate you will know that there are videos on that site available to download. YouTube is just one of the many sites that this add-on supports. So if you find that perfect video for your next project you no longer need to worry about the internet working in your classroom that day if you have already downloaded it.

There are many more possibilities with this add-on and we are curious to know how you use it in your travels, so leave a comment!

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Jun 12 2009

Create & Collaborate

This latest cool stuff was pointed out to me by Patrick Murray-John who once again has found a rockin’ tool. Creately is an online tool that lets you create diagrams and designs and collaborate with others on said stuff. This is one of the best programs I have seen for diagram and design collaboration because not only is it intuitive but it also comes jam-packed with lots of useful features and lots of granular control.

Creately Screenshot

The objects are smart and have features that only appear when you need them to by clicking on them. The tool has hundreds of features but does not overwhelm you with a myriad of menus and buttons. The toolbar is simple and elegant too. Images can be stretched, skewed, and inverted. You can change colors, size, font and there is an infinite undo and redo button (yay!). The tool saves revisions so you can revert back (like wikipedia) if necessary. There are lots more features I could talk about but it is better if you go there and try it out for yourself. Creately is a powerful tool and most importantly (to this site at least) it is free!

Collaboration is made easy by clicking the share button in the upper-right hand corner and sending it off to your fellow collaborators. You can also leave comments to discuss the diagram/design and Creately allows you to intelligently point to a specific piece within the diagram/design so other people know exactly what you are talking about. There is little confusion when using this tool, it is really user friendly. Another great feature that is simple but important is the ability to export what you have created. There is the option of creating an image, PDF, XML, or to send it off in an e-mail. You’d be surprised how many tools that work great don’t have great options for exporting what you create, for this Creately gets extra bonus points.

As of today (6/12/09) it is in private beta but, I got an account easily enough and within half an hour I was playing around with Creately. So next time you have a group project that requires designing or diagramming I expect you will enlighten your group about this awesome tool. And go ahead and take the glory for making the group project much easier through your “discovery” of this cool tool, I won’t tell them where you heard about it.

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Mar 27 2009

Spice Up Your Prezintations!

Yes, I know how to spell presentations in case you were wondering. Prezintation is just my bad attempt at a pun in order to turn your attention to Prezi.com.

If you somehow missed it, by clicking the little image above you can get a preview of what Prezi does. So click now, I can wait.

Now that you are back you are probably wondering how exactly you can make a sweet presentation like that. Well the first step is to sign up for a free account. The one current drawback is that it is still in private beta, but don’t let that stop you from trying out this cool app.

Next you can check out the learn tab and see how easy it is to create visually appealing presentations. The website says it the best, “Prezi is the ultimate tool for the creative, the child-like, those who want to impress their audience, and those who like shiny objects. It might look scary and confusing first, but it is, in fact, self-explanatory and easy to use”. If you think you fall into one of those catgeories (or many like I do) than Prezi just the tool for you.

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