Mark Lorenz on Technology

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cool Tools

There are some huge benefits to the web. One benefit is there are a lot of great things available, often for free. One drawback is there is so much to offer that it takes a lot of time and energy (and sometimes pain) to pick the good from the bad and the ugly.

With that in mind, I thought I'd talk about some really cool finds that you may enjoy, in no particular order:
This gem of a program carries a lot of nice features in a compact tool. It will save your copious user IDs and passwords in a secure manner that still allows ease of use. E.g. you can have Password Safe go to a URL and then enter the user ID and password and press submit.
I know ... everyone has their favorites. These are mine:
  • CustomizeGoogle - strip out ads in search results
  • Google Suggest - suggests search terms as you type
  • Map This - select an address on a web page and get a map
  • Tab Mix Plus - the greatest multi-tab extension ever; you should try this
  • Fetch Text URL - go to a URL straight from text on a web page
  • TargetAlert - shows visual cues for destinations of hyperlinks
  • QuickNote - Note taking from your browser
  • Copy URL+ - Copy selection, page URL, and/or title to the clipboard
  • Answers - Alt+Select on a word to get a definition and references
  • Fasterfox - Performance enhancements to Firefox
  • Forecastfox - Nicely done weather info
  • Sage - view and manage RSS feeds
  • ReminderFox- view and manage reminders and to-do's
  • (not an extension, but my favorite theme is Silver Skin)
Excellent and free side-by-side differences and merging of files.
Quick and (relatively) easy storyboarding. Put together UI pages and navigate between them right away. A bit quirky to get used to, but fast and useful output.
Some overlap with Sage, but AWR allows you to do more. You can add web pages, not just feeds...and you can see highlighted changes. Nice.
  • MagicDraw community edition (Eclipse plugin too)
Certainly, if you have the money in your budget, the full versions are highly recommended. The nice thing is the community edition lets you try out UML modeling on a limited scale.
The commercial version has some neat visual development tools, but the free community edition still will help if you are doing JSF and Ajax development.
If you're a Java developer, you should get CodePro. It will intelligently generate meaningful unit tests, fill in JavaDocs, examine metrics, and do much more.
Very nice screensaver. View real satellite images of the planet with accurate daylight and times at various places across the world. Different resolutions available. Update as often or seldom as you like.
Free tool that will remove spyware and adware from your computer and protect you from further infestations.
(Just about) everything you'd ever want for text editing, including sorting, side-by-side scrolling, marking all instances of a string, and so much more.
A super, free set of desktop tools, including working with documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and more. I'd be very afraid if I was the evil empire!


  • Here's another one I just found:


    Insert code for log4j or commons logging easily within Eclipse.

    By Blogger Mark, at March 16, 2006 7:35 AM  

  • Forgot the URL for Log4E - here it is:

    By Blogger Mark, at March 16, 2006 7:39 AM  

  • More tools worth a look:

    Clipboard Recorder


    By Blogger Mark, at March 28, 2006 1:33 PM  

  • And the hits keep coming:

    Yahoo! Desktop

    By Blogger Mark, at March 28, 2006 6:44 PM  

  • PrintScreen
    Save and print what's on your screen. Configurable and easy to use.

    By Blogger Mark, at April 04, 2006 11:00 AM  

  • Here are my latest finds:

    NeoMem - organize lots of disparate things (movies, passwords, car maintenance, ...)

    EasyCleaner - Find and remove unnecessary files and more (I recovered >5GB on my work computer!)

    Bookmark Duplicate Detector - FireFox extension (name says it all)

    PDFCreator - "print" to PDF "printer" from Windows apps and voila, it's a PDF file! eMail or print.

    7zip - tired of WinZip's nag screen? 7zip does the same thing, only better...and no nagging!

    Nice backgrounds - get a new desktop look


    By Blogger Mark, at April 08, 2006 4:09 PM  

  • OMG! The best screen snapshot (and a lot more) product is SnagIt. There are sooo many powerful things you can do (multiple windows or regions, timers, video capture, markups, direct to email, ..., ...) that you need to go to the site to read about it. It is not free, but it is inexpensive and well worth the money!

    By Blogger Mark, at July 21, 2006 7:16 AM  

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