Great cleaneruppers

11 February , 2009

Cleaning up  is great fun! Especially around the house!

OK, maybe not, but let’s at least start with a great attitude! Cleaning the computer might be tedious and slightly risky. To delete or not to delete…

I have tried several cleanup utilities over the years. Up to now I have ended with three finalists, who together manage to sort of most of the things I want to get rid of. I have even managed to clean my overly protected work computer with these tools without any danger having occurred. First off I use CCleaner, found at http://www.ccleaner.com/. This freeware utility scans and cleans registry, temp files etc. As well as the regular stuff, recycle bin etc. Then I use revo Uninstaller to uninstall programs that I can’t uninstall with the normal procedures. You can download that at http://www.revouninstaller.com/ .Finally The Windows installer cleanup utility can help you get rid of bad installs. Download this free utility at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301 . I must also mention (again) the Empty directory remover, mentioned in a post earlier. Great for getting your folder structures in order by deleting folders that just has the desktop.ini file in them, or just a picasa.ini or something like that. Get it for no money at all at http://www.jonasjohn.de/lab/red.htm . Now, if I only can find something that will clean the rest of my desk… Or even better, grade the pile of exams I have in front me and THEN tidy up. I thought we would have flying cars and mainstream jetpacks by the year 2000, so this is all rather disappointing…


Pedagoguery Software: Poly

21 January , 2009

A great little freeware to show off today! As a mathematics teacher, and frequent user of whiteboards/smartboards, I am always

looking for nice programs or web sites to use interactively. This is one particularily good program that does just one thing, but does it good. It shows you the most common and a lot of the uncommon geometric solids. You can (use your hands on the smartboard to) zoom in and out on the solids, open them up and crunch them back together again. You can print the layout nets for each solid if you want to make your own physical model. For instance, have your students make footballs (I am talking soccer, not the “other sort” of football, where they mostly cheat by using their hands) from pentagons and hexgons. Solids can be shown transparent or…well..solid.

Go download a free version at http://www.peda.com/poly/


Greenshot

19 January , 2009

Taking a snapshot of your computer screen or a screen region is something I do quite often. Whether for showing students or mom where to find something on the screen, or making tutorials, it’s nice to have a fine little screenshot utility. I earlier used FastStone for this, and this being a great program, it couldn’t stay free forever. So if you can get your hands on older versions of FastStone Screen Capture utilties, do it 🙂

There are fortunately several other options, one is built right into Windows and uses the PrintScreen key. Using this however, causes the entire screen or the entire window of a program to be captured. So it works, although a bit quirky. In Vista this feature has been improved, and you can change the region when clipping.

I prefer to use the freeware utility GreenShot. It easily allows you to edit the screen capture with arrows, textboxes and ellipses. Just what you need to point out important features of the clip. You can download this free utility here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/greenshot/.

Edit: Another seemingly good utility for screenshooting (is that a verb in English?) is Screenshot Captor, found by way of Lifehacker at http://lifehacker.com/304548/take-and-annotate-screenshots-with-screenshot-captor


Giveaway of the Day – free licensed software daily. Edraw Max 4.3 – Create charts, graphics, diagrams, and maps easily.

6 January , 2009

Giveaway of the Day – free licensed software daily. Edraw Max 4.3 – Create charts, graphics, diagrams, and maps easily..

Giveawayoftheday is a pretty cool site, it gives you one piece of software free every day. Of course, this forces a lot of crappy software to be pushed to the readers, but sometimes, gems are found. Today the product is Edraw 4.3, and it seems to be a very good program for drawing diagrams for simple engineering stuff or marketing or if you just tire of MS clipart galleries.

Giveawayoftheday.com also have a sister site, game.giveawayoftheday.com


Slife Labs

4 January , 2009

Slife Labs, LLC.

This is a cool, slightly scary and highly useful little freeware product. It basically logs most of the stuff the you do around your PC and when you do it. In that manner, you can figure out the answer to the question “Where the heck did my time go?”

Screenshot from the creators website

Screenshot from the creators' website

I have used this freeware for some time, and it does exactly what it is supposed to, and does it well. It monitors your computer usage, how much time do you really spend on iTunes during work hours? Or your web browser or your construction program or whatever. It gives you nice visuals on how you devote your hours to different websites and software products. Now the trouble is, how do I change my routines from spending too much time on the computer…? If this product scares me into getting things done, I am sending them a Christmas card (or perhaps even donate…) next year!


Dropbox – my sync’er of choice!

19 December , 2008

Researchers…teachers…students… a lot of us have a computer at work, a computer at home, and a laptop to boot (sorry, bad pun). I must admit to also have a mediacenter PC and a work laptop. What I wanted was an easy way to keep folders in sync between all or some of these computers, without relying on ftp or windows drive mapping etc.

I went to several sync softwares before landing on DropBox for now. First I considered Syncplicity, and this was really great with excellent service – until they went out of beta. The free version ended up supporting two computers,

and having three or four I wanted to sync, I had to look elsewhere. Syncplicity comes with a 2 GB account, that grows when you invite friends (up until 5 GB I think).

Next up I went for Foldershare – a microsoft product. This is another concept, syncing as many computers as you like, but only when they are online at the same time. There’s no cloud storage, just moving files over networks. Foldershare suddenly changed into Windows Live Sync, but it is still good. I used it all the time for syncing my iTunes libraries, my iPod libraries, a few movies so that they are available on all computers etc. Another fancy way to use it is to sync a folder with torrents in – that way it’s easy to start torrent downloads from other computers than the one you are downloading to. The freeware uTorrent supports watching a folder for whether a .torrent suddenly pops into it.

I finally ended on Dropbox, the main reason over the others is that it has a 2GB cloud storage, and it allows for several computers to be kept in sync. It also has a clever way of using a public folder, right click a file in the public folder and you get a link you can send a friend. No more swearing when MSN spends seven hours transferring big files. Dropbox also worked on my heavily firewalled work computers, where Foldershare and Syncplicty had troubles installing due to some strange bugs in the Windows Install System (I think it’s called MSI, but not sure…).

Lifehacker also wrote about this in an article about using Dropbox to sync your passwords across computers. Hope you who read this will leave some other clever uses in the comments! I can think of some, like syncing your library of references, to be used in EndNote or Zotero or similar reference managers. Sharing pictures with your family and friends is also pretty easy with this software. And it’s lightning fast!


Norwegian GeoGebra Institute

5 December , 2008
GeoGebra
Image via Wikipedia

NGI, Norsk GeoGebra Institutt (Norwegian geoGebra Institute) was founded this year. Located at NTNU, the university of Trondheim. This institute is aiming to be a gathering point for all activities related to GeoGebra. If you don’t already know this excellent piece of software, take at look at the GeoGebra tag to the right to see some of my older posts, or check it ouf free on the official site, http://www.geogebra.org.

The institute will facilitate courses and seminars, online and on campus, and the first courses are already being planned and starting out. Also, you can be certified for being an instructor at four different levels by attending courses and seminars.

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