Friday, December 28, 2007

R.I.P. Netscape

AOL have today indicated that they are to discontinue development and support for the Netscape Navigator browser as of 1st February 2008. From that date, there will be no more active product support for Navigator 9, or any previous Netscape Navigator browser. This includes Netscape v1-v4.x, Netscape v6, Netscape v7 Suite, Netscape Browser v8, and Netscape Navigator/Messenger 9. While AOL will still provide download links to old versions of Netscape, they are now actively recommending that existing users download Mozilla Firefox.

In its heyday back in the 1990s, Netscape Navigator was probably the best web browser available and, as a mainly Mac user, I used to prefer Netscape Navigator and Communicator over the alternative Microsoft Internet Explorer before we were introduced to the likes of Safari, Mozilla and Camino, etc. It'll be sad to see it die off completely but it had been pretty awful as a browser since the diabolically bad version 6 and had only recently been rebuilt using the Firefox source code.

It's gone kind of full circle really since it gave birth to the Mozilla foundation when the Netscape code was released to the Open Source community. I suppose you could Firefox and Thunderbird are its progeny and with those as successfull as they are, it can now pass away quietly into history - R.I.P. Netscape!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

SpokenText - Record and speak just about anything

SpokenText is a free web service that allows you to automatically convert (English, French or German) PDF, Word, plain text and PowerPoint files as well as RSS news feeds, e-mails and web pages to spoken audio files.

You can download your recording as an iPod-compatible audio book or MP3 file and every registered member of SpokenText gets a personal podcast URL, which they can use to download recordings to iTunes or their iPod or even to share the feed with the world. You can also easily share your recordings on your web site or blog using SpokenText Badges or individual recording players. There's also a Firefox extension that allows you to easily record any text content you find while surfing the Internet or electronic library. It provides the means to record selected text or any web page using simple commands within the browser.

You could easily use it to download and listen to blog feeds, the news, your e-mails, lecture notes, tutorials and even e-texts or online books - ideal for uploading to your MP3 player or iPod. Also, each month, they publish an audio book for you to download or subscribe to by podcast so you get it automatically.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Improve Your Images

With the emergence of more and more online image editing services, adds another useful tool to the arsenal.

Me and a big fish I caught on holidayMe and a big fish I caught on holiday

Basically, it's like an online version of Apple iPhoto's Enhance tool or Google Picasa's I'm Feeling Lucky button but essentially better than both of those. All you do is upload an image from your system or give it a URL to get it from and it automatically restores true original colours, corrects colour temperature and adjusts for poor lighting. There's nothing else to do and all you get is the option to download the improved image.

I tried it out with a couple of my images and the results are subtle but that's probably because I'd already tweaked them a bit. The next time I get a few fresh off the camera I'll see what this site can do for them. Anyway, if you're unhappy with the results you're getting while trying to tweak a problem pic with your image editor or just don't have the time to play with the likes of Photoshop or the GIMP, then this is definitely worth trying out.

Related Posts: More Online Image And Photo Editors, VectorMagic, Image Resizing Grows Up (or Down), Online Image Editing With Wiredness, Phixr: Another Online Image Editor, PikiFx, Online Image Editors

Thursday, December 13, 2007

BBC Launches iPlayer For Macs

The BBC have launched a beta version of their streaming iPlayer for Mac users and it looks not too bad if you're happy watching programmes in a very small window.

BBC iPlayer
This launch is in response to being told that it must make its iPlayer platform neutral, though it continues to argue that finding a DRM solution will be difficult, as it utilises Microsoft's copy protection technology, that is only available on Windows. Hence the streaming only version for Macs, which doesn't support downloading programmes to watch at any time within 30 days like the Windows version does.

The service streams programmes broadcast over the past seven days to your browser and you have the choice of selecting television programmes from the last seven days, by category (children's, entertainment & comedy, drama, factual, music, news & weather and religion & ethics) or by alphabetical list. You can also narrow the selection to one of their nine channels if required.

They've also just announced that the iPlayer will come out of beta on Christmas Day, which has raised some concerns regarding the support cover over the holiday period should the technology prove less than reliable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Online/Offline Office Gets Closer

With the uptake of office application suites like Live Documents, Google Docs , Zoho, Ajax13 and ThinkFree on the rise, there's an opening for a middle ground solution where you can work both offline and online.

Live Documents, Office Live and technologies like Google Gears and the Microsoft Sync Framework are moving some way towards that goal but there are a few other options available or coming soon…

DocSyncer Online  Service is looking to allow you to synchronize your Microsoft Office documents with your Google Docs account but it's in private beta at the moment. Once you install the docsyncer application on your computer, it automatically finds and syncs your document files to Google Docs and your DocSyncer account. It even monitors the changes to your documents and syncs updated files as well.

Ulteo Online Desktop Online  Service allows you to run OpenOffice in a web browser. Its primary function is to allow people to collaborate on OpenOffice documents without having to download and install the application.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Windows Mobile Screen Capture

Ilium Screen CaptureHaving recently had a need to do a bit of user documentation on how to do something on a Windows Mobile device, I needed a method of capturing the screen and, of course, didn't want to pay anything for it. So, after a bit of a trawl around the net, I reckon Ilium Software Screen Capture is the best around at the moment.

It works by mapping its capture function to one of the special application keys and you can change this if it conflicts with one you need while capturing. You can choose to take an instant copy of the screen or you can set a delay. The All you do is run the program, change the application key and/or set a delay if necessary, and just and get on with whatever it is you need to capture. Once the screen looks the way the want it, and that includes menus, hit the appropriate application button and the image is saved as a BMP file. Once you're done capturing, exit the screen capture application and the application key reverts back to its original mapping. That's all there is and transferring the screen capture files over to your main machine and converting them to more friendly formats such as JPEG or PNG or editing them is fairly straightforward.

There are a few others out there worth checking out if the Ilium one doesn't suit you and lists all of the ones I could find for Pocket PC and Windows Mobile.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Keyboard Shortcuts

Becoming familiar with an application or operating systems' keyboard shorcuts can make life in front of your computer much easier and you can get things done so much quicker than by using a mouse alone so, if you're one of those people that prefers to use keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse or if you're just a newbie to the finger tapping culture, then you'll like

It has a very useful list of keyboard shortcuts for most popular applications such as Adobe (Captivate 2, Reader 7), Apple (iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes), BitTorrent, BlogLines, Gaim, Google (Calendar, Desktop Search, Docs, Gmail, Maps, Picasa, Reader, Spreadsheets, Video), Microsoft (Internet Explorer 7, Windows XP, Windows Live Mail, Windows Media Player 11), Mozilla Firefox 2, Opera 9, RealPlayer 10, Red Hat Linux 9, VMWare Workstation 5, WinSCP, WinShell and Yahoo! Mail

Okay, it's missing a few things like Mac OS X and Microsoft Office and Vista shortcuts but it is still a useful resource and it even has an interactive keyboard map, where you can hover over a key and see any related shorcuts.

Another excellent site is All Hotkeys, which has a huge list of keyboard shortcuts for browsers Microsoft systems and applications, Mac OS X and Apple applications, Google applications, Unix and Linux systems and applications, video games and a range of popular third-party applications.

Other useful sources of keyboard shortcuts are Mac OS X (Startup, Finder, keystrokes, etc.), Microsoft Products (Windows Vista, Windows XP, Office 2007, Office 2003, etc.), Windows ALT Keycodes and a Table of Keyboard Shorcuts (Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, KDE, Gnome)

Related Posts: Handy Reference For Every Key On A Macintosh

iPod -> Folder

iPod FolderiPod -> Folder Apple CompatibleWindows Compatible is a useful little free, Mac OS X and Windows utility to have should you ever lose your iTunes music library. Basically, it'll let you copy the contents of your iPod music to a folder on your Mac or PC or any external drive attached to them.

It'll automatically detect the iPod music structure, calculate the iPod music file size, count folders and display folder sizes and copy all songs into a folder (on any accessible volume). It also comes with options to overwrite existing files, include iPod folder structure and copy MP3 files only.

Just bear in mind that you can't do a selective copy so you'll get the whole lot at once, and you'll need the space available to copy the files into and it's a one-way deal only. Those little iPods can hold a lot of data these days.

There are other tools out there that can do a similar job, such as Floola, Yamipod and Senuti, but iPod -> Folder is a very simple and easy to use option.

Related Posts: Access Your iPod!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Flickr Goes On A Picnik

Flickr users can now edit their photos online directly from within the Flickr environment. Flickr has added an Edit Photo icon to the photo page that launches the Picnik editor and allows you to edit and adjust the photo without leaving Flickr.

Just click the button and, after a bit of whirring and clanking, you can crop, resize, rotate and adjust the photo directly.

Related Posts: More Online Image And Photo Editors