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Archive for the ‘Emerging Technology’ Category

Good afternoon everyone!

This third edition of the my Tech Tips newsletter will quickly cover some Free or Discounted Software that you should look into for your home computer.  

Summary
Most of us still have some semblance a budget, and it always helps to curb some of our spending by finding alternative applications or software at discounted prices for our technological requirements. Here, I’ll give you a short list of software and their descriptions to help!

Software Alternatives
Graphics
Ever wanted to manipulate Photos or Graphics, but didn’t want to buy Adobe Photoshop CS5 at $999.00? I don’t blame you.

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) presents itself to fill this gap. GIMP is a freely distributed program (open source-by donation) that works on nearly all operating systems and is very similar to some renditions of Photoshop. Or if you just want something quick to organize and make minor corrections onto your photos, you can always use Google’s very own Picasa, a well designed program with a web-application feature for sharing online. Even further slimmed down is IrfanView for quick edits.

Communications
Speaking of Google, the web application Google Voice is a great complement to the popular video-chat program Skype. Google Voice let’s you call internationally for minimal fees ($.02/minute), and unlimited texting is free. Other features include giving you a single phone number that rings all of your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text. Check out the Google Voice Blog for further details on it’s possibilities.

Video
Sometimes applications like Windows Media Player, Quicktime, RealPlayer, or even iTunes can seem bloated and clunky. Introducing VLC Media Player, easily the best video player I’ve ever used. Other apps often fail at finding the right video decoder (“codec”) in order to play the many different flavors of video files, but VLC Media Player has always played everything the first time. It handles DVDs, VCDs, web streams, TV cards, and a whole lot more.

PDF Manipulation
PDFCreator creates a virtual printer on your computer that, if you print a document to it from any program, creates a PDF of that document that can be read on any computer with Acrobat Reader on it. After installing PDFCreator, all you have to do is print like normal and out comes a PDF!

Secure Storage
TrueCrypt enables you to convert a memory stick into a strongly encrypted data storage device, meaning that you can store personal data on it without worrying about losing it and having personal information get out and about.

For more software alternatives, see the following websites: AlternativeTo, Lifehacker: Superior Alternatives, and The Simple Dollar:30 Essentials.

The Holiday’s are quickly approaching, so hopefully this will help to save some cash on some upcoming purchases!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest edition of Tech Tips!

Thanks!

8 Nov 2010

Tech Tips #3

Author: dustinwa | Filed under: Emerging Technology, General, Tech

Good morning!

I’ve started a small newsletter called Tech Tips at my office, and I’m going to share some of the articles with readers here.

Tech Tips aim is to educate each you on how to live a more tech-savvy lifestyle, or just to find ways to make your life easier.

My first tech tip covers the application known as Dropbox.

Do you have multiple computers and find yourself constantly transferring files between them with a thumb drive or by emailing them to yourself? This is the solution!

Dropbox img

The way it works: You install Dropbox onto your home computer and sign up for an account. The install creates a magic folder on your computer. Any file you place into this magic folder syncs with to your very own website online and to any other magic folder you’ve previously installed that’s also assigned to your account.

Have another computer? Install Dropbox on it as well, and then your files will also be synced (copied) to that magic folder as well. Have an iPhone or iPad also? Download and install Dropbox onto it via it’s iTunes app and get access to any file that you place into your magic folder from your iDevice.

When I was in college, this tool saved me several times since I saved all my homework into my Dropbox folder! When running late and forgetting to print out a report, I was able to email the document directly to my Professor from the Dropbox application on my iPhone at a moment’s notice, so nothing was ever late!

Dropbox has many additional features and is available for free as long as you keep less than 2GB of documents, pictures, or videos in your Dropbox Folder.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tech Tip!

8 Nov 2010

Tech Tips #1

Author: dustinwa | Filed under: Emerging Technology, General, iPhone, Tech