[neatnettricks] Neat Net Tricks Standard Issue 194, August 11, 2008

  • From: "Jack Teems" <jteems@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <neatnettricks@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 11:05:10 -0700

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In resuming publication of this free edition of Neat Net Tricks, I'm reminded of the old adage "If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?" Or, put another way, I can assemble good material twice a month, but I need an audience to read it. That depends on you not only to spread the word and share your copies of this mailing, but also to encourage others to subscribe to their own copies and mention the new free NNT on every blog or forum you visit. I'm counting on you to help support this effort with a steady increase in numbers. Your help is much appreciated and assures continued publication of this edition without cost.

Some subscribers have asked why I am requesting donations for this free issue. This really puzzled me; I haven't asked for donations, nor will I. What you are getting that may have been misinterpreted is a monthly report from Freelists.org, the mail server that hosts this newsletter along with several hundred others. The monthly mailing reminds subscribers how they can change their subscriptions and in a footnote there is a blurb that Freelists would appreciate subscriber donations to help the hosting service remain free. However noble the cause, please note that this is NOT a request from Neat Net Tricks for donations.

With that, on with the show. Just remember, your comments are always appreciated.



01. Without sounds, our computers would be dull machines indeed. As I mentioned recently in an issue of NNT Premium, I remember with fondness my first computer, the VIC-20; not for it's very limited memory size, certainly, but it had a great soundboard for an early computer. We've come a long ways though, and here's a few tips for recording, playback, and managing your sounds. They all have a common denominator: they are free, and "free" is an excellent sound as well.

ORANGECD PLAYER is a freeware Windows program that allows you to play audio CDs using your PC. The player supports online music databases and works with the developer's music organizer software. When you play a new CD, the player downloads song titles and automatically catalogs it in your music database. Additional features include various playback modes, playlists, direct track access and disc position memory. The Player is free and can be downloaded at http://www.firetongue.com/cd-player.html ; but the OrangeCD Catalog costs $34.95 after a 30-day free trial.

FREERIP is a Windows application that lets you extract audio CD tracks and save them to Wav, MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis or FLAC audio files. FreeRIP is also a audio file and MP3 converter and it can convert audio files from one of the named formats to another. Download free at http://www.freerip.com/ .

CD BURNER XP. Reader Patricia K. reports that CD Burner XP is the easiest and fastest burner she has ever used. She burned 700 MB of MP3s on one CD in eight minutes, followed with three movies on a DVD in short order. Download it free at http://www.cdburnerxp.se/help/ .

INFRARECORDER burns CD/DVD to include dual-layer DVDs, erases rewritable discs with four different methods, records disk images,, creates disc copies on the fly and using a temporary disc image, saves audio and data tracks to files (.wav, .wma, .ogg, .mp3, and .iso) and more. Download free at http://infrarecorder.sourceforge.net/ .

FREE SOUND RECORDER lets you records any sounds from your sound card and save the recording directly into MP3, WMA, or WAV files. It supports sound sources from a microphone, streaming Internet audio, CDs, cassettes, phone lines, Winamp, Media Player, etc. Download free at http://www.sound-recorder.biz/free_sound_recorder.html .

STARBURN. Create your own data, audio, and video CD/DVD and Blu-Ray/HD-DVD with this free download at
http://www.rocketdivision.com/download_starburn.html .

02. We are all feeling the pinch with our personal finances these days. Someone observed that the good thing about having less money is that it takes less time to manage it. Our computers can provide elaborate money-managing software and some of these are great, such as Quicken, Microsoft Money, and Peachtree. But they are all expensive, so if money (or its lack thereof) is suggesting that you downsize even your financial software, consider these two alternatives, both free for the download:

MJRZ.NET if an open source personal finance software application designed for home and small business users. It's features and free download are at http://www.mjrz.net/ .

MONEY MANAGER. Money Manager is another open-source easy-to use way to track where your money goes. Details and free download are at http://www.codelathe.com/mmex/ .

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03. TOOLER allows you to create special shortcuts to accomplish tasks such as turning off the monitor, restarting the PC, and ejecting the CD-ROM tray. It requires no installation and the exe file, just 50KB, can be downloaded at
http://programyaionela.republika.pl/english/tooler.htm .

04. ALERTS.COM keeps you informed with information you ask for on weather, news, traffic, gas prices, reminders, live sports, etc. Sign up free at http://www.alerts.com/ .

05. PAGE TIKI at http://www.pagetiki.com/ lets you monitor your favorite Web pages for changes,and receive updates by email or RSS feed. It's a free service at http://www.pagetiki.com/ .

06. BRINGO. Find the company you want to call, enter your phone number, and this free service at http://www.nophonetrees.com/ calls you back with a real live human on the other end.

07. SHORTER LINKS. I don't know about you, but my fat fingers often cause errors in typing, particularly the longer links that some Web sites carry. Thus, I'm always open to something that simplifies those humongously long URL. Here's just a couple for your consideration:

TINY URL at http://www.tiny.cc/ has been around awhile and seems to be the most widely used "link shortener." It can be very useful in posting links on blogs, forums, Web sites, etc., to shorten them and prevent wrapping or breaking. With Tiny URL you can create a personal or unique address using a keyword.

BIT.LY. Still another slant on shortening URL is Bit.ly at http://bit.ly/go . Bitly uses a cookie to remember the last 15 links you've shortened and displays that history on the home page when you visit it. It allows you to set up a custom URL ending for your link, and Bit.ly automatically creates three thumbnails for every page you sve a link to. It also stores a cached copy of every page you store a link to and tracks clickthrough numbers and referrers so you can see what kind of traffic your shortcut receives and from where. There are other features and more promised soon.

08. ZAP READER, a Web-based speed reading program, suggests that you might experience a 300% increase in reading speed without loss in comprehension. There's nothing to install and it's free at http://www.zapreader.com/ .


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  • » [neatnettricks] Neat Net Tricks Standard Issue 194, August 11, 2008