It's not always easy to tackle items on your to-do list, especially if the list is long or contains large, potentially overwhelming items. One effective way to make progress on such tasks is to set a particular amount of time that you plan to work on something. Spend 15 minutes responding to e-mails. Spend 45 minutes reorganizing the basement. Whatever you need to do, it can be easier if you break it into smaller, time-limited chunks. And that's what Pomodoro aims to do. The program's interface leaves a lot to be desired, and truth be told, you … Read more
It happens all the time: we're reading something online and either come across a word we don't know or a term we'd like to learn more about. Typically we just open a new browser tab and search in Google, but it turns out that there's an even simpler solution: Dixio Desktop. This clever program lets you get information about any word you encounter--not just online, but in all sorts of documents as well--with just a click of the mouse.
The program requires that users register for a Dixio account, so that was our first step. Once … Read more
Wow, new PC, eh? Nothing else like it: slim, sleek, and speedy, with gobs of space just waiting to be filled up. The last thing you'd need would be a system cleaner, right? What if we told you that it could be even slimmer and speedier if you removed some of the junk like software demos and toolbars that comes preinstalled on new PCs? Suppose there were a free utility designed specifically to slim down new PCs by clearing away the stuff you don't want and won't ever use before it becomes the computing equivalent of belly … Read more
Electronic books have changed the public's reading habits, and millions worldwide now read books, magazines, and other content on handheld readers like Amazon's Kindle. A lot of work went into making Kindle as book-like as possible while still preserving the advantages of an electronic device, such as a customizable interface, variable type size, notes, data storage, and more. Kindle for PC is freeware that lets you access your Kindle titles without a Kindle device. Its Whispersync feature automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and settings between a wide range of compatible devices.
Installing and setting up … Read more
Millions of current and former children can tell you all about flash cards, which they remember well, proving that the cards worked. Flash cards aren't just for youngsters, though; they can help anyone learn and remember new things. Thanks to freeware suites like Anki, flash cards are easier than ever to use. Anki's customizable cards and exercises help you learn and remember not only facts and figures but also names, faces, places, and more. It works on a wide range of operating systems as well as cell phones and mobile devices, including Android and iOS.
When we installed … Read more
Desktop weather displays aren't as old as talking about the weather, but it sometimes seems that way. There's no shortage of online weather and forecast data to pull from, so they all do the job pretty well. What's left boils down to a combination of features and appearance, mostly appearance. That's certainly the case with MobilityFlow's Animated Weather Free, a desktop widget for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. It stands out by virtue of its realistic animated weather effects, which add a nice touch to current condition displays and forecasts as well as the quick … Read more
Most laptops spend most of the time tethered to AC power, but folks who use their laptops on the go have to keep one eye on the battery level. If you rely on your laptop--and its batteries--it's worth taking a look at battery monitors, such as Battery Meter 1.0 from Mioplanet. It's a free tool that estimates how long you can run your PC on its remaining battery power as well as how long your batteries will take to recharge.
We all enjoy surprises, but not when it comes to computers, so we selected the installer's … Read more
Teachers once entered and totaled their pupils' grades in actual grade books, but these days the "grade book" is probably a spreadsheet file. Gradebook for Excel from Vertex42 is a free pack of grade-keeping spreadsheets for Microsoft Excel. It's aimed at college and high school educators, but it's suitable for any teacher. It includes templates for grading based on percentages, points, and grade point averages (GPAs) or letter grades.
As with most Excel templates, these are very easy to use. We simply extracted and saved the zipped templates to a directory of our choice. We then … Read more
Incredible StartPage is a free Google Chrome extension that changes Chrome's start page to an attractively skinned theme. It's an interesting break from the usual Chrome interface and it adds some useful stuff, such as a note-keeping feature you can link to Google Mail and Calendar. Like many Chrome extensions, it's a work in progress; it does a lot but needs more.
We downloaded and installed Incredible StartPage in Chrome, opening a new tab to access the theme's settings, per instructions. Incredible StartPage created a new interface with our desktop items displayed in a scenic wallpaper … Read more
We've seen a lot of programs designed to make it easy to save videos from YouTube and other sites. Keep Tube for Firefox is a free, Web-hosted, Java-based applet that saves videos from a number of sites, usually in several formats and quality levels. Keep Tube supports not only YouTube but also Break, College Humor, Daily Motion, Spike, Metacafe, MySpace, Facebook, and others.
We downloaded and installed Keep Tube for Firefox and restarted Firefox. The first thing we noticed was the Keep Tube icon in the lower right corner of our browser's frame among the other Firefox add-ons. … Read more