A relatively new Web-based service we've seen more of lately is the driver maintenance site, a Web site that, for a fee, will scan your computer, identify incorrect or out-of-date drivers, and install the proper ones from a vast database of hardware and software drivers. One of them is PC Pitstop, which is both software and a Web site, www.pcpitstop.com. The visually intense site is both a storefront and a portal to forums, newsletters, and other information. It offers numerous free scans for various PC-related issues, all of which seem to lead to the same conclusion: you … Read more
Twitter announced late Wednesday that it is starting a limited test of a new feature that displays the number of new tweets in your timeline since you last refreshed. This works in much the same way as the new tweet notification on the search page for a term. When you click the notification, the new tweets slide out in the same fashion as the search page.
While this functionality was probably not too difficult to implement, since it was already built for the search feature, it is a welcome addition and something that just makes sense. In fact, it would … Read more
U.K. residents will now be able to monitor and regulate their home energy usage from any Web-enabled phone or computer regardless of whether their energy provider uses smart meters.
Google announced two U.K. partnerships this week concerning its PowerMeter software, one of which completely bypasses the need for cooperation from an energy provider.
Since the U.K. electricity and gas supplier First Utility began offering customers free smart meters in September 2008, it has had 30,000 customers take them up on the offer. Now, as a result of a Google partnership announced Tuesday, First Utility smart meter … Read more
TinySpell is a free tool that checks spelling in any program. Accessing the program is as simple as right-clicking on its icon in your computer's Quick Launch tray. It displays a tiny window, making it easy to use alongside other programs. TinySpell will alert you if you misspell a word, or you can type a word directly in its window to check your spelling.
Most computer programs have spell check built-in, but in some programs the spell check is cumbersome to use or not easily accessed. TinySpell can bridge that gap. We thought it was quite handy to have … Read more
You've already got individual ringtones set up for your boss, your spouse, and other important people. MailTones brings that same concept to e-mail, playing custom sounds when you receive messages from those certain special senders.
Using the $2.99 app [iTunes link] requires two things: That your iPhone is configured for push e-mail (fetched automatically, not manually) and that your e-mail server has the option of forwarding copies of new messages to another address.
Gmail, for example, makes this a snap, as does MobileMe. As for other services and servers, well, you'll have to find out if forwarding … Read more
An AppleInsider report cites an anonymous tip claiming Apple and AT&T may be working on two enhancements for the iPhone specific to AT&T's network:Overage alerts would notify users via push notification badges, messages, or sounds when they approach their monthly anytime minutes limit. New voice mail options would let users disable the custom voice mail greeting (including AT&T's standard voice mail introduction) and allow them to skip greetings (standard or otherwise) or other automated instructions when calling other AT&T customers.
Unfortunately, the tipster mentioned no warnings from AT&… Read more
Aries Personal Organizer Software is a very basic program that allows users to keep track of their schedule and contacts. Although the program is not particularly sophisticated, it's a nice choice for users who need a simple program of this sort.
The program's interface is plain and somewhat dated-looking, but it's very intuitive. The program's features are organized into tabs for tasks, contacts, dates and events, and notes. Given that the program comes in a weird mint green color, we were happy to see that the color of the interface can be customized. The program's … Read more
RSS is great technology, but one of its shortcomings is that it doesn't always represent all of a site's content stream. Many times there are parts of a news or content site that change either through an editorial hand, or with items chosen by users. A new Firefox add-on called AlertBox helps track these "scraps" of content, and can be used to keep an eye out for any changes. This includes things like price changes, edits or updates to a news story, and the top stories on content sites.
To make sure it's not looking … Read more
MakeiPhoneRingtone is a free utility that can convert unprotected AAC files into ringtones for your iPhone. Since the iPhone limits ringtones to 40 seconds or less, however, you will need to first use a separate audio-editing application to shorten most songs to the acceptable length--and, if necessary, use that app or iTunes to convert the song to an AAC file. (If you try to convert a longer file, an error dialog will recommend Fission, from the developers of MakeiPhoneRingtone, but any similar app will work.)
Once you have a file of the appropriate length and format, this utility is extremely … Read more
Here's one little area where I'm not so pleased with the Pre. I'm used to being able to set different rings for text messages, phone calls, and voice mails. While you can set individual ringers for your favorite contacts, the little bleep for texts, emails, and voice mails is the same.
I like to know when I've received a text. It's my main form of communication from my phone. I would rather not know when I've got a new email, and I'd like a different ring for my voice mail.
Please, Palm, make … Read more