Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we posted a post about Ophcrack: a Linux Live CD which allows you to recover your Windows password when you forgot them. Sincerely, the described above situation is not common but it could really happen especially when you do not use a PC for some time or if you want to help a friend who is not so skilled with its own computer. Ophcrack is easy to use, sufficiently fast and effective. I tested it to recover some passwords on an old laptop and the results were very interesting; in fact I was able to recover password from accounts I totally forgot to own. Useful! This post has been written just for informative purpose! Please, remind that you are directly responsible for any law violation you commit in case of misuse of the information contained above.
This week, on our Freeware Page , we have posted a brief review about Google Gears which allows you to keep, for example, your Gmail and Google Docs perfectly safe and synchronized with your computer. Google Gears does not add any new features if you think about what Thunderbird or Sunbird (now also known as Lightning) offer. On the other hand, Google Gears is very useful if we think it is very easy to setup and allows you to directly manage offline your email, documents and calendar without using other email applications. In the post we fastly show how to install Gears on your browser and how to start to use it. When you activate Google Gears a pop-up windows will remind you that this particular feature is totally experimental and you use it on your own risk but for our personal experience Google Gears works very well, in particular we really appreciated its Flaky option which allows you to synchronize your datas without “burning” too much band. When you are on a public PC you can also click on – load with offline disabled – button (on the below right corner) soon after the login window. Interesting!!
GSmartControl is a multiplatform (Windows, OS X, Linux) freeware drive health inspection tool which is very useful in all that case when you think something is not working perfectly on your HD. Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have posted a brief comment about this software which basically is the graphical user interface for smartct. The program is very intuitive and easy to use; it automatically detects all your internal HDs (with some external USB disks we had some problems because they were detected as unknown) and let you decide if you want to activate the SMART feature. This particular feature let you “predict certain kinds of failures with certain chance of success” so you have a better chance to avoid HD crashes and all the consequent data loss. If you prefer, clicking on the “Enable Auto Offline Data Collection” the HDs will be tested every four hours without impacting your CPU performance. I would like to focus your attention that GSmartControl is very well developed and it is possible to download many “personalized” versions for all the main Linux distributions, OS X and Windows. Last but not least, do not forget that SMART could predict some HD crashes but it is not 100% safe; for this reason we strongly recommend you to backup your PCs, at least every week!
This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have posted a brief post about Instantbird which could be actually considered as the most complete and flexible software to manage all your instant messenger client you normally use (IRC, ICQ, AIM, SIMPLE, SILC, YAHOO, MySpaceIM, XMPP, Sametime, Google, etc..). Moreover Instantbird is completely free, open source and cross platform so you can use it on every PC you have (also at work). We have tested Istantbird for a couple of weeks, without stressing it too much, and we really did not find any bugs so we are really satisfied from the results. Frankly speaking, this software does not contain any “revolutionary” new feature but it can be considered as the state of the art software in its category; something everyone has to benchmark if he (or she) is planning to develop a new instant messaging client! Recommended!
This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish), we posted a brief tutorial about installing XBMC on Ubuntu 8.10. As you certainly know, XBCM is a complete Media Center based on Ubuntu. This program is multiplatform (Linux, Windows, OS X and also XBOX – not officially supported-) and, in our opinion, is the most efficient and complete open source media center you can find today on the Internet. Moreover, XBMC has developed a special version that could be installed on a USB Key on a Live CD to freely test the application before installing on your PC. The post is brief but contains all the complete instructions to quickly install XBMC without problems. Please, be sure to digit sudo apt-get update in Terminal after you install the new repositories. Recommended!!
Today in our Freeware Page we added a brief post about NoteCase a powerful note editor for Linux. In our tests we installed NoteCase on a Ubuntu 8.04 with positive results. This free software allows you to write complex notes dividing them between “nodes” and, if you need, it is also possible to easily create child notes at each level. Moreover, using NoteCase you can insert images and links to your text. Using NoteCase, for complex projects, you can decide to insert tag in each node and find them in just few clicks with the “Find” feature. Last, but not least, when you save your notes, you can decide to save them into an encrypted file. In few wordsNoteCase is one of the best freeware to manage notes using different OS without risks. Recommended!
Usually, we prefer not to insert posts about software or hardware which is not free but this week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish), we have decided to make an occasional exception talking about LightScribe: the technology which allows you to print laser-etched labels on your CDs/DVDs. We are pretty sure that all you already know this technology and the fact that LightScribe is a mix of hardware and label-making software to burn labels. When we decided to test the LightScribe system we were manly attracted by the low costs and the versatility of what we were able to make but after a couple of days we change a little our point of view. This technology is really interesting, relatively cheap and easy to use but we think that it only could be profitably used by those people who need to make some professional copies of their CDs/DVDs. For all the other people, like us, it can be considered as a toy or an extra gadget to buy for our spare time backup copies of DVDs but not much more than this. Something for your spare time or to use for your hobbies!
This week, in our Freeware Page, we posted a brief review about Jeteye, an interesting add-on for Firefox which we have tested few days ago. First of all, it is necessary to highlight that Jeteye is a free online service you can join in just few minutes. The Firefox plugin is available directly from the Firefox add-ons site. Personally, we were really delighted by Jeteye because we were able to create virtual folders, divided by topics, were we put not only links but also all the stuff we were selecting about a specific task (e.g. photographs). Using Jeteye you can create all the folders you want and, if you prefer, you can decide to share them with all the web-surfers or just with your friends. Unfortunately, at the moment there is not any possibility to migrate the info collected in Jeteye to Firefox bookmarks or to other online free services; de facto this represents a real limitation to the possibilities of this software. In fact, after some days of tests we would like moving some data to our desktop Firefox but we could only open each link and manually bookmark it one by one. Interesting add-on!
Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we added a brief post about XBMC, the best open source (GPL), free entertainment hub you can find on internet. XBMC is really easy to install (for Linux users, especially in Ubuntu) and its features are very intuitive and simple to configure. Moreover the graphics themes are very attractive and it is able to manage many multimedia formats, “playlists, audio visualizations, slideshow and weather forecast functions”. It is also possible to add many interesting third-party plugins that you can find through a simple google query (XBMC plugin). Last, but not least, XBMC is a multiplatform software, in fact the download page contains four different versions for Windows, XBox, Linux and MAC OSX. When we compared XBMC to the Windows Media Center we did not notice any loss in this open-source media center and, honestly, we were positively impressed by all the XBMC featured we tested. Recommended!
More than one year ago we wrote a short post about creating pdf files using Openoffice (also in its portable version), now, in our Freeware Page, we would like to talk about two interesting Web 2.0 websites which allow you to publish and share your documents. On one hand, Scribd.com is an interesting website you can use to upload and share files in the following formats: Microsoft Word (doc, docx), Microsoft Powerpoint (ppt, pptx, pps), Microsoft Excel (xls, xlsx), PDF (pdf, ps), Open Office Documents (odt, odp, sxw, sxi, etc.), Images (jpg, png, gif, tiff) and Text Documents (txt, rtf). On the other hand, Issuu.com is very intuitive to use but very effective. Using Issuu you can upload a pdf files transforming it into a “cool magazine format”. In few words, you can modify, with just a click, your pdf file in a browsable magazine, with active links and notes. Moreover you can also insert your “brand new” magazine as a htlm widget directly in your blog or website. Recommended!