This week in our Freeware Page we we have written a quick post about disabling geo-locating feature in the upcoming Firefox 3.5. I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of Firefox because I think it is so flexible that I can find any add-on I need for any purpose. I am also sure that the new Firefox 3.5 will be the perfect tool for my everyday navigation but there is something I am a little bit annoyed. In fact, the Firefox 3.5 will contain a default feature (which can be triggered remotely by a website you are visiting) declaring your geo-location everytime you connect to a site. This feature (previously known as project Geode by Mozilla Labs) could be useful for people involved in social networking but it is a potential wasting time feature for all the others. In fact, you have to declare if you want to automatically display your geo-location each time a website triggers this feature. For this reason, if you are not a social network addict, my personal advice is to disable this geo-locating feature as soon as you install (or update to) Firefox 3.5… (it continues in the Freeware Page).
This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish), we posted a brief review about Foxmarks, a simple but effective add-on for Firefox which can seriously help you to manage, save and restore your bookmarks. In the past, we wrote some reviews about Online Bookmark Manager, Febe and Cleo but, at the moment, we truly believe that Foxmarks is the most flexible between all of them. It is cross-platform (or multiplatform if you prefer), easy to use and very intuitive thanks to its interactive wizards. Foxmarks can be used to simply sharing your bookmarks with your friends or as a professional tool to sync profiles via web between all your PCs. Last but not least, I would like to focus your attenyion on mobile.foxmarks.com which allows you to access bookmarks on all your web-enabled devices. Recommended!
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 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!
During the past two years I have tested some different solutions for mind-mapping (VYM, for example, is one of my favourite because it has a very enjoyable graphics) but the most efficient formula I have discovered is composed by the addition of FreeMind – a multiplatform (Windows -also portable -, Linux and MAC OS X)- mind mapping java software for desktop and WiseMapping -an online free service to create-store-share my mind-maps. For this reason, this week, in our Freeware Page we have posted a brief manual about FreeMind and WiseMapping. FreeMind is a very intuitive software which allows you to create complex mind -maps after just few clicks. Its side menu contains all the graphics elements you need to create your maps and all the main commands can be easily activated with the mouse right button. On the other hand,WiseMapping contains a very simple but efficient menu bar which allows its user also to import FreeMind Files and to export mind-maps to SVG, PDF, FreeMind or PNG formats. This last PNG option, for example, is very useful if you want to insert a mind-map into a website. Try them and you will be very satisfied with the results you get!