I have obsessive-complusive organisational needs. If things are related to the same topic, surely they should be together? Window Tabs comes to the rescue by adding a tab to the top of every application. These tabs can then be dragged around to group them with other applications or documents which are of a similar content. This allows you to have a group for each different thing you’re working on or looking at.
The software is a very quick install, and as soon as it’s finished the tabs pop up on top of your currently running programs and files. They look quite like Chrome tabs, and they work in a similar way too. You can click and drag one to move it about, and let go when it’s sitting next to a similar tab. The provided screenshot provides an example of three grouped items which share the same subject. In addition, I’ve shown the options window.
There are probably some applications which you don’t want to have tabs appearing at the top. Such as your web browser, because it already includes them, or other applications which you’ll probably never want to group with other files or programs. I’ve chosen to exclude Spotify as well, since I don’t see it fitting into a grouped category as its purpose is different.
Three is the magic number. This is the basic, free version, so it doesn’t let you have anything more than three items in each group. That means if you’re working on lots of documents, spreadsheets and other such jazz all related to the same thing, you won’t be able to group them all together. Unfortunate, but at least it’s free.
The application will work under XP and Vista, and it should be okay under the Windows 7 RC, too. Try it out and see what you think. I personally haven’t kept it, since I use multiple desktops for different areas (see the previous article about Virtuawin). In addition, I think the tabs look out-of-place when compared to the way Windows looks. I think they ought to blend in with the Windows’ themes, rather than looking like Google Chrome’s tabs. If you come to the same conclusion as me, it’s a very easy and quick uninstall, so no worries there. Grab it from www.windowtabs.com if you want to give it a go.
Try to contain your excitement as we take a brief tour of an application designed to let you compress your files, and extract archived files you download from the Internet. Never before has a more enthralling piece of software been written about than 7-Zip.
Okay, so it’s not exciting, but it is useful. Whilst most compressed files or sets of files come in Zip packages which can be opened by Windows’ built-in extractor, sometime they’ll be compressed in different formats, such as 7z, Tar, or RAR, which can’t be opened by Windows’ built-in tool. In addition, if you want to transfer large files or groups of files, compressing them would be a spiffing idea to make the transfer faster and prevent the person at the other end getting huffy about the wait. So, 7-Zip serves two purposes – unzipping most compressed files, and allowing you to zip up files in different ways.
Once downloaded and installed you’ll be able to do two new things. Don’t let the excitement get too much for you – contain yourself. The first will appear to you in some eerie black-magic style when you right-click on a compressed file. A new option will be available on the context menu which contains the options for extracting a file or files.
‘Extract files’ will allow you to choose the location, whilst ‘Extract here’ will plonk them in the folder you’re currently in. You can also compress files from this menu. However, if you’re looking to reduce the size of more than a few files, you might find loading up the full program more effective. Load it in the usual way – it should have plonked itself in the Start Menu under ’7-Zip’.
You then see an interface which lets you navigate around your folders. You can select folders and files that you want to compress and then click the ‘Add’ button to make the compression window pop up. You can also hold down the ctrl key to select multiple files. If you want to compress files into one package that are currently scattered around all over the place, your best bet would be to copy or move them to a single folder, and then select that and have 7-Zip compress it for you. You don’t have to worry about losing your original files, because it creates separate compressed copies of the selected items.
7-Zip is pretty nifty. It’s fast and light-weight and allows you to extract an array of different types of files. You can also compress your own files into a number of different filetypes. Considering you’d have to pay for alternatives such as Win-Zip and WinRAR, it’s worth it. You can grab it from www.7-zip.com.
Most of us download a lot of stuff from the Internet – ranging from free trials of software, to handy little widgets. We’re also likely to do a fair bit of shopping online too, ranging from buying doorhandles to DVDs. However, if you’re looking to buy something obscure – stuff that’s not stocked by the usual trustworthy sources – you may find yourself on a more obscure website, and unsure of its integrity. McAfee SiteAdvisor and Web Of Trust are ready and willing to help you out of such situations.
For the purposes of keeping this article clear and preventing either me or you from getting confused, I’ll try to focus on the two separately, reviewing and giving a brief guide to both of their websites and the browser addons.
SiteAdvisor is run by McAfee, the renowned and largely trusted security software company. The website allows visitors to type in a website address, and it will pull up a page with information about the site requested. This will consist of the company’s own tests, which includes testing the links and downloads, and reviews from users. A rating will also be given which gives you overall advice about the trustworthiness of the website. You can also add your own review to help other users who check the same URL as you. If the site is not listed, the submission will be placed in a queue to be checked by McAfee’s systems. Unfortunately this can take quite a while, so it’s not worth waiting around for it to be checked before your very eyes.
A browser addon is also available. This places a mark next to search results
which either notifies you that the website is fine and safe, potentially risky, or dangerous. There will be a faded grey icon if the item has not been checked. The SiteAdvisor item will also sit at the bottom right of the browser’s status bar, notifying you of the safety of the website you’re currently on. It can be clicked for more information.
The second website and addon which I’m looking at is ‘Web Of Trust‘ (WOT). This alternative to SiteAdvisor is far more community-based, relying on the reviews of consumers. These reviews consist of sliders where the website is rated on different categories, namely: trustworthiness, reliability, privacy, and child safety. In addition, users can submit a text review of the website to provide any additional feedback or information. These reviews are aggregated to provide an average rating in each of the above listed areas.
WOT’s website works in a similar way to SiteAdvisor’s in that they both allow the user to input a website address to have it checked. However, WOT does not use testing systems to determine the safety of downloads and links. It does, however, have a large number of users who rate websites. The system of a linear rating in each area is also a far better method that McAfee’s mainly text-based reviewing system.
Like SiteAdvisor, Web Of Trust also sports an addon, which can be installed
into your browser. It also checks results from search engines against its database to give you an overall rating. However, it surpasses McAfee’s offering in terms of making it incredibly simple and easy to see other users’ feedback and add your own. A simple button is added to the browser. This will remain green when the website is safe; will change to orange when there’s a risk; and turn red when there’s real danger. Upon clicking this button, a box will pop down which shows the average ratings in the different categories. Sliders are also present to allow you to add your own rating of the website, in addition to an optional text review.
Overall judgement on which is better is quite tough. McAfee is better in the sense that it they use systems to check the websites – scanning downloads and checking the websites which it links to. However, Web Of Trust is much better on the community front. It’s easier to check websites on the fly and add your own rating by clicking the button to check the average ratings of different people. Overall, I would suggest checking webistes with both before downloading or buying anything. However, if you’re going to use one of the addons, I would highly recommend opting for Web of Trust over McAfee.
This will only be relevant to British, and potentially European visitors. Sorry to international interlopers!
Calls to 0870 numbers can cost up to 10 pence per minute, and if you’re waiting in lengthy queues to talk to a human, this could prove rather costly. A knight in gleaming white armour comes to save you from this beast, a knight by the name of ‘Say No To 0870‘.
Aside from having a deliciously rhyming name, the site is really very useful; if not as aesthetically attractive as one might like. The key feature of the website is the ‘Search to find an alternative number’ link, which takes you to a page where you can either search a particular number, or for a company. For example, if you’ve been told to phone 0870 123 456, then you can simply enter this number in the search field, and it’ll trundle through the database to see if it’s got it there to find you alternatives. Or if you need to contact a company, and don’t want to use their costly number, input the name and watch as a list of useful numbers comes up.
When searching for a company, you should receive numbers for the different departments of the company. The usual paid-for numbers will be provided, in addition to redirect numbers, and with any luck, freephone numbers. The example screenshot with this article shows a large listing of numbers for a company search. The ones of particular interest here are those in the ‘Freephone’ column.
A nice little website, one which should sit patiently in your bookmarks until such a time when you need to call a company, but don’t want to pay their rip-off fees. Get your cheapskate self over to www.saynoto0870.com to begin saving your pennies.
We’ve all been there – you need to use some obscure paper to complete an assignment or a piece of work. Or you’ve run out of lined paper because you hardly ever buy any since you’re such an obsessive computer user? Printable Paper comes to the rescue in such dire straits!
The smashing fellows there put together paper in the form of PDF documents, so you should be able to open them on any computer, even if you’re stuck in a library or another such location containing a selection of out-dated computers. There’s a large selection of paper which you can open or save to your computer, and then print out to your heart’s content. These documents add lines, squares, or patterns to plain A4 paper. Just print the document as you would usually, and you’ll receive a nifty patterned piece of paper to use for whatever your purpose is. You can then turn the piece over, load it back in, and print on the other side if you want it double-sided, which you probably do, don’t you?
I’ve stopped specialist or lined since I now just print anything I need either from this website, or from my printer’s built-in functions. The small ‘Printable Paper’ logo is a little bit of a pain, so I wouldn’t use the stuff on any professional documents, but for any other function it seems rather spiffing. The ability to upgrade to a paid subscription to get rid of the aforementioned logo might be a good addition. Pad over to www.printablepaper.net, bookmark it, and return when you need some paper!