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Utility/Information Links

Here are some links to various sites with utilities or useful information.  Most are for the computer user and web developer but you may find something in here that doesn't relate to computers at all.

Quick Links:

General Internet Registry Tools/Tips Audio Tools
Internet Browsers Repair Tools Web Design
Search Engine Toolbars Hoax Information FTP Clients
Antivirus Graphics Movie/DVD Burning/Ripping Software
Spyware Removers Screen Savers Free Downloadable Software Sites
Spam Filters Wallpapers Good Blogs
Security Online Photo Albums Online File Storage
Instant Messaging Clients Social Websites Domain Name Registration
Miscellaneous    
General Internet
Google Services

About Google


Google Web Search Features


Google Guide for Advanced Operators

The Ever Expanding Google

There are LOTS of things you can do with Google.  On the left side are some links.  One to Google's services page with a listing of various tools.  One to info about Google, and one to their help page.

Google launched its own Instant Messaging (IM) service on August 24, 2005 named Google Talk.  You can download their client for free.  Many third party clients can connect to MSN, AOL (AIM), Jabber, and Yahoo IM services so it's about time to use one client for all.  Keep watching for those to add Google to their list of supported clients.

For example, did you know you can find out who links to your website?  Here are my results (I have no idea how some of those links got there).  Kind of interesting because it differs from Yahoo's results.

Or that there was a special page for Macintosh users?

Check out some of the special searches.  Or better yet, check out some of the future stuff they are working on in Google Labs.

Then there's the Google Rumors that explore anything and everything.

Finally, a reference guide for all of Google's services.

If you think you know Google pretty good how about taking the Google Quiz?

Soople Google on steroids
Loogle Make your own Google style logos.  Not really a utility but fun anyway.
Google Earth The ultimate satellite imagery engine.  Search for your house and zoom in.  This is an installable program you can run from your computer without an internet connection.
Links to my site Wanna find out who is linking to your site?  Open up Google and type "Link: www.mindtickler.com" (without the quotes).  Be sure there is a space between the colon and the URL you want to check.

By the way, I have no idea how some of these sites got my URL.

Skype Skype allows you to talk to anybody in the world over the internet for free.  Both you and the person you are calling need to download the client software onto your computers and have a headset or speakers and a microphone.  Now enjoy free long distance!

Oh, and did I mention it's an instant messenger client also?  Compare it to other IM clients with the comparison chart.

If you need to call regular phone numbers (land lines) then you'll need SkypOut.  SkypOut isn't free but it only costs less than three cents per minute inside the United States.  Check out their rates for more information.

SkypeIn is a phone number you give others for Skype to answer.

Skype Voicemail is...well...voicemail.

Wannabrowser WannaBrowser was thrown together as a method for testing the HTML output of web pages for various HTTP User Agents. In other words, WannaBrowser answers the question: what HTML code is served for different browsers?
Send Up To 1 Gigabyte Attachments Yahoo and Hotmail both limit users' attachments to 3MB in size.  Even Google's Gmail doesn't allow users to send attachments greater than 10MB.  YouSendIt.com lets people send attachments up to 1GB in size.  No account registration needed.  Just punch in your friend's email and and upload away.
Blogger

Blog Video Explanation

Create and maintain your own blog (web log) for free.  Don't know what a Blog is?  Check out this video to explain everything.
Netcraft Toolbar The Netcraft Toolbar is designed to keep hackers from "phishing" your personal information.  Phishing is when you think you are on one site but are really on a different site with a similar name.  Designed for financial institutions, it can help keep your information you type in safe from all websites.  For example, it may look like you're putting in your password on eBay when really it's a hacker site that collects eBay user passwords.  Or worse yet, you sign into your online banking account but it's not really your bank's website.  This toolbar will prevent that kind of data collection.

By the way, NEVER click on links that are sent by email that request you update your account.  Always go to the site itself and find the account update link yourself.

Click Here for a story about how somebody hacked eBay.

Way Back Machine

 

Way Back Machine Internet Archive

This is THE archive site for everything.  They have a special search just for internet archives.  Was there a page you liked in the past and just can't find it any more because the author's site went down or they changed it?  The Way Back Machine archives TONS of stuff so you might find it here.

My favorite example is the pre-Google website.  The code name for Google used to be Backrub.com.  The page shows that the total archived search files are 207 gigabytes--less than a hard drive you can buy today!  Click Here to see an archive of Google!  Looks like the image that is missing is Here.

Tabmarks A place where you can keep all your bookmarks in tabs on an internet web page.  That way you can log in from any computer and get to your bookmarks without having to remember all of them.
Robtex Tons of information here like how to find information about your hosting company, IP address, DNS, etc.  Check out this stuff it can show you below:

robtex
 

Internet Browsers

Microsoft Internet Explorer

MSN Search Toolbar and Desktop Search

I wouldn't normally put a link to something that gets shipped with the operating system but Microsoft is about to release version 7.0 of Internet Explorer.  The main new feature is tabbed browsing which is what some of the others do listed below.  Tabs are great because you can have separate web pages in their own tabs so you don't have multiple instances of the browser open at once.  You can also save a set of web pages as a group and then open the group all at once.  Each web page opens into its own tab.

Right now, you can get the tabbed browsing feature by downloading and installing the MSN search toolbar.

In July, 2008, Microsoft came up with a new toolbar which you can download here.

Maxthon A tabbed browser that is really just a skin for Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  It eliminates popups and is free!  It is more recent than Crazy Browser.  If you compare the two websites it looks like this is the same group that developed Crazy Browser developed Maxthon (pronounced max' thun).  Does all the same stuff as CB but looks like they've added even more.
Avant Browser Another tabbed browser that some prefer over Maxthon.  Avant Browser has a cleaner look but Maxthon is more full featured.  They do a few extras that other tabbed browsers don't do.
Crazy Browser

AM Browser

Crazy Browser is another tabbed browser that uses Microsoft's Internet Explorer engine.  I have used version 1.05 exclusively at work and home.  Can't say enough good things about this one.

They are in the process of updating the software.  The final version 2.0 was released on June 21, 2005.  For some reason, they have an identical browser named AM Browser.  There is absolutely no difference that I can see.  If you check out their web page and especially the version history page, the updates are identical.  Both are good browsers but for some reason I like the name "Crazy" browser!  J

Netscape An alternative to Microsoft products.  I like the bookmark feature of Netscape.  May not be compatible with some web pages that use javascript.
Mozilla Firefox

 

FireFox Extensions

This one has been getting a lot of attention lately.  Not as "unsafe" as Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) because hackers don't go after it as much and they've disabled some things to keep it from being used by hackers.

There are many extensions you can add to FireFox.  Here's a cool one--The GooglePreview Extension.

Opera Another non-Microsoft browser.  Has tabs (my favorite feature in case you haven't noticed by now)

Search Engine Toolbars
PC Magazine did a review of the different toolbars and rated each one.
Click Here for the article.

Google Toolbar

Toolbar for Firefox/Mozilla

Google Toolbar is rated the highest in the PC Mag article.
Dogpile Toolbar Dogpile uses multiple search engines and displays various results from each of them.
Yahoo Toolbar Yahoo toolbar has been around for a while.
MSN Toolbar Microsoft's own version.  MSN also has a Desktop Search Toolbar which includes the MSN Toolbar.

In July, 2008, Microsoft came up with a new toolbar which you can download here.

Ask Jeeves Toolbar Another toolbar.
Clusty Toolbar Groups or "clusters" information from different sources.
Copernic Meta Toolbar Another toolbar gathering information from multiple sources.
Advanced Searchbar Can search 90 engines (one at a time) with lots of features.
Teoma Search Bar Teoma uses a different technology for searching than some of the other search engines.
AltaVista Toolbar Alta Vista has been around even before Google.
Groowe Toolbar How about putting all of the above into one toolbar?  Here it is!
Alexa Toolbar Alexa gives you lots of detailed information since they are a company that tracks web user's habits (yes, they set a cookie).
Earthlink Toolbar Earthlink emphasizes lack of scam blocking from known phishing sites when using its interface.
Searchguy Toolbar Kind of limited but works good with firewalls.
Mirriam-Webster Toolbar Even the famous dictionary gets its own toolbar.
Active Shopper Toolbar Try to find the best prices.
Dulance Buttons Another shopping tool that filters out commercial sites.
Viewpoint Viewpoint uses a "graphically enhanced" technique but uses more real estate than other toolbars.
Ultrabar Build your own toolbar to search using IE!
StumbleUpon Random hits of thoughts you enter.  Kind of an interesting idea.

Instant Messaging Clients

MSN/Windows Live Messenger Free antivirus software for personal use.  Pretty good antivirus protection with free updates.  Version 7.5 and later works on Windows Vista.  Both AVG and Avast don't put as much stuff on your computer as Norton or McAfee and run pretty fast without bogging down your machine like Norton or McAfee.  There is a commercial version that includes more features for a nominal fee.

Click Here for the update from version 7.1 to 7.5.

Google Talk The Home Edition is free.  Another very good antivirus software with free updates.  There are a bunch of different versions for various applications like servers, etc.
AIM AOL's version
Yahoo Messenger Can you guess who's version this is?
Jabber Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of different clients.
 

The Following 6 free IM Clients have been reviewed by
PC Magazine and are in order of their recommendations
http://www.mess.be/

Meebo

Supports AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, iChat, Jabber, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger
+ Lets you connect to most major IM services
+ Lets you store chat logs
- Has difficulty notifying you of new messages

One of the best freebies.  Been around for years so the bugs are mostly worked out of it.

Review   Test Report

Radius IM Supports AIM, Google Talk, Jabber, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger
+ Supports multiple IM services
+ Offers unique location-based features
- Requires registration

Review   Test Report

Kool IM Supports AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, iChat, Jabber, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger

One of the best freebies.  Been around for years so the bugs are mostly worked out of it.

Review   Test Report

Imhaha Supports AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, QQ
+ Buddy list and message windows have a nice layout
+ Offers unique collaboration features
- Service can be slow to respond

Review   Test Report

eBuddy Supports AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger
+ Log-on is quick
- Can't connect to multiple services at once
- Interface is confusing

Review   Test Report

ILoveIM Supports AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger
+ Lets you use an existing screen name and password
- Doesn't let you log on to multiple services
- Interface is busy

Review   Test Report

Antivirus

AVG Free antivirus software for personal use.  Pretty good antivirus protection with free updates.  Version 7.5 and later works on Windows Vista.  Both AVG and Avast don't put as much stuff on your computer as Norton or McAfee and run pretty fast without bogging down your machine like Norton or McAfee.  There is a commercial version that includes more features for a nominal fee.

Click Here for the update from version 7.1 to 7.5.

Avast The Home Edition is free.  Another very good antivirus software with free updates.  There are a bunch of different versions for various applications like servers, etc.
If you have Symantec

Latest Defs

Here are the latest definitions for Symantec (formerly Norton) Antivirus.  I don't recommend it because it tends to take up lots of resources, hose machines and is sometimes a buger to uninstall.  But if your workplace makes you install it like mine, now you can get the latest definitions.

Spyware Removers

Ad-Aware One of the most popular free spyware tools.
Spybot Another good tool for detecting and removing Spyware.
List of Fake Spyware Tools DO NOT download and use any of the tools listed on this site because they claim to be spyware tools but actually install spyware instead.
Trend Micro™ Anti-Spyware for the Web Trend Micro™ has an excellent free scan for spyware by just visiting a web page.  Saves you from having to install software and update it all the time.  Please note, by going to this page, the scan utility will automatically attempt to open and ask you to install it.  If it doesn't come up be sure to set your browser to allow the installation of the ActiveX control.  In my browser I simply click the little warning message below the menu items and address bar and choose "Install this ActiveX plugin" when I open the web site.  Instructions are on the web page.
EasyCleaner This is a REAL GOOD cleaner for your whole system and it's free!  Part of it cleans any spyware but it does much more if you want.

Spam Filters
Some of these may cost money.  Do not buy any spam filter if it does not contain Beyesian Filtering Algorhythm.  For all kinds of information about spam, check the Federal Trade Commission's web site.

Outlook Spam Filter This one is only for Outlook users but it is fairly powerful.  It can block spam at the server if using Exchange.  The only downside is that you have to use Outlook as your email client.
SpamProbe A freebie but it uses Cygwin.  Not as easy as just clicking on an install button because you need Cygwin installed already so this may be for the more technical savvy.
Project Honey Pot Installing this utility keeps you connected with Project Honey Pot that gathers info from email being sent to you and others.  Then they process some information and identify spam and send back to you the filters that block the spam.  They are also instrumental in going after spammers who harvest email addresses from web pages (that's illegal!).

Security
General tools and information on how to stay safe with your computer

Browzar Paranoid? Really paranoid? Browzar might be for you. Browzar lets you "search and surf the web without leaving any visible trace on the computer you are using."
Process Scanner Find out what's running on your computer.  Clicking on the link in this website will run a quick executable utility that scans the running processes on your computer and give you a report on if those processes are safe or not.  The installer itself is safe (it's not installing spyware).  It has won lots of awards.

You can research any process using their extensive database

Registry Tools/Tips
This is for the expert users who know how to get around in the registry.  Of course, I don't have to warn you experts about backing up the registry before making any changes right?

EasyCleaner This is a REAL GOOD cleaner for your whole system and it's free!  I listed this earlier as a spam cleaner but it really is much, much more than that.  It can find orphaned items in your registry, clean up temporary files, find duplicate files, etc.  You have a chance to restore the changes if you don't like what it did.
Registry Guide for Windows This is my favorite place to look for tips and tricks.  Lots of stuff categorized here.
Registry Patches More registry tips.
Bob Cerelli's Registry Tips Some useful tips here but who the heck is Bob Cerelli?
Tweaks and Fixes for Windows XP Lots of information here about some of the known bugs with Windows XP and how to get around them.  Somewhat outdated but still descent.
Help with Windows There is all kinds of helpful information about Windows here.  Click on the tab of the operating system you are interested in and go from there.

For example, here is a handful of tips for customizing the Notification Area (a new name for what used to be called the System tray), the area where the clock and various other (active program) icons are displayed.

ActiveWindows Registry Tips Several tweaks and tips here.  Unfortunately, the web page opens a popup when you first enter.
How to use Registry Editor to identify an unknown PCI device Helpful information from Microsoft about troubleshooting an unknown PCI card in your system.
JSI Registry Tips and Tricks Here are some tips and tricks but a very stupid way to categorize them since you don't know what to click on.
Startup Applications All about startup applications and what you really need.

Repair Tools
When your computer goes bad, what do you do?

Trinity Rescue Kit CPR for your computer.  Similar to Winternals' ERD Commander but free!  This is an ISO image download to create a bootable CD.
DriveImage XML Hard drive imaging software similar to Symantec Ghost but it's free.

Hoax Information
I get lots of email that contains stories that never happened.
Check out the stories for yourself before passing them on to friends.  PLEASE!

Snopes Probably the leading source on hoaxes.
Truth or Fiction Another good source for hoax information.
Hoaxbusters Run by CIAC (Computer Incident Advisory Capability) to keep the U.S. Department of Energy secure.
Current Netlore

Urban Legends & Folklore

About.com puts out some great information about hoaxes.  Put some keywords in the search field.
Stiller Research More information on hoaxes.

Graphics

Irfanview A pretty good image viewer.  I usually use ACDSee which is an extensive image program but costs $$.  You can't beat the price of this one. FREE!!!
Picasa This image viewer is also an organizer and is put out by Google.  Another freebie.
Adobe Photoshop® Album 2.0 Starter Edition This free graphics program puts a twist on the standard graphics programs.  You can create slide shows and save them as Acrobat Reader documents.  Yes, you heard me--PDFs!!!!  Since anybody can read a .pdf file it's an easy way to store images and send to others.  The slide show can be viewable with multiple images per line or full screen.

This one is packaged with Adobe's Acrobat Reader version 7.0.  You must install the free version 7.0 reader in order to install this (you'll eventually use the reader anyway so don't be hesitant).  Uncheck the box that installs the Yahoo Toolbar if you don't want it.  Eventually an update will show the starter edition in the update box.

Learn more about it here.

Desperately Wondering Weblog with Links

Photoshop Tutorials

These are not utilities but rather tutorials on how to use Photoshop, the premier graphics program from Adobe.  Lots of good information in these links.

Editing Your Digital Images Without The Mystery

Photoshop Lover - Tutorials & Resources

Tutorial Place - Photoshop & Flash tutorials

Digital Photography Tutorials

Photoshop Contest Tutorials

Planet Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop Support - Tips & Tricks.  Great effects and tutorial guide)

Free Photoshop Video Tutorials

Lyzard’s Stomp PhotoShop Tutorials

Got iTunes - Photoshop Tutorials Via iTunes

Photoshop Cafe

Tutorialized

Unofficial Weblog

Smashing Magazine

Paint Shop Pro This one is around $60. but I'm including it here because I really like it and use it more than Photoshop because it's a little more intuitive.  Yes, Photoshop is more powerful but Paint Shop Pro is under a hundred dollars.  Photoshop can't even come close to that price.
Email Icons for Hotmail, Gmail, & Yahoo Not as boring as just putting your email address.  Simply type your email address and this site creates a button with your email address in it.
Rasterbater Ever want to print a full size picture of a hottie for your dorm room but the printer only handles 8 x 10 paper?  Rasterbater allows you to print a portion of your graphic onto the 8 x 10 then you paste them together for the full size image!  Upload your image online or download the free standalone version.
 

 

 

My Imager


Logo Generator


Button Maker

Cool Archive

Cool archive has many web graphics but they also have a set of free tools that will help you create and edit your own simple graphics.

Don't have any graphics software?  You can edit an image online with this internet tool-My Imager.

Logo Generator gives you all kinds of options to create your own logo.

Button Maker helps you--Make buttons!

Screen Savers

Really Slick Screensavers Some nice screen savers without nags or requirements of any kind.
BSOD The dreaded Blue Screen Of Death comes from Microsoft.  Glad they can actually poke a little fun at themselves and create this screensaver that behaves much like the old BSOD we came to know and hate in the past.

Wallpapers

Betasoft Some nice wallpapers with attention to detail.  Click Here for a translation from Spanish (they are known as "carpets" in Spanish rather than wallpapers).

Online Photo Albums
Store your photos online for others to see or for you to link to in forums, ebay, etc.

Flickr A real good online photo album.  This is the biggest and most popular out there right now.  Friends don't have to register to view your photo album and there is huge bandwidth.  You can organize photos into groups and tag them.  you can also geotag them (showing on a map where the picture was taken).  There is a free version and a pro membership for $24.95 per year.
Fotki Fotki is a scrappy yet elegant photo sharing site.  It's got a clean interface and a number of features some of the other photo sharing sites do not have.  It includes geotagging and you can share videos from You Tube, Google Video, Myspace TV, and Vsocial.  Also includes a simple blogger.  You can use the web interface or use FTP to upload the images.  There is a free version and a premium membership for $50 per year.
Google's Picasa Web Albums A simple but very well done photo sharing site.  Make your photos private or make them public and share with others.  Their image search engine is second to none.  You can even search and view images from a smartphone.  One drawback is that it only gives you 1 gig of storage.  This is the web-based photo site so don't confuse it with Google's Picasa standalone image organization software. 
ImageShack This one has unlimited bandwidth and your friends and family don't have to register to view your photos.
Photobucket Another one that your friends and family don't have to register to view.
Snapfish This one was bought out by HP.  I have lots of friends who now work for Snapfish!  You can store albums like the other sites but they specialize in printing the images.  You order online and they send them to you through snail mail (US Post Office).  Sometimes they run specials like 20 prints for free.  To view your images, others have to register.
Fotolog This one is not really an album but a blog with photos--a photolog.  At least it's free.
Fotothing Another blog photo site.  Don't know why it's so popular to spell photo as foto...
Slide The co-founder of PayPal decided he wanted to do something other than sit around with his billions so he created this site.

At the heart of Slide is a downloadable desktop program that indexes all the photos on the user's hard drive and creates a slide show at the edge of the screen.

Online File Storage
Store your files online so you can access them  from anywhere.  Perfect for photos, video clips, etc.  Careful--don't save critical data ANYWHERE online.

SkyDrive This is part of the Microsoft Live suite of online tools.  At the present time they are allowing 5 gigabytes of online storage.  You can share the files with others or keep them private for yourself only.
InBox Free online storage and email that seems to be legitimate.  Let's you share photos online too.  The email only provides POP3 and not IMAP4. But, hey, Yahoo! charges for POP3 and Gmail doesn't provide IMAP4 either. So, this is probably not a big deal.

Data is not backed up for free accounts. However, you can get your 5GB of space backed up for a reasonable $9.90 per year and even increase the storage space to 30GB (with backup) for $29.96 per year.
Xdrive Unlike Inbox.com's free 5GB of online storage that does not include backups unless you upgrade to the reasonably priced for-fee service, Xdrive provides 5GB of free online storage with backups (but no email feature). Xdrive also provides a Microsoft Windows utility to allow the ability to drag and drop files between Microsoft Windows folders and your Xdrive folder.

Audio Tools

Media-Convert Convert any audio file to MP3 online.  No software necessary and it's free!  Media-Convert.com offers conversions for a large number of audio formats.  Unfortunately, Media-Convert.com is cluttered with ads.
Zamzar Zamzar, another audio converter, is more modest in its offerings – the number of formats it supports is limited. However, the Zamzar site is very clean and polished and not cluttered with a ton of ads.
Downloading Music An MP3 locater.  Search for MP3s that were found on various sites around the web.

Web Design

Acid Tests Acid2 is a test case designed by the Web Standards Project to discover, if possible, errors with rendering Web pages in browsers and Web authoring tools. Basically, it tests how a browser or tool works with features from various Web standards.  (Currently Microsoft's Internet Explorer v7.0 fails miserably.  So does Firefox!)
Web Monkey One of the premier sites on developing web material.
Page Resource Lots of articles and info here.  Check out the articles.
Derek Stockley Derek has put together lots of info.
WebFX Need To Change Or Modify An Image? Buttonize, Fade, Emboss, Blur and many other options are available.  Tell this tool where your images are located then choose an effect and it generates it for you.  Similar to plugins in graphics programs and it's free!
Cooltext Create your own free logos, buttons, etc. to use in web pages.  Pretty decent and it's free!
Free Web Hosting Need a host to put your website but don't want to pay the money?  Try one of these.

Freeservers
Freewebs

Skweezer This website will take any URL and make the page compatible for mobile devices.  Works pretty good for standard type pages.

FTP Clients

Core FTP LE Now you can download Core FTP LE - free Windows software that includes the client FTP features you need. Features like SFTP (SSH), SSL, TLS, IDN, browser integration, site to site transfers, FTP transfer resume, drag and drop support, file viewing & editing, firewall support, custom commands, FTP URL parsing, command line transfers, filters, and much, much more!

Movie/DVD Burning/Ripping Software

DVD Shrink

Alternate Link

Once you rip a DVD movie the files may not fit on a blank 4.7g DVD.  Use this utility to compress it down to fit on one standard blank DVD.  It's free!
ShrinkTo5 A new one as of August, 2005.  Supposed to be good but I've not used it yet.
BurnAtOnce Another DVD burner program.  Not used it so don't know the quality yet.  Does not support DVD+R(W) copying.
DVD Decrypter

Alternate Link

This takes any DVD and cracks the copy protection then rips the DVD to your hard drive.  Does single sided and double layered DVDs.
DVD2One (DVD to One) This will take a ripped double-layered DVD and shrink it down to fit on a standard size 4.7 gigabyte DVD.  Not free but an excellent utility.
DeepBurner

Alternate Link

Now that you have the movie files you need to burn them to DVD.  Here is a good freeware utility to do just that.  There are other utilities on the deepburner site as well.
ISO Recorder ISO Recorder is a tool (power toy) for Windows XP, 2003 and now Windows Vista, that allows (depending on the Windows version) to burn CD and DVD images, copy disks, make images of the existing data CDs and DVDs and create ISO images from a content of a disk folder.

Free Downloadable Software Sites

46 Best Freeware Utilities TONS of stuff here!
Absolutely Free Software -  Best Windows Freeware I have to agree.  There is some fantastic software here.
TinyApps.org These are applications that do not require an install.  Just download to your hard drive and run them as is.
The Best Free Softwares for Windows XP and Windows Vista Lot's of good stuff here.
Vetusware Their tag is "the biggest free abandonware downloads collection in the universe."  You can find stuff like DOS 6.22, Norton utilities 8, Partition Magic 4, etc.
Pricelessware More of an all-around software site.
File Hippo Shareware and freeware organized in various categories.
Redei Enterprises A few good utilities here.
Essential Utilities A few good links and tools from bootdisk.com

Good Blogs
Sift through the many blogs for little gems on just about anything.

DownloadSquad Lots of categories.  Some good utilities.
Todd's Blog Information on new utilities, upgrades, etc.
Schwieb A decent Macintosh blog.

Social Websites
Like hanging out at the mall with your friends and meeting others but online
For those addicted to social websites, check out the news site for all of them at mashable.com.

Myspace The KING of social websites.  If you don't know about this one already you've been living in a cyberspace black hole.
Facebook Similar to myspace but tends to be more photo oriented.
Spaces Part of Microsoft's Live suite of online tools.
Friendster Geared more for adults rather than high schoolers like Myspace.  47 million users at this time.

Video Sharing
Tons of people every day make home made videos.  Some of them are interesting, some are not.  See what you think.

YouTube The # 1 site to find videos.  They are in a proprietary format so you can download them to your computer but you must have a special player.  However, you can link to them and even embed the videos inside of blogs like MySpace and other social websites.  Lots and lots of videos here.
Google Video Search giant Google has their own site for videos.  Of course, the search feature is second to none.
Metacafe An Israeli video-sharing site (with offices in Palo Alto, California).  One of the largest and best with 16 million unique visitors watching over 400 million videos each month.
Myspace Video The huge social site Myspace just couldn't be left out of the video sharing business.
Windows Live Photos Part of Microsoft's Live online tools.
Mashable Not really a video sharing site but a site where you can find news and reviews  about video sharing sites.
Yahoo Video Seems like all of the search engine sites just have to have their own video site.  Nothing real special here.
AOL Video See what I mean?  Everybody...  This site needs an overhaul.
Motionbox A barebones YouTube rival.  nbc10 in Philedelphia is actually using this for their videos so it must be fairly descent.
Dabble A video bookmarking tool, Dabble's mission is to help you find and collect videos from all over the web, no matter where they are hosted.  So that means even if the videos are hosted on other sites, you can create a collection to keep track of your favorites.
Crackle A Sony Pictures Entertainment Company formerly known as Grouper, this site is dedicated to the video creator to help get him started and promoted in the field.
vSocial This is a cross between a social networking site and a video sharing site.
Video Bomb A little more on the racy side.
Clip Shack According to reports, Clip Shack wants to "build out Reality Digital Opus, a platform that helps enterprise customers incorporate video into their sites." Existing clients include Atom Entertainment and Oodle.
Jumpcut Jumpcut is another video site but the difference is they help you be creative with videos.  You can edit your own videos or "re-master" other people's videos.
Eyespot Another site where you can mix your own video.
Vivadee Vidavee is the only white label web media solution to fully enable user interaction around professional and consumer-contributed video content.  In other words, it's another video editing site.
YouTube The # 1 site to find videos.  They are in a proprietary format so you can download them to your computer but you must have a special player.  However, you can link to them and even embed the videos inside of blogs like MySpace and other social websites.  Lots and lots of videos here.
Google Video Search giant Google has their own site for videos.  Of course, the search feature is second to none.
Motionbox A barebones YouTube rival.  nbc10 in Philedelphia is actually using this for their videos so it must be fairly descent.
Dabble A video bookmarking tool, Dabble's mission is to help you find and collect videos from all over the web, no matter where they are hosted.  So that means even if the videos are hosted on other sites, you can create a collection to keep track of your favorites.
Crackle A Sony Pictures Entertainment Company formerly known as Grouper, this site is dedicated to the video creator to help get him started and promoted in the field.
vSocial This is a cross between a social networking site and a video sharing site.
Video Bomb A little more on the racy side.
Clip Shack According to reports, Clip Shack wants to "build out Reality Digital Opus, a platform that helps enterprise customers incorporate video into their sites." Existing clients include Atom Entertainment and Oodle.
Jumpcut Jumpcut is another video site but the difference is they help you be creative with videos.  You can edit your own videos or "re-master" other people's videos.
Eyespot Another site where you can mix your own video.
Vivadee Vidavee is the only white label web media solution to fully enable user interaction around professional and consumer-contributed video content.  In other words, it's another video editing site.
Cast Post In its Alpha stage at the time of this review so it's pretty simple.
Vimeo Their emphasis is that you can share videos privately instead of broadcasting to the whole world like YouTube.
Ourmedia Podcasting in addition to online video sharing.
Revver Nothing special here.  Just sharing videos.

Domain Name Registration
Want to have your own website?  You must register a domain name first.  Then you will need to find a hosting company to actually put your files on their servers.  Be careful of some of them out there.  They register your domain in their name and lease it to you so you don't actually own the name.  There are lots of services out there but here are what I consider to be the best of them that let you own your own domain name.

GoDaddy The largest domain name registrar out there.  They have a fairly intuitive interface, fairly inexpensive, and offer lots of services.  Word of warning: don't sign up for their email packages because they put so much anti-spam stuff in place that you won't get half your emails routed.  Use your hosting package or something like gmail for your email.
1and1 This is the cheapest I've found for both domain name registration and hosting.  I host mindtickler.com at 1and1 and have been very happy with it.  You don't have to host here.  You can just register the domain name if you wish.

Use the utility below to check for a domain name.

We trust 1&1 for our domains - Get yours for $5.99 today!

 

Miscellaneous

Acrobat Reader A free version of Acrobat that allows you to view PDF files.
PDF Creator or Alternate1
Alternate2

CutePDF Writer

PrimoPDF

PDF995

Don't want to pay a ton of money for the full version of Acrobat just so you can create PDF files?  Try these utilities that will do it for free!!  Install one of these utilities then print to it as you would a printer and it creates a PDF file that is readable by any OS or platform.
Foxit Reader Speaking of PDF utilities, here is a different free PDF reader.  You don't HAVE to use Adobe's Acrobat Reader.  Foxit is a very speedy reader for PDF files.  No huge waiting until they open.

There are other utilities from Foxit software.  Some are free and some are try before you buy.

OpenOffice Want Microsoft Office but can't afford several hundred dollars?  How about FREE!!!  OpenOffice is compatible with other software suites out there.  Not only that, but the reviews say that it kicks butt over Microsoft Office.  Read about it here.
Think Free Office Think Free Office is another alternative but has a small cost.  Around $50 last time I checked.  Some advantages if you don't mind spending a little bit.
FilesTube Their tagline is "Download EVERYTHING."  FilesTube.com is a search engine designed to search files in various file sharing and uploading sites.
Crossloop Ever been talking to somebody on the phone about their computer and wished you could see what they were seeing?  It's easy with Crossloop.  Both computers run this free utility and you can see what they see on their screen.  Simple and secure.  Why pay $$ per month using gotomeeting.com when you can share two computers for free with Crossloop?
LogMeIn Install LogMeIn Free on all your family member’s computers and link them to your account. Then you’ll be able to log in to their computers from home and work on it just like you would if you were in front of the computer itself. This is obviously no good for problems when the computer won’t boot or there’s a hardware problem, but for little things like setting up email, updating a program, or troubleshooting a network connection, it’s just the thing. And it’s free.
Unknown Device Identifier Unknown Device Identifier enables you to identify the yellow question mark labeled Unknown Devices in Device Manager. And reports you a detailed summary for the manufacturer name, OEM name, device type, device model and even the exact name of the unknown devices.  Freeware!
I Want To... What do you want to do?  This is a collection of links to tools that will help you do it.
Partition Saving Partition Saving is a free DOS-based alternative to Symantec Ghost.  It will save a partition on your hard drive to a file which will allow you to restore the hard drive partition later exactly as it was saved.  Great for disaster recovery.
Virtual CD Control Panel Have you ever wanted to install something from an ISO image but didn't want to burn the CD?  This handy tool comes from Microsoft but is unsupported.  It mounts an ISO image as a drive letter so it appears to be a hard drive or burned CD to your system.
Synergy Share one mouse with multiple computers, monitors, and operating systems.  Simply move the mouse off of one screen onto another and you're now using that computer.  You can also share the clipboard among computers so you can cut and paste from one to another.  Freeware!
ISO Recorder Here is a free powertoy that will burn ISO images, copy CDs and DVDs, Create ISO images from CDs, etc.
PocketMod Too cheap to buy a PDA?  This handy tool allows you to get organized by putting the day's activities on a piece of paper then folding it up to fit in your pocket.  Easy to use and handy.
TaskToy Need a smart organizer that sets up To Do lists and helps you prioritize your tasks?  Here is a simple online tool to do just that.  It's completely online and you do not have to provide an email address so there is no spamming.  Pick a username and password and go.
Fat Fingers Thousands of items on eBay are listed with descriptions containing spelling mistakes.  These items often expire with no bids on them as no-one can find them.  Use this search tool to find those mistakes and get stuff really cheap.
David Still Anonymous Emailer Ever want to send an anonymous email using an account that doesn't trace back to you?  Here you go.  You can send your horrible co-worker a nastygram anonymously!
Teleflip Ever wanted to send email (text messaging) to a person's phone but don't know the email address for their phone?  This site does it for you.  All you really need to do is put in the person's phone number followed by '@teleflip.com' and it will send text messages for you.  The service is free but it puts a little ad at the bottom of each message saying 'Teleflip a friend' if you don't mind it.
Zip Code Locater Find the zip code of anywhere in the country.
World Time Zones

Official US Time

Look up the current time in places all over the world.

...or maybe you just want to check right here, right now.

Total Recorder Record ANYTHING coming through your sound card--even streaming audio.  It costs about twelve bucks.
Yahoo Widgets This used to be Konfabulator until Yahoo bought it out.  All sorts of "widgets" that can sit on your desktop and help you be more productive.  Originally written for the Mac but now has a Windows version.
Reverse Dictionary OneLook's reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept.
Free Music Reviews Download MP3 files for free legally.  There may be a cost for support (hey, there's no such thing as a free lunch).  imusic seems to be the one everybody rates the best.  They have a $28 lifetime membership fee (for support) and all the free MP3s you want.
myTunes iTunes is Apple's system of music files and players.  If you have iTunes on a network with others you can listen to their tunes located on their computer through your computer if they have them shared.  But what if you want to download them for yourself?  Then you need myTunes.  For Windows Only.

ourTunes tries to do the same thing but it is quirky and still in beta.  Here is another link.

FindSounds

 

Yahoo Audio Search

Have you ever searched for a certain sound on the web but the results were text-only information pages instead?  Now you can find ONLY sounds.  This search tool works great for finding just the right clip.

Yahoo just started their own audio search in July, 2005.

Darik's Boot and Nuke COMPLETELY erase your hard drive and leave absolutely no tracks.
Hard Drive Cloner Take a snapshot of your hard drive and save it to a file so that you can restore it exactly.  Freeware.
Bypass Windows Genuine Advantage Easy Way to Bypass Windows Genuine Advantage.
How to Make a Category 5 / Cat 5E Patch Cable Complete with diagrams.  Click Here if you need to purchase cable and a tool for a good price.
MusicBrainz Clean up the metadata tags in your MP3 files including the missing ID3 tag to keep your collection nice and organized.
Vinyl to Data How to transfer old record albums to CDs.
ASCII-O-Matic Turn any photo into ASCII text.  This is pretty cool!
What Is My IP Address? Click on the link and it will tell you.
MP3 Calculator How much music will it fit? A bitrate/filesize to hours/minutes/seconds converter for your MP3 needs.
VideoLAN Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, left off a DVD codec in Windows Media Player 10.  That means you can't play movies on DVD unless you've installed some software that includes a codec.  Along comes VideoLAN and all is well with the world.
DVdriver Use your digital camcorder with ANY software that works with webcams.
Papilio Not really a utility but this place has any kind of paper you could possibly want to purchase for special inkjet projects.
Zillow Want to find the value of a piece of property?  Put the address in this site and it will tell you all about that property.  The site includes home evaluation tools and all sorts of information for buyers and sellers of real estate.  Right now it's only in beta but it's at least in the ballpark on value.
Freedigits FreeDigits is Internet enabled phone service that comes with a real US Phone Number.  You can also accept calls in real-time right on your computer, forward them to another phone or let them go to voicemail.  Uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
SpeedFan Monitor the temperature in your computer and adjust the fan speed to maintain a constant temperature.
CDBurnerXP Pro A free CD burning software utility.  Makes and burns ISO files too!
Internic Whois Domain Information Search

Go Daddy Whois Search

ARIN Whois (Advanced Users)

If you've visited a web site and wondered who owned the domain or maybe you want to purchase a domain, this is where you look to find a name and an address for contact information.

The InterNIC website is operated by ICANN to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services.  Go Daddy is the largest registrar of domain names on the internet today and may contain more information.

For advanced users there is the American Registry for Internet Numbers database.

Find Cheap Gasoline OK, not a computer tool but you can find the cheapest gas prices in your zip code using Google Maps with this link, assuming of course, that others input the information into the database on a daily basis.
Screen OCR Screen OCR (Optical Character Recognition) allows you to take text from a the screen and put it into a text file as text.  Even from pictures and protected web pages.  Free trial then $30 if you like it.
Workfriendly Tired of the boss looking over your shoulder while surfing the web?  This is a proxy app that lets you read web pages but make them look like you're in Microsoft Word.  There is a quick button that when you mouse over it, makes the screen look like a document.  Just type in the URL of a website and wait a few seconds for it to adjust.
MediaCoder MediaCoder is an open source universal audio/video batch transcoder (converter), which puts together lots of excellent audio/video codecs and tools from the open source community into an all-in-one solution, capable of transcoding among different audio/video formats with many extra features.
Super SUPER © is a totally FREE fast technology Multimedia program. It plays & converts very fast full length movies to any other format with NO time limitation.
DIY Service Pack Install Windows updates without an internet connection!  Looking for manageable Windows updates even without an internet connection? The offline update 3.0 script collection downloads the entire body of updates for Windows 2000, XP or Server 2003 from Microsoft's servers in one fell swoop and then uses them to create patch packages on CD, DVD or USB stick. Those in turn allow you to update as many PCs as desired.

Direct link here

Zip Code/
Area Code Distance Calculator
Find out what city a particular zip code is in.  Or find out what city contains a certain area code and prefix phone number.  Then calculate the distance between two of them.  Even find out what the latitude and longitude of those cities are!

Note: You may get an access denied error.  Read the instructions on the bottom of the page to fix it (allowing trusted sites).

Taskbar Shuffle Ever been frustrated that your taskbar icons are in the order that the applications were loaded?  Wouldn't you like to re-order them the way you want?  Here's the app for you.  Similar to Button Boogie that stopped updating after Windows 2000.  That one has an update, ButtonBoogie 2, but that one costs $8.  Taskbar Shuffle is free!
Make your own homemade WiFi extender! Make a Wi-Fi extender for about 25 cents!  Video shows you what it looks like.  Just print out the template, cut, and insert tab A into slot A, etc.

Info Video

 

Click Here For Template

Pismo File Mount Mount an ISO image simply by right-clicking the image and choosing Mount.  Then choose a drive letter and Wa La!  Your ISO image now looks like a hard drive on your system.  I personally tested this with Windows 7 with no issues at all.

 

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