Ever wanted to do something faster and easier, like, for example, resize a dozen of photos to fit the screen of your cellphone or install all your favorite applications at once? I know I have. There are a lot of tools to help automate such repetitive tasks, but unfortunately they’re very hard to find, even with Google.
This article will show you a few indispensable tools for computer users and web surfers, which will no doubt make your life easier and your computer experience more enjoyable. Oh, and they’re all free!
1. Image Tuner. This nifty little tool will save you a lot of time when resizing a bunch of photos or images to be sent in an email, posted on a forum or social network or downloaded to your cell phone to be used as wallpapers. Download and install it from http://www.glorylogic.com/ , then run the application and drag-n-drop or add the images you want.
You can select the output folder, size and image format in the right sidebar. A nice detail that surprised me is the proportions preservation feature, which helps a lot if you have mixed widescreen and regular images. A similar utility for Mac OS X is OSX Image resize, found at http://www.ironstarmedia.co.uk/osx-image-resizer/, which is also free.
2. Double Driver. This tool will help you a lot if you’re re-installing Windows. It automatically finds and saves all the drivers on your system (and, unlike other applications, it really searches thoroughly and saves absolutely all files) and can be used for easy restoration after you reinstall the OS.
It stores an application inside the backup folder, which will restore all your drivers (alternatively, you can just show Windows the backup folder and it should automatically find and reinstall the drivers). Double Driver can be downloaded from http://www.boozet.org/dd.htm and it needs no installation, just run the executable file.
3. Ninite. Even though the name doesn’t say it, Ninite offers everyone an easy way to install their favorite applications (which, again, is useful if you just reinstalled your operating system or upgraded to a new one, like Windows 7). All you have to do is go to http://ninite.com/, select the software you want to install and run the installer they give you.
This custom installer automatically downloads and installs all the applications you selected and nothing else. You don’t have to click “Next” or any buttons, and Ninite automatically removes all the useless toolbars and ads that may come with an application. The software selection is expanding weekly and ranges from Safari (Apple’s web browser) to Winamp to Office 2007 (although the latter is only a trial version, and you’ll need a serial to activate it). You just gotta try and see how easy it is!
4. FacePAD. The name is an acronym for Facebook Photo Album Downloader, and it is an add-on to Firefox that automatically downloads all photos from any Facebook album. This is very useful if, for example, you and your friends had an event but they forgot to send you the original photos or you just want to download all the images from a movie/TV show preview. With FacePAD, it’s very simple: just right-click on an album and click “Download Album with FacePAD”.
The add-on automatically downloads all photos in that album and saves them in the default directory (they also appear in the Firefox Download Manager). As it is in constant development, FacePAD has a few bugs, one of which is downloading only the photos on the first page of an album. If that happens, you can download every page separately by clicking on the album and right-clicking & “Download Album with FacePAD” for every page number in the upper right corner.
You can get FacePAD at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8442 .
5. u.nu. What could be hiding behind such a name? An URL shortener! The shortest there is, for that matter.
If you use Tinyurl.com or other similar services, you might want to give http://u.nu a try. Not only is it read as “you knew”, it is also a palindrome (read the same backward as forward) if you ignore the dot. The owners give a guarantee that they’ll never make the URL longer, limiting it to only 5 letters after the slash, none of which look alike (like 0 and o, I and l, etc.). As a nice bonus, they have an API you can use to create shortened URL’s straight from your site (using PHP or any other programming language).
I’m sure the above applications will help you, if not today, then someday . Give them a try and see how you like them!