Archive for the ‘Free Stuff’ Category
So, I wanted to write today about something I recently did, and for me was kind of cool and exciting.
I have tons of email addresses. I have my work email, 3 personal emails, and a bunch of personal business email addresses. I get flooded with messages every day to say the least.
I noticed the other day that I get a daily email that is very time sensitive, and if I can read the email right away when it is sent to me, I can capitalize on some opportunities. The email usually comes into my Inbox around the same time each day, but I’m a busy guy, I forget what time it is, I don’t always go in and check for it right away. And my schedule doesn’t permit me to sit in Gmail and keep hitting refresh.
You might have a similar situation. No matter what the reason, if you have an email that comes from a certain person or business, or has a certain subject line, you can forward those emails to your cell phone as text or MMS messages, so you’ll be instantly notified once the email comes in.
Here’s how to do it:
MakeUseOf.com is a website/blog where you can read about cool websites, computer tricks and downloads that make your life easier and more productive. MakeUseOf’s mission is to guide you through the web and tell you about hot websites that you have never heard of, best software programs, and all kinds of “how to” tips for Windows, Mac and Linux computer users. Launched in 2006, MakeUseOf has over 450,000 subscribers and was founded by Aibek Esengulov and Kaly Mochoev. By subscribing to the site, you get daily e-mails about the newsletter so you are always in touch with the website. Along with the newsletter, MakeUseOf has tons of give-aways. Recently I won the WinX Cell Phone Video Converter and received a personal e-mail from Jackson Chung, Associate Editor of MakeUseof.com telling me that I won and thanked me for subscribing. When you get a chance, check out these people and subscribe to the newsletter, you will not regret it.
To keep your computer running as fast as possible, it is important to perform certain maintenance tasks on it. One these tasks are called defragmenting your hard drive(s) or defrag for short.
What is defragmentation?
Let’s say you have saved a bunch of files to a brand new hard drive (HD) and then over time you remove half of them. Those spaces or blocks you removed the files from are empty but scattered throughout the HD. Now let’s say you save a much larger file to the HD. The system will use the smaller blocks first thus breaking the file into pieces. When you go to open that file, the system needs to reassemble the file and depending on how many blocks the file resides in will depend on how long it will take to open. Defragging your HD will put those pieces in order allowing the system to find them faster and open quicker. Running periodic defrags will keep your system running as fast as possible and although Windows comes with its own utilities including one for defragging, I use a software called Defraggler.
Defraggler can be found here and is developed by Piriform. With Defraggler you can analyze and defrag your HDs as well as certain folders and files. I found it to be very fast and a better utility than the one offered by Windows.
One of the biggest problems I run into is editing music and sounds for my videos and/or websites. Like anything else, there are plenty of software packages you can buy to edit music. Depending on your needs, sometimes freeware is the way to go and I feel Audacity is one of those exceptions.
Audacity is an audio editor that can be used for all types of things. I use Audacity all the time to make ringtones for my iphone, music drops for my videos and to edit sounds for my websites.
Here is the list of features Audacity offers: (From the website)
Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidiscs. With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.
- Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.
- Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
- Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).
- Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.
Import and Export
Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. Export your recordings in several common file formats.
- Import and export WAV, AIFF, AU, and Ogg Vorbis files.
- Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) with libmad.
- Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.
- Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to CD.
- Import and export all file formats supported by libsndfile.
- Open raw (headerless) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.
- Note: Audacity does not currently support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats.
- Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.
- Use unlimited Undo (and Redo) to go back any number of steps.
- Very fast editing of large files.
- Edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks.
- Use the Drawing tool to alter individual sample points.
- Fade the volume up or down smoothly with the Envelope tool.
- Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.
- Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
- Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.
- Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.
- Other built-in effects include:
- Record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit (floating point) samples.
- Record at up to 96 kHz.
- Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.
- Mix tracks with different sample rates or formats, and Audacity will convert them automatically in realtime.
- Add new effects with LADSPA plug-ins.
- Audacity includes some sample plug-ins by Steve Harris.
- Load VST plug-ins for Windows and Mac, with the optional VST Enabler.
- Write new effects with the built-in Nyquist programming language.
- Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies.
- “Plot Spectrum” command for detailed frequency analysis.
Free and Cross-Platform
Check out Audacity…What do you have to lose?
Over the last year I have been actively researching ways to create my own website. Not really understanding HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) I started reading books and scouring the internet for tutorials. I found quite a bit on YouTube and learned how to read the language but not being the most creative, I was coming to the reality; you need expensive software or buy into a site that offers all the tools needed to complete your website. I didn’t want to jump in to the pool with both feet until I learned how to swim and rather than put out a big expense, I started looking for alternatives.
Getting free web hosting is quite easy and most of them have website builders but you are limited without some type of HTML editor. I was determined to find something and recently I came across PageBreeze. PageBreeze is free but it does offer a paid version…I currently use the free version and am quite happy with the results.
Ease of use
With PageBreeze you pick from one of their default templates, use one of your own templates or create one from scratch. Once you have decided on a template you have all the tools you will need to create the perfect website to suit your needs.
With PageBreeze you can:
- View the page normally. (Makes editing a snap)
- Adjust the properties of the page. (Style sheets, Description, Meta Tags, and adjust the overall coloring)
- Look at the HTML code. (With a little experience you can tweak the code to your liking)
- Preview the page in Explorer. (Shows you the exact look in the browser as well check to make sure everything is working.)
- Publish to an FTP site. (With all the correct credentials, this makes uploading you site a breeze)
- Create forms. (From drop down menus to validation codes)
The interface reminds me of Microsoft Word which makes the text editing very easy to use. Check out PageBreeze, it is worth the price.