Instant Messanger within your Browser

Meebo is an online Instant Messenger application that allows you to run the application from within your browser. This is perfect for those times when you are traveling and need to use an Internet Cafe, or a locked down PC at work that does not allow you to install applications. I wrote about Meebo previoiusly.

To further integrate Meebo into your browser, Meebo has just released a Firefox extension. This adds a pane to the right side of your browser and lists all of your buddies online. You can also ‘disconnect’ the pane and have it work as if it were a stand alone application.

How to Add a ring tone to your Blackberry

How often have you been in a restaurant or a movie, and someone’s cell phone blares out the latest rendition of the owners favorite hip hop track, or the blaring sound of a ring from a phone of the 60’s? I have heard that some places are considering jamming cell phones because of this.

It is annoying and many consider this to be rude.

I have found a solution. I found an MP3 file where someone recorded a sneeze. I then found the site www.coolservice.dk. It allows you to upload any MP3 file, then download it onto your Blackberry, or any phone that has internet access. You simply upload the file, and it gives you a code number. You go to the download site on your Blackberry browser, enter the code and it will be downloaded. You then save the file and it will be listed in your ring tones. Select Profiles on your Blackberry and then change the tone.

Now when your phone rings, it will actually sneeze. I have found this much less obtrusive while in public places.

You can listen and download the mp3 file below.

MSN Messenger on a Blackberry

I have had a Blackberry for a few months now and am finding more and more features for it. This week I finally found an IM client for MSN Messenger. (note to US readers, AIM is the IM of choice in the US, in Canada MSN is the most widely used) The advantage of EQO is that is can do ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and even Skype via a plugin.

Blackberry does have IM support on its server software, but only if you have the most recent 4.1 version

Now I have email and IM wherever I go…(I just have to figure out if that is really a good thing 😉

Folder Share

I recently upgraded my network at home to 1GB. I wanted to find a software that would backup my files incrementally. Meaning, as a file was changed, its backup would also be changed. I was able to find FolderShare. This is now a free service from Microsoft Live.

You simply download the software onto the 2 computers you want to synchronize. Point to the folder(s) you want to be in sync. and the software does the rest. As you change files on one computer, it is backed up on the other.

The Future of computing

Recently there has been a few companies that have come out with UMPC’s. Ultra Mobile PC’s. Everyone has complained about how expensive they are and how impractical the small format is. What is important to realize is that these are the "betas" of the UMPC. Like everything else, the first version is expensive. Look at HD-DVD players. They first came out over $1,000. Now pricing is down to $799. This past weekend I received a flyer for an external HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 for $149 Canadian. (which apparently you can install in a PC.)

To really understand where the UMPC is going, simply watch the Intel video below. The only thing I could say after watching this is "I want one of each!"

IE tab for Firefox

FirefoxThis is another party I was a little late for. I don’t know how many techies have told me to use Firefox vs. IE due to better security. The issue is that my company is standardized on IE. To the point where certain internal websites will not even run on Firefox.

Now I have discovered the IE tab for Firefox. This is an extension for Firefox. Firefox has hundreds of extensions, or plugins or addons; whichever definition your are more comfortable with. These extensions allow you to add features to Firefox. The whole system is pretty slick. Every time you boot Firefox it automatically checks for updates to Firefox and extensions. If is finds any, it will update them. This is not an Adobe-esqe type of update that takes 10 minutes, but it generally takes about 5-10 seconds. I could do a whole post on Firefox, but for now, I’ll focus on the IE tab.

After you install the IE tab extension you can switch, on the fly, between Firefox and an IE “emulation mode”. You do not need to exit Firefox or run IE at the same time. You just click on the Firefox icon on the lower toolbar and it switches to IE. If you have some sites that you know require IE, like Windows update and, in my case our reporting system. You can add those web sites to a list and Firefox will automatically load the IE emulation when you go to those sites.

Now I can have the security, speed, and flexibility of Firefox and the IE specific requirements when I need them.

Foxit PDF reader

FoxitEveryone knows that Adobe gives away their Acrobat reader for free. This is a free alternative. Over the years Adobe Acrobat has grown to a 20 MB+ program that like to “call home” often and download 20MB updates. Due to its size, it also takes a long time to load.

Foxit PDF reader can read PDF files but is less than 2MB to install. Their uptdate files are also less than 1MB. Plus it loads in about 1/5 the time of Acrobat. If you need the high end features of forms building etc. then Foxit is not for you. But if you just need something quick and easy to read PDFs, then give Foxit a try.

Update your software versions for free

File HippoThis site could become one of my favorites. Everyone knows that software changes constantly. If everyone were like Firefox and checked for new versions every time it started, we wouldn’t need sites like File Hippo. When you open the site, you download a 100k applet that will scan your computer for the installed software. Then it provides a list of all of the available updates, plus a list of available Beta versions as well. You simply download the updates you want and you’re done. This site is a huge time saver.