My toolbox is probably more Home Improvement than This Old House. Screws, nails, nuts and washers from old jobs are tossed together. Phillips and standard screwdrivers are never in the same place, and most anything with a plug is waiting to be charged.
My column ideas are often tossed together in a virtual toolbox. Bookmarked sites, tips and portions of articles — none of which really fit in a single topic — wait to be liberated. And since July is a month that is all about freedom, let me offer some computer helps — all free and in no particular order.
Print directories. You have a directory of files, but other than capturing the active window (Alt+PrntScrn, or Grab in Applications/Utility on a Mac and then pasting it into a document) how do you print them out? Try Directory Printer in the free program area of karenware.com.
See routes. Google Maps and MapQuest are great ways to generate directions from Point A to Point B, but Virtual Turnpike (vpike.com) will let you see images of your route. If not always practical, it's still fun.
Send long URLs. The longer a website address, the less likely someone will retype it. A variety of services shorten locations into something more manageable – bit.ly, tinyurl.com, etc. Find an analysis at tinyurl.com/SEL-short.
Fix your computer. Sites such as CCleaner (piriform.com) and PCPitstop.com have previously been recommended to tune up computers. WinFix (download from fixwin.en.softonic.com) repairs 50 common Window annoyances.
Detect viruses. Have a suspicious file or download? Use VirusTotal.com to scan it with 40+ antivirus scanners.
Shop smartly. Use the main categories at Consumer Search.com to see the top product reviews and recommendations for everything from mattresses to cat food. CustomerServiceScoreboard.com rates companies by customer service.
Find dead links. Bookmarked many sites? AM-Deadlink (aignes.com/deadlink.htm) works through your browser or text file to find duplicate, redirected and non-functioning links.
Add picture tags. Google's Picasa 3.5 (picasa.google.com) has many tools to organize photos. Now it also scans pictures to group similar faces together.
Ken Satterfield is advertising and marketing coordinator for Word&Way.