CamDesk

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Aug 142015
 

Lightweight open-source program for viewing a camera (like a webcam). Requires no installation, just run the exe and up pops a window showing what’s on your camera. Not feature-rich, but about as quick and easy as is possible.

CamDesk (Sourceforge)
camdesk_screenshot

KeePass Touch (iPhone app)

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Jul 262015
 

Free app to synch and access your keepass database from an ftp server. Once you set it up, you can reach it on your iPhone with your thumbprint.

keepass_touch

Keepass – an indispensible tool for being alive

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Jul 212015
 

Password management isn’t something most people are familiar with. But you know how you have to try 3 times to login to that site you don’t use much, and finally have to do a password reset or consult a ratty notebook or, more often, a rat’s-nest of post-it notes in a drawer somewhere? Yeah, that’s no way to live.

Keepass is a password vault that saves all sorts of credential info using strong encryption. You just have to remember a single, preferably complex password to open it up, then copy/paste that password you need. Keepass entries also have a large “notes” field for miscellaneous info, like answers to security questions, ISP account numbers, etc. It takes a little discipline to keep it updated, and some time to type your info into it initially (I spent like 4 hours churning through my email finding account passwords), but it’s worth it. Never struggle with logins again, and your info’s all strongly encrypted.

Best part is, you can get it as a “portable app”, which means it doesn’t require installation. It’s a folder with the program (an .exe file), a database (a .kdbx file), and a few .dll fils. You can just copy the folder to a flashdrive, then open it on any other computer. Or email it to yourself, whatever. The default encryption will protect you from any hacker short of the NSA, and if you bump it up you can probably even defeat them (or at least give them a modest headache). Just don’t lose your master password, or you are absolutely screwed, at least until quantum computing comes along.

From this link, get the “Professional Edition”, “Portable” version”. It’s free, open-source software: “Professional” juts means that it’s Keepass v2 instead of v1. http://keepass.info/download.html

keepass

Apartment-Hunting With Google Earth and a Gamepad

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Jul 182015
 

Google’s mapping has gotten way more intense since last time I really dug into the feature sets. I’m looking for an apartment in Nashville, and even with satellite imagery and street-view, it’s still kind of awkward to get a sense of the neighborhood. Google Earth’s 3D view makes it instantly clear if an address is an asceptic yuppieville or the sort of place you’re going to get shot.

Google Earth’s 3D view is very powerful, and is best navigated with a game controller (or a Space Navigator 3-D mouse if you’ve got one).

The Xbox controller has excellent PC support, naturally. The PS4’s Dualshock 4 controller requires a 3rd-party app but is easy to set-up (it’s much easier and cleaner than trying to get a Dualshock 3 to play nice with Windows).

Also worth noting, Google Maps can color-code roads by traffic density, either real-time or typical condition at a specified day of the week and time.

RPTools Open-Source Software For Tabletop RPG’s

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May 202010
 
screenshot from RPTools "MapTool"

RPTools is a brand of open-source programs designed to enhance traditional pen-and-paper role playing games. They can be used for face-to-face play, or Internet role-playing in real time even if your players are on the other side of the world.  MapTool (which is our free virtual tabletop application) in particular works great with voice-chat services!

These tools are not a role playing game by themselves, nor are they meant to replace everything at the RPG table. Rather, they are designed to be as flexible as we can make them, usable for a wide variety of gaming systems, from fantasy to sci-fi; from tabletop miniatures games to purely spoken-word games.

Image source

SIW – System Information for Windows

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May 192010
 

SIW is one of the handiest tools I’ve ever used!  It’s a small executable ( no install required)  that tells you everything about your system: what’s installed, how many memory slots you have, the model number for your video card, etc.

Process Explorer

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May 192010
 

This is a free, small executable file (no install necessary) from Microsoft.  It’s like Task Manager on steroids.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a bloated resource hog

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May 192010
 

I recently realized just how bloated and crazy Acrobat Reader has become: It’s install size was 143MB on my system, and according to my firewall (PC Tools Firewall, Free Edition), it wanted 4 processes to access the internet before it would open a local pdf.

I highly recommend you uninstall this beast and go with something lighter.  Foxit Reader is a great free alternative, as is the open-source Sumatra PDF.