Category Archives: cool tools

Build an iPhone App with PhoneGap

Here’s a great video from Jonathan Stark, showing how you can turn a web app into a native iPhone app with the free tool PhoneGap. When combined with jQTouch, the jQuery plugin for mobile web development, you have a complete system for building native apps for various mobile platforms, all from html, css, and javascript.

PhoneGap supports iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Palm!

VNC to Mac OS 10.5 from Windows

I’ve been trying for a while to get the Mac “Screen Sharing” to work. I want to control the Mac from a Windows Vista machine. Even though Screen Sharing is just a VNC server, my RealVNC client would seem to connect for a split second and then the connection would go away.

I finally found the solution: in the VNC client (vncviewer) options, set the encoding to “Hextile” and the color level to “Full”. Now it connects fine!

vncviewer settings

Do I Really Have a Virus?

Here’s a great article at Lifehacker about how you can know if a file is really infected, or if your antivirus software is giving you a false positive (shouting “virus!” when there really isn’t one).

Read the article and check out the online multi-engine scanning tools at

Unlock Those Locked Files

If you’ve been around Windows very long, you’ve run into files that were locked by other users or processes.? The free utility Unlocker, which I read about in the February 2008 issue of TechNet magazine, will solve this problem for you.? Just right-click on the file and choose Unlocker from the context menu.

Thanks to Cedrick Collomb for this great, free utility.? Support it with a donation!

Copytext – Copy “Unhighlightable” Text

Copytext is a little app that I haven’t tried yet, but I’m blogging about it so that I can find it when I need it.

There are times when you want to copy text from an app, but it’s in a place where you can’t highlight and choose “Copy”. This little app will pull that text out. It could come in very handy some time.

Karen’s Power Tools

If you occasionally need a little program to get something done on your Windows machine, check out Karen’s Power Tools. Sign up for the free newsletter to find out about updates–she doesn’t overwhelm your inbox with a lot of email.

Regarding the licensing, she says:

As always, each program is free for personal/home use. And you can download its complete Visual Basic source code too!

You can also get the latest version of every Power Tool on a shiny CD.
These include three bonus Power Tools, not available anywhere else. The source code of every Power Tool, every issue of my newsletter, and some articles I wrote for Windows Magazine, are also on the CD. And owning the CD grants you a license to use all my Power Tools at work.

Here’s the current list of tools and descriptions:

  • Replicator: Automatically copy and backup files.
  • E-Mailer II: Send E-Mail from Windows’ command line, desktop, from Countdown Timer II, or ‘Net Monitor.
  • Directory Printer: Print the names, and other information, of all folders and files on your computer.
  • Countdown Timer II: Never forget another appointment.
  • Computer Profiler: View your computer’s hidden secrets.
  • Show Stopper: Shutdown, Power Off, Reboot, Log Off, Suspend or Hibernate — all from a desktop shortcut or command line!
  • WhoIs: Discover who owns Internet Domain Names, and how to contact their owners.
  • URL Discombobulator: Understand those cryptic web addresses, and make a few of your own.
  • Calculator: A Calculator with a difference! This one can accurately handle numbers containing thousands of digits.
  • Once-A-Day II: Automatically perform tasks, the first time Windows starts or a user logs on, each day!.
  • Hasher: Compute and verify MD5, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512 hashes of text strings, files, and groups of files.
  • ‘Net Monitor: See if your web site, e-mail server, or any other computer on the ‘net, is up or down.
  • Cookie Viewer: View and delete web “Cookies” left by the web sites you’ve visited.
  • Zone Manager: Create desktop shortcuts to timezones, even create and edit your own custom time zones! Also synchronize your computer’s clock to an ultra-precise Internet time server!
  • Print Logger: Keep a record of each document your computer prints.
  • Disk Slack Checker: See how much of your disk space is being wasted.
  • Drive Info: View information about the disk drives attached to your computer.
  • Time Sync: Automatically synchronize your computer’s clock to any of the ultra-precise Internet time servers!
  • LAN Monitor: Monitor your computer’s connections to other computers (on your LAN, and on the Internet). See real-time traffic statistics.
  • Window Watcher: See the hidden programs running on your computer.
  • Recycler: View and manage each drive’s Recycle Bin. Empty bins manually, and automatically.
  • Alarm Clock: Turn your $2,000 computer into a $20 alarm clock. :)
  • Font Explorer: See the fonts available on your computer.
  • Power Toy: Teach your computer to talk, sing, and even dance!
  • Clipboard Viewer: View the contents of Windows’ Clipboard.
  • Time Cop: Time your meetings, recipes, exams, and more!
  • E-Mailer: Send E-Mail from Windows’ command line.
  • Version Browser: View and print the “Version” information stored inside your Windows programs and other files.
  • Autorun.inf Editor: Easily create the special file that causes programs to run automatically when a CD is inserted.
  • Registry Pruner: Remove unneeded entries from Windows’ Registry.
  • Registry Ripper: Extract portions of Windows’ Registry, and save them to a file.
  • Snooper: Track what programs are being run, and when they are running.