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Free Writer’s Toolkit March 22, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware, Writing.
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There is a vast treasure trove of free software and online services that can greatly assist writers with their work. Here are some of the best free tools and services that writers can add to their technological toolkit. Most of the free software is for the Microsoft Windows platform but versions for other platforms like MAC OS and Linux will be noted when available.

Free Software


StorYBook is an open-source application for writing books of all types. One of the most impressive packages that I’ve seen. The best feature is the way it helps you organize your chapters and offers differents views such as a chronological view of chapters by date or book view according to chapter numbers.
Here’s a screenshot:








Download (windows or linux)

yWriter is an impressive novel-writing program that was created by a writer so it makes
the process of outlining and editing much easier and even pleasurable!
Incredbily, it’s totally free!

WordWeb is a small but powerful dictionary that hardly misses a word.


MobySaurus is an impressive thesaurus!

TheSage is a dictionary and thesaurus all rolled up into one cool
little application. Search results reveal a great deal of samples too.
OpenOffice The ultimate Microsoft Office clone that is totally free and open source.
There is Write (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Base (Access) and more!
Download (Win, Mac, Linux)
CutePDF Writer lets you create professional quality PDF files from any printable document.
FREE for personal and commercial use.
No watermarks. No popup Web advertisements!

McGill Dictionary of Rhyme is an amazing deal here because not only does it include an excellent rhyming dictionary but also a program called
VersePerfect that used to cost $150. These tools are excellent for song writers and poets. The real-time syllabel counter and spellchecker are VERY nice!

FreeMind is a free mindmapping program written in java.Downloads (win, Mac, Linux)

EverNote allows you to capture and search through notes, mobile phone snapshots,
webpage clips, images of printed and handwritten text, emails, passwords, brainstorms,
sketches, documents, and much, much more.

NoteTabLite The best text editor that I’ve ever used and I’ve been using it for many years!
NoteTabLite lets you open many text files at the same time with its unique tabbed
interface (much like a browser). It remembers all of the files you had open the last
time you used it and reopens them all automatically for you.

Free Services

Definr is a quick and powerful online dictionary that never seems to miss.


Freethesaurus is an useful online thesaurus from the makers of MobySaurus the thesaurus software.


RhymeZone  Very fast and useful online Rhyming search engine


WordFrequencyCounter Counts the frequency of words you’ve used.


MindMeister  is the best online mindmapping service that allows you to embed any map and share them with
others. An excellent tool for outlining stories or ideas.


Google Docs  is an excellent online word processor that lets you store your writing which you can access from anywhere,
anytime.You can export your google docs to word format or import word documents. You can publish any document as a public document so others can view it online. You can make it totally public for everyone to see or make them private justfor yourself or invite others you select to view or even edit the document.


Google Notebook is an online notebook for storing all kinds of text, images, links, etc. Create many subsections, tags, etc.


Zoho Writer Another excellent online word processor with storage anZoho offers the same features forsharing as google docs.


Zoho Db & Reports Easy and fast online database builder. Create databases to track story ideas, plots, characters,submissions, etc.


Zoho Creator
Similar to Zoho DB & Reports, but the big different is the ability to create slick looking web apps within minutes without a line of code! Here’s a sample app I created in 5 minutes called My Muse that lets you track your writing, including blog posts. It’s overly simple, but you can copy it to your account and change it any way you want.


Free Social Networks and Services for Writers were covered in Writing 2.0. Here’s a list of the best of these writing networks as well as all of the free software listed on here.

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Free Microsoft Project Clone March 3, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware.
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OpenProj is a free and open source version of the most popular (and expensive) project management application, Microsoft Project. Yes, that’s right, free. Not only can it create project files that can be shared with Microsoft Project users but OpenProj can actually open Microsoft Project files as well! It becomes in essense a Project viewer much like Adobe Reader views PDF files, except for one major distinction: OpenProject doesn’t just view Microsoft Project files, it allows you to make changes to them too!
Here’s a screenshot of OpenProj. Click to view larger image.

Download OpenProj here for free. This isn’t some restricted time-limited lame demo trial version either. This is the full monty! Full version, free without any catches. There is a web version that they sell called Project-on-Demand which is still a fraction of what Microsoft Project Web Access costs (not to mention the expense for SharePoint and SQL server which are required)!

Projity is the company behind OpenProj with offices in California, France and India. There are gaining incredible popularity and credibility all over the world. OpenProj is a fantastic way to save $600 to $1000 per Microsoft Project license.

The Ultimate GateKeeper February 27, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Enterprise, Freeware.
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In all my years working in I.T. the thing that has always made me cringe is the way that people handle their login account information and passwords. I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen login names and passwords attached to monitors on sticky notes or taped to their desk or keyboard. The more security conscious ones actually try to be more safe by storing their passwords in their drawer, which still isn’t that smart really. The next level of security is taken by those who store all of their passwords in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which is better than the post-it method of protection, but it’s still vulnerable because their isn’t any encryption which makes opening the file very easy. This is a serious matter that should be addressed by every organization, no matter how large or small they are. One security breach and any company can be exposed to devastating results from a potential hacker.

So what’s the answer? What can be done about this all too common problem that occurs in every company in America? Well, the first thing to do is provide some basic security training for all employees. Make sure everyone understands WHY this is so important. It isn’t just for the company’s safety but for their own safety as well. The next thing to do is provide a simple method for storing all of their login account information and passwords, perferably one that also provides encryption for added security.

Obviously, expense can be a concern so this solution shouldn’t be too expensive either. Now, there are countless password managers available these days, but to me there is only one ultimate gatekeeper.

KeePass is the best password manager available today because it doesn’t require installation, it’s easy to use, and it’s free! The best part of all is that you can keep thousands of passwords in one safe place with encryption. This means that you can have instant access to all of your accounts by remembering just one password from now on. Here’s a screenshot of the main interface (Click to Enlrage):


There’s a version for different operating systems, such as linux, Mac OS and of course all flavors of Windows. However, my favorite is the Portable version which doesn’t require any installation and can be launched from a USB stick! This means you can save the keepass program and the password database that it creates and encrypts for all your passwords in one safe place and with you at all times. Here’s the Keepass download page.

Companies and especially I.T. departments need to stop sticking their collection heads in the ground when it comes to this grievous security risk and address it as soon as possible. Don’t assume that your users know better and would never be stupid enough to do such things. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen these things done by individuals with extremely high levels of intelligence, multiple degrees and usually good common sense. It only takes a few minutes and the Keepass utility is free and easy to use.

Free DVD Player for Vista December 17, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Freeware, Video.
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Free DVD Player for Vista

Ever try playing a DVD on Vista and see this screen?



Well, if so then the answer is this free and legal AVS DVD player for Vista !