Progress in upgrading math's tools has been uneven: blackboards have become whiteboards, but calculators and software have come up short in trying to replicate the speed and simplicity of pencil and paper. Math-o-mir is the result of the surprisingly difficult effort to develop a software-based equation editor to meet that need. It's a free tool with one goal, to make writing and editing mathematical equations as easy and natural as scribbling on a pad. It's not a math engine, design tool, or image editor, though it uses some of the same concepts, such as freehand drawing and … Read more
Dogs, cats, small children, and computer keyboards: as they say on "Sesame Street," three of these things belong together. Obviously, PC keyboards are the odd man out in this group, but how can they all get along together in a world (your living room, for instance) in which three out of four respondents think "software" means plush toys? The answer may be as simple as KeyboardLock, a free tool from Booring that locks and unlocks your keyboard and mouse when you enter a password. Say you want to watch a movie on your laptop with pets … Read more
Ken Rename from Kensoft is a free batch file renamer that offers a lot of configuration options and enables you to replace strings, reorder and renumber files, remove and insert specific characters from files, decode files, and create macros to perform batch processes automatically. It includes extra features such as picture previews, EXIF support, and import/export capabilities.
At first glance, Ken Rename's red-bordered interface seems busy, but it actually does a capable job of managing a lot of features in a limited space, with a file menu and toolbar along the top, a tabbed selection of functions, and … Read more
Here's the thing about passwords: If you can remember them, they're too weak. If you copy them or write them down, you compromise security (plus you'll lose that piece of paper; trust us on this one). Password managers can help you keep your PC secure by making it easy to use strong passwords without committing them to memory or paper. KeePass Password Safe stores passwords in encrypted database files that can only be unlocked by a master password or key file, or both. It's open-source freeware that runs in Windows versions from 98 to 7.
KeePass … Read more
We've been big fans of WinZip utilities for years, and that didn't change when Microsoft bundled a zip tool in Windows. They generally share some characteristics: they're free, for instance, and they integrate with context menus in Windows. They not only zip and unzip files but also handle other archive types, and they often have extra features such as the ability to split and merge files. We've tried them all, or thought we had until we encountered Hamster Free ZIP Archiver. It has an attractive, up-to-date look, and it can pack and unpack ZIP, 7Zip, GZIP, … Read more
GPA Calculator from Vertex42 is a free Excel template that is configured for calculating grade point averages based on the common four-point grading scale corresponding to letter grades A, B, C, and D, with percentages for plus and minus grades. Since it's an Excel template, it can be customized for individual needs and copied as many times as you need. It requires Microsoft Excel or an Excel-compatible spreadsheet tool.
GPA Calculator downloads as a zipped file. We extracted it, opened it in Excel, and clicked Enable Editing to turn off the protected view. The spreadsheet lists course, grade, credits, … Read more
Personal organizers are nothing new, but most of them are designed for businesspeople and are heavy with business-oriented features like client contact managers and meeting planners. Get Organized from JTK Solutions is different: it's optimized for students, especially secondary and college students. It helps busy students keep their assignments as well as keep track of their grades. Best of all, it's free, so impoverished scholars can download and use it and still be able to eat next week--maybe even food!
Get Organized opened with an optional Get Started dialog that walked us through the process of adding terms, … Read more
Vertex42 specializes in Excel templates. Its Free Invoice Template is designed to give small businesses an easy and inexpensive way to bill their customers. It's customizable, too, and it even calculates subtotals and taxes. You need Microsoft's Excel to run it, or a similar program that can run Excel spreadsheets.
As with other Vertex42 templates we've tried, Free Invoice Template is a very small download, just under 11KB zipped and 43KB unzipped. We clicked the extracted template, which opened inside Excel 2010 in a protected view. We clicked Enable Editing, which allowed us to make and save … Read more
File splitters split files into smaller files that are easier to manage and then merge them into a single file at the other end. GF Split & Merge is a free file splitter and merger that automatically creates files with numbered extensions to keep things in order. We tried it in 32-bit Vista and 64-bit Windows 7.
GF Split & Merge's small interface is about the size of the typical properties box, though it's efficiently packed with the necessaries. There are two tabs, Split and Merge. The Split tab has entry fields for Files to Split and Output … Read more
Folder Size is a free Windows utility that scans your drives or folders and displays detailed information about the size of their contents so you can see where the disk space went. It displays the sizes of files and folders as well as their percentage of total disk size.
Folder Size uses a layout common to many such utilities, mostly because it's the most efficient design: toolbar, left-hand tree view, and main window. Folder Size displayed all our disk drives with their total size, space used, and free space listed below the tree view. We clicked on our C … Read more