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STOP! Head over to CheapskateFreelancer.com instead…
Jul 8th, 2009 by Beth

We’ve moved!

The new home of your favorite free and low-cost tools is CheapskateFreelancer.com.

Visit now for new tools each week and a giveaway every month!

FastStone Screen Capture: Another way to avoid the “Print Screen” Button
Apr 30th, 2009 by Beth

Sigh. I guess it was bound to happen. I found a low-cost screen capture tool that competes with Jing, which is one of my all-time favorites.

FastStone Screen Capture comes in as an unobtrusive toolbar. You can capture windows, the full screen, a scrolling screen and a video with audio (see my sample below — I don’t think the audio recording is as good as Jing). In addition, when you capture something, you get a whole host of editing options to add a little more flair and details — Jing simply lets you annotate and draw arrows. And FastStone has a couple of extra handy tools like a screen magnifier plus a color picker (similar to another Beth Favorite, Pixie).

FastStone has a number of ways to export your capture, but I still prefer Jing’s integration with Screencast.com, which allows you to simply toss your capture online into your library without having to actually upload it.

Overall, I give FastStone an A- and still give Jing an A. But they’re both pretty darn cool and are infinitely better than your “Print Screen” Button.

FastStone Screen Capture – The Best Screen Capture Software.

TextFlow: Online document collaboration
Apr 10th, 2009 by Beth

Sometimes I like these Web 2.0 applications just because… well… they’re just so colorful and cool, just like when you splurged on the awesome chartreuse spiral notebook with the gel cover and extra pockets in middle school.

TextFlow is a document collaboration website. You drag and drop your document into their application, and then you drag other people’s versions. The changes and suggestions from everyone are color coordinated, and they slide out and bookmark themselves in cool ways.

As a professional writer, I’ve really never had much trouble integrating changes from multiple people into one document, so I wouldn’t really need TextFlow, but I’m a sucker for a pretty notebook.

TextFlow offers a fully functional personal edition for free (that includes a watermark “Not for Commercial Use”), or it’s $99 per user per year for the full edition.

Another cool thing…. great storytelling in their promo video.

TextFlow.

Dabble DB: Online databases anyone can use
Mar 31st, 2009 by Beth

I’m a word chick, not a database dame, and the most I can do in Excel is to create filters to see the data I want.

I just watched the 8-minute demo for Dabble DB, and it seems this webware (which is in the running for the 2009 Webware 100 awards from cnet) might solve many of my limitations. You upload your Excel spreadsheets or whatever data you may have, and you can create charts, add fields, sort by time frame… all kinds of fun stuff that will amaze your colleages and increase your productivity.

It’s free to create a public database with up to 100k entries and 15 users, $8 per user per month for private databases. Worth looking into.

Dabble DB – Create an Online Database – Collect, report, and share your data.

CrossLoop: An IT department at the ready
Mar 27th, 2009 by Beth

Ok, I’ll admit it… I’ve contemplated dating an IT guy just to have someone to call when my computer is ailing. But my boyfriend might take exception to that, so I’m very grateful for CrossLoop.

CrossLoop is a network of IT specialists who are standing by to help you. Seriously. All you do is create an account, search for technicians who have experience with your type of computer issue, and let them take over your screen to fix the problem. You pay their hourly rate (which varies by technician), and you can get first-rate advice without having to have dinner.

I used them once and really enjoyed the experience and the results (he couldn’t fix my problem, but that made me happy because I KNEW it was a horrible problem that was beyond repair, and it was!). Highly recommended.

CrossLoop – Simple, secure screen-sharing and trusted experts for computer help.

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