January 14, 2007

Mousetrap - 87

Take that
Concise Freeware
This piece is a leftover from last week’s column on leftover sites. The irony. It originally made way for another similar site on the 24th December column that featured freebies. Like many other freeware collectors, this one has a mix of services, applications and sites sorted into neat categories. What won me over was some unusual sections: one devoted to Firefox, my favourite browser; others on art and music and a nice set of useful articles with free info. Worth a browse, and it’s sure to get you a few items you need to enhance your PC.

All the web’s a computer
Google Docs
Yes, yes, Google pops into this column yet again. Mea culpa. Some people refer to it as the beginning of the Google Suite, the theory being that Google has its beady eyes on all our computing needs, and that soon the only software we’ll need installed on our own PCs will be a decent browser. Anyway, I like it for the ease of collaboration. At present, you can work with text documents and spreadsheets, collaborating in real time, or merely sharing your stuff with other people. The con, of course, is that you need a peppy, reliable web connection. For safety, I usually back up all docs to my own PC each time I do something major, so that I’m not hostage to a fickle ISP. I’m still hoping they build in a decent photo editor soon, and perhaps video and sound... But until then, this works fine for me. A couple of fellow editors, a designer and I just edited a book online using it, so I can speak from experience. And yes, this column as sent over to the edit desk via the “collaborate” button.

Rectangular meal
Feed A Hungry Child campaign
A friend reminds me that I haven’t featured a blog in this column for a while. And this site is a good one with which to remedy that deficiency. It’s not a blog in the conventional sense of the word (or at least as far as one can use can attribute conventions to a concept that’s less than a decade old). Rather, it uses a blog service to place its idea in front of the world. And that idea is simple. FAHC is looking for people to write and donate “heirloom recipes”—traditional and old favourite recipes that are in danger of extinction—to its cookbook project. Revenues from sales will go towards food for underprivileged kids. Go visit for updates and submission guidelines.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 14th January, 2007.

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