Once you’ve used the hand-helping, time-saving, two-finger scrolling and three-finger gestures on a MacBook, a standard Windows trackpad can feel kind of, well, dead. Here’s how to get total finger control with a tiny app, or go further with a driver swap. More »
Posted on February 17, 2010
NovaPDF creates a “printer” that exports any web page, document, or anything else print-able to a PDF file, and can pull some neat tricks like appending to an existing PDF. Through the Digital Inspiration blog, you can grab a “Lite” copy free.
NovaPDF is certainly far from alone in offering a print-to-PDF tool for Windows, as we’ve looked at similar solutions using PDFCreator and doPDF and CutePDF. NovaPDF offers a pretty intriguing option to append your PDF printing to previous PDFs, though, which can be really helpful for compiling reports and gathering web research. The PDFs it puts out also have embedded fonts for universal looks, and you can customize the metadata on them before printing. From a quick test, it seems to install and work fairly cleanly, right from the get-go.
The oft-linked Digital Inspiration blog explains how to grab and register a copy of NovaPDF Lite 7.0 free, using a link specific to that blog, one we assume won’t stick around forever. Neat, free stuff, and it’s a download for Windows systems only.
Posted on January 5, 2010
Windows: Keeping all your data backed up is a smart move, but what about the device drivers that are sometimes hard to pin down after a re-install? Driver Magician, a free download today, backs up and restores your Windows drivers.
Driver Magician does its thing immediately upon starting up, asking you to update the driver database (which you should) and then scanning to find everything it can on your computer that makes your hardware work. You can back up everything whole-cloth, or just grab the drivers on your system that aren’t provided by Microsoft, making it easier to pin down what you really need in case things go bad. That’s just about all there is to this app, but it seems pretty smart at finding drivers and stashing them away for safe keeping.
As with any Giveaway of the Day download, you’ll want to read the Readme.txt file included in the ZIP package for instructions on activating the software, and be careful when clicking through, because the Giveaway site wants to be your bestest browser friend. This free download, available until midnight tonight Pacific time, won’t offer future upgrades or tech support, but will continue to grab remote database updates.
Driver Magician is a free download for Windows systems only.
Posted on November 24, 2009
Windows only: Driver update utility Device Doctor finds outdated drivers on your PC, and helps you download the latest version—without charging you a dime.
Using the utility, which can be installed or used as a portable application, is about as easy as it gets—just click the Begin Scan button, wait a couple of seconds, and you will be shown a list of drivers that can be updated. The download button for each driver will take you to their web site, where you can download the drivers for free, without signing up for anything at all. Most of the drivers come with setup programs, but some of them are nothing more than zip files, and would need to be installed manually—hopefully something they can improve on in the future.
During our testing, we used the application on half a dozen PCs, and had varied results—on our XP test system, Device Doctor worked well and accurately found new drivers, but for Windows 7 we didn't have as much luck, with a few incorrect drivers being thrown at us. That said, Windows 7 was only released recently, so expect that support to improve in the future.
Device Doctor isn’t perfect yet, but as a completely free, portable application that you can toss on your thumb drive, it’s well worth a look. It might even save you some time searching for new drivers while you are fixing mom’s PC.
Device Doctor is a free download for Windows only. Be sure to check out the full How-To Geek review for a more in-depth look, as well as instructions on installing drivers manually.
Posted on October 28, 2009
Accidents happen to even the most cautious drivers. If you find yourself in one, AccidentSketch is a simple web-based tool that can help you draw up a picture and generate a report to give to your insurance company.
AccidentSketch uses a simple template system. Cars, road segments, signs, pedestrians, and more all snap to the grid and in the case of small objects like signs can be moved from there. You can change the colors of things, zoom in and out to get as close or wide as you need, and even assign information to parties involved like the license plate numbers of the cars in the accident.
Once you create a diagram you can also generate a text-based report to fill in details that can’t be easily conveyed by the picture. When you’re done you’ve got a tidy accident sketch and report to submit to the interested parties. The service is free and requires no registration.
Have a handy tool and tidbit for dealing with insurance companies and life after a fender-bender? Let’s hear about it in the comments.