Netzwerk Systemberatung Administration
For all your periodic table of the elements needs.
Okay, this might be kind of specialized, but I just had to include it because it's so nicely implemented. I guess the only way to describe it is that it's the nicest and potentially most useful periodic table of the elements I've ever seen.
I need to be clear about this. This is by no means the best online dictionary. It's the best, most user-friendly, dictionary application. For more authoritative word definitions, go to Merriam-Webster or Dictionary.com, both of which are great resources.
ObjectGraph Dictionary makes the list because it acts the most like a paper dictionary, only a lot faster. It uses the type-ahead technique, which Google made famous with Google Suggest. I found it interesting when used by Google, but ideal when used by a dictionary. If you haven't seen this type of application yet, prepare to be impressed.
These two spell-checking applications look almost exactly the same. So much so, that I wonder if they are the same code. Broken-notebook has a listing on sourceforge, so I'm inclined to think it must be the original.
In any event, these simple, online utilities act and feel very similar to using spell-check in a word professor. Type your text in the box. Click "check spelling", and misspelled words are underlined in red. Click on the red words, and alternative solutions appear, nice and neat.
I have to admit. I feel a little sorry for MapQuest. For years, it dominated the online map niche. They were true innovators, and are probably the single most important reason I haven't bought a paper map in many years. You might not be aware, but most alternatives, like Yahoo! Maps, actually licensed and re-branded MapQuest.
I have now completely abandoned MapQuest in favor of Google Maps.
GMail might be the application that precipitated the current onrush of AJAX applications, but GoogleMaps is the most universally useful. GMail is great and everything, but you can still use email without it. There is no real web-based alternative to GoogleMaps. There have been a couple companies that achieved a similar interface by using Java, even before Google, but they're slow-to-load and more kludgy.
In GoogleMaps, Google achieved what most believed impossible, a quick, responsive, mapping application that lets you quickly drag your way around the map, zoom in or out, overlay satellite photos, use plain-speech address searching. All in your browser.
Recently, GoogleMaps has integrated with Google Local. This is a very good thing. You can easily search for businesses in a particular area like "dog groomers in eastern Tuscaloosa". This comes as great news for all those eastern Tuscaloosa dog groomers.
I know what you do. All those different passwords you need to register for those websites? You use the same one, don't you? Your mom's middle name, right?
It's really hard to keep track of all the passwords and PIN numbers we need today. A password manager saves them all with a master password, so you only have to remember one. Then you can use a different one when registering at that cat-fanciers website.
I used to recommend PINs for this category, and I still believe it's a great piece of software. However, KeePass is open source, meaning that anyone can view its source code to verify that the algorithms that encrypt your data are implemented correctly. For any type of encryption software, this is a big plus.
thanks to Kai Duebbert for the lead!
It's essential to get email on the road. Both Mobility Email and Portable Thunderbird allow you to do this safely and securely. Again, without leaving traces on the host computer. Both programs are based on Thunderbird, and both are excellent.
As impressive as OpenOffice is, you may rather have just a word processor. If you never use spreadsheets or make presentations, why bog your computer down with software you don't need? AbiWord is the best of the free word processors. It starts up very fast, and uses very little hard drive space and memory.
This is quite remarkable. Clones of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that run in your browser. Very well. For free.
These are java applications and take about a minute to open up the first time you run them, but after being run once, they can be opened very quickly.
ThinkFree opens and saves to standard Microsoft Office formats: DOC, XLS, PPT. They can even save to PDF, something that MS Office doesn't do yet. To make this clear, you open up local files and can save them on your hard drive. If you want to save them to ThinkFree's servers, they give you 30MB of storage space.
One neat trick that this web app does is allow direct posting to your blog. This means you can use a real word processer to create your entries instead of your limited blogging tools.
All the standard word processing functions are here, including immediate spell-check, headers & footers, footnotes, field entry, tables, even a clip art gallery. Similarly, the PowerPoint clone, ThinkFree Show, looks and acts almost exactly like its Microsoft counterpart, with templates, animation effects, notes, etc.
I'm most impressed with Calc, the Excel knock-off. It has auto-correct options, 300 functions, chart wizards and auto-fill along with a variety of print options.