Manipulating images with In Context! Adding storage with WebDrive, payroll management and more

Manipulating images with In Context! Adding storage with WebDrive, Multimedia editing with Blaze Media Pro and managing payroll with PayWindow.
Published: Jun 8, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
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Images: In Context!, by Liquid Mirror Software, Inc. is a slick product that I first talked about in one of my "Quick Picks." The program is extremely easy-to-use and has a very intuitive user interface. That makes it perfect for users with all levels of computer experience. And, if you're like me and graphically challenged you won't have to worry about understanding terms like "raster" and "vector" and "bitmap." Just install the program and you're off to the races. Once installed it become a part of Windows Explorer and it puts a lot of power right at your fingertips. Look in the Explorer display and right-click on a graphic. Amazingly, you'll see the graphic right there in the context menu. Ahhh, but that's not all. Images: In Context! gives you lots of ways to manipulate and improve your graphics, like pictures.Images: In Context! gives you over 70 functions that you can use on your photos. In honor of her birthday, I was clicking on a lot of pictures of my granddaughter, Cahlia. The program lets me do a wide range of things with a picture including rotating it, making it my desktop wall paper, convert it to another graphics format, and more. You can also utilize a huge number of special effects to enhance your pictures. These include things like blur, distort, sharpen, resize, and even copy the image to your Windows clipboard. Goof something up? No problem! Images: In Context! lets you undo and redo the last 20 things you've done. So you can have the luxury experimenting without worrying about messing up your images. It's an impressive level of support for being able to undo operations you've made on graphics files. And, the program has some other nice features like being able to check for updates. That way you can be sure you always have the most current version. Slick!Images: In Context! is a really clever utility that packs a lot of power under the hood. With this one program you can work with photos and resize, edit, remove "red-eye", correct the colors, sharpen, crop, and so much more. It gives you the ability to enhance and fix your digital photos and do it all right from Windows Explorer. If you click on multiple pictures at the same time you get even more options. You can rename all the photos, create a slideshow, do a batch file conversion, and even create a Web page with your pictures. This is one product you have to see to really appreciate. So, if you use Windows Explorer and you take digital photos, this may be the product for you. Enhance your photos and much more with just a few mouse clicks. Give it a try -- I recommend it!
WebDrive, by South River Technologies, Inc. is an Internet utility that lets you put the power of FTP into just about every Windows program. How does it do that? By mapping your FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and HTTP servers just like they were network drives. You assign them a drive letter and then you can easily copy, move, delete, rename, and do much more with your files. The first time I tested it out I was impressed because it gives you so much functionality. I can treat my Web sites like they're drives on my computer and easily manipulate documents, graphics, and all kinds of files both on the Web and on my computer. For example, our friends Lee and Donna Goldman have a food company called Culinika that specializes in really healthy foods. I've been helping out and keep a copy of the Culinika Web site on my computer, as a backup. Using WebDrive, I simply made the Culinika Web site "Drive N". Then, using a file synchronization program like FolderMatch, or Super Flexible File Synchronizer , I can easily synchronize the files between the Culinika Web site and my computer. I have it only copy the files that Lee has changed and the process is quick and easy. SLICK! WebDrive has an intuitive user interface and is really easy-to-use. If you've used any FTP program you'll be able to use WebDrive. The program has support for the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol and when used with a secure server it gives you a connection that is rock, solid secure! What you get is a way to send encrypted data from the server to the client and vice versa. If that sounds a lot like a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to you, that's pretty much what it is. And you could use WebDrive as an inexpensive way of setting up a VPN. I've created a number of VPN's for myself and friends and I tested this out with WebDrive. Very easy and very secure because your information is traveling through a "tunnel" and the data is encrypted, so it's safe. And WebDrive is much less expensive than some of the software I've looked at that's specifically used for VPN's. Another cool feature of WebDrive is the fact that you can utilize DOS commands once you have a Web site connected as a local drive. Now, I realize that some of the newer users are looking around and saying "DOS commands? Is he kidding?" But, for those of us who have been in computers for awhile it's nice to be able to "drop to DOS" and create a directory, do a listing of available files, copy things, and the like. I still use some commands from the DOS command line just about every day. So, I personally think it's very cool that WebDrive offers this kind of DOS support, which is sometimes also called "legacy support." By that they mean a newer system is supporting older technology. Very nice! WebDrive makes it really easy to treat space on the Web as if it were space right on your computer. And in this "virtual world" that can be a real benefit. You can use some of your unused Web site disk space to backup certain files on your computer. Just assign it a drive letter with WebDrive and then use your favorite backup software - it's just that easy. I think the program is perfect for both new and experienced users. For home or business, WebDrive is just plain easy. WebDrive, by South River Technologies, Inc. is an impressive program that gives real power to all your applications. You can use it to backup your hard drives, update your Web pages, create a quick and easy Virtual Private Network, and more. The program is both easy-to-use and intuitive and if you use an FTP program you'll find using WebDrive is a snap! I'm so impressed with it's functionality that it's not only a Pick, but it's also a Dr. File Finder Favorite and those are few and far between. So, if you want a program that will make it truly easy to access files on the Internet as if they were on your computer this is the program to try! Give it a shot -- I recommend it!
Blaze Media Pro, by Mystik Media, Inc. is a really impressive product for doing anything with multi-media. With all of the growing interest in things like music, photos, and video, this is a program you need to look at because it has it all. You can dump a lot of extra software and simply use this. There are so many features and functions that I'd be hard pressed to talk about all of them, so I'll try to hit what I consider the high points. First off, the program supports a huge number of file formats including AVI, MPEG, WAV, MP3, MP2, CD, WMA, and lots more. Another excellent feature is that Blaze Media Pro can quickly convert files from one format to another format. And I'm talking both audio file conversions and video file conversions. The program reads the information from each file and you determine how much of that information is used. Very slick. Blaze Media Pro will let you record from virtually any source including cassette players, mic, 8 tracks, and more. Basically any kind of input device will do. The program can also rip CDs and has support for the CDDB online database. And, another slick feature is the ability to create playlists that contain both audio and video! There's also support for drag and drop, the ability to edit audio files, add special effects, and more. The special effects are very cool and include such things as fade in, fade out, compress, amplify, reverb, and vibrato. There are also a number of filters that can be used including such things as notch filter, high pass, low pass, and more. I've watched this program change and mature over the years and it's become a real powerhouse when it comes to multi-media. Again, the list of things it can do would take pages to tell you about adequately. It can even take the audio out of a video file and save it as a sound file. How cool is that? VERY! Really into video? Well Blaze Media Pro can help you to edit, and enhance, your video clips. You can resize, trim, crop, adjust the audio, and even delete out frames you don't want. The program also has a "Batch Video Processor" that lets you perform operations on a group of video files. Very nice. Even a person like me who is "graphically challenged" can use Blaze Media Pro and end up with some impressive results. Become your own film editor and really enhance your movies. Blaze Media Pro, by Mystik Media, is a really powerful tool that works with an impressive list of audio, graphics, and video files. You can edit and enhance audio, video, and use practically anything as an input device. Convert both audio and video into different file formats, do batch operations, edit graphics, add special effects, rip CDs, and more. It has support for drag and drop, the CDDB database, visual audio editing, and you can even search for song lyrics. The power under the hood is impressive. So, if you like playing with audio and video and would like to get professional results, this is the program you need to try. To say it's "full-featured" would be an understatement. Check it out - you'll be glad you did!
PayWindow 2005 Payroll System, by ZPAY Payroll Systems, Inc. is an award-winning product that's ideal for doing payroll. The program has won both the Shareware Industry Award in the "Best Business Application or Utility" category, as well as the SIAF People's Choice Award in the same category. Impressive, but perhaps that's because the program is really impressive. It's a high-powered payroll program that's been around for over 20 years. And in that time I've been able to watch it grow and mature and become the killer program it is today. As the owner of a small business I can really appreciate the range of features that PayWindow 2005 provides. The program makes it easy to do a payroll based on any period you like including salary, commission, and hourly. Heck, if needed, you can even pay people who aren't regular "employees". And it's fast and easy-to-use. PayWindow 2005 gives you the power to do all the things you'd expect to do with a first-class payroll system. That includes things like doing your payroll, printing checks, doing reports, printing forms, and more! PayWindow 2005 is full-featured and really easy-to-use. I like the fact that it has State and Federal tax tables that can be edited. The company provides you with the most current "tax table" information and all you have to do is edit your tax tables. The ability to do that saves you hundreds of dollars each year as compared to other payroll programs that charge you for updated tax tables. I also like the fact that the program can print checks along with common forms like the 941 and W-2. The interface is clean and uncluttered and you don't have to be an accountant to use it. Heck, you can be doing payroll ten minutes after you install it. Another feature I like is that it does all the payroll calculations right on the screen so you can see what's going on. And if you need reports, and we all need reports, PayWindow 2005 has a wide range to pick from. Print things like reports for cost accounting, check register, tax liability, W-2, W-3, payroll history, and many more. PayWindow 2005 by ZPay Payroll Systems, is a complete package for handling payroll for small to medium-sized businesses. It has all the features you'd ever want or need in a payroll package. It has editable tax tables so you don't have to pay each year to keep your tax tables up-to-date. It offers a tremendous variety of reports, lets you print checks, print forms, and much, much more. In my opinion, you won't find a better payroll package ... period! I use it myself. So, if you have to do payroll you owe it to yourself, and to your budget, to take a look at PayWindow 2005. It's easy to see why it's won some prestigious awards. Give it a try -- I recommend it.
Dr. File Finder Quick Picks
Dr. File Finder Quick PickCoffeeCup Flash Form Builder is a really slick program for creating forms for your Web pages. I've been fiddling around with it and it's so easy to create a form. Just click on the things you want - text field, input field, check box, it's all right there. Add whatever you like to customize the form. Then, when you create a "Submit" button you're prompted to put in who to send the information to, and the like. One feature I really like is that if someone hits Enter within the form it doesn't send it! Slick. I'll have a full review for you in a week or so, but don't wait for me. This is a neat way to create a form and no programming experience is required. Check it out!
Dr. File Finder Quick PickSygate Personal Firewall is a powerful program for protecting your computer from external threats and it's free! It monitors what goes out and what comes in on your computer. The program is very easy-to-use and it's perfect for both new and experienced users. It keeps multiple logs of the activity on your computer and can show you the information in a graph. Pretty slick. Many users won't need more of a firewall than this, and the price is right! But, if you do, Sygate also has a professional version. So, if you feel you'd like to put another layer between you and the Internet, this may be exactly what you need. Check it out ... and I'll get to the full review as soon as possible.
Dr. File Finder Quick PickStartup Guru gives you a look at every program that starts with Windows and then it gives you some great options. If you like, you can remove a program and that includes things like spyware and ad-ware. Or perhaps you have program you use, but you only use it occasionally. In a case like that you can disable a startup item and then enable when you want it to run. A feature I really like is the ability to schedule when programs load. In other words, instead of having all startup programs trying to start at the same time, you can use Startup Guru to spread them out.
Well, that's all for today I'm sorry to say. I truly hope you enjoyed reading about these Picks as much as I enjoyed writing about them. All of them are excellent products and you owe it to yourself to give them a try. And tell your friends to stop by and check out the Picks as well. Keep those cards and letters coming in .. I appreciate your feedback. Happy Birthday Cahlia (Grandfathers can be so silly) I'll be back with more great software to tell you about next week -- same time, same place, right here on Tucows! I hope you'll join me. Until then, have a great week, a wonderful weekend, and happy downloading.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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