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Windows and now Mac OS X only: The beta NY Times reader application which Adam gave the full screenshot walk-through treatment is now available for your Mac. The application definitely provides a better reading experience than the web site only; there are fewer ads, more ways to customise the page’s layout (headlines only, headlines with excerpts, different photo sizes), and it helpfully grays out articles you’ve already read. (Click the image to see a full-size screenshot, where the American Idol article I read is grayed out.) The NY Times beta reader is a free download, and it requires (ugh) Silverlight to run on your Mac, as well as login details to NYTimes.com (free registration).Times Reader Beta for the Mac Now Available [First Look Blog via steverubel]
Windows/Mac/Linux (OpenOffice): The Sun Wiki Publisher, a free extension for the OpenOffice.org office suite, lets you edit and contribute to any MediaWiki-based page on the web, assuming it accepts anonymous editing or you have credentials. The real benefit lies in being able to use OpenOffice’s styling tools—bolding, lists, tables, and the like—instead of having to remember the MediaWiki markup style. Creating a new page is relatively simple, but editing an existing page requires, at least with this version, copying and pasting an article in Writer, then sending it to the wiki for updating. For those rocking their own wiki web pages (or thumb drives), this extension might make a nice go-between. The Sun Wiki Publisher is a free download, works wherever OpenOffice.org does.Sun Wiki Publisher [via Linux.com]
Windows/Mac/Linux: When you want to create a large poster but don’t have access to a wide-format printer, you want printing utility PosteRazor, which produces PDFs of your large image across several pieces of regular printer-sized paper. Load up your large image in PosteRazor, and tell it how many sheets of paper you want it to span, and PosteRazor will spit out the appropriate number of PDF file pages. Print out the resulting sheets and put them together to make your large poster. Just make sure your image is super high resolution. Great to make posters for the next office roast or maybe the kids’ room, PosteRazor is a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.PosteRazor [via Macworld]
Windows/Mac/Linux: Freeware Adobe Air application Snackr runs a news ticker of your RSS feeds at the bottom or top of your monitor, or as a scrolling sidebar. The application is very customisable, allowing you to add feeds individually or import an OPML file of feeds from your current reader of choice. If you like to keep an eye on all the latest updates to your newsfeeds, Snackr is an excellent option. The attractive Snackr is freeware, cross-platform, and requires Adobe Air.Snackr [via Download Squad]
Windows with Office 2007 or Mac with Office 2008: Spruce up your presentations, spreadsheets, invoices, letterhead and business cards with a set of free office templates from Microsoft. Everyone knows the default template choice in Office can be limiting, so this selection widens your range. These templates aren’t the most hip designs in the world, but they’ll at least separate your stuff from the default looks that ship with the office suite. The templates are a free download, and work in Office 2007 (and some in Office 2008 for Mac). Free Office Templates [Microsoft Small Business Centre via CyberNet]
Add email, calendar updates, RSS feeds, and more to your “Slide to unlock” home screen with IntelliScreen, a free application for jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches. Similar to the widgets of Windows Mobile’s “Today” screen, the app lets you order and customise what info, and how much of it, you see on your wake-up screen, including new SMS messages and local weather conditions. Better still, you can bring up that email message or check out that feed item in Safari by swiping over the widget and pressing the button that pops up. The app’s makers warn that IntelliScreen has run into restoration-required conflicts with a few other third-party apps, so back up anything you can’t afford to wipe clean. Intrigued enough to try unlocking your iPhone/touch? Check out our guide to unlocking with ZiPhone. IntelliScreen [via Just Another iPhone Blog]
Windows/Mac/Linux (Adobe AIR): Free, open source application ReadAir syncs your Google Reader feeds to the comfort of your desktop. ReadAir—whose three-pane interface looks and feels much more like a desktop newsreader than Reader—also retains a lot of Google Reader features, like starring items and adding and tagging feeds. The biggest missing feature in ReadAir is its lack of keyboard shortcuts; you won’t be j/k-ing your way through your unread items in ReadAir the same way you can on the web—at least not in this version. That said, the app’s to-do list includes offline mode and keyboard shortcuts, so if you’d prefer Reader had that desktop look and feel plus a killer web interface when you need it, ReadAir is a great option. ReadAir is free, all platforms, requires Adobe AIR. Thanks StevieB!ReadAir [Google Code]
Firefox and Internet Explorer only: The Surf Canyon browser extension embeds extra search results at Google, Yahoo, and MSN. With Surf Canyon installed, search the web with your favourite engine as usual. A bull’s-eye icon will appear next to results—click it to expand another level of links related to the single result. My test for a “lifehacker” Google search was promising: Surf Canyon included links to the official Lifehacker book, Upgrade Your Life, and a life hacks site search engine at Google Coop. Surf Canyon is a free download, and it’s available as both a Firefox extension and IE add-on.Surf Canyon – Search Engine Assistant [Firefox Add-ons]
Windows/Mac/Linux (All platforms): Alliance, a free, open-source, cross-platform peer-to-peer application, takes nearly all of the security and privacy concerns out of peer-to-peer file sharing by putting you in charge of your own network. The dead-simple interface lets you add Alliance-using friends to your network and files on your system to share, and you can search, chat, and download like any other peer-to-peer app. The traffic between clients is encrypted at a low level, but you can apply an experimental SSL layer if you’d like a bit more protection from snooping. For trading files with co-workers or friends, it’s a nice no-overhead solution. Alliance is a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems.