Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

No more hide and seek.

November 4, 2007

Most people have many phone numbers these days, whether it’s the office, home, cell, etc.  Companies for many years have been trying to figure out a better solution for reaching a person than calling a list of phone numbers.  A company called Grand Central seems to have a good option.

After reading about this company in the newspaper many months ago, I signed up immediately.  Almost anything that sounds remotely useful and free, I am interested.  This company assigns a new phone number that automatically rings all of your possible phone numbers at the same time.  Whichever one you answer takes the call.

There are many other features that I like.  While the caller hears a ringing sound, you are given a few choices.  You can answer the call, send the call to voice mail, or listen in on the call as the caller leaves a message.  You can even cut in to the call during a message.  Once the caller leaves a message, the message gets mailed to your email address.  All the settings can easily be modified at Grand Central’s web site.

The biggest snag is that this product is in beta.  Who knows what the company will charge when it releases.  I would hate to give everyone a single number and find that in a few months or weeks I decide to give it all up.  Also Google has bought this little startup.  I have no idea how that will effect Grand Central.

November 3, 2006

LibraryThing is a social networking site for book collectors and bibliophiles. Once you open your free account (which requires divulging no personal data), you can catalog two hundred books for free. This process is so easy and fun that you could fill your free account in an afternoon. LibraryThing has a powerful search engine that is built on top of the Z39.50 protocol, which is an international search standard used by libraries and large retailers like Amazon. allows you to search from over sixty libraries, so no matter how obscure your title, you are likely to find it.

LibraryThing is more than just a book catalog. Once you find your title and optionally tag and rate it, LibraryThing will alert you to others in the system that own the same book. It will also recommend books to you based on matching your titles and tags with those of other users. Also, you can write your own review of any title, as well discuss books with other users, in complete anonymity.

For a lifetime membership and the ability to catalog an infinite number of books, LibraryThing charges individuals $25.00; a yearly membership costs $10.00.

DevonThink Professional 1.2

October 21, 2006

An old acquaintance from my days at The University of Chicago recommended this product. On the strength of his review, I decided to give this product a try. DevonThink is a document management system for the Macintosh platform. In plain terms, it is an electronic filing cabinet for electronic documents. Anyone who has done any kind of research on the Internet will understand the utility of document management. Search engines generate voluminous lists of data, and the act of clicking hyperlinks creates electronic paper trails faster than most of us can take notes on what we have found. What is needed for serious research on the internet are tools that help us to understand the data that we have collected, and DevonThink is an excellent tool.

Just remember it for me…MobiPassword – password and link manager

October 18, 2006

Mobipassword is a very useful password and web link manager.

It provides useful categories and templates for storing information for a vast variety of common facts:  everything from websites URLs and passwords, to bank accounts and airline loyal program information.

MobiPassword runs on either your PC or concurrently with your PC and a hand held device, such as a Palm or Windows hand-held.  I personally have run MobiPassword on various Palm tungsten models, Palm Treo and HP handheld.

Links, passwords and data are synchronized automatically when you hot-synch your PDA.  Data is stored in an encrypted format that makes it costly and difficultto try to steal.

MobiPassword sits in the system tray of your PC.  You can right click on the icon and select a website for Mobipassword to launch.  It can then – at your request – automatically log you into the website – saving you time by remembering the password and URL for you.

MobiPassword is mostly stable.  It works and runs well about 97% of the time.  Every so often (about every 2-3 days for me) the program throws an error and mysteriously quits.  No other programs are effected, but it is an inconvenience.

You can check MobiPassword out at

Enjoy, N