Hide your files in a secure vault

The ultimate freeware encryption program, TrueCrypt is loaded with powerful features that users concerned with protecting data from prying eyes will find robust and comprehensive.

It has 11 algorithms for encrypting your private files in a password-protected volume. You can store your encrypted data in files (containers) or partitions (devices). TrueCrypt works hard to offer powerful data protection, recommending complex passwords, explaining the benefits of hidden volumes, and erasing telltale signs of the encryption process, including mouse movements and keystrokes. Though the interface may not be intuitive, its powerful, on-the-fly encryption for no cost still earns the freeware security tool … Read more

Five iTunes headaches Apple needs to cure

Hey, Apple: You did nice job on the iPhones, iPads, and all. I mean it; your hardware is just lovely.

Now, could you fix friggin' iTunes already? I mean, the program is up to version 9 (actually, 9.2), and it's still a slow, clunky, maddening mess.

Here are five areas that I believe Apple needs to fix now. The changes are easy and  logical, stuff your crackerjack coders could do in their sleep. 

1. Clipped listings:  What's wrong with the following picture? I'll tell you: every single album title is clipped! This happens all across iTunes (including search results), which can make it very difficult to know what you're getting unless you click through. Seriously, Apple, can't you do a better job formatting text? At the very least, add a pop-up "more info" window that appears when you mouse over one of these abbreviated listings.

2. No sorting options for searches:  Let's say I want to search for e-book apps for children. Whoa, cool, there are dozens of them--maybe even a hundred. So why can't I sort the results by name? Price? Popularity? Rating? Date of release? iTunes offers no sorting options whatsoever for search results, an insane oversight. If I were an app developer, I'd be hoppin' mad.

Read more

How to use folders in iOS 4

In the nearly two years that Apple has been selling apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, I've accumulated pages and pages of them. I try to keep them organized, grouping games and similar apps together on separate pages--but it still involves a lot of flipping and searching to get where I want to go.

Apple's new Folders feature in iOS 4 offers a new approach to managing an ever-growing collection of apps, allowing you to group apps together under custom headings. Not only do folders cut down on the number of icons sprawling across your home screens, … Read more

Find recent items quickly

Fresh is a small, low-cost, file-management utility that essentially offers an amped-up version of the Finder's "Recent Items" lists, along with a quasi-replacement for your Desktop called "The Cooler."

The app's streamlined interface consists of two simple "zones," or panes, which display your "Fresh Files" (basically, anything that's new to your computer or recently changed) and "The Cooler" (a user-defined collection of files that you want to have quick access to). "Fresh Files" is particularly great for tracking downloads and Mail attachments, and the Cooler … Read more

Tip: have all Finder subfolders open in a specific view

In OS X the view options for a specific window instance are inherited from the first opened folder, which usually is the user's home folder. This means that if you have the home folder in a specific view such as icon or list, then regardless of what you have set the subfolders to be, as long as they are opened in the same window frame you will see them displayed in the current icon or list view.… Read more finally gets desktop file sync

Online storage and collaboration service is finally getting around to offering its users a feature that was long-overdue: desktop synchronization.

The feature, which rolls out to business users Thursday morning, takes whatever files you've added to your online storage account and ferries them over to a local machine. It also does the same thing going the other way.

In order to use it, users must be subscribers of Box's business and enterprise tiers, leaving those with the free and individual plans out in the cold. It's also Windows only to start with, though Box's … Read more

Quick name change

Anyone who owns a digital camera knows how quickly thousands of digital images can accumulate. It's no small task to keep all those photos organized and easy to access, especially with meaningless camera-assigned file names like IMG_0169.jpg. Fast Photo Renamer is a simple tool that can help you give meaningful file names to entire folders full of images, making files easy to identify at a glance.

The program's interface is plain and won't win any beauty contests, but that's OK. One pane displays the computer's contents in a tree hierarchy, making it easy to … Read more

Outlook fixit

If you depend on Microsoft's Outlook, a good recovery tool can save the day if things go wrong. DataNumen's Advanced Outlook Repair 3.0 can recover email, folders, appointments, tasks, and anything else that holds your critical data in Outlook's Personal files (PST). AOR supports recovery of attachments, embedded objects, encrypted and password-protected PST files, and deleted Outlook items. It can handle immense files, which protects against obsolescence.

To use AOR, you must have Outlook installed as your default e-mail client. AOR's dialog-based interface is so intuitive that the fully indexed Help file seems almost superfluous. … Read more

Pictures, proper

Acumen Business Systems' Multiple Image Resizer .NET, or MIR .NET, is a free tool designed to help digital camera owners manage their saved pictures. It can resize single images or automatically resize whole folders full of huge digital snapshots at once. It's compatible with a wide range of image file formats and includes useful features, such as the ability to select image output resolution in dots per inch. Different methods of resizing images allow for different levels of image quality, which we like for the ability to resize a lot of different images to fit, say, a Web page, … Read more

Free utility turns iPhone, iPod into a flash drive

Ever wish you could use your iPhone or iPod Touch as mobile storage? Older iPods let you do exactly that by running in "disk mode," but that option doesn't exist for the new guys.

Enter iPhone Explorer, a free utility that effectively turns your iPhone or Touch into a flash drive--no jailbreaking required.

In other words, it provides a drag-and-drop interface for the contents of your device. And it's available for both Windows and Mac.

Before you download it, a word of warning: This is not a tool for novices. The first time you run iPhone … Read more