Add-on software

How to identify nameless music tracks in your iTunes library

Commercial MP3s and other digital music files provide a wealth of information about the songs in addition to the audio-playback itself. This metadata makes it easy to display the track name, artist, album, and other facts about the songs in your playback device or program.

When you use an application such as the free Audacity audio-editing utility to convert music from LPs, cassettes, or another analog source, the only metadata accompanying the tracks is whatever information you provide when you create the digital file. There's the rub.

In July 2011 I described how to use Audacity to convert LPs and audio cassettes to digital. … Read more

Firefox add-ons automatically back up whatever you type

If you've ever filled in a Web form, chances are you have experienced having the text you just entered get wiped out when the page freezes, unexpectedly reloads, or otherwise causes the form to reset. Here are three Firefox add-ons that let you replace this lost text with just a few clicks.

Of course, some of what you enter on Web sites shouldn't be retrievable. The Clear Form History add-on deletes all entries saved in a search box, sign-in field, or other text field. And to see at a glance the country hosting the current site's server … Read more

Zendio tracks when e-mails are opened, clicked on

Who uses those receipts for e-mails read? Most people either block sending receipts altogether or ask to be notified before sending a read receipt (a default setting in Microsoft Outlook and other mail clients). So read receipts either don't work at all, or they require acceptance by the recipient--no sure thing.

That doesn't mean that we aren't curious about when the messages we send are opened, and when the links they include are followed. For most organizations, this information can be a valuable asset. The Zendio add-on for Microsoft Outlook tracks the messages you select and records … Read more

Outlook is easier with Subtextual Pro - $3.99 limited time offer

Subtextual makes your life easier by allowing you to compose private and secure messages to selected recipients in the To, Cc, or Bcc fields of your emails while simultaneously sending a message to a broader group. No plug-in is necessary for your recipients to view the subtextual messages and makes it an ideal tool for business users, who frequently send sensitive information in emails. For a limited time only, you can get Subtextual Pro for just $3.99.!

Some other features included in Subtextual Pro are:

Send and remove attachments to selected recipients only Assign follow-up tasks privately to Subtextual … Read more

Free Chrome add-on turns Web into music library

ExtensionFM is a free Chrome add-on that catalogs every free MP3 file you run across and builds a virtual library. It's an amazingly convenient way to discover and catalog new music without waiting for downloads, and may convince me to use Chrome on a regular basis.

Chrome has always seemed like a solution in search of a problem: I've had Firefox installed on my PCs and Mac for years now and it works fine 99 percent of the time. If I need an alternative I can always go with the built-in Internet Explorer (Windows) or Safari (Mac). Chrome … Read more

Customize Outlook's archive settings

You never know when you're going to need an Outlook message that was archived long ago. In a comment on a previous post about moving Outlook mail to local folders, Cliff Brandt asked how to move a file from the archive to one of his main Outlook folders.

Doing so is a breeze, but keep in mind, an archive relocates only Outlook data of a specific age and is intended primarily to keep your Outlook.pst file a manageable size. A backup copies all your Outlook data and allows you to restore all your messages, contacts, tasks, and calendar … Read more

Check your spelling in Firefox, IE

Some people seem to think they have carte blanche to spell any which way they want to when they're on the Internet. But whether you're writing Web mail or IMs, filling out a Web form, or just entering a term in Google's search box, spelling matters.

And that's not just because an abundance of spelling errors can make people think you're an eighth grade dropout. (Nothing against eighth grade dropouts!) It's also because misspellings can prevent you from finding the information you're searching for and lead to e-mail miscommunication.

Firefox 2 and 3 … Read more

New Office 2007 add-on makes commands easier to find

Microsoft claims that Office 2007's ribbon interface saves time by putting the features people use most often closer at hand. For those of us who spent years learning where those functions were in previous versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the changes aren't the productivity boosters Microsoft envisioned.

I've done more than my share of rummaging around the ribbon in Office 2007 trying to find a particular command, and I've even used Microsoft's user-interface guides to hunt down the feature I needed. Now Microsoft Office Labs has developed the free Search Commands add-on for Office … Read more

Smooth the transition to

It's much easier to notice the similarities between the programs in the free suite and their Microsoft Office counterparts than to see their differences. Unfortunately, it's the differences that can slow you down as you make the switch from Word to Writer, Excel to Calc, and PowerPoint to Impress.

For example, you may find that you don't have the same selection of fonts available in Writer as you did in Word, nor will you have access to the templates you used in Office. This doesn't mean you have to do without, though. There are … Read more

The only Internet Explorer 7 add-on you'll ever need

The tech community's love affair with the Mozilla Firefox browser shows no signs of waning, but the fact is, most people still use Internet Explorer. If it's such a terrible browser, why does it remain so popular? Part of the reason may be that it's so tightly integrated with Windows: It takes an effort to download Firefox or another alternative browser, while the little blue "e" icon is omnipresent on the desktop, start menu, quick launch toolbar, and elsewhere in Windows.

Never in a million years would I try to talk you out of using … Read more