Wizards at work

Here are some free web applications that can help improve your productivity by pruning out work warts and reducing security concerns.

Ashish Bhatia        Print Edition: November 2010

Anybody who has ever used a computer will be familiar with the numerous irritants that stall one's progress at work-a mail riddled with >> marks or simply the inability to type fast. You could even be riled by privacy issues, such as prying colleagues, or security concerns.

It could be as basic as not knowing which applications to install in a new computer. We provide you with easy solutions to these problems in the form of programs and Web tools that are not so well known, but will power your productivity and teach you how to work smarter. And, of course, they are all free.

EmailStripper: Clean your Mails
Wipe that leer off your face; this site does not promise any voyeuristic timeouts. And though it has a suggestive 'Strip It' button, it only helps remove the unsightly sequence of 'greater than' signs (>) and other formatting characters from mails. So, the next time you receive a messy looking e-mail that is littered with a string of >>>> and one you want to forward, cleanse it through emailStripper. The application also kills the gaping spaces between lines. Apart from forwards, you will also find it useful for cleaning lengthy, threaded mail conversations.

BtProx: Confidential Move
Are you worried that the moment you leave the terminal, someone will sneak a peek at your confidential files? BtProx works in tandem with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to automatically lock the Windows PC the moment you move out of range. Of course, you must carry your mobile phone when you trot off. Advanced settings allow you to decide on a timeout before the machine is locked. You can also make it work with other Bluetooth devices. Also try Blue Lock (www.is.gd/dxEiQ).

Ninite: Application Shop
Which applications should you install on a new PC? This one-stop application compendium and installer speeds up the process by offering a selection of free, legal goodies (Web browsers, utilities, etc). It also automates the process by checking language settings, 64-bit compatibility and rejects bundled extraneous junk.

MeeTimer: Curb Addiction
If you are a social networking addict with little control over the time you spend on Facebook or Twitter, this one is for you. MeeTimer helps monitor the hours you whittle away on the Net, thereby reminding you of lost productivity. It does this by recording the time spent on each Web page and also warning you every time you open a new link.

SuperF4: Kill the Dead Apps
Do you often find yourself hurtling invective at your computer and the unresponsive programs on screen? Try SuperF4. This tidy piece of code is a tool to kill the Windows applications that stop responding to frequent key presses or mouse clicks. Two limitations: it is intended for applications running in the foreground and it can't rescue your unsaved files.

Lockbox: Hide and Protect
Do you have confidential personal data on an office PC or laptop that you share with colleagues? Use Fetch My Lockbox. This uncomplicated freebie not only protects any folder (through a password) in a jiffy but also hides your files and folders. The Lockbox folder remains concealed from all users and sniffer applications.

Courtesy: Gadgets&Gizmos

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