Some companies water down their free software

I started looking for a document management tool. During my search, I landed on eDoc Organizer. I found the sales pitch for this software quite funny.

eDoc Organizer is designed for family use and for most people is absolutely free. Some companies water down their free software only to promote their upgrades at high prices later. That’s not how we treat our customers. We give you the exact same software, same features and protection, whether you have the basic, standard, business, or ultimate edition.

I started wondering how they could make money if they gave everything to everyone. Services? Ads? Not quite:

The only difference between the basic (free option) edition and the other editions is the amount of document storage. The basic edition holds up to 250 documents. For a household with ten different bills each month it amounts to over two years worth of storage. This should be sufficient for most customers, but for those individuals and businesses that want to use eDoc Organizer for more than household bills we do offer larger storage for a onetime software license fee.

A 250 documents limit? And you don’t count the number of documents as a feature?

It would be like Ubisoft giving out a game with all the features but with a 10 minutes time limit because most people won’t play the game for more than 10 minutes. I think it’s called a demo.

How to use a wireless gateway/router as a wireless access point

Why did this problem come about?

I recently bought a D-link DIR-628 wireless gateway/router. My goal was to get move up to the 5ghz signal. The advantage is significant: the actual throughput of your wireless access point is much better using 5ghz n/a signal rather than 2.4ghz n/g/b signal.

What I didn’t realize was how much I needed support for 802.11b and 802.11g. An oversight on my part? Partially: I could have bought a device that supported 5ghz and 2.4ghz simultaneously. But I didn’t, and I realized I needed to get that signal back and running.

What were my option? The most logical one is to go buy a Wireless Access Point. The funny thing is that Wireless Access Points are more expensive than Wireless Gateway Routers, yet are harder to find and do much less.

Next on the list was to connect a older wireless gateway router into my newer router. That could work, except that I would get a new set of IPs and possibly a firewall in the middle of my home traffic. I didn’t like this idea.

My solution was as follows. To implement it, you might need an Ethernet crossover cable, and a Wireless Gateway Router hub that is cooperating. In my case, I used an old US Robotics 802.11g wireless router that I had lying around.

Read More…

The unthinkable happened… why I love my Zune, and what is my dilemma

I recently got back from a two week trip, and the “unthinkable” happened. Four weeks ago, when I was packing my luggage, I noticed that I couldn’t find the cable for my Zune. I had my Zune … but no cable? I started panicking: a two week trip without my third most trusted companion? What were my options?

My first thought was to search the whole house, again. No luck. Then I tried to bribe my kids: “if you find my cable I will get you a cool XBOX 360 game.” That didn’t work either. Then I started to look for a replacement cable. Way too expensive considering the price of the Zune.

I ended up leaving my Zune behind. What a pain. Instead, I brought an older MP3 player, one with a USB adaptor built in and one that would work on regular AAA batteries. That’s when I realized how much I missed my Zune.

My Zune and the software that comes along with. As I wrote earlier, I listen mostly to podcasts. My Zune software is configured to download particular podcasts and my Zune, through the Zune software, is configured to only retain the 3 most recent unplayed or partially listened to podcasts (for each particular podcast series). I just plug my Zune in every day (or other day) and receive new podcasts I haven’t listened to. Older content is erased transparently.

I was back to the dark ages. I had to drag and drop podcast files. I had to see what files were new and what files were old. I had to make room for newer files because my old MP3 player only had 512 megs. What a torture. On top of that, the Zune has a special menu and way to show podcasts. For example, they are sorted showing the most recent file first. There are classified by podcast. When you do ‘back’ or ‘next’ (i.e. rewind and fast forward), it will skip to 1/4 of the file, 1/2 of the file or 3/4 of the file depending of where you are. This is much better than say skipping to the next song, something you would want to do if you were listening to music. Anyways, if it wasn’t clear enough before, it became perfectly clear that the Zune was the most convenient MP3 player I had ever used.

Now here comes my dilemma. My mother also wants to get an mp3 player to listen to podcasts. I definitely think the Zune is the best choice, but the Zune HD is just around the corner. I am considering upgrading, but the form factor of the my Zune 8G is simply too practical. Then again, when I gain access to a device that will have better Internet support, how long before I realize upgrading was the right thing to do?

And for those wondering where my Zune cable was, I had already packed it in my suitcase. I discovered that the moment I opened my luggage when I arrived at my destination.

Oldie but goodie… SpaceMonger 1.4

Sometimes, I wonder where my gigabytes and gigabytes of storage have disappeared. In those cases, I often go back to Google (or Bing!) and search for SpaceMonger version 1.4. This utility is amazing. Not only is it free, but it really gives a great visual representation of disk allocation. You can see where disk space is disappearing.

Essentially, SpaceMonger is a bit like a million dollar homepage. The bigger the file or folder, the more space it takes in the view. So you can visually see where you disk space is going. Sometimes, it’s an eye opener: folders that you never realize existed contain huge file. In my case, this happened once recently. I had been using Windows Movie Maker to create a DVD, and didn’t realize it was creating temporary video files from my MPEG-2 sources. SpaceMonger found those for me, and I reclaimed over a gig of disk space.

Anyways, sometimes the best utilities are often the least flashy or least humongous. (Xtree Gold anyone?)

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