Freeware/Open Source for Windows Weekly Summary

by Todd Ogasawara

Here's a summary of Freeware/FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) for Windows I mentioned in my personal blog last week...

Inbox.com: 5GB Free Email & File Storage
This is one of those I hope this is not too good to be true items. I read about...

Inbox.com

...and was immediately both curious and suspicious about a free web service that provides 5GB (gigabytes) of storage for email, files, and a photo sharing.

So, I signed up for it and it sure looks for real so far. The only drawback so far is that the email only provides POP3 and not IMAP4. But, hey, Yahoo! charges for POP3 and Gmail doesn't provide IMAP4 either. So, this is probably not a big deal.

Data is not backed up for free accounts. However, you can get your 5GB of space backed up for a reasonable $9.90 per year and even increase the storage space to 30GB (with backup) for $29.96 per year.

Xdrive: 5GB Free Online Storage With Backup
Unlike Inbox.com's free 5GB of online storage that does not include backups unless you upgrade to the reasonably priced for-fee service,

Xdrive

...provides 5GB of free online storage with backups (but no email feature). Xdrive also provides a Microsoft Windows utility to allow the ability to drag and drop files between Microsoft Windows folders and your Xdrive folder.

I had an account with Xdrive during the first dot-com boom. They provided, I believe, around 100MB of free space back then. Then, they changed their model to fee-only and dropped the free service. I seem to recall being a paying customer for a while before dropping the service. I have not tried this dot-com 2.0 free Xdrive service yet.

Paint.NET 3.0 Beta 3 Available
The Paint.NET Open Source bitmap graphics editor project that started as a student project partially sponsored by Microsoft released a new beta release on Dec. 23. You can find it at...

Paint.NET

If the comments attached to this release are reasonable indicators, it looks like a pretty solid and stable beta release.

StarLogo/OpenStarLogo
Turtle Geometry (see Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas) started out at MIT's AI Lab way back in 1970. If you've seen or heard of LEGO Mindstorms NXT, you'll find that many of the concepts it embedded into this robotics kit came from Seymour Papert's Mindstorms book and Turtle Geometry.

Create PDF Documents From Microsoft Office 2007
I mentioned in the blog item about PDFCreator that Adobe forced Microsoft to remove Office 2007's ability to create Adobe Acrobat PDF files. However, Microsoft does have a free plug-in to restore this feature that is no longer native to Office 2007. You can find it at:

2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS

5 Comments

anjan bacchu
2007-01-04 12:27:28
hi there,


Xdrive is a big pain to use. I created an account seeing that it is now owned by AOL but that was a big disappointment. Almost all the time, I had a very tough time getting its java applet runtime to work!


Did you test drive it ?


thank you,


BR,
~A

Todd Ogasawara
2007-01-05 00:55:01
~A: I haven't tried XDrive since dumping it (or something with its name) as a paying customer a number of years ago. Thanks for the feedback on its issues.
tanstaafl
2007-01-10 14:51:27
I have installed a 'print-on-file' PostScript printer on all the systems on which I have local administrator access. _Any_ file can then be printed to a PostScript file; this latter file can be distilled to PDF with one of many distillers. I happen to like AFPL Ghostscript and GSView (also GPL Ghostscript), which are open-source PostScript previewers. Ghostscript of either flavor provides a PDF distiller which has served me admirably for at least seven years now.


GSView:
http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/gsview/get48.htm
GSView homepage:
http://www.ghostgum.com.au/
Ghostscript:
http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/doc/AFPL/get853.htm


When U install your 'print-on-file' PostScript printer, be sure to go to the new printer's property sheet and set
Printing Preferences->
Advanced->
PostScript Options->
PostScript Output Option
to 'Optimize for Portability' so U get page-independence. U'll probably also want to change the default media size of GSView from A4 to Letter if U live in the US. Finally, use File->Convert in GSView to convert a PostScript file to .PDF, and that's just one of many possible output formats.


The only drawback I've seen so far is that I don't think hyperlinks can be embedded in such documents, but if that's what U're looking for (I usually just want to read the document from beginning to end, not link out of it), there are other packages that can do that.

tanstaafl
2007-01-10 14:54:38
Actually, my employer uses Xdrive, and we've had fairly good luck with it. Our Field Service engineers upload large files (Symantec Ghost hard disk images, large Siemens PLC projects, etc.), and we can then download them for archiving here in the office.


Of course, _I_ have only used it once; seems like an FTP site running through an SSL port would be easier.

Marcus
2007-01-17 12:28:54
I have had support problems with Xdrive. However there is another American solution called Diino (www.diino.com) which has great functionality and is client based. Mozy is my favorite back up solution.