Cool Tool Spotlight – IrfanView


IrfanView

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IrfanView
http://www.irfanview.com/

I write posts about learning resources and great educational information for the Cool Toys U blog. I realized I should adopt this format when I have tech tools that work as well in my real life.

In their words:
“IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.”

So for today, I’m going to take a look at IrfanView. This is a desktop app that I could not live without. You don’t need an expensive photo editor to do those things we all want to be able to do to our pictures on occasion. I use IrfanView for cropping, red-eye reduction, pixelization (to blur names for privacy), add text or call outs to a photo, resize, change format, and lots more.

Remote Control with hot spots

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Sorry Mac users. I have not yet found an equivalent program for my Mac, which is sometimes problematical if I don’t have my Windows machine with me. As it is I probably only use 30% of the available features for this program, but what I do use works seamlessly and is not difficult to learn if you aren’t familiar with the program. Pictured above is the photo effects menu which allows you to do all kinds of fun and crazy things to your photos or screenshots. Pictured here is a photo that I needed to edit recently for a class. I added the circles in different colors so I could talk about them in my homework assignment.

This is a great small program that does exactly what I need it to do and I miss it when I’m on my Mac.

Cool Tool Spotlight – ZipList


ZipList
http://www.ziplist.com

I write posts about learning resources and great educational information for the Cool Toys U blog. I was writing a post today for it and realized I should adopt this format when I have tech tools that work as well in my real life. So for today, I’m going to take a look at ZipList which is one of my most handy mobile and web apps for creating some semblance of organization in my personal life.

In their words:
“At ZipList, we want to make grocery shopping quick and simple. So we’ve put all the tools you need to effortlessly organize this weekly chore in one place.”

There are 4 things I really love about ZipList.

1. Sharing grocery/shopping lists with my husband via a shared list
2. Being able to add items to my shopping list directly from my favorite recipes
3. Being able to add my favorite recipes via the bookmarklet
4. A built-in meal planner

My husband would suggest that there there isn’t enough information in the list, but you can make the list as specific or general as you want. You can add “glass wipes” or you can add “Windex, 48 count, glass wipes, fresh scent.” Some of the items will pre-populate based on items other users have entered, others may not. Maybe you wanted the original scent Windex, but that’s not an option. You can edit items once they are added and customize to your heart’s desire. You can also attach pictures if you want to make sure the correct item is purchased.

You start with one general list, but you can add as many lists as you would like. For example, I created a shared list that allows my husband and I to both see the items on the list. This is handy because it allows us both to add items to the list and then pick up anything we might need while we are out and about.

The app also has a recipe box that allows you to save recipes (both the ingredients and a link to the directions). When you want to make an item you add that recipe to your shopping list and the app gives you a proposed list of the ingredients. You choose those you would like to add and click ok. Voila, instant list. You can do the same thing from your meal planner. Plan out your meals for the week then add all of them to the list at the same time so you aren’t doubling up on items.

Finally, although there are a lot of sites that have a widget for ZipList so you can add items directly from the site menu, there are still some sites without this integration. For that, you use the bookmarklet. It recognizes the recipe, adds the ingredients and asks you to verify before it’s added to the recipe box. Once it is in the recipe box, then you can search or browse it and add directly from there to your list, no more searching the web for that one recipe that sounded so good but you can’t remember the name. There’s a link back to the web recipe right in the recipe box.

Easy peasy and totally worth it (oh, and did I mention, free?). Scott says it needs idiot proofing so he knows what replacement items are acceptable if what we need is out of stock, but I think its pretty perfect as is. You can find it for iOS and Android.