Gliffy

Gliffy is a web application that fills the gap in open source office software: a Visio replacement. Sadly, it’s not open, nor is it really free. You can get a free account if you’re not using the documents commercially and even then, you can only have 5 active documents in Gliffy at any one time and they’re all public (that is, for the world to see).

Still, as a web-based application, it is surprisingly full-featured and it’s perfect for getting some diagrams quickly sketched out. Of course, if you’re really serious about your diagrams and want them to translate into code or be validated as correct UML, you will still need something like Microsoft Visio or ArgoUML (which is open and free by the way).

Gliffy supports JPG, PNG and SVG export. This is nice since it allows you to quickly save your work for use on a website, or even import the SVG into Visio or some similar product. If you know of other alternatives to Visio, preferably open or free, feel free to let me know. I’m aware of Dia, but that one just doesn’t do the trick. There’s too much focus on making diagrams that fit the rules and not enough “diagram sketchpad” for me.

[rate 3]

FireShot add-on

The FireShot add-on for Mozilla Firefox allows you to take a screen shot of either the visible area of the web page you’re viewing, or the entire page. It includes an editor to tweak the image after shooting. FireShot allows you to save the image to disk, send it by mail, open it in an external editor or just paste the shot to the clipboard.

The built-in editor is a bit too much in my opinion, weighing down the add-on, but it can be good to have in your Portable Firefox, when you don’t have your favorite image editor handy.

[rate 3]

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a mail client for reading your POP3 or IMAP mail. With a simple add-on installed, Thunderbird will also retrieve webmail from the most popular webmail services like Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Thunderbird supports multiple accounts, mail tagging, spam blocking and mail and address book import and export with other popular mail clients. Continue reading Mozilla Thunderbird

OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org is a full-featured office suite that’s available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and several UNIX variants. The user interface closely resembles that of recent Microsoft Office applications, as does most of the functionality. Let’s face it, when looking at office suites there’s no ignoring MS, it’s the one area where the folks from Redmond do really shine. Continue reading OpenOffice.org

The GIMP

The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an application with feature comparable to Adobe’s Photoshop and able to both read and write its PSD file format. It allows you to create original professional digital artwork, process digital photographs and convert and fix many types of bitmap images. The GIMP supports layers, works well with digitizers like WACOM’s popular pen tablets and offers an enormous number of tools and filters. Continue reading The GIMP

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox started out as the stable, lightweight, extensible answer to the two main web browsers at the time. The somewhat buggy Internet Explorer, which was seriously lacking in features, and Opera which was suffering from troublesome bloat, incorporating many functions unneeded and unwanted for many web browser users. Continue reading Mozilla Firefox

Inkscape

Inkscape is the perfect tool to quickly create vector based images and natively saving them in the SVG file format, or exporting them in a variety of bitmap formats. Not quite as full-featured as professional applications like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Paint, it is perfect for simpler jobs and will fit the bill for most users looking to create nicely scalable graphics, logos and text art. Continue reading Inkscape