Miscellaneous Third Party Techie Tools I can’t live without

Here’s a listing of (no, I’m not ranting about how much I love SharePoint in this post, though I might reference it here and there) 3rd party tools that I use constantly and a brief summary of how I use it (I’m not listing the complete listing of features of each, that is what their websites are for) but maybe someone will find this useful.

These aren’t the only tools I use, but they all deserve honourable mention of being ‘important’ in my busy, business/techie life, that make me more efficient.


SnagIt (v9)


I wasn’t a fan of SnagIt previously – I love the idea of detailed screenshots, etc. but I always found the tool frustrating – but this new version is AMAZING. I use it daily as when communicating with customers, a Picture is indeed worth a 1000 words (okay, maybe saves me 2-300 words, but already that’s better).

In particular, the save as profile feature is awesome – I have two keystrokes predefined, in my case F4 and F6, yours can be what you want, that each create a readymade screen capture complete with a nice shadow effect, border, etc. and ready to go on my clipboard).




From the same folks that make SnagIt, Jing is pretty cool (and free, unless you want to upload to YouTube direct and at $15/year, which was a reasonable enough price that I did it right away). Jing allows you to capture a quick screenshot or video (capturing a few motions on your screen to show someone how to do something) and ‘Paste it to the Internet’. The free version results in it being posted on Screencast.com, but the paid version allows me to submit a video directly to YouTube, to my account there – awesome, quick and easy




We use this daily. For ‘sending’ files to customers (or ourselves, to pick up on a server somewhere), quickly and easily. Think of it as FTP without the hassle. You simply go to www.yousendit.com (free for files up to 100MB, for our cheap/monthly fee, we can do up to 2GB!), enter the email address of whom is to ‘receive’ the file and then upload the file(s) you wish. When the upload is completed, the recipient (and sometimes, that is me, as I use it for myself, to send a file to a remote system and ‘download’ it there) gets an email with a link to download the file. The key benefits (for me at least are):

  • Quick, easy, simple interface (particularly if the recipient is non-technical
  • Great for sending files that are larger than corporate ‘attachment’ restrictions (which for the most part is under 15MB – now you can ’email’ files up to 2GB)
  • Great for sending a single file (outbound once) to many people, without beating the snot out of your Corporate Mail Server/Internet connection (yousendit.com handles all the ‘downloading’ of the files).
  • Of course, don’t put anything ‘sensitive’ on YouSendIt – although they offer a ‘password protection/secure’ option for a fee, I would never personally trust such a thing if the content was sensitive




Don’t let the name fool you, there is a lot of value there. (WuFoo is short for the authors favourite two musical artists, WuTang Clan and Foo Fighters). I have always found creating ‘website forms’ such as contact input forms, surveys, etc. cumbersome as it meant Javascript, or CGI, or Perl, or ASP.NET or whatever, on the list goes, takes a lot of time, often for even a simple form.

Enter Wufoo. A quick, easy, web based ‘design surface’ where you design an input form to receive data from people. The results are stored on a website/list you can review, emails to the submitter (and yourself) can be sent with comments, you can control the ‘design/template’ of the forms, etc. We find this very useful for integrating as a ‘wrapper’ in Joomla CMS sites we create as we can create a beautiful, Internet standards compliant (and thus, Google/MSN search engine friendly) website for customers that they can edit themselves, quickly. And then, when they need their custom forms, Wufoo handles that ‘annoying’ bit for us too.


OneNote and Word 2007


Ok, a lot of us have Word. But let me just say – for those of you who don’t ‘like’ Office 2007 or don’t ‘get why you should care’, let me at least give you one reason. OneNote is awesome for capturing your thoughts. And blogging them to SharePoint is done like this:

  • Express the thought in OneNote
  • Blog It – blogging from OneNote is through Word 2007 (thus why you need it) if SharePoint is your blog destination (be still my beating heart)

I can’t live without the combination of the two, for enhancing and speeding my blogging experience. It leaves me ‘wanting’ to Blog, instead of being annoyed by it