An Email Search Tool: Plugin for Outlook

I’ve been using Lookout – a plugin for Outlook that acts like a search engine for your email – and I can honestly say that it rocks!
It used to be that I would organize my old emails in a myriad of different folders so that I could find them again. Now I have largely moved to depositing them in a single “archive” folder, safe in the knowledge that if I need to find an old email, all I need to do is to enter the keyword or phrase into Lookout and a fraction of second later, I will have a list of likely results, conveniently ranked in order of relevance.

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Screen Capture and Magnifier Tool

UltraMagnifier is a nifty free tool that serves primarily as a screen magnifying tool. You can magnify an area of your screen up to 32x and set it to show HTML color values so it can work nicely as a color picker also.
You can also set a grid to overlay the magnified area which more clearly shows up each individual pixel. This is could be very useful if you wanted to see an icon in more detail and better understand its construction.
If you set the magnification to 1x, the tool serves very well as a screen capture device. Just set the timer to freeze after a few seconds, move the cursor to the area you want captured, wait a moment, and you’re done! You can copy and paste screen captures or save them in .PNG or .BMP format.

Text Field Spell Checker for Internet Explorer

One of the problems with blogging and entering information into text fields in general is that it’s a hassle to spell check what you’ve written. Of course, if you’re posting a comment on a bulletin board or a blog, or writing an entry, you can preview what you’ve written, but it’s easy to miss typos.
Fortunately, there are a couple of free IE plugins that solve this problem: Hot Lingo and IM Translator.
I’ve tried both but have settled on Hot Lingo as IM Translator (as the name implies) provides a lot of additional translation functionality which I have no need for. Although on the Hot Lingo site it calls the free version an ‘evaluation’ version there’s no time limit to how long it works and no limitations on its functionality. How handy is that?!

Tabbed Browsing for Internet Explorer

I’m one of those people who likes to surf the web by opening up multiple windows when I find something of potential interest. That way, I can keep the current page open if the content in the new window turns out to be a false lead and I can click on a whole bunch of links and get to them when I’ve finished reading the page I’m on.
I’ve always hated the fact that IE doesn’t support tabbed browsing and have grown extremely tired of ALT+TABbing through multiple browser windows. Of course, I love Mozilla and Firebird, but I think it helps to be using the same browser as 90%+ of web users.
Well now, thanks to the excellent Avant Browser, I can. Avant is based on IE and so it operates in exactly the same way. However, it has practically all the functionality of Mozilla, in particular, tabbed browsing. If you’ve never surfed the web in this way before, try it. You’ll thank yourself (and improve your productivity to boot).
I’d love to get Avant deployed as our default browser at work (we’re a Microsoft shop so Mozilla would never fly). I’ve been using it for a while at work and haven’t found an internal app yet that it fails on. I’m sure that with a little education employees could make more efficient use of their time on our intranet or on the web.