on Thursday, September 9, 2010

WinZip is, frankly, annoying. It costs $29.95, and the free trial ends after 45 days. The interface is clumsy, the wizard is confusing.

jZip is a Winzip alternative that I've been using for the last year. It's free - no free trail period, simply free. It's small, fast, easy to use, and can create and open Winzip .zip files. It can also open and extract (but not create) .rar, .tar and .iso files.

The only downside is that it will install the dreaded Yahoo toolbar if you don't specifically uncheck the Yahoo toolbar option. Otherwise, it has performed flawlessly for me.

You can download jZip at http://www.jzip.com/.

Gmail Priority Inbox

on Friday, September 3, 2010

Google is rolling out a new feature in its Gmail accounts this week: Priority Inbox. If you choose the option (available in the upper right corner of the screen; see the screenshot at upper left), Gmail will create a "Priority Inbox" for you that will pull out what it sees as your most important email messages, based on keywords, who the email is from, and whether it is sent directly to you or to a group. Think of it as the opposite of a spam filter. This feature attempts to figure out what emails are most important to you.

Your other emails aren't disposed of, simply placed into two other folders: "Starred" and "Everything Else." In addition, you can train the Inbox to regard a specific email sender or subject as important or unimportant by clicking plus or minus buttons at the top of the inbox (below). Or go to Settings>Filters>Create a Filter to give Gmail specific rules (e.g. an email has an attachment) to decide whether an email gets priority.

To give it a try, click the Priority Inbox link in the upper right of the Gmail dashboard to get started. To see a short video explaining the feature, view Google's short video tutorial at http://mail.google.com/mail/help/priority-inbox.html