19 freebies for smart Web browsing, social networking

Make more use of your browser with MyBrainshark, MailBrowser, and more

Make the Most of Your Browser

Our five Web-savvy tools and services can help you recover the information you typed into forms, add narrations to presentations, turn PDFs into editable documents, and more.

CeeVee: Register to build a polished-looking résumé with this Web service, and then share it online via Facebook, Twitter, or a custom Web address. It's fast, easy to use, and proof positive that you're a Web-savvy applicant.

Lazarus: This Firefox add-on records every keystroke you enter into blog tools, comment boxes, e-mail forms, and the like. To magically restore the items you typed, just right-click and choose Recover Text or Recover Form.

MailBrowser: Manage contacts, attachments, and other details in Gmail. Available for Firefox and IE, this beta add-on reveals information about each contact, integrates with Google Calendar for easy appointment scheduling, lists all received attachments for a given contact, and creates local, searchable copies of them.

MyBrainshark: This presentation-hosting service lets you add narration to a presentation just by picking up your phone. All you do is sign up, upload your PowerPoint slide deck, and then call a special number and start talking.

PDF to Word: This Web service transforms PDFs into edit-ready documents. Simply upload your file and choose your desired output format, either Word or Rich Text Format. Then sit tight until the service sends you an e-mail with a link to download the converted document.

Tools for Facebook and Twitter Fanatics

We've collected eight downloads and services that will streamline the Facebook and Twitter interfaces, help you share photos easily, and improve your social networking in other ways.

Tired of Facebook's cluttered interface and Twitter's boring one? Sign up with Brizzly to give both services a makeover and arrange a simpler, classier front end for your friends and feeds. You can still tweet and retweet, write on walls, and do all the other core Facebook and Twitter stuff.

Everyone loves sharing photos on Facebook, but downloading snapshots from a friend's album is a hassle. Facebook Photo Album Downloader, aka FacePAD, is a Firefox add-on that lets you download entire photo albums (including event and group albums).

Want to make shopping online a group sport? Add a bookmarklet for the beta service FriendShopper to your browser. When you see something on the Web that interests you, click the bookmarklet and decide whether you want to save the page, share it with a friend, or both. When a friend sends you a message about a product you shared, it comes with a picture, so you'll know what they're talking about.

The ultrastylish front end of the Microsoft Silverlight 4 Beta Client for Facebook delivers not only the usual Facebook elements but also a cool animated photo grid and a better photo-uploading tool. It's currently a "developer preview," so expect a few bugs.

Outlook lets you link photos to contacts. And most Facebook users have profile photos associated with their accounts. How shall the twain meet? Enlist the help of OutSync, which quickly and efficiently copies photos of your Facebook friends into matching contacts in Outlook.

PhotoGrabber runs independently of your browser, and downloads photos tagged with your name or with the names of your friends. It's great for rounding up snapshots that land in other people's albums without your knowledge.

Deftly catering to holders of multiple Twitter accounts, the browser-based beta Splitweet lets you tweet to one or more accounts simultaneously; read, reply to, and share updates from users you follow; and track mentions of any "brand" names you want (your company's name, a competitor's name, a product line, and so on).

Don't want to run a full-blown Twitter client (like TweetDeck) just to manage your Twitter account? The Outlook add-on TwInbox brings tweets to your inbox and provides a toolbar for updating your status, retweeting, sending direct messages, and performing other tasks. It even streams the latest tweets as they arrive.

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Adam Pash and Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
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Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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