Langa Letter: 10 Great, Free Tools - InformationWeek
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3/4/2003
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Fred Langa
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Langa Letter: 10 Great, Free Tools

Fred Langa evaluates 10 valuable, commercial-quality software tools that are available just for the asking. It's not the same old freeware.

"She read this to me yesterday. Please read it to me now."

Simple text-to-speech engines might be confused, but ReadPlease senses the context and correctly speaks the sentences.

Yes, there are other cases where it gets confused and selects the wrong pronunciation, but I've never heard ReadPlease lapse into unintelligibility, or make a choice that destroyed the comprehensibility of the text being processed.

The free version of ReadPlease has four voices (2 male, 2 female; you can hear samples at http://www.readplease.com/rplisten.php), and basic playback controls to adjust the speed of the voice, the length of the pause between paragraphs, and so on. A "Plus" version of the software ($50) offers more voices, more controls, and more flexibility in setup and operation.

SendTo
Have you ever wanted an easy way to add a new destination to the Windows right-click "Send To" option? It can be done, but the normal means vary from version to version in Windows, and may take some manual tweaking.

"SendTo" http://www.trogsoft.com/products/sendto/new.php is a freeware tool that sets up in seconds on any version of Windows from Win95 through XP, and instantly lets you specify any folder (including even FTP folders on remote computers) as a Send To destination.

There's more, too. Here's what the software's authors say:

SendTo integrates into the Windows shell. To get started with SendTo, all you have to do is select some files or folders in Windows explorer, right click on any one of them, choose "Send To," and "Any Folder," and SendTo will appear to give you the option to do any of the following:

--Copy the files/folders to another location.
--Move the files/folders to another location.
--Create shortcuts to the files/folders in a location you specify.
--Create a zip file containing the files/folders.
--Upload the files/folders to an FTP server on the Internet.
--Send the files (but not folders) to an application on your computer.

It's simple, unobtrusive, small, free, and works on all flavors of Microsoft Windows. What's not to like?

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