Written by Jonathan Plutchok
Welcome to my new Tool Bar & Grill. In each semimonthly column, I'll explore a handy little utility that has won my heart. I'll focus on those tools that can save you time, boost your productivity, improve your computing environment, or do some vital task you otherwise couldn't easily do – or are just too much fun to ignore. I will also point you to Web sites that are similarly useful to technical communicators.
I'll recommend both free and commercial utilities, but will favor freeware wherever it is available. If you like a shareware utility and use it beyond the trial period, please pay for it. Also, some free utilities are distributed as "donationware," and I urge you to send donations to such publishers if you like the software. That way you can guarantee me a continued supply of column fodder.
This column cannot be comprehensive; I can only report to you on the tools that I have encountered and tried. With your help, though, our technical writing community can benefit from a broader range of experience. So please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you hate a featured utility? Do you have a better one? Or do you just want to kibitz? Write in and share it!
Today's featured utility is tiny but potent. How often do you hit the Caps Lock key accidentally, RESULTING IN A SENTENCES LIKE THIS? Or you tapped Insert when you meant Home, and overwrote your latest pearl of wisdom?
CFi Lockdown is the solution. CFi Lockdown plays the wave (.WAV) file of your choice whenever you press Caps Lock or Insert, warning you that you've hit the wrong key while typing merrily away. (It also works for Num Lock or Scroll Lock, though these are not as dangerous.)
Here's a look at CFi Lockdown's simple, direct interface:
CFi Lockdown is completely free. It was published by Cool Focus International, but is no longer available through their Web site. No worries; I've put a copy here.
Perhaps you'd like to find some cool .WAV files for CFi Lockdown to play (belch.wav, perhaps, or juicyfart.wav?). You could start your search at http://www.findsounds.com or http://www.audiosparx.com/sa/display/cat.cfm.
That's it for now. Check back here on September 10th for another cool utility!
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