Great tools from Omni Group now Free

Omni DazzleSometimes it is hard to know which thought would be a better lead. There is the great news today that the great folks over at The Omni Group have decided to make several of their titles freeware. On the other hand the personally notable part of this is how procrastination paid off. Last weekend I spent quite a bit of time putting together some screencasts (they're not yet published which is a story for another day) and found how great OmniDazzle is for creating screencasts. There is plenty of extra fun stuff that isn't all that useful in it, but there are a few features for highlighting things on the screen that are supremely beautiful. So while I was quite thrilled with OmniDazzle I hadn't quite managed to get the laptop and wallet together for the necessary routine to make the purchase.

Killer Apps

A few killer apps I've been thinking about.... Some are partially built.

Online bookshelf. Safari at has the concept but it's missing the feature that would get me to subscribe. I have about 50 O'Reilly press books sitting on the shelf. If I could use ISBN or even answer a randomly selected question from the text and register the print copy for online access I'd subscribe in a minute. The savings in the weight of my backpack and the ability to access the books from anywhere I'm online would be well worth it.

Looking for tools

What are the best reporting tools out there? What about analysis tools? Why don't there seem to be affordable combinations of the two. Crystal Reports does a decent job of reporting but is lacking in many scheduling and analysis items in my book. Like good histograms -- so is Excel for that matter -- one must first crunch the numbers to put them into a graph. I want something that does nice graphs in a few easy steps. What PHP tools are out there for this?

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