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FREE Tools

As always, Tom from the Rapid eLearning Blog posted some valuable links for developers.  The following are FREE tools:
1. Pixie
Pixie is a simple color picker.  It gives me the hexadecimal or RGB color codes.  I use it all the time to pull colors from images when I work in PowerPoint.  All you do is open it and then you can pick a color from any part of your computer screen. 
2. Color Schemer
Color Schemer helps you create color schemes.  You start with one color and then by combining a mathematical formula and the input of a panel of shamans, you end up with a complimentary color scheme.  For me it kind of goes hand-in-hand with Pixie.  Usually what I do is use Pixie to pick a color from an image (or logo) and then go to the color scheme site to create a color scheme to go with it. 
3. Paint.net
Paint.net has really developed into a nice application.  I wasn’t as fond of it initially, but I find that I use it quite a bit now.  The price is great (free) and it does most of what you expect from a graphics editor. 
4. Photo Resizer
Photo Resizer is kind of an interesting tool.  It’s almost magical.  I tend to do a lot of image resizing, especially for the blog.  This tool is perfect for quick resizing of images.  All I do is drag the image (or folder of images) I want resized onto the icon.  Then they get resized to whatever the number is on the application title.  If you want a new size, just change the number.  How easy is that?
5. Audacity
Audacity is an open source audio editor.  I’ve been using it for a few years now and have never had any problems with it.  It’s easy enough for the basic stuff (which is mostly what I do) and sophisticated enough if you need more. 
6.  Moviemaker
Movie maker comes with your Windows PC so most likely you already have it on your computer.  It’s an easy-to-use video editor.  I do most of my basic editing with it because it’s on my PC and does most of what I need for my online courses.  There are other free applications, and of course if you use a Mac, you have your own video editor.
7. Format Factory
Format Factory lets you convert media from one format to another.  I don’t use it as much as I used to now that Articulate’s Studio ‘09 provides a video encoder.  However for those who need to convert media from one format to another, it’s a handy tool.  For rapid elearning converting to the SWF and FLV Flash formats are important and Format Factory supports this.  I mainly use it to convert FLV to other media for easy editing since I can’t find an easy FLV editor. 
8. SWF Player
SWF Player lets you view Flash SWF files.  Simple as that.  Click on the SWF file and SWF Player lets you see what it is and view the file’s properties.  This is a very handy tool and makes viewing the SWF files on your PC a breeze.
9.  FLV Player
What the SWF Player did for SWF viewing, the FLV Player does for viewing Flash videos in FLV format.  It’s another simple tool, but one that works well.  It’s one of those tools that you don’t notice until you don’t have it.  If you happen to be using the Articulate Video Encoder ‘09, then this is a redundant tool.  But for everyone else, it’s another good one to have.

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