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  Cool (and Free) Tools and Services 


I thought it was time for a bit of miscellaneous linkage to some cool tools and services I've come accross and started using lately (Well some not so lately, but I've too been busy to post about).

C# Open Source -

This is awesome. A directory listing all known C# open source projects. A great place to look before you start building something yourself. CMS, portals, libraries, IDEs, frameworks, etc, etc, etc. There's an ok list there already, and I'm sure it will grow. The only thing I wish the site had was a place for reviews from people who have tried or are using each of the projects. I don't have time to go try them out all on my own. It would be a nice addition to be able to read & submit reviews. (Via The Daily Grind)

 Free Conference -

A *free* telephone conference center. Yes free. I use telephone conferencing for calls often to collaborate with other parties on projects. Usually with pay/commercial services. This service is identical. You can either create a new conference on the fly, or schedule a new conference and send out invites with on their website. Not a bad deal. There's a pay service available if you wish to use an 800 number for the conference. To use the service, you just call one of their numbers, and enter the conference code to either create the conference or join one. You can have up to 100 participants and the conference can last up to 3 hours (more for the pay service).

 SqlBuddy -

An open source SQL Query tool written in C#. Great for MSDE users. Features include VS.NET style interface, color syntax highlighting, intellisense to suggest table/field/other object names while typing, printable table & schema reports, and more. It has a really nice look and feel although still a work in progress. It has some awesome potential.

 NSurvey -

An open source ASP.NET survey framework written in C#. Easy to use web-based administration and very flexible. Easy setup with an MSI installer and a separate DotNetNuke module is available too. It has a feature list too long to mention here (Take a look at it's feature list). They have their own forums for support and getting custom extensions written by others. I started playing with this one recently and really love it so far. I'll be quickly ditching my own survey framework to use this one from now on.

 Orthogonal Toolbox -

It just occured to me that I never linked to this one before, although I've been using it for quite a while. The Orthogonal Toolbox is an addon for Visio that will export an ORM source diagram to XML and can bulk import fact types into the model. If you work with ORM (that's Object-Role Modeling, not Object-Relation Mapping) in Visio then this is a must have tool. It also includes sample XSLT for generating XSD schema from a database model diagram or for displaying an exported ORM diagram as an HTML report.


Leave a comment below.


  1. Tiernans Comms Closet 3/8/2005 5:06 AM
  2. Kent J. Chen's Weblog 3/8/2005 12:11 PM
  3. Kent J. Chen's Weblog 3/8/2005 12:24 PM
  4. Mischa Kroon 5/10/2005 3:59 AM
    SqlBuddy hasn't been updated in a looooonggg time.

    Personally I would recommend aqua studio.

    More databases more features and way more stable.

    It is written in java though... and it isn't open source.
  5. Donald 7/8/2005 4:13 AM
    I have tried and got busy signals - one time I had reserved my conference and when it was time to have the conference it told my my code was not valid.

    I switched to - they just give me a conference call dial-in number and access code that I can use anytime I want. I have not had a busy signal or a code not valid issue since.
  6. Ryan Farley 7/8/2005 7:58 AM

    Thanks for the tip. I've not had a problem with busy signals yet with FreeConference, but I'll still give FreeConferenceCall a try.

    Thanks, Ryan
  7. James 12/8/2005 2:01 PM
    I have found to have the best feature set and usability of free conference call services. I have never had any issues and I actually talked to a person when I had questions about their advanced services.
  8. Tom Smith 12/4/2006 12:55 PM
    Gravatar - provides free conference calling with the ability to share a PowerPoint presentation. The parent company is AccuConference -
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