We read the newspaper, do our banking and talk to loved ones in distant places on a regular basis online, but the Internet is nowhere near to making the physical world obsolete. Take online shopping, for example. Sure, you can think of a song you want to hear, buy it and listen to it on your MP3 player in mere seconds, but no one's found a way yet to download a new camera or a set of golf clubs.
Package delivery status notifier ($2.99) by Junecloud for the iPhone or iPod Touch
Having to wait for a delivery can cause all sorts of anxiety if you're the impatient type, but Delivery Status Touch can alleviate the (admittedly trivial) suffering by tracking the status of your various packages on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You could do the same job by looking up all your packages on the websites of various courier companies and bookmark each status page, but it's much easier to punch in your tracking numbers into Delivery Status and let it do the rest.
The application design is minimal but bold, showing an arrival countdown and current status for each package. In addition to typing in tracking numbers, you can also add packages by syncing with the Delivery Status widget for Mac systems or via a Mobile Safari bookmarklet, though the latter option is somewhat cumbersome (an issue all iPhone apps face with Safari). If you have to know the location of your shiny purchases at all times-and more importantly, if someone needs to be home to receive them-Delivery Status Touch can tell you, no matter where you are.
Free Window pinning utility for Windows by Elias Fotinis
One feature that's often asked for but still doesn't come standard with any version of Windows is the ability to keep a window in the foreground, even if another application is currently active. To fill the void, there are hundreds of ways to bolt on "always on top" functionality, and many applications even come with the feature baked in. Most media players, for example, offer this feature for people who want to watch movies in a window while surfing the web.
Deskpins is a utility that offers a simple and easy way to keep any window visible. While other applications either tack on extra buttons to the window frame or ask you to memorize a hotkey, Deskpins uses the concept of pushpins to create an intuitive alternative interface. Simply click on the Deskpins icon in the system tray to grab a pin, then click on the window of your choice to pin it to the foreground. Removing the pin from the window unpins it. It's a utility so simple that a kid can figure it out in no time flat.
The utility offers some advanced functionality as well; it can, for example, automatically pin any window that has a certain word in the title, or is generated by a specific application. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts if you're the type of person who isn't afraid of a little memorization. Deskpins only does one thing, but it does it very well -- what more can you ask for from a humble 96KB program?
Free folder stacks utility for Windows by Alastria Software
One of the criticisms levied at Windows 7 is that the revamped taskbar, one of the operating system's major interface improvements, steals a little too much from the Dock in Apple's OS X. Put the two side by side and though you won't mistake one for the other, you'll definitely notice some similarities. But there's never been any shortage of Windows users who want the OS to look and act even more like its competition. For these people, not even Windows 7 goes far enough.
7Folders addresses one feature of OS X's Dock that the Windows 7 Taskbar doesn't have: folder stacks. Introduced in OS X Leopard, stacks are a way to view folders straight from the Dock - click on a stack icon, and the folder's contents fan out in one of several views, allowing you to open a file without ever touching the Finder. 7Folders doesn't quite recreate this behaviour natively; instead, it creates several shortcuts that you can drag to the taskbar. Click on a 7Folders shortcut, and it'll launch a stack view.
Despite its name, 7Folders isn't a Windows 7-only application; it also works on Windows XP and Vista. Adding folder stacks is relatively intuitive, a refreshing change from other programs that force you to muck around with shortcuts manually. The one major problem with 7Folders is that it's slow; if you point 7Folders at a folder with lots of files, it can take several seconds or more for the stack to load initially. If you only need stacks for small folders, or if you can wait for a newer version with better performance, you'll find no better stack application for Windows.