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Showing posts from October, 2008

Create custom shell objects on Windows with Shell Object Editor

Shell objects are special "hard links" or shortcuts to folders and applications on your Windows computer. An example of shell object is the "My Documents" folder which is a real folder hidden deep within the directory structure but provides an easily accessible link in My Computer. In fact, every item within My Computer is a shell object. Shell objects or shell folders behave as real folders even though they are just shortcuts. Windows supports the creation of custom shortcuts by users through the registry editor. An easier and better way without messing with the registry is by using Shell Object Editor . This little program allows you to create any shell object in 5 easy steps. The shell object can be a folder, a file or an application and can be placed in My Computer, Desktop, Control Panel or the Network Neighborhood. With Shell Object Editor you can create and delete as many shell objects you want and you don't even have to restart your PC to use them.

6 different ways to add Speech Bubbles to your photos

A fun way to spice up your photos is to add a cartoon style speech bubble. In fact, some pictures are just incomplete without a speech bubble. So here is a list of several Speech Bubble generators that will come handy when you need to add that smart comment over your friends' photo (and post it on the Internet). Using desktop software 1. Photoshop is a master in any kind of image editing job, and by using custom shapes you can add different types of pattern to an image. Download the free Speech Balloon Shapes for Photoshop 6 and above. Extract the contents of the zip file and place the *.csh files into: Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Custom Shapes where X is the version number of Photoshop. To load the shapes, go to the Styles palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and choose the Speech Balloon layer style from the menu. 2. Speech bubbles can be added with Adobe Illustrator too by using vector shapes. Download this free pack of 33

Create beautiful charts online with ChartGizmo

Need to create a quick bar chart or pie diagram to mail it to a friend? Why not do it online? Before this online-application craziness took over, everything we did on our computer, we did it with applications installed on our own PCs. For years, I have been using Excel to create charts. Now with web services like ChartGizmo available, creating charts is a breeze. Not that it was any harder doing it with Excel, but it's definitely quicker. ChartGizmo is absolutely free (but requires registration) and allows you to create various kinds of diagrams: Pie, Bar, Line, Ring, 3D Pie, 3D Bar, 3D Line, Scatter Plot etc. You can either manually enter the data or import it from an Excel sheet. Now you can't actually upload an Excel file, just select and copy the data and paste it into the data window. The charts are all customizable - everything from colors, to labels, chart orientation and sizes. A window on the right gives a live preview of the diagram even before you save it. An

Launch programs and files by moving the mouse to the corner of the screen

A simple, neat program called Hot Corners allows you to assign four different actions to the four different corners of the screen. When you move the mouse to these corners, the action assigned to it will be triggered. These actions can be anything from launching application, files, folders, a bookmarked URL, the Control Panel, showing the desktop and a whole lot of possibilities. I came across this program when it was still at version 1.1, some months ago. I immediately liked it, but my anti-virus program gave me a warning. A search on Google revealed that many users had the same issue. Being unsure, I dropped the program. Recently, I learned that a newer version of Hot Corners, version has been released and the false warning problem ironed out. This new version is much better and includes another feature, called Mouse Move, which is a sort of mouse gesture.   Using a key combination of Win+X and moving the mouse pointer in four different direction (left, right, up, down

3 Free open source alternatives to MATLAB

Computer Science and Communication Engineering students must be familiar with a mathematical software called MATLAB. MATLAB is a numerical computing software and programming language that is often used in various mathematical analysis and problem solving like matrix manipulation, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces etc. MATLAB is a proprietary product of The MathWorks and a single student license will set you back by $99.  Even though there are many free numerical analysis software available, your university is most likely to use MATLAB and a student who uses MATLAB all day at the university would want the same programs to run on his home computer. Hence compatibility of these free solutions with MATLAB is important. Let us look at three free alternatives to MATLAB that is compatible with it, to a large extent. Octave is an open source program for numerical computation which is mostly compatible with MATLAB. Its syntax is v

Bug Shooting - The advanced screen capture tool

Bug Shooting is a free screenshot capturing utility with many advanced features. Firstly, there are three different screen capturing modes - (1)Capture screen, which captures the entire screen as well as the active window at the same time, (2) Capture area, which captures only a selected area of the screen and (3)  Delayed capture, which captures automatically  after a delay. This method is especially useful to capture a menu. Bug Shooting also has a built in image editor. Now, it isn't too advanced but sufficient for screen capturing purposes. The standard drawing tool box enables you to add annotation, arrows, texts and make all sorts of shapes and markings. The type of things a blogger or developer usually does before posting it on the Internet or sharing with friends. The best part is, every mark you make on the screenshot are stored in separate layers thereby enabling you to edit or remove it later. Cropping, magnifying and flipping the image is possible from within Bug Sho

View your desktop without minimizing opened windows with DESKonTOP

The original idea of placing shortcuts on the desktop was to allow the user quicker access to frequently used programs without having to navigate through the start menu or the Explorer. Unfortunately, that has never been the case because the desktop always remains hidden by the running programs and windows. Having a desktop toolbar solves the problem but it isn't aesthetically pleasing. DESKonTOP has a fine solution to this problem. DESKonTOP places a small icon on the system tray, and when clicked pops up a small floating copy of your desktop with all shortcuts and icons. It's a mini desktop. Move the mouse cursor over an icon, and it will enlarge to show you the full-size version of the icon and its text label, allowing you to clearly see and click the shortcut. A single click on the icon will launch your desired programs. No need to minimize or move windows around. With DESKonTOP you can call up your desktop at any time without having to play hide and seek with your wi

How to move your HDD LED into a more visible position

If you are using a typical computer desk, your cabinet is most likely placed underneath and sometimes completely hidden from view. In such an arrangement, you aren't able to see the hard disk LED unless you bend your torso over by the sides of the chair and manage to get your head under the table, ignoring the pain caused by the armrest jabbing at your rib cage ... ouch! Don't hurt yourself trying to get a view of the blinking LED. Try these three different freeware programs instead, that will move the HDD LED to three different and convenient positions. Keyboard HDD LED (0.5 MB) is a simple program that will turn the Scroll Lock LED on the keyboard, which is usually unused, into a hard disk activity indicator. The program consist of just one executable file which keeps running in the system tray and synchronizes the blinking of the hard disk LED with the Scroll Lock LED, so you don't have to constantly crawl under the desk to check it. Of course, you need to have the Sc

Reduce the size of portable applications with AppCompactor, the biggest resource for portable applications, has come up with an amazing application - AppCompactor . AppCompactor allows you to compress portable applications, reduce it's file size and increase performance when running from a slow media like a thumb drive. AppCompactor packages UPX and 7-Zip within it allowing you to easily compress an app's EXEs, DLLs and other binaries using UPX and recompress ZIP and JAR files using 7-Zip, with four different compression methods to choose from - NRV2E, NRV2D, LZMA or BRUTE mode. It also has an option to DECOMPRESS an app's binary files that were previously compressed with UPX. To compress an application, just select the directory and all the DLL, EXE, ZIP, JAR, IRC, PYD and BIN files within that directory will be compressed. Depending on the files, AppCompactor promises a size decrease by 50% or more without affecting functionality. Now for some test. By using the default compression method, it reduced my

Recover accidentally closed programs with GoneIn60s

Sometimes you accidentally close a program and instantly realize that you didn't mean to close it. This usually happens when you have a number of windows open and maximized. You click the X button at the corner but mistakenly make a second click and the underlying window is gone. Or you may just hit the wrong X button. As a solution to this problem, Skrommel, a talented developer from Donation Coder , has come up with an excellent piece of software - GoneIn60s. Named after the Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie starrer, GoneIn60s keeps closed programs running in the RAM for an additional 60 seconds before killing them, giving you enough time to recover the application in case you closed it mistakenly.   Once the program is running, it stays in the taskbar and takes just about 4 megabytes of memory. After you close any program or window, right click on the programs's icon in the taskbar to reveal the list of programs you closed during the last 60 seconds, and which are still

Gmail's new feature: Canned Responses

There is an option is almost all cell phones to send pre-written text messages, often stored under a section "Templates". That's a very useful feature since typing the same message can be tiresome particularly on a small keypad. Now the same feature is brought to Gmail with a new Labs addition called Canned Responses . When you enable this feature, every time you have to reply to someone or compose a new message you will see a new item "Canned Responses" under the subject box. Write your common reply to that boring common question and click on Canned Responses to save it. In future when you have to send this same message, all you have to do is select this pre-made response from a drop down list and send it. Saves time. Canned Responses is also available in the Filter section as one of the actions to perform on a filtered mail. If you have properly setup a filter based on your incoming messages, it's possible to setup a different  automated reply fo

Catalogue your DVDs for easier searching of files

How do you keep track of what files and software are on each DVD? Do you have to shuffle through dozens of DVDs to find just one file? If your answer is yes, then you are doing it wrong. Some people realize that this is a waste of time and therefore keep a copy of their discs on their hard disk so that they don't have to open and close the optical drive multiple times. But that isn't the right approach either. You should use a disc cataloguing software. I use a software called DigiCat . It's free and it works great. DigiCat will create a list of files and folders on a disc or any drive. Insert a DVD or CD into the drive and click on Scan. Within a few seconds the entire contents of the DVD will be listed. You can then save the list for future searching. DigiCat will also scan compressed archives and list the contents within it. You can add comments to each files for identification purposes. All your catalogued DVDs are listed under the tab "Catalog" within

Save pages by printing only what you need with GreenPrint

Anybody who frequently uses a printer either at home or at office knows how much paper is wasted during printing. Useless paragraphs, unwanted images, pages with single to a few lines of text are common. Apart from wasting your money it has a bigger effect on the environment. Think about all those trees wasted because you didn't optimize the pages before printing. Think about all the CO2 released in the air when making those papers. The free version of an application, aptly named GreenPrint , has a solution to this growing problem of wasteful printing. When installed on your computer, GreenPrint will intercept the print process when you click on the print button and give you an opportunity to remove the clutter from the page. GreenPrint analyzes the content of each print job for pages that have wasteful characteristics such as banner ads, URL footnote etc and highlight those elements in a preview window. You can then decide what to keep and what to remove. You can also select a p

Avoid DLL hell. Find and remove unused DLL files

Often when we uninstall a program we are presented with a dialog box that says "The following shared files are no longer used by any other program. Do you want to remove it?". Such messages are far too common. The message warns us of dire consequences if the file is used by any other program. So what does an average user do? Take a safe route and let the file remain. In most cases this DLL file isn't used by any other program. Over time these unused DLL files accumulate and create a "DLL hell". Typical junk file cleaners won't touch these files since they are system and program specific files and don't fall under the definition of "junk files". Here are some tools that will help you search and remove unused DLL files. 1. DLL Orphans is a program that will scan your C drive (or Windows drive) for DLL files that has been orphaned by their parent program and are no longer used and list them. It also reports unused .INI files, .OCX files are othe

Incremental backup and file monitoring with FileHamster

Sometimes when you are working on an important project it becomes necessary to create backups for every changes you make to your files. Otherwise, if you make some changes and save it and later have to revert back to the earlier stage, you have to undo all changes you have made. Not only it's a loss of precious time and effort, but sometimes it's impossible to undo the changes. That means disaster. FileHamster is a free version tracking software that provides real time backup and archiving of your files while you work on it. It allows you to monitor specific files or folders on your hard disk and automatically create incremental backups whenever those files are modified. All you have to do is specify the files you want the program to monitor and the location where these backups will be stored. FileHamster will silently run in the background, tracking each changes you make to your files and making a backup for each change. Whenever you want to retrieve an earlier version just

How to import an Html table, list or feeds into a spreadsheet

Google Spreadsheet has an extremely useful function that allows you to import various kinds of data into a spreadsheet file. Suppose you find a table of useful data on a web page that you want to have it as an Excel file. That's possible with Google Spreadsheet's Import function. The import function makes it possible to grab all kinds of online data and turn them into spreadsheet files to make analysis, create graphs etc. The =ImportHTML function has the following format: =ImportHTM(”URL",”query”,index) URL is the URL of the target web page; query can be either "list" or "table" and index is the order of the element (query) on the page. If a page contains multiple tables (or lists) and you want to import only the third table (or list) than the index value will be 3. Quotation marks around URL and query is necessary. As an example, let us take this table " list of deserts in the world ordered by area " found on Wikipedia and try to imp

Unleash the interior designer in you with Sweet Home 3D

Have you ever wanted to design your own home? Did you wish you had some way of visualizing how that couch would look against that wall or that bookcase against the table without having to drag them all over the place? If the answer is yes, then give Sweet Home 3D a spin. Sweet Home 3D is a free, open source, java based interior design software which is the perfect tool to try out your interior designing skills. The software provides you with plenty of models ranging from staircases, walls, sofas, tables and all sorts of furniture and house structures that you will need to create your home. Designing is just a matter of dragging and dropping these items into the work area. The software comes with around 75 pieces of furniture and more than a 100 is available for download from their web site. Sweet Home 3D doesn't limit you to these pre-made models. You can even create your own to match the furniture you already own. A very useful feature of this program is that it allows you

3 cool image search engines to search images by content

Searching for images online is trickier than searching textual content, simply because it's difficult to describe an image. To make it easier for both users and search engines to classify images, webmasters are often advised to use attributes like "ALT" and "TITLE". Thankfully, today's search engines have become sufficiently intelligent to make their own classifications based on form, color, shape etc. Let us look at some of the best image search engines that offers you more than simple keyword search. Picitup offers you a whole range of filters to narrow down your search results. Picitup allows you to search images across 3 different categories based on image content - faces, products and landscapes. It can also recognize color and you can set a color preference by choosing among 18 different color palettes. Picitup also has a shape filter with 8 different shapes to choose from - not very helpful, but at least something to start with. You can also choose

Get thumbnail previews on Google search results in Opera and Firefox with Google Fx

Do you know that you can run Greasemonkey scripts in Opera? Well, not all but most, and you don't need any additional plugins because Opera natively supports user JavaScripts and user CSS. There are more than a handful of addons for Firefox to enhance Google search and one of them is Google Fx . Google Fx is a Greasemonkey script which means that there is a high chance that it will work with Opera. The good news is - it does. The Google Fx userscript makes a number of transformation to Google's search results page. Some of them are useful while some others are pointless, but you can easily disable any functions that you don't like. Some of the cool changes this script brings to Google includes: Thumbnail previews of the sites in the search result page An Auto streaming feature which automatically retrieves the search results from the next page and appends it to the current page when you scroll to the bottom of the page. This feature is similar to Repagination, bu

Defragment individual files and free space with Defraggler

Defraggler is a free defragmentation tool from the makers of CCleaner with one unique feature - the ability to defragment individual files. Usual defragmentation tools can defragment only whole drives, while Defraggler allows you to select up to individual files. Defraggler can defragment single files, groups of files, folders and the whole hard disk with minimum system resources. Another unique ability of this program is to defragment free space as well. Now which other program offers such a functionality? None that I can think of. The ability to defragment single files gives you more control on the defragmenter. For instance, if you use Adobe Photoshop frequently, you can defragment Photoshop's installation folder and it's associated folders (local settings folders) to keep fragmentation level at check and improve startup time (marginally). This saves enormous amount of time since you don't have to defragment the whole drive. But the biggest benefit you will get f

5 Free tools to synchronize files between computers

Those who work on multiple computers know how useful it is to keep your data synchronized between the computers. Imagine how frustrating it will be to realize that you left your most important files on your home computer, when you arrive at work in the morning. Besides, carrying your data around on thumb drives isn't a viable option at all times. One solution is to use a file synchronization software that automatically keeps your files and folders synchronized between multiple computers over the Internet or a network. With synchronization tools, files that you edited last night at your home is available on your office PC the next day or the music you downloaded on your PC is automatically transported to your laptop. Let's look at some of the free solutions available. 1. FolderShare is a popular syncing solution from Microsoft that allows you to synchronize files between computers running different operating systems (Windows and Mac). First download FolderShare for the appr

Diplodocs - Read the Manual Before You Buy

I have always advised people to research and read reviews before buying any stuff. Plenty of user reviews are available on the Internet, written in blogs, websites and forums. Read them and know what previous customers and users have to say about the product, what's good and what's bad about it. Know thoroughly what you are going to buy so that you don't end up making the wrong decision. Apart from reading reviews, another effective way of getting a first hand impression of the product is by reading it's manual. At Diplodocs you will find over a million manuals for thousands of products in 26 different languages. From DVD players to home theatres; from washing machine to air conditioner, you will get manuals for a wide variety of products and appliances. These manuals are free to download and so you get the chance to read the manual before you actually buy the product. These gives you a great opportunity to do your own research rather than relying upon reviews writ

Get the word at the tip of your tongue with Reverse Dictionary

If you hear or read a new word you can look up at a dictionary to learn what it means. It's easy. But often the opposite happens - you want to find a particular word that means something and the dictionary can't help you. A word lingers at the tip of your tongue but you just can't get it. You know you know the word but you can't recall it. It's frustrating. In such moments, OneLook's Reverse Dictionary will come to your rescue. OneLook's reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept, the meaning of the word and it shows you a list of words and phrases that fits the description. Your description can consist a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. OneLook will display a whole lot of words relating to the description with words with the best matches at the top. Clicking on the words will show you links to other online dictionaries where you can look up it's meaning. I tried a few. " A mistake resulting from inattention &q

Download 5 full commercial games for free, legally

Rejoice gamers for Game Shadow, a game review and download website, has made available for download not one or two but five full commercial games for free. Game Shadow has been doing this in the past, but only small games that nobody had heard before. This time they surprised everyone when they came up with 5 big games, that are still selling on stores across the globe, within 3 days. To download the games you have to first download Game Shadow's small download client which will initiate the game download and then take you through the installation procedure. Here are the games. Area 51 (Released on 2005) Area 51 is a first-person action shooter set within the confines of the government's most secret research facility. The U.S. Army has received a distress signal from Area 51 where a viral outbreak has just shut down the research facility and the automated quarantine procedures have locked all scientific and military personnel inside. A small Special Forces unit, led by

How to sync subtitles to a video permanently

When you load subtitles of a video in a media player, often you will find that the subtitles are out of sync. All media players that support subtitles hence provide some way of allowing the user to manually sync the subtitle to the video. But the synced subtitle can't be saved and so you have to repeat the process every time you watch that video. This guide will show you a simple process to sync a subtitle, save it and also embed it on to the video permanently. Syncing Subtitles To sync the subtitle with the video we will use Subtitle Workshop . As the name suggest, this software will handle everything related to subtitles - creating, editing and saving. Open Subtitle Workshop and load the movie by clicking on Movie>Open . Load the subtitle by File>Load Subtitle . You will find that there are number of buttons and tools for syncing. Ignore all of them. The best way to sync a subtitle is to introduce delays into the subtitle timings. The first thing you have to do i