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Showing posts from December, 2008

Flexible Renamer – Rename files and change attributes in bulk

The easiest way to rename a file in Windows is to select the file, hit F2 and then name it. Bulk renaming of files works the same way – select the files, hit F2 and type the name. Once you hit Enter, all the files get sequentially renamed, neatly suffixed by an incremental number. Maybe that’s a cool and clever way to name large number of files, but it isn’t clever enough to handle a situation such as this: Suppose you have a set of pictures which you took on your holiday. You get down to work, meticulously renaming each picture with the place of visit or the tourist spot you were visiting when you snapped it. After three hours of tedious work you realize with horror that you forgot to include the year. You can’t sit through another three hours renaming those pictures. This is when you will feel the need of a better file renaming tool. Flexible Renamer is a portable program that will allows you to rename files and folders, change file attributes including dates and also a

Daphne – The task manager with mouse control

Daphne is a tool that allows you to view, kill or control Windows processes running on your system. Daphne offers most of the functions that you would expect from a process manager, but then it also offers some interesting functions that you would never expect from a process manager. One of the beauties of this task manager is the ability to control processes and running applications by the familiar drag and drop method. Daphne’s most interesting feature, as I have already mentioned, is the ability to control processes with your mouse. In order to kill an application you drag a “crosshair” and point it to the application you want to kill and release it. This will shutdown the process instantly. Another useful tool is the Find. Sometimes you are unable to determine which process in the list represent which application window because they are named differently. In such a scenario, simply drag the Find tool over the application window and the underlying process will get highlighted i

Share virtual memory paging file on multi-boot Windows system to conserve disk space

You might have several gigabytes of physical memory on your computer, but Windows is always hungry for more. This is specially true with Windows Vista, and the upcoming Windows 7 too demands a fair share though significantly lower than what Vista demands. Soon multi-boot systems with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows XP will be common. I’m sure many are already doing it. In such a setup, assigning disk space for virtual memory for each of these Windows version is such a waste, since only one Windows will be running and using virtual memory at a time. In order to avoid this and conserve disk space, we can instruct Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 to share a same single paging file among all installed instances of the operating system. To do this, the user first has to decide on which partition the paging file will be located. This partition can be an existing system drive of an operating system or a newly created partition and must

Remove PDF files restrictions with PDF Unlocker

Some PDF document files are protected by the creator by disabling specific functions on the PDF reader. A common restriction is to prevent copying or editing the document to protect the copyrights of the owner. One way to copy such PDF files is to take a screenshot and use an OCR tool to convert it to text. An easier way is to use a PDF unlocking program. PDF Unlocker is a free application that can remove the restrictions set by the creator. Simply drag the PDF file to the shortcut of application and it will automatically create a non-protected copy of the PDF file. (Thanks GHacks ) If you want an online solution, then try this free PDF unlock utility . The maximum size of the uploaded PDF file should be less than 5MB.

HighC – Let’s paint music

Do you want to compose your own music but don’t know the saxophone from the gramophone? Here is an application for such uninitiated that allows one to draw their music. Absolutely no knowledge on music is required. You don’t even have to know how to draw. HighC is a graphical music creation tool that allows users to “draw sounds” on a continuous time-frequency diagram. I have experimented with graphical music creators earlier, where you create music by placing musical symbols (♫ ♪) on a music sheet. It requires you to have a good knowledge on music theory, but it was possible to create music of high quality with these tools. HighC has a different approach.   In HighC, you use a paint brush or a pen to draw waveforms on a sheet. Add peaks and valleys, add straight lines, add slopes, add dots. You can pick different waveforms from the box on right and make more strokes on the sheet. Finally, click the play button to hear the resulting music. My first try sounded like a wolf

Red Button – A simple system optimizer

Red Button is a simple application which allows users to associate optimization task for their system and launch them faster then usual. By means of Red Button you can reduce space occupied by system on a disk; switch off and remove unnecessary, disturbing to work components; increase speed of loading, work, turn off of system; clean "junk" files; raise safety and convenience of system and reduce degree of influence on environment. Red Button’s main interface contains just one big red button, clicking on which does all the system optimization work all at once. Before you push that red button, go to the Feature section to customize your optimization settings. The CPU and RAM section basically consist of a number of registry tweaks that increases the response of the system by disabling certain services that are known to hog system resources. For instance, disabling Dr Watson, disabling diskspace warning, disabling error reporting, disabling window animation, disabling file

LongURLPlease – Know beforehand where short URLs take you

This week I wrote about a number of short URL tools. This time I bring you a tool that does the reverse - it lengthens short URLs so that you get to view the actual URL which was shortened, before clicking on the link. The problem with short URLs is that you have no idea where they take you until you click on them. Is the URL useful? Is it safe to view? Will it be offensive? Any clues that you might have got from the actual URL are lost when they are replaced by a short URL like Long URL Please is an experimental Firefox plug-in that works in the background when every web page loads, and replaces short URLs with the proper ones, so that you can tell exactly where links will take you. Take a look at the screen shot below. Without Long URL Please installed, you see this After installing Long URL Please, you see this The Tinyurl link was automatically replaced by the actual URL. So even before you click on it, you learn that it will

Edit your site online with TypeRoom Lite

If you are looking for an online application to make modification to your site, then here is one for you – TypeRoom Lite , with which you can edit your site from any browser for free. TypeRoom is different from online HTML editors and certainly isn’t as powerful as desktop applications like Dreamweaver, but even so, is a quick way to make small changes to your site. The idea is simple: The user specifies the URL of the page they wish to edit, and TypeRoom creates a copy of the page and loads it on the browser for editing. You click on the element you want to edit and it loads in a WYSIWYG editing window which is like any HTML editor. Once you are done with the editing, you can download the edited page to your computer or upload it directly to your site via FTP from TypeRoom itself. TypeRoom is different from online HTML editors and make-websites-online kind of services, which mainly focuses on creating websites from scratch. TypeRoom assumes you already have a site an

ShareTabs – Link sharing with thumbnails

Just yesterday I wrote about two URL shortening tools capable of shortening a group of URLs at once, today I discovered another – ShareTabs . This one is different. It shortens a URL for a bunch of URLs and also includes a thumbnail shot of the shortened URL(s) giving you a glimpse of the sites you are about to open. Cool! If you click on the thumbnails, the site opens inside a frame <iframe> and a toolbar displaying the list of URLs remains visible at the top. You can open all links at once or copy them to clipboard. Here is one way to use ShareTabs: create a ShareTab URL with your bookmarked sites and use the URL as a homepage for your browser, a sort of like Speed Dial.

Automatically sort downloaded files with Download Mover

Cleaning directories and sorting files can be a very tedious job. Download Mover is an application that will help you tackle this by automatically sorting your downloaded files and moving them to different folders based on the file extension. You only have to dump all your files at one location and Download Mover will sort them according to the filters you set. You can configure Download Mover to monitor several directories at once for new files. Specify the time intervals for checking, apply rules for different file types and you are set. With Download Mover you can apply filters say, for moving zip and rar files to one folder, exe files to another and images to yet another. This will keep your download folders tidy and well organized and you won’t have to do a thing. Download Mover is no longer developed but it still does a good job.

How to protect your PC from infected pen drives

While the utility of pen drives cannot be undermined, they have become an easy ride for viruses and worms to spread from one computer to another and create mayhem. I have no idea how people manage to catch these exotic species … 9 out of 10 pen drives that I plug into my computer carry viruses. The biggest threat to my computer is not Internet and email but pen drives. Most pen drive viruses infect by executing itself the moment the pen drive is inserted into the PC. They do it by creating an autorun.ini file that is configured to run these viruses. So the first line of defense is to prevent the execution of the autorun.ini file. Here are two software that does it. USB Firewall runs silently in the background and alerts you immediately in case of an intrusion attempt. The application detects whenever any program tries to launch itself via the autorun.ini file and informs you. You can then remove the autorun.ini file along with the malicious files before they have the chance to inf

PodMail – The best way to send and receive large files by email

How do you deal with the email attachment size limitation when you need to send a large file to someone? You use some file sharing service like Rapidshare or Yousendit, obviously. But if that someone is not too conversant with the web, he or she might not be able to figure out how to download that file from such a sharing service. These people are only used to clicking on the attachment link and the file magically gets downloaded to their PCs. PodMail is an application that allows you to send and receive files of unlimited size via email. The integration of this service with email is seamless – the recipient can download the file right from their browser as if the file actually came attached with the mail. The Podmailing Network uses two kinds of method to deliver the file to the recipient - via Peer-To-Peer and via centralized servers. In the Peer-To-Peer method, data moves directly between the PCs of the sender and the recipients. In the centralized method, data is delivered

How to fix stuck printer jobs

Printers have an annoying habit of getting stuck. Not those paper jams, those are easier to fix. But the stuck print jobs, where a number of botched print jobs queue up in the print window and you can neither delete them nor create fresh print jobs. It completely stalls the printer. So how do you fix this mess? There are two ways – fix it manually or fix it through a software. We will look at the manual method first because knowing how to do it without any tools will allow you to fix any stuck printer anywhere. Manual Method Click on Start>Run and type services.msc to launch the Services manager. On the list of services locate the "Print Spooler" service, right-click on it and click Stop. Open the C:\Windows\System32\Spool\PRINTERS and delete all files inside this folder. Re-launch the Services manager and start the "Print Spooler" service by right-clicking on it and clicking Start. The print queue is now cleared and you – Volunteer to help non-profit organizations and win prizes

Social news site Reddit has launched a new project called Feed A Need . Instead of asking for monetary donations, this project is asking people to donate a few hours of their skills & energy. Feed A Need is accepting people from all professions – you might be a programmer, designer, artist, lawyer, geology professor, bacon cooker, or anyone else. If you can spare at least 2 hours for a good cause, then consider participating in this charity drive. In order to participate you must be a registered member of Reddit and dedicate at least 2 hours on a Feed A Need charity project before the deadline on February 14th, 2009. There are several prizes to be won which include Xbox 360, games, Intel Atom Processor powered PC’s, discount coupons, T-shirts and such sponsored by the project partners. If you want to volunteer, you need to fill up a form and mention your skills. According to the skills you have you will be matched up with a project for a needy charity. Currently, ther

How to create date based folder names in Windows XP

Do you always name your folders when you create them on Windows? Because if you don’t, soon you will have “New Folder (18)” and “New Folder (19)” littered every where and you will have no idea what each contains. If only Windows was clever enough to automatically create folders with smart  names that enabled you to identify them later. Here is a nifty trick that allows you to create new folders based on the current date. First we have to change the date format. Here is how to do it: Open the Control Panel and double-click Regional And Language Options . In the Regional And Language Options dialog box, click the Customize button on the Regional Options tab. Select the Date tab . In the Short Date panel select the Date Separator drop-down field and select a dash (-) because Windows doesn't allow slashes in file and folder names. Click the Apply button and close the dialog boxes. Keep in mind that any change you make to

Integrated Gmail – All Google services at one place

Integrated Gmail is an addon for Firefox that allows you to make your inbox collapsible and load several other Google services like Google Calendar, Reader, Notebook, Groups, Maps, Picasa, Sites, News and Portfolio seamlessly into the Gmail interface below the inbox. You can choose which services you want to integrate and adjust the width of each added application. You can also add custom URLs with navigation buttons and Google Gadgets. Additionally, you can remove the headers from these application to make them compact and save space. Integrated Gmail is an easy way to access all your favorite Google services from one place. Access Google calendar or read feeds or browse maps right from your inbox. If you don’t like the collapsible interface and rather have tabs, then wait for the next release of this addon, when this feature would be added. Integrated Gmail works with Google Apps too.

Print CD/DVD covers with UndercoverXP

If you like to burn movies to DVD for watching on your player, like I do, you might also like to print covers for the DVD boxes. Not only covers make it easier for you to search, it gives the DVD box a more complete and “original” look, and your personal movie library looks better. The trouble with printing covers is figuring out the right size of it. UndercoverXP is an application that makes printing covers easier. You load the image into the application and it automatically scales the image to the correct size to fit into the selected format, which includes front covers, back covers, front + inside, inlays, DVD Boxes, Digital Pictures and CD/DVD labels. You can load separate images for the front and back cover, select the format from the drop down menu and print it from within the application. It also prints dotted lines showing you where to cut and fold the paper.   Apart from CD and DVD covers, UndercoverXP can also print Playstation, Wii, Blue Ray and HD DVD covers.

Xpadder turns any gamepad into a keyboard

Playing games on PC using the keyboard and mouse is not always the most comfortable option. Many gamers prefer to use a gamepad controller or joystick, but unfortunately not all games support it. The freeware application Xpadder is designed for such a purpose. Xpadder makes it possible to use a gamepad with games that has poor or no controller support. But Xpadder isn’t limited to only games. It can be used like a normal input device to control almost any application. Xpadder has the ability to emulate a mouse and/or keyboard using a controller or joystick by mapping the keys of the keyboard to the buttons on the gamepad controller. Xpadder also lets you map mouse commands to your gamepad, or map sequences of keys to a single button press. Xpadder supports the use of up to 26 controllers simultaneously, if a controller supports it. Here is a nice tutorial that will guide you through the process of configuring your controller and mapping keys to it. Unfortunately, the

Recover from a system hang with AntiFreeze

Frozen computers is something we have all experienced from time to time. You are working with some application or browsing the web when suddenly you find that your computer has stopped responding. You try to bring up the task manager with the most famous key combination CTRL+ALT+DEL. If it comes up, you are lucky. You can terminate the offending process and probably save yourself from resetting your computer. But sometimes the system is so busy that even the task manager does not show up. Everything is frozen. This is where AntiFreeze might be able to help you. AntiFreeze is a utility that sits on the system tray, waiting for you to press the hotkey combination (ALT+CTRL+WIN+HOME by default) in the event of an emergency, i.e. your system becomes unresponsive. As soon as you press the key combination, you will hear a beep indicating that AntiFreeze has taken over your system. It will then suspend most of the running programs, except the critical ones, so they stop hogging your syst

DAVID-Laserscanner - Create 3D models with a laser and a camera

Ever tried your hand in 3D modeling on Blender or Maya? It’s tough, isn’t it? How do the game industry or the movie industry produce so many games and movies with hundreds of intricate 3D models? It takes time, yes. It takes plenty of skills too. But there is also a little secret – they often use a shortcut, a technique called 3D scanning. A 3D scanner is a device that analyzes a real-world physical object, collects data on its shape and appearance and then constructs a digital, three dimensional model of the object that can be used in a wide variety of applications. These devices are used extensively by the entertainment industry in the production of movies and video games, industrial design, orthotics and prosthetics, quality control/inspection and documentation of cultural artifacts. 3D scanners are sophisticated and expensive instruments. True, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a cheap 3D scanner at home. All you need is a camera, a line laser (starting from about 10 E

How to make Firefox look and behave like Google Chrome

Want to get Chrome’s look and functionality in Firefox? Here is what you will require –1) Chromifox theme and 2) Total NoChrome addon for Firefox. Chromifox, called “coat of Chrome for Firefox”, is a bright and soft blue theme for Firefox 3 on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, inspired by the appearance of the Google Chrome web browser. Chromifox gives Firefox the almost Chrome like appearance except the tab bar and title bar which is fused into one in Chrome. This is fixed by another addon called Total NoChrome. Total NoChrome is a modification of the Total ReChrome addon which places the tab bar at the top and changes the appearance of the title bar  bringing it closer to the Chrome look. That will take care of the looks. Now for the functionality. To get Chrome’s features in Firefox, get the following extensions. 1. Stealther or Distrust for incognito mode or private browsing. Private browsing is available in Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 though. ( Original post ) 2. D

Get Windows Vista’s Explorer in XP with ViSplore

With Windows Vista, Microsoft made a major overhaul of the interface of their file manager – the Explorer. The menu bar was gone, breadcrumbs navigation was introduced, search integrated into every window and there was transparencies every where. If you want to have all of these features in Windows XP, then try ViSplore . ViSplore is an application for Windows XP that brings Vista’s Explorer to XP. ViSplore doesn’t modify Windows XP’s explorer to implement these changes. Many applications had tried it unsuccessfully in the past. ViSplore is a stand alone file manager that is almost a clone of the real Vista’s explorer – the same Aero look, the same buttons, the same breadcrumb navigation. ViSplore doesn’t require any installation and doesn’t make any changes to XP’s explorer. It runs in the system tray and can be launched by clicking on Explorer from the tray menu or pressing Win+W. If you check the ‘Default File Manager’ option in the tray menu, ViSplore becomes the default e

Oget integrates any download manager with Opera

Opera’s limited compatibility, both with websites and with third party applications is a major reason why it’s market share is only 2%. A common gripe even among Opera users is the limited support for download managers. Oget is a plug-in for Opera that solves this long standing issue with the browser – integration of download managers. Oget enables integration of more than 27 download managers with Opera, with provisions for adding your custom download managers to the list. List of supported Download Managers BitComet Download Accelerator Plus Download Master FlashGet FlashGet 2 Free Download Manager FreshDownload GetRight GigaGet HiDownload InstantGet Internet Download Accelerator Internet Download Manager LeechGet Mass Downloader NetAnts Net Transport Net Transport 2 Orbit ReGet Star Downloader TrueDownloader Thunder WellGet wxD

Type commands into MS Word with Saavvii

It is surprising how much time we spend on MS Word editing our document and searching for commands that does it, which interrupts the flow of our work. For a casual user it can be quite difficult to locate commands among the menus and various toolbars. Saavvii is a free plug-in for Word that will save you from the frustrating hunt for commands and actions on the Word interface. Saavvii, previously known as Natural Word, allows the user to command Microsoft Word using their own words. Saavvii integrates seamlessly into Microsoft Word and remains hidden until you need to implement an action or edit your document. Press a hotkey (the menu key, by default) to launch Saavvii and type your command in natural English and Word will do it for you. No training is required. If you have good typing speed, you will find that typing commands are easier and faster rather than searching through menus, lists and dialog boxes. For instance you can highlight the text or simply click on the

PeekYou for Firefox – Know the people behind the web

PeekYou is a search engine designed to search people. If you have heard about Spock or Wink , you must be familiar with the idea of people’s search engine. PeekYou gathers information about online users from publicly available URLs, including MySpace profiles, Friendster, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, blogs, homepages, and news sources, and makes this information accessible through their search engine. PeekYou’s directory of people is openly editable and managed by community of volunteers, much like the Wikipedia community. Recently, PeekYou released one of the coolest addon for Firefox . This addon adds PeekYou to the browser’s status bar and whenever you visit a page, it will retrieve information from their directory and tell you who is behind that website. It’s unobtrusive and very informative. For instance, when I visit the status bar tells me “Jerry Yang from Sunnyvale, CA”, who is the CEO and co-founder of Yahoo. When I open Google, PeekYou’s status bar displays the name “

Convert text to images with Hidetext

If you want to post something private on your blog or a forum but don’t want a search engine to index it, then take a look at Hidetext . It is an online service that takes your texts and converts it into an image, making it impossible for search engine spiders or any bots to gather that information. Hidetext is useful when you want to post something controversial, discuss something private in a forum or just make it difficult to copy your work. Hidetext supports up to 100,000 characters but formatting options is limited to just two fonts types and a couple of font sizes. Of course, you can get more formatting and styling options if you do that yourself – write it on a word processor and take a screenshot. But Hidetext simplifies this task, albeit with lesser control. The images are hosted on Hidetext’s own servers where you can link to, or download the image and delete it from their servers. Shown below is a sample text, from one of my previous articles, converted into an image

Google Book Search starts indexing magazines

There are a handful of ways to get a digital copy of various magazines, mostly illegal. Now here is one legal way to read them online – via Google Book Search . Google has partnered with publishers to digitize back issues of thousands of popular magazines like New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony and make them searchable through their Book Search engine. You can find magazines from as early as 1970s. You can search for magazines through Google Book Search. Try queries like [ obama keynote convention ], [ hollywood brat pack ] or [ world's most challenging crossword ] and you'll find magazine articles alongside books results. Magazine articles are tagged with the keyword "Magazine" on the search snippet. Over time, as we scan more articles, you'll see more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Eventually, we'll also begin blending magazine results into our main search results, so you may begin finding magazin

How to get your lost pen drive returned to you

Pen drives are so small that they can be easily misplaced and even lost. How do you make sure that your lost drive is returned to you by the finder? Leave you name and contact info in the drive? Yes, but we will do it a different way. First we will look at a software that displays a message when a pen drive is accessed, and then we will implement the same thing with our own coding. USB Lost and Found is an interesting piece of software that informs the finder of a lost pen drive about the rightful owner of the drive. The free edition of this software can display a user configured message whenever the USB drive is accessed. The tool is actually quite simple: it creates an executable application called “setup.exe” on the root of the pen drive, that displays an alert box with the owner’s email or phone number, and then causes this application to auto launch by creating an auto.ini file. The program is basic and does not prevent anybody from keeping the drive. The programs executable

How do you compare monitor screen sizes?

Monitor screen sizes are measured diagonally. The adoption of the diagonal measurement is driven more by historical than technical reasons. Earlier TV monitors were circular, which meant that they only needed to measure the diameter to describe their screen or tube size. Later on when round screens were replaced by rectangular screens, the diagonal measurement became equivalent to the diameter measurement used in earlier TVs. Besides, TV manufacturers like to mention the diagonal size because it’s the largest line on the screen. No manufacturer wants to reveal that their 29 inch TV sets are actually 23 inches across. Not only that, a substantial portion of the CRT tube (not applicable to LCD monitors) is concealed behind the case and so the actual viewing area is even lesser. Customers still have a hard time figuring out how big or small their TV sets are. This confusion doubled when wide screen TVs came into market. Now there are two aspect ratios – the traditional 4:3 and the new 1

FlexTk – The advanced file management toolkit

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word ‘file management’? Windows Explorer maybe, and all the operations that it can perform on files - create, open, view, edit, print, play, rename, move, copy, delete and so on. If so, then you will surprised of how much a file manager is actually capable of performing when you see FlexTk . FlexTk has a clean and easy to use interface despite the ridiculous number of tools and features built into it. FlextTk’s interface consist of three panels – a large one at the top below the toolbar and address bar and a split panel at the bottom. The larger panel is the main window of the application that allows you to browse your files and perform operation on them. The split panel at the bottom has 6 selectable windows showing various information and shortcuts about your files. At any time you can choose to display 2 out of the 6 windows which are – file filter, bookmarks, history, disk list, system status (which showed CPU,