Saturday, February 28, 2009

Print out Wikipedia articles as books

The ‘Books’ feature on Wikipedia has been around for a while which allows a user to compile several Wikipedia articles into a book and get it printed by, a start-up company based in Germany. This feature was available only for the German version of Wikipedia, but now support for 6 more languages has been added including English. The other supported languages are French, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish.

create-book Wikibooks is currently available only for logged in users. Once you are logged in, you will see a section "Create a book" on the left hand side of every article towards the bottom. Click on "Add wiki page" to add article you are viewing to your book. You can add as many articles to the book as you want but keep in mind that the bigger the book is the higher the price you will have to pay to print it.

When you have finished collecting articles and ready to print, click on Show Book. Now you can add title/subtitle to your book and arrange the pages. At this point if you feel you need to add more articles to the book, don’t worry ‘cause you can continue adding articles to the book until you are ready to order the print or download the book as PDF or OpenDocument format.


The books are bounded and printed by PediaPress on A5 sized papers (about 5.8 inch × 8.3 inch) with colored cover and grayscale inner pages. Printing price starts from USD 7.9 for 100 pages or less to USD 26.9 for 700 pages. If your book is more than 700 pages, it’s broken down into several volumes. 10% of the amount received for each book sold goes to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Instead of printing out articles at home on loose sheets, you can get it professionally printed by PediaPress. The price is reasonable and they ship all over the world.

[via Techcrunch]

Safarp - The small and fast uninstaller for Windows

The default Windows un-installation manager, the Add/Remove Programs is a decent tool but it’s extremely slow. My Add/Remove panel takes about 15 seconds to show the programs list and as more and more programs get installed in future, it will start taking longer and longer. Those who can’t wait that long and need something quicker, look no further than the open sourced Safarp.

safarp-add-remove wait

Safarp is an extremely fast uninstaller for Windows and at 131 KB it’s extremely small. Don’t be fooled by it’s small size - Safarp is a very capable uninstaller. The best thing about Safarp is it’s speed – it loads the complete list of installed programs under 1 second. Yes, I tried it on my PC and it loaded 261 applications in 0.531 sec (this information is shown in the status bar).


Like Add/Remove Programs, Safarp can sort the list by Name, Size, Frequency of use, Date last used and one more order – by Publisher name. There is also a search utility with ‘search as you type’ function that avoids the user from having to scroll through the application list. Just type the first few letters of the application to get to it.

Safarp also allows you to export the list of installed programs as HTML, RTF, CSV etc – a feature you can use to get a list of installed applications on your computer.

Safarp gives a little less information about the application than the Windows default utility (publisher website, support phone number etc), but those information isn’t necessary to uninstall a program and I’m not sure whether anybody actually uses it. So for me, it doesn’t make any difference. Safarp might have bland look but it does what it was built to do.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Usage Monitor notifies you when resource usage by processes exceed

Have you ever got the balloon message in Windows that say "Your system is low on virtual memory. Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file."? Or you notice Firefox is slugging and you open the task manager to find the memory usage is at 800 MB? Such things often happen when you are too absorbed in your work to notice the sheer number of applications or browser tabs open until the application starts to crawl or worse – crashes on your face.

Usage Monitor is free tool that lets you set watch limits on processes and avoid such a situation. You can set watch limits on memory usage, GDI Objects, and USER Objects. Whenever the resource usage by the watched processes exceed the set limit, it triggers an alert. The alert can be a simple popup or message with an audible alarm or a flashing taskbar. It can even execute a file as alert.


To use the application, first select the process you want to watch, say Firefox. Then click on Watches to open a small menu with the 3 kinds of watches that can be applied. In this case we want to apply a memory limit. So choose Memory Usage, click Set and enter the value. Now start monitoring the process from the Tools menu or by pressing F3.

usage-monitor-warning3 usage-monitor-pop

Whenever the memory usage of Firefox exceeds the limit Usage Monitor will display a warning icon before Firefox and also pop up a message on the system tray.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

F.lux automatically adjusts the screen brightness by time of day

Remember Display Tuner, the tool that allows you to adjust monitor brightness by keyboard shortcut? Well, here is another nifty tool that automatically changes the screen brightness and tint by the time of the day. It’s a great tool for users who sit before the computer screen throughout the day.

F.lux will set the screen monitor bright during the day and gradually dim it as evening approaches. At night, the screen will take a “halogen” tinge – an orange kind of hue. I have to test this orange hue at night and see how it looks and whether it’s really soothing to the eye. To give you a glimpse of how the brightness varies during the day, there is a preview mode which plays the entire day within a few seconds.



To begin you have to first set the latitude of your place. You can also set the brightness and tint level of the screen at a particular time of day. Because of the orange tint, F.lux is not suitable for design work, so there is an option to disable F.lux for one hour. This seems like great tool. I’m going to run this as a trial for a couple of days.

[via Lifehacker]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Minos Album creates animated 3D flash photo albums

Here is a cool way to share your photos with your friends. Take all your photos and make a photo album on flash. Add page turning animation and sound effects and then convert the flash file into an EXE file that can be viewed on any Windows PC.

All these can be done using a free software called Minos Album. Apart from creating digital photo albums, using Minos Album you can create brochures, product catalogues, and e-books. There is a realistic page-flipping animation, and has functionalities like a convenient thumbnails-view, ability to enlarge photos, navigate using keyboard and an auto play function.



The program also supports PDF files, however this feature is broken as it includes only the first page of the PDF file in the album and the rest of the pages are lost. 

You are allowed to choose the size of the albums with custom sizes up to 2048 pixels in width and height. You can also add background music, choose your own icons etc. The publishers also provide you with 100 MB of free web space to upload your albums for sharing.

Related: Create online magazines from any document with Calameo

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Firefox extension LinkExtend enhances browsing

LinkExtend is a new addon for Firefox that enhance your web surfing experience by bringing you as much information as possible about the visiting site. Information like whether it is child safe or malicious, page popularity parameters like Google Page Rank and Alexa rating and so on. Apart from that, it actually enhances the browsing experience by allowing you to enable thumbnail previews in search results, more control on Firefox history, a plethora of new search engines and bunch of other improvements.


Here is a brief overview of the features you will get when you install LinkExtend.

Safety - Informs you if a web page is malicious, sends spam, contains spyware, online scams, identity theft, and more. LinkExtend uses services like McAfee SiteAdvisor, Web Of Trust, Web Security Guard, Google Safe Browsing and few others to get information about malicious sites.


KidSafe - Alerts you about sites that are unsafe for children and let's you erase these sites from your Firefox history automatically


Ethics - Rates ethical behavior of a site's company including social responsibility, business practices, environmental impact, etc.

PageRank - Represents how important a page is on the web, based on the Google link analysis algorithm, ranked from zero to ten

SiteTraffic - Shows you how popular a site is, based on the average page views and users for a particular site or web page. Rated from zero to ten, it is aggregated from four services: Alexa, Quantcast, Compete, and Statbrain. Clicking on the SiteTraffic button will give you various site options from the four available services including: cached links, incoming links, related links, traffic details, demographics and lifestyle.


Visited - Tells you when you last visited a site, what pages you accessed, and lets you remove the site from your Firefox history

SiteTools - Finds the age of a particular web page, older versions, site reviews, contact details, free account passwords, and more. Contact details are obtained from Whois data and login passwords from BugMeNot. It also lets search the current domain in Wikipedia, retrieve previous versions of a web page from Wayback Machine and find relevant websites similar from


Links - Access the links and titles in a web page without having to open the page itself (also shows the link titles and favicons). Simply right click on a link and choose LinkExtend to immediately get a thumbnail preview of the site along with all the information that are discussed here right in the context menu.

Files - Shows all files on a web page organized by categories (videos, music, images, programs, etc.) for easy downloading

SuperSearch - Click on the small black arrow at the right of the search icon to directly search over 200 top search engines in these categories: Academia, Blogs, Books, Business, Children, File Sharing, Health, Jobs, Multimedia, News, People, Programming, Question & Answer, Reference, Shopping, Social Networking, Video Games, Visual Web Search, and more. You can SuperSearch any term on any webpage: Select the text, right click it, and choose SuperSearch for the term you selected. If you want to eliminate search results that are harmful, unethical or unsafe for children you can do so in LinkExtend Options under the Search Engine tab.


Hide Search Results - Allows you to eliminate search results that are harmful to your computer, unethical or unsafe for children.

Thumbnail – Inserts thumbnail previews on Google search results


Result Number - Each search result can be numbered as an aid to remembering and locating a result you want to view again

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hawkscope - Access all files on your hard disk from the system tray

Hawkscope is an incredibly useful program that allows you to access your hard disk’s content right from your system tray. Forget about My Computer or the desktop because Hawkscope does not simply show you the hard drives but the entire contents on it through pop open menus. The best part is Hawkscope is available for all the three major platforms – Windows, Linux and Mac and it’s open source.


On Windows


On Linux


On Mac

Just click on Hawkscope’s icon on the system tray to launch the menu showing all your partitions. Hover the mouse over any partition to open a sub menu that displays the contents. Move the mouse pointer over any folder to open yet another menu displaying the contents of that folder. You can continue opening folder after folders and you don’t even have to click. You also get access to your user folder – (C:\Documents and Settings\$username$) and all the contents within it including your My Documents folder, Cookies folder and so on. It’s great to have these just a click away.


The program allows you to add custom locations through the Quick Access tab on the settings window. You can also set to view hidden files or even blacklist certain locations from showing. This application is going to save anybody who works on a computer precious amount of time. I’m totally sold.

Lock your keyboard and mouse with Kid-Key-Lock

Sometime ago we brought you a program called CD/DVD Drive Locker that locks down the optical drive to keep it away from kids with restless fingers. But hey, we forgot about the keyboard and mouse. Aren’t those 108 keys equally tempting? It does wonderful things to the machine and even draw figures on the screen. So how do you keep your kids away from pressing the cancel button when you are at 99% installing some software?

Simple, by using Kid-Key-Lock. Kid-Key-Lock is a program that locks specific keyboard and mouse functions to prevent toddlers from accidentally pressing unwanted buttons on your keyboard and mouse. Kid-Key-Lock can be accessed from the system tray and all lock-up options are readily accessible from a pop-up menu.

kid-key-lock kidkeylock_menu

Unfortunately, the program is not fully customizable. You can only choose between some preset lock functions like lock all keys accept standard character keys, or lock only system combination or lock all keys. Similarly you can lock the left, right or middle mouse button, lock double click or the scroll wheel.

If you accidentally lock down your keyboard, the program supports a key combination like a password that can override all lock settings or quit the program.

[via GHacks]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Orbiter – A realistic free space flight simulator

Orbiter is a free flight simulator for Windows that allows you to soar up and beyond the confines of Earth's atmosphere. Orbiter is not a shooting game or an arcade. It’s emphasis is on realism and the learning curve can be very steep even for those who are familiar with flight simulation games. This is because space physics and orbital mechanics is complicated and different from those experienced on aircrafts. Be prepared to invest in a lot of time.

The physics is realistic - planetary motion, gravitation effects, free space and atmospheric flight are accurately modeled and never before heard things like “gravity-gradient torque that effects vessels in low orbit as a result of their mass distribution” implemented in the simulator. I wish the graphics was realistic too.

Orbiter allows you to fly a number of spacecrafts, from the realistically modeled Space Shuttle Atlantis to the fictional Delta-Glider. Fly using conventional rocket engines or futuristic nuclear fission and fusion drives. Travel around the solar system or perform orbital and sub-orbital space flights. Try your hand in rendezvous operations like docking the space shuttle to the International Space Station or even the historic Russian Space Station Mir. Go on a mission to retrieve a drifting satellite or build a new space station in orbit. Or just fly around in your craft and enjoy the breathtaking view.

orbiter (7) orbiter orbiter (2) orbiter (3) orbiter (5) orbiter (6)

The inside of the cockpit is almost realistic with arrays of switches and knobs on your instrument panel. In addition to the cockpit view the player is also allowed to freely look around from outside the spacecraft.

NASSP_Panel orbiter2

Orbiter has a bunch of addons like additional spacecraft and sounds (the original game has no sound probably because there is no air in space)  that extends the game. There is also a scenario editor that allows users to create their own spacecraft and scenarios.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keep track of your favorite TV shows with MyTVShows

Suppose you are big fan of TV shows – Lost, Heroes, Prison Break and the like, but you have trouble remembering which episodes you have seen and when the next episode is going to be aired, partly because you see too many shows to keep track of and partly because your intellectual growth is stunned from years of bombardment by retarded TV shows. Okay, just joking! Everybody watches TV and if you want an organizer to help you keep track of your favorite TV shows, take a looks at MyTVShows.


MyTVShows is a website for those new generation of couch potatoes who can divide their time between the TV and the computer. This free online application allows you to keep track of the episodes you have already seen and the ones you haven't yet. Once you add your favorite shows (there is over a thousand different shows to choose from) to your account and marked the episodes you have seen, you will get a list of episodes that remained to be seen along with information of the date and time when these unwatched shows are to be aired.

In your dashboard you can click on “New/Upcoming Episodes” and get early notification about shows that you has to be watched in the coming week or month.


Additionally you get news snippets and gossip about your shows right on your dashboard. Another cool feature is the ability to check if you already have the subtitles for a particular episode, and if not MyTVShows will provide you links to websites specialized in TV Shows subtitles.

If you use calendar software and reminders to help you remember about TV shows then MyTVShows is a good place for you.

GE-Graph – Draw overlay graphs and data on Google Earth

GE-Graph is a fantastic visualization tool for Google Earth created specially for giving presentations that leaves your audience’s jaw dropping. GE-Graph is a free program that takes data in a simple tabular format and then lets you plot it as 3 dimensional polygons and bars directly over Google Earth. The result is incredible, though surprisingly something that we are used to seeing – the news weather report for example.


GE-Graph takes KML files saved by Google Earth and uses those files to generate graphs on the maps. The resulting file, generated by GE-Graph can be exported back to Google Earth.


You have to enter data in GE-Graph using its table editor. You can paste columns directly from a spreadsheet or import them as CSV files created in the correct format -latitude, longitude, name and value to be plotted. Set the type of graph you want to plot – flat graphs that are pinned to the ground, with colors describing the value or 3D bars with their value indicated on the sides. You can also create 3D bars where the height varies according to the data. Set color of the graph, the size and so on.



Checkout some of the demo files found on the website. You will find lots of additional resources too. Download them and import it to Google Earth to see the results. This would be one hell of a presentation!

GE-Graph is compatible with the recent Google Earth version 5.0.

Seven Remix XP gives Windows XP the Windows 7 look

The Windows 7 interface is so much different from it’s predecessors that it is hard for any transformation pack to give an earlier edition of Windows the same look as Windows 7. It was different with Vista. There are at least half a dozen tools that can change Windows XP’s interface to Vista, almost deceptively. But Windows 7’s superbar turned out to be a big problem for skin designers – nobody was able to come close.

Here is another “attempt” to bring Windows 7’s look to Windows XP.



Seven Remix XP from niwradsoft is a free transformation pack for Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server and Windows Media Center Edition. Like any other transformation pack, Seven Remix XP replaces a great number of system files associated with the GUI of Windows. Files that contain icons, images, animations are extracts of Windows 7 to update your Windows XP interface to that of Windows 7. The installer also applies adjustments in the registry, it installs programs of third, skins and visual extras like sounds, styles, etc.

Seven Remix XP comes with a full uninstaller if you want to go back to the earlier look.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Display MIDI files as sheet music with Notation Player

Ever wanted to find out which instruments are playing in a music composition or an orchestra? What tune the violin is playing or the guitar or the drums? Ever fancy how the entire orchestra would sound if certain instruments are missing? Well now you can.

Notation Player is a free program that can turn music files (.mid, .kar) into sheet music that you can view on the screen while the notes play. You can play the entire bunch of instruments at once or play only selected ones. You can even print out the sheets so that you can play it yourself. This is a wonderful tool for both professional and practicing musicians.


Unfortunately, I’m neither so I can’t give you a detailed review of what this application can do and what it cannot. Just watching the music come alive as shapes and notations on a sheet was enough to get me hooked. But one thing I was able to notice that it’s possible to modify the music by either transcribing the tracks or adding your own clefs and keys to the sheet. You can even save the music.


The program’s website has a large collection of MIDI files as samples for you to try out. And there is always Google.

4 tools to get the most out of your screen real estate

Monitors are getting bigger and wider and if I may add, cheaper too. And while these are great for watching high definition content, for normal usage there is just too much real estate than you can possibly use. You don’t need one single window to occupy the whole of your 22” monitor, do you? The following free tools help you to extract the maximum advantage out of your BIG monitors with efficient window management.

1. WinSplit Revolution is one of the most popular tool for widescreen monitors or any high resolution monitors for that matter. With the help of a hotkey you can move the active window to any corner or any side of the screen – top left, top right, up, bottom and so on. You can divide the screen into as many parts as you want and confine any window into any of these parts.


2. Sizer is a freeware utility that allows you to resize any window to an exact, predefined size. So instead of having the move the windows into predefined areas on the screen, you can resize them to the size you want and drag them anywhere. Besides resizing a window it is possible to position it as well. In the configuration box you will see a “Move To” option where you can specify the exact pixel position where you want the window moved.

sizerpopupmenu  restoremenu

To resize any window right-click on the right bottom corner of the window to pop up a menu with predefined sizes. You can also right click on the restore, maximize button and the title bar of the window to bring up this menu.

3. AeroSnap is a program that allows you to snap any program to the edge of the screen by dragging. Just pull a window to the right edge of the screen and it will resize to half the screen size on the right. Similarly pull a window to the left to have it resized to the left half of the screen. Pulling the window to the top will maximize it.

4. Acer GridVista is a tool from Acer that allows you to divide the screen into grids and drag a window into any of these grids to automatically resize them. It has 4 different layouts to choose from. The program also adds a few buttons adjacent to the maximize/minimize buttons on the window which you can use instead of dragging windows.


All of these tools has certain advantages and disadvantages over each other. Personally, I prefer GridVista to AeroSnap where drag-n-drop is concerned. WinSplit Revolution is great for it’s keyboard hotkeys when you need to arrange windows into predefined positions, while Sizer is good for resizing any window without snapping it into any position.

Monday, February 16, 2009

GameMode saves your session before you game

Imagine you are working on your computer with programs loaded to the brim – writing code in Dreamweaver or Notepad++, surfing the net on a browser, editing an image on Paint.NET, and you are also listening to music on your favorite media player and maybe even chatting with a friend on IM. The memory usage is high. Now suppose you had a desire to game, a game with cutting edge graphics that uses a lot of system resources. But it wouldn’t be possible to run the game with all the applications running in the background because it will seriously affect the game performance. The game might not even load.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Xinorbis – Hard disk usage analyzer

Xinorbis is a portable and powerful hard disk analyzer that provides you a complete overview of the contents of your hard disk using a sophisticated mix of graphs, tables and tree displays.


Xinorbis scans your hard drive or the selected partitions and gives a comprehensive report about the various file types on the disk, sorting them out according to file the type with the exact figure of disk space occupied by each type. You can even use this application to browse files of a particular type. For instance, if you have your PDF files scattered all over your hard drive, use Xinorbis to browse all the PDF files as if they are all located in a single folder.

You can also view files based on their date of creation or find out which files are occupying the largest disk space and which ones the smallest. You can also view files sorted by size or quantity and see the results in either a tree format or charts and pie diagrams.

It’s a robust application with extremely detailed reports. There is even an option to export the reports and save them as PDF or CSV.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top 5 alternatives to Windows Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager is the tool that comes up when we give the famous three-finger salute (Ctrl+Alt+Del) to end a troublesome process or application. In the old days, it used to reboot the computer but in modern Windows system it brings up a more useful Task Manager. The task manager allows us to monitor running programs, processes, or threads and kill them if the need arise. The task manager is indispensible when you are troubleshooting any application. So why not look at some better tools that help us to get more information about the processes?

1. Process Explorer: This is the most popular replacement to the Windows Task Manager. Ask anybody and this is first tool they would recommend to you. Process Explorer is a free program created by Sysinternals (and later acquired by Microsoft) which is a great tool for system monitoring and debugging software.


The Process Explorer display consists of two sub-windows. The top window always shows a list of the currently active processes, including the names of their owning accounts, whereas the information displayed in the bottom window depends on the mode that Process Explorer is in: if it is in handle mode you'll see the handles that the process selected in the top window has opened; if Process Explorer is in DLL mode you'll see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded. Unlike Task Manager, Process Explorer can even show which thread is using the CPU.

2. DTaskManager is another good Task Manager replacement with an interface similar to Windows Task Manager but with lots of additional functionalities. Here is brief description from the publisher:


  • Three different ways to close a process, as the "termination request", the standard "forced termination" with dialogue tolerance, and the "forced termination" of any type of process, bypassing all permissions (it can also terminate running system processes).
  • DTaskManager allows you to suspend and reactivate a process (as in Linux). This is useful, for example, to temporarily suspend a task that uses system resources when you don't want to terminate it (such as a DivX encoding process).
  • DTaskManager allows you to select more than one process at a time, and terminate all of them "simultaneously".

3. MKN TaskExplorer is an advanced process management tool that shows detailed information about each process, including performance and memory graphs, DLLs loaded, threads, and access token. It also shows the information about the handles opened by a process and provides a function to read processes' virtual memory.


TaskExplorer provides a function to stop and resume the execution of processes. There is an option where you can even force a process out of the physical memory. It can also stop, resume and terminate single threads in processes and can create a stack trace for each threads, which can be helpful for debugging purposes.

4. Free Extended Task Manager is an application that upgrades Windows existing Task Manager with new functionalities and features.

  • The new "Disk I/O" chart allows you to monitor which applications utilize most of your disk at the moment.
  • The network port monitoring feature allows you to see who is connected to your computer and from which IP address, and who you are connecting to.
  • It features another useful ability to locate Windows processes that lock a specific file. For example if you are unable to delete or rename a file, you can quickly find how it is used and possibly exit or kill the application that locks it.
  • It adds a new tab called "Summary" that allows you to quickly assess the overall state of the Windows system
  • It allows freezing individual Windows processes


5. AnVir Task Manager is more than a task manager – it’s a Swiss-army knife for your operating system that allow you to control, optimize and defend all the processes that occur on your PC. It includes a process and startup manager, spyware removal tool, performance tweaker, processes, services and DLLs, drivers manager.


From the system tray, you can view CPU usage and disk load, quickly access the last launched programs, change process priority or permanently block undesired processes. It’s a good program but with a horribly cluttered interface which has almost ruined this application. If we could only tone down it’s interface and the colors this would have been a fine tool.

Also checkout, Daphne – The task manager with mouse control.

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