Jan 272009
 

TreeSize is a small executable that lets the user visualize how much space a drive or a folder and its subfolders is taking. Opening the program and opening any directory or folder presents a windows explorer like and expandable list of folders.

The results can be viewed in KB, MB, GB, or even mixed units so that varied folder sizes can be more precisely accounted for. It is also possible to view the sizes in percentage, file count and cluster size.

It is also possible to enable or disable the bar that acts as a relative size indicator (see image below). Most interestingly perhaps are the options to add TreeSize to file and drive context menus accessible via right click and the ability to show tooltips when hovering over the results. The tooltips provide such info as Wasted space, in how data chunks are handled by the operating system, and such things as Creation Date, Average File Size and folder Permissions. Buried under View—>Options is File Filter which lets the user ‘Enter one of more file filters which should be included in a scan’, but it proves mostly useless since it seems to only be an indicator that an uncertain number of a certain file type exists within a folder.

treesize

The current version, 2.2.1 , is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista but the last Windows 98 and ME compatible version, 2.1, is also available. TreeSize is freeware but a professional version with many more features, including the ability to export reports to formats other than a simple print job, is also available.

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Jan 232009
 

Last week I posted that in my opinion there is a general need for applications that do more than just tag music and photos. Tagging that extends to all file types can ease organization not least because searching for files in folders is not always the most efficient.

Therefore it was great to see that Samer @ Freewaregenius has found and reviewed TaggedFrog. In very much the same way and perhaps even better ways TaggedFrog does what I was looking for and perhaps more importantly is being developed and is not abandoned.

It is described by its author as

TaggedFrog allows you to organize your files, documents and Web links. Just add objects to the library and tag them with any keywords. That’s it. You can forget the file name or where the file is located, but don’t worry – the tags will find the file for you.

and it looks good. Although, in general, I think one would prefer to do without a .NET requirement but since Ultrafolder is dead and tag2find runs as a service this is a good and promising alternative.

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Jan 222009
 

Windows Grep is described by its author as

Windows Grep is a tool for searching files for text strings that you specify. Although Windows and many other programs have file searching capabilities built-in, none can match the power and versatility of Windows Grep.

Windows Grep is more or less a GUI (Graphical User Interface) for the grep command line utility. In addition to searching for text it also supports replacing of text.

Searches can be performed using either the beginner or expert mode, with the former providing a wizard. The wizard is basically a step by step version of the expert mode that does not necessarily make the searching task easier and in reality only offers less options.

File formats supported include plain (source code, batch files, etc.) and binary (EXE, DLL, etc.). It is possible to perform searches based on the size and the date of the files in question and also use regular expressions in the search. Search results can also be saved and printed. Additionally Windows Grep can search inside ZIP archives thus making it handy for searching backups for example.

One of the strengths of Windows Grep is the way search results are displayed. The user can control the number of lines displayed around either side of the matching text, whether to include whole lines and some others. (see image below). Worth a mention is the support for searching delimited (text separated by a constant character such as a comma) and fixed length text file formats.

windowsgrep

Windows Grep runs on Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista  and is a non-expiring and non-crippled shareware. It prompts for registration at program exit.

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Jan 192009
 

Digsby is one of the newer ways to communicate with friends and colleagues across different protocols. It has been available to the world for around a year or so. Unlike the somewhat disappointing and overly long in alpha or in beta Trillian the builds or versions appear quickly and work pretty well.

Digsby requires a separate sign up to keep track of your different logins and accounts. Some privacy concerns are obvious here but are addressed as best as possible on a ‘Security Practices’ page. Over all a good product with responsive support and continuous development, at least at the time of this writing.

The protocols supported are as follows AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, ICQ, and Jabber in the IM department; Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP for email checking and notification; and Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn for social network updates and their respective chats. One of the most interesting aspects is a publicly accessible Wishlist that includes stats and votes to prioritize user input. Some of the current highly rated wishes are multi-person conversations and plug-in support. Of note is that audio and/or video chat is not natively supported but the program launches Tokbox, which can be accessed within the conversation by clicking the video button, where a new window to the TokBox service is generated and is accessible via a link to the friend at the other end of the conversation.

First start requires signing up for the aforementioned account and adding the respective protocol logins (see image below). One very user friendly feature of Digsby that should be mentioned is that if a conversation is minimized any new arriving message is not only viewable via a small popup near the bottom of the screen but it is also possible to reply using only that popup without maximizing the program. Very handy for keeping distractions to a minimum.

digsby

Digsby is freeware but the developers readily admit to the need for a revenue model and are trying to keep it to unobtrusive measures like a Yahoo toolbar and that may even be an opt-in at installation. Check out the complete feature list here. It is currently available for Windows but as many of the other Wishlist items Mac and Linux versions are coming soon. Sign up here to get notified and perhaps further encourage the work they are doing to make those versions.

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Jan 152009
 

There are many tools available to organize media, audio mainly, files. Mp3Tag and MediaMonkey being just two that support tagging music files among other features. One area that is not as populated is a desktop application that supports tagging files of any kind.

Ultrafolder, now defunct, was one such promising application. Upon installation a shortcut would be placed on the desktop and any file, be it music, word or image that was dragged to the shortcut would launch the program and allow the addition of tags. The only negative aspect that I can think of was that all the tagged files would reside in a single folder, otherwise I found it very useful and bug-free. Ultrafolder existed for a while under an expiring beta @ ultrafolder.com, but after the author discontinued development, due to lack of interest as he put it, the executable would only prompt for an update check and no longer launch. A very unfortunate decision by the author in my opinion.

In my search I have come across another app, it is called tag2find. Its development seems to have slowed since it initial launch and even though it is promising and with more features than Ultrafolder it has the disadvantage of needing to run in the system tray to monitor folders and also needing to be installed as a Windows service. It does have advantages, of course, and among them is the ability to move any tagged files and since it runs on a NTFS volume the meta information is easily carried over.

My search for similar apps continues, if you know of any please leave a link and a comment.

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Jan 132009
 

Being a rather late user or adapter of Google Analytics I was amused to find the following question and answer while searching and reading the help section of Google Analytics

Is there a report that displays IP addresses?

Due to user privacy concerns, Google Analytics doesn’t report on personally identifiable information, including a visitor’s IP address. Instead, Google Analytics provides aggregated data to help you make informed business decisions. You can view the Map Overlay report (under the Visitors section) to look at aggregated geographical data about your visitors, or view the Network Location report (under Visitors > Network Properties) to see your visitors’ ISP locations.

It is extremely odd that a search engine which undoubtedly collects quite a bit of information from its search (and other services) users decides to withhold information in this manner in the name of privacy. There are 100s of visitor statistics scripts that allow the user to classify and view site visitors sorted by IP. It is baffling to call all those privacy invaders. It is perhaps even more puzzling to assume that if any Google Analytics user sees something like “125.12.12.12” he or she can or will somehow use that for something other than being a good webmaster.

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Jan 122009
 

The CSS Tab Designer is described by its author as

CSS Tab Designer is a unique and easy to use software to help you design css-based lists and tabs visually and without any programming knowledge required

Using Cascading Style Sheets to design or code web pages is often an interesting task. It is often an adventure to create beautiful designs and achieve impressive effects as browser support for CSS is peculiar at best. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is maligned for many things, not least of which is security, but for much of its history it has lagged in web standards support which of course means that the support for the different specifications of Cascading Style Sheets has been less than what most web designer would wish it to be.

One software that is able to create tabbed menus is the CSS Tab Designer. Menus and navigation in general are an important part of a site’s user experience and using a software like the CSS Tab Designer one can not only easily create one of 60 tabbed styled menus but perhaps more importantly one can learn CSS by example through studying the generated HTML and CSS.

Upon opening the CSS Tab Designer one is presented with around 60 styles to choose from. There one can easily add menu items or additional tabs and then very easily change the number, position, order and the text of the tabs using the Edit menu. The actual relevant or generated code is viewable via a separate tab within the program.

The program offers information on browser support by providing a sampling of links to popular and important web sites that offer more tools and discussion on everything CSS. CSS tab Designer is a freeware that runs on Windows 98, ME , 2000, XP, and 2003 and is available at www.highdots.com. A couple of recommended and interesting sites on CSS worth mentioning here are Dynamic Drive and A List Apart

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Jan 082009
 

The dirhtml index.html generator is described by its author as

Dirhtml builds customizable html files from a folder branch using the gui or command line

Creating a file listing has been one of the oldest and sometimes most discussed implementations for any computer, it is obvious how to and may be even trivial to achieve a list via a search or the CLI (command line interface.)

One tool however, that offers a GUI (graphical user interface) for this task is dirhtml. The program’s options consist of 6 tabs that allow you to customize the input and output in many different and useful ways.

The first tab is called ‘Folders, Files’ and this is where the files or folder(s) the user needs to work on are chosen, those files can be filtered by type, name or even their location in subfolders. This is also the place where the output file template and/or location is chosen.

The second tab is called ‘Miscellaneous’  and offers many options all packed into one page (see below.) Here everything about the output can be customized. The user can choose to include file sizes in the output, change the date format, insert summary statistics and much more.

dirhtml

The third tab is the ‘Sorting’ options one and by comparison it is an empty tab. Two main choices are included here that allow the user to sort the way the files are listed in the output. One is ‘sort by’ where files can be sorted by filename, date, size, extension or random order and the other is ‘sort order’  where ascending, descending and unsorted order are listed. However I have not tried and am not sure how the two can work together, for example what happens if the ‘sort by’ is date and the ‘sort order’ is unsorted?

The fourth tab is ‘Default Words’ and here one can customize and include html tags (such as bold, italic, etc.) for the titles, headings and summary text of the resulting output.

The fifth tab is ‘Recursive’ options and here the user can divide the output. For example the user may want each subfolder worked on and presented separately or perhaps presented in a framed HTML page.

The final tab (see image below) gives the user the control of where the output is launched, what language or font is used and also the option to work with batch files and scripts to automate the process and even further customize every aspect of the resulting output file. Everything from working with alternate rows to using style sheets or validating the output is made possible here. The included help file has examples and a list of tags or words that can be used for the customization.

dirhtml2

All in all a very powerful program, dirhtml is now at version v4.832 and is a portable freeware. It runs under NT/2000/XP/Vista and a Windows 98 compatible version is also available at dirhtml.enware.info.

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Jan 042009
 

The xNeat Windows Manager is described by its author as

xNeat is a very handy windows enhancement utility that gives you full control over your windows and adds functionality to your desktop that you wish that Microsoft had included. It’s neat, compact and combines many useful programs into one.

The xNeat Windows Manager adds several useful and plain fun functionality to any application window. One of the most useful and time saving of the features is ‘Send To Tray’ which like most features is easily accessible by middle clicking on any window’s title bar. Instead of taking up space on the taskbar the window is minimized to the tray bar and into an icon. Also using the same key one can choose to keep any window on top. Hiding a window is also possible in the same way and the hidden window can be retrieved or restored by right clicking on the taskbar and accessing the xNeat Windows Manager menu and all its settings. (see image below)

xneat

It is also possible to control window and taskbar transparency and set priorities for processes and application windows themselves. Not to mention hiding the start button, clock, taskbar and system tray icons altogether. A pro version is also available that adds windows roll ups plus shortcuts accessible from the titlebar, keyboard or mouse. The pro version also makes it possible to clone a file name which can be useful if a file of the same name exists in a given directory. Further to that one can also append the current date to a file’s name when saving it. The xNeat Windows Manager runs on XP and 32 bit Vista and along with Clipboard Management, a clipboard utility, and Application Builder, a program that turns VBScript, JScript, HTA  or HTML files into executables (among other things), is available at www.xneat.com


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Jan 012009
 

Ac Browser Plus file manager or windows explorer replacement is described by its author as

Advanced, multi-window file manager and FTP client for Windows

File managers are often used by regular and power users alike to extend the functionality of Windows Explorer. There are many mainstays and popular ones like the freeware FreeCommander, UltraExplorer, and Q-Dir and the shareware XYplorer. One rarely mentioned one is the Ac Browser Plus which I have been running for over a year now.

acbrowserplus

It supports many features and is highly customizable. One of the more notable features it has is that you are able to work with many folders (unfortunately limited to 3 in the freeware version)  at the same time. However many additional features are all present in the freeware version. Integrated FTP client is one. Folder synchronization is another important tool. Viewers for many image and text formats is only bettered by a zip viewer which unlike many other file viewers and explorer replacements work perfectly in my many uses. It is very useful to be able to navigate inside zip archives and Ac Browser Plus does the best job I have seen among the few viewers that actually support this feature.

The features don’t stop there, one interesting and useful feature is the ‘hot point’ where you can get file properties and a thumbnail by hovering over a small red rectangle near the file name in list views. There is a renamer included as well, and an useful address bar/breadcrumbs is available that makes folder navigation even easier. Not to mention several scripts for such things as creating file lists and opening applications.

With the very customizable views that it offers and at 2.9MB for a virtually feature complete freeware version Ac Browser Plus deserves better ratings and attention. I feel that if the developer finds more time in adding and developing the additional features like the scripting and quashes a few bugs then with a bit of promotion Ac Browser Plus will get very popular. The OS support is listed as Win XP, NT, 2000, 2003.

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