Aug 312010

Ultra File Search does what it’s name suggests, it can search for files and for text inside files too. It can do that not only for files residing on local drives but for files on other drives such as on a DVD or on an USB key.

Ultra File Search supports masks for filtering the search into a number of specified criteria. These criteria include not only the more common date and size masks but also less common attributes such as read only, compressed, encrypted, temporary and others including searching system or hidden files.

The ‘Containing Text’ tab can search any words, all words, as phrase and other criteria such as restricting the search to a matching case. Here it is also possible to bypass media, image, system and hidden files so as to not waste time searching for text inside them. It should be noted that Ultra File Search does support searching inside EXE and DLL file formats.

One additional and potentially time saving feature is the ‘Append Results’ one. Checking this option makes it possible to keep any displayed search results visible when additional and subsequent results are performed. Therefore various search results can be combined into one results window.

If needed parent or containing folders can be opened from within the program. Results can also be exported into various (plain, tabbed, csv, HTML and XML) text formats. Ultra File Search is available in a portable edition that can be run from flash or USB drives. Ultra File Search is freeware and runs on Windows NT 4.0 and newer versions.

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Aug 292010

CleanHaven is an utility made to clean lines, paragraphs or passages of text. In doing so it has the potential to save time and many a headache. Any text pasted into it’s window (see image) can be operated upon in several ways and a results window, after clicking the clean button, presents the finished and cleaned text to the user.

Some of its features are as follows:

Case: This includes the likes of ‘Title Case’ to capitalize words, ‘Sentence Case’ to start new sentences capitalized, convert to uppercase and convert to lower case.

Sort: This works with words or sentences as if they are individual entries in table cells. Words can be sorted in ascending, descending, case, random and other orders.

Duplicates: This removes duplicates or shows or hides duplicates.

Remove: This has a lot of options. They include removing extra spaces, extra returns, spaces, punctuation, non numbers, non letters and more.

Personal: This converts text into several formats such as separating first and last names into an indented position ready for emails, letters or documents.

Info: This does word count and others. It also does something resembling a spell check called ‘Only Correct Spellings’ and ‘Only Incorrect Spellings’. In my tests this did not work, the presence of a ‘words’ file in the program folder notwithstanding.

CleanHaven’s Replace tab does the traditional find and replace operation. The Settings tabs let you view text in tables, this helps if the input text has tabs since tabs are used to differentiate and place text into different table cells. Consequently one can choose to work on certain columns only.

Results can be exported into *.txt, *.xls and *.csv formats. CleanHaven is also available for the Mac and Linux and is a capable efficiency and productivity freeware.

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Aug 252010

Digital Janitor helps you organize and specifically sort files and folders. The main purpose or usefulness of Digital Janitor is that when many files are downloaded from the, say, internet they tend to sit in one folder with differing files lost in the maze of documents, images, music and the like.

Enter Digital Janitor and its rules based organizer.

The main interface of the program, seen in the image, is the place where a source (perhaps the aforementioned download folder) is chosen. Then based on any combination of file formats, keywords or sizes files are moved into a destination folder. A ‘rule’ is first added via the add rule button and then also saved – and given a name. For example a rule can exist to move *.jpg files into an images folder and another rule to move *.wmv files greater than 100MB into a movies folder. Rules are saved for repeated and future use and pressing the sort button runs the chosen or highlighted rule.

From here on Digital Janitor gets confusing. It has a sort of pre-defined rule set for working with music files in its ‘Sort Music’ menu. This is where mp3 files can be sorted by artist or album. This feature is somewhat confusing because at first look it is not clear if any destination folders are automatically created or not and if they are indeed not it is not a very productive way of sorting the mp3 files anyway.

Another confusing aspect of the program is the ‘Schedule’. It resides in a separate window from the program’s initial rules yet it uses the same rules. Therefore it is not clear why the Schedule window not only requires one of the named and saved rules but requires a source folder too. If a rule is already created in the main window then a source folder should already be part of the rule that was created there.

To yet further confuse the user the ‘Automate’ window asks for a source and destination folder to sort files by similar name, similar extension or same type. It is again not very clear what the differentiation is between the three options and if this adds anything new to the main window rules.

Digital Janitor is useful without looking at the additional windows. Just choose a source and destination folder in the main window and create and run rules there. Digital Janitor runs Windows XP, Vista or 7 and requires .NET Framework 2.0.

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Aug 182010

A presentation was launched last month by the UK climate ministry. It is a Google Earth (*.KML file or plugin) which ‘highlights some of the changes that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4°C above the pre-industrial climate average.’

It spurns us, not just in the UK or the US – where a potential congressional climate bill was recently abandoned due to mostly right wing opposition – but everywhere to make sure we do our part not only at the ballot box but by our daily actions to help alleviate or eliminate such bleak future scenarios.

Note: 4 Celsius is 7 Fahrenheit

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Aug 172010

AutoVer is a simple backup and version control application. If desired backed up files can be saved in versions with time stamps appended to file names for each time they are edited and saved or the user may just schedule full backups and fore go any versioning.

When the program launches a new ‘watcher’ should be created by clicking the folder icon on the far left (the one with the plus sign). In the tabbed settings window that follows a folder is chosen to be watched and the out put or destination folder is chosen as well. It is also possible to set the destination to be a FTP (with the associated details set up in the FTP tab) server so the files are backed up online.

The Advanced tab has settings for including and excluding file types and additional options for things like ‘Settling Time’ which is the amount of time AutoVer waits after a file is saved to generate backups and ‘Run On Copy’ which allows a program to be launched to do any necessary processing (such as encoding a video) on the saved and to be backed up file.

The Versioning tab can be left unused if ‘None’ is chosen under the ‘Versioning Mode’. ‘Version all backup files’ adds the configurable and aforementioned timestamp and backs up the saved file. If hours, minutes and seconds are chosen the files are backed up by time period. ‘Version Previous backup files’ generates only one backup so that an initial or earliest version of a file is available. It is also possible to delete or archive old backups by using the ‘For versions older than’ setting.

The folder with gear icon to the right of the main program interface lets a user set up external applications that will be used in conjunction with the Backup Explorer (folder with magnifying glass icon) window. The programs associated for compare, text and images will be used from within AutoVer’s Backup Explorer. Here is also the place to restore and delete backups by right clicking previous versions in the far right of the Backup Explorer window.

AutoVer is freeware and should run on all Windows versions post 2000, including 64bit versions.

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Aug 142010

ClipCube, until very recently known as Clipbox, is a small and minimalist clipboard utility that keeps an unlimited (?), until recently up to 2000, number of clipboard items for future use. The program runs in the system tray. ClipCube lets the user decide how long it keeps clipboards on file, this is set by right clicking the program icon and choosing the Keep Items entry. The available options are keeping the item(s) until the program is exited to keeping them indefinitely. The program window or interface has settings for pinning or keeping it on top and also choosing to show a full preview of a selected clipboard item or not (by toggling the eye icon on or off). One other option is showing a time stamp beside each clipboard item, this lets a user know when the clipboard was captured.

ClipCube also supports hotkeys (see for a full list of hotkeys as they are added to each version) that ease program usage such as Enter+Ctrl+C to copy a selected clipboard item and Ctrl+Numpad[1-9]  to choose the first to ninth entry in the listed clipboard history. The latter did not work in my test of the current version (0.2.2) and additionally brings up the question of how one may be able to choose the 10th, 11th or higher numbered items in the clipboard history list.

ClipCube is GPL licensed software and does not require installation. This program is in development and the interface and options have also changed recently so this review may be outdated in some respects by the time you read it.

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Aug 102010

Hornil StylePix, Freeware Photoshop Alternative

Hornil StylePix is an impressive Photoshop replacement that is not only freeware but is only 1.5MB in size. The layout is similar to that of the expensive Adobe product. Not unlike other free Photoshop alternatives it supports a lot of the features or functions of the much bigger product and does them reasonably well.

Hornil StylePix’s features include the likes of lasso (free, polygonal and others and all with extra settings to increase, decrease, fill and generally work with the selected region), erase, spray and an easy way to draw shapes.

Walking through the program menu, the following are also available.

The file menu: Batch processing with control over output size, name, orientation and filter. Browsing, previewing and navigating folders from within the program. Setting images as wallpaper.

The edit menu: The usual series of tools like brush, clone, fill, color drop, text, zoom, transform, fix red eye and others. Here is also where one can use Hornil StylePix’s support for multiple undo levels in addition to the histogram.

The image menu: Rotate, resize, duplicate and crop.

The object menu: ‘Inserting’ images into other images and working with them as groups and then aligning, blending and layering (the image shows two pictures ‘grouped’ together)

The Filter menu features a list of filters including the likes of noise, sketch, glow, blur and others.

The view menu : Grid, ruler, and zoom. Also full screen mode and slideshow for the current image’s folder. This is also where the program options reside where the slideshow, interface grid, program skin and other settings are configured.

The Window menu arranges windows and preserves or saves the layout for future sessions.

A pro version with layer styles such as emboss, shadow and glow is also available. Hornil StylePix runs on Windows XP and newer PCs.

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Aug 072010

File Bucket is one the many excellent programs and coding snacks from DonationCoder. File Bucket’s main purpose is to copy or move scattered files into one central or organized location. It was created because a user on the DonationCoder forums asked for a program to ease disc creation. The user wanted to automatically copy media files to one single folder and then burn them to a disc. In my opinion the same concept can be applied to backing up files. Working on my system I am using File Bucket and moving files that have been created in various My Documents and other folders into one location so subsequent system backups are easier and cleaner.

File Bucket is divided into four panes or areas, the top left hand side shows all systems drives and below it the folder tree. Highlighting a folder in the tree will show its files in the upper right hand pane. The lower right hand pane is the bucket or list of files and folders that will be moved or copied.

The three buttons on lower left side of the interface act as aids or shortcuts for adding files or folders to the bucket. “Add folder’s file to list” will add only files – from the folder selected in tree – to the bucket, ignoring any subfolders. “Add folder & subfolder’s files to list” will add all files including those in subfolders. “Add to list as a folder” will add the selected folder as is to the bucket thereby moving or copying it as a folder and not only the individual files that are within it. The “Add selected to list” and “Add all to list” buttons work on the folder(s) and file(s) visible just above them. After the bucket is populated the destination folder can be configured and the option to move or copy – or “Delete items to Recycle Bin”, “Save list with absolute paths” and other – chosen.

One other feature that adds another degree of usefulness to File Bucket is the filter (middle right of the program interface). Using the filter one can specify the file formats that will end up in the bucket. For example one can only move *.mp3 or *.jpg files. Any number of formats can be defined in the filter list which pops up when clicking the filter button. The filter(s) must be defined before any files are added to the bucket and in that sense the location of the filter button – and its associated dropdown – is perhaps not the best as one can mistakenly add files to the bucket before ‘reaching’ or getting to the filtering part on the right hand side of the program.

Once used it becomes clear that File Bucket is more difficult to describe than to use and it joins a long list of very useful utilities coded at DonationCoder.

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Aug 032010

neoSearch is a lightweight, 531KB download, option in the array of computer search utilities. Upon launch it takes a minute or more, depending on system size, to index the drive(s) so that it can present search results almost instantaneously. With neoSearch search results are presented and updated in real time when the user starts typing.

neoSearch’s options include adding system folders to it’s indexing, because it ignores those folders by default, including and excluding any number of folders from it’s indexing and therefore its search results and a scheduler for future indexing which includes a ‘manual’ option.

neoSearch suffers from a few drawbacks that are all by design, they are:

The program delays its own launch, when first opened and not when already running in the background, by asking for an update check and somewhat bizarrely makes the user wait five seconds if the update check is refused.
The program’s executable is placed in the system’s Application Data folder (alongside its index database) and so the program has no presence in the Program Files folder.
Only the first six search results are presented immediately and there is no scrolling to see additional results. An extra click (pressing Enter or on the magnifying glass icon) is required to open the full search results in a new window.

neoSearch is capable of indexing shared folders over a network, supports wildcards and works on Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and 7.

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