Aug 312011
 

SumatraPDF (Version: 1.7 as of this post) is an open source PDF reader for windows. It is, as it claims, fast and simple.

SumatraPDF

It features command line support and plenty of shortcuts for document navigation, viewing and more. A list of all shortcuts are available via the program’s manual page.

SumatraPDF can also read XPS, DjVu, CBZ, CBR and LaTeX documents. It is also capable of remembering the last read page so the next time a certain PDF is opened one can return to that page. One of the more recent features added is favorites – which can be set to not only specific files but also pages within them –  with the ability to show thumbnails of recently viewed documents. SumatraPDF can open protected PDF files and has the familiar layout and zoom settings as well as a full screen mode.

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Aug 232011
 

Comment below for your chance to win a Docany PDF to Text Converter license, a $20 value!

Docany PDF to Text Converter is a simple application that does one job well. It takes one or many PDF files and converts them to simple text file(s). It can work in batch mode when adding a folder or working with more than one PDF file. For each PDF file chosen it is also possible to specify a page or range of pages (separated by a hyphen like 2-7) to convert to text.

Docany

In three steps the conversion(s) is complete. The first is to add or import PDF files. The second to choose specific or all pages and to keep or remove the page break marker. Third and lastly to choose the destination folder and run the conversion.

Docany PDF to Text Converter should run on Windows 2000 and newer versions, including 64bit versions.

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Aug 202011
 

Comment below to win one of three SpringPublisher licenses!

SpringPublisher is a desktop publishing software that comes with a set of templates to create (two sided) business cards, flyers, letterheads or postcards. Besides choosing the pre-supplied templates one can download extras from within the program or if needed start with a blank project or canvas.

SpringPublisher

The blank project option lets the user choose one of the four formats (business cards (again two sided), flyers, letterheads or postcards) with given standard sizes or to work with custom sizes. A bleed size setting is also available which in publishing terms is analogous to padding or border around the canvas.

Once inside the program images, shapes and text can be added and a few effects also are available. These effects are accessed at the bottom right side of the program interface and include rotate, shadow, opacity and tile. Additionally one can add a layer effect which is the same as pushing any element (image, text or shape) behind another. This latter setting allows SpringPublisher to be a bit more professional looking.

Version 2.1 as of this post SpringPublisher, in tests, isn’t the fastest program ever but a good and easy to use one. A freeware version is available with a few limitations.

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Aug 152011
 

As a fan of WordPress (who isn’t?) I was excited to hear about Instant WordPress via this wpmu.org post. Instant WordPress is billed as a “complete standalone, portable WordPress development environment” and “The easiest and quickest way to install WordPress!” The 54MB download installs a portable and completely self contained copy of WordPress on a PC. There is no need to go through more time consuming methods like installing wampserver , XAMPP or others if the exclusive or main use of using MySQL and php is to work with WordPress on a PC.

Instant WordPress

After installing Instant WordPress on a XP desktop I was disappointed to see that it would not start, it did generate an error (see above image) but the error was obscured by the program’s splash image. The error dialog was not movable using either the mouse or keyboard. I looked in the program’s folder, found the splash image (splash.png) and decided to resize it to a smaller size image so that the error would come into view.

Instant WordPress

The error in question was “%1 is not a valid Win32 application.” (see above image). That particular error is often associated with Windows not reading or liking a blank space in some configuration (in many cases a batch file) of the program in question. I decided to move the Instant WordPress folder from the desktop – whose “Documents and Settings” path contains spaces – to c:\ and as expected it worked (see below image).

Instant WordPress

Instant WordPress is the easiest method yet to play with WordPress and it comes with a few dummy posts and pages. As of this post it is bundled with WordPress 3.2, MySQL 5.1.46-community-nt with phpMyAdmin, Apache 2.2.15, and PHP 5.3.2.

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Aug 122011
 

JC&MB Quicknote (Version: 5.5 as of this post) is a little program with a not so modern interface that is nevertheless a useful notes organizer or scrapbook. It offers a few additional tools and an efficient launch method that make it a bit more usable.

Quicknote

When installed Quicknote remains always close at hand by placing a narrow gray strip on top of the screen. Just hover the mouse over that strip and Quicknote animates into view. The location of the strip can be changed and also a hotkey can be added for keyboard users (see image).

By default it offers four note areas where a drawing tool is available as well. The extra features available via either the program toolbar or menu are a calculator, unit convertor, reminder with alarm, program launcher, screen distance calculator and also a ‘send text through a network’. The latter is probably best explained by watching one of the tutorial videos available on the author’s site at http://quicknote.de/help/network.php?lang=en

The program is still in development as witnessed by activity in its bug tracker page. It should run on all Windows versions.

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Aug 042011
 

Comment below for your chance to win Picture Collage Maker Pro from PearlMountainSoft!

Picture Collage Maker Pro is a fun and useful program from Pearl Mountain Software. With it you can create collages of pictures just to keep as images or as scrapbooks and you may also create greeting cards, desktop wallpapers and calendars.

Picture Collage Maker Pro

Upon start up Picture Collage Maker Pro offers four choices on how to proceed. The first method is to start a blank collage. Here one can choose different sizes of paper, greeting cards, desktop wallpaper or simply a custom size. The second option is a template wizard, in this case photos are added and then one of the pre-made layouts (greeting cards, collages, etc.) are chosen. The third option is to create from template, this is essentially the same as the second option but the user will see the layouts first and then add photos. The fourth and last option is the grid collage wizard which lets the user divide a page into equal size grids and then include images in a rectangular grid.

Once in the program Picture Collage Maker Pro supports drag and drop to add images. Images can then be aligned, resized and rotated. Additionally one may choose a background and it is also possible to add masks, frames, clipart and shapes. All in all Picture Collage Maker Pro is a complete program and it is easy to use (see image for a sample I created in seconds) and comes complete with built-in print capability.

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