Dec 312011

Ethervane Echo is a full featured ‘keyboard centric’ clipboard extender or manager for Windows. It divides captured clipboard items into different categories based primarily on time captured and type, for example last hour and URLs and it can be tweaked for more advanced use. It does and should work when copying from most any source but it does not support images.

The Win+Insert (can be changed in the Preferences (Tool—>Preferences—>Keyboard)) keys are the default way of bringing up the program and Esc the default way to minimize it back to the tray.

Ethervane Echo
Ethervane Echo’s interface is divided into views, these views can be hidden or others added (View —> Manage Quick Views). The intended features and strengths are to find the items after they have been captured using the keyboard and search (with wild card support). A good example of Ethervane Echo’s ease of use is that when the program is brought up just typing starts a search, there is no need to click in the search box, and if required pressing Esc clears the search box. The search box has basic and advanced modes, the former is search as you type and the latter requires pressing enter to start the search.

The interface tries to give as much information as it can by showing the source, time of capture, size and type of a highlighted item and information on the total number of items in its database. Ethervane Echo has a status indicator – the little green check mark on the bottom of the interface – and it can be paused to not capture clipboard items by double clicking on that same icon.

The basic usage uses the usual Ctrl+C keys for copying and then maximizing the program, choosing a clip using the arrow keys and then pressing Enter to paste the chosen – or even multiple clips – into the active window. Right clicking on each clip presents copy, pasting and editing options as well.

An item can be made sticky to remain in the database forever, this can done via the right click menu, Ctrl+S or the Edit menu.

Ethervane Echo
The Database Maintenance section of the Preferences is important because here one can edit the program’s purging or automatic deleting schedule.

Among other features Ethervane Echo is also capable of holding items in memory instead of on disk for privacy reasons (Preferences—>Database). It supports ignoring clips like those captured within an interval (Preferences—>Capturing Clips) of the last capture, from certain programs  (Preferences—>Application Filter), duplicates and passwords.  Setting minimum and maximum item lengths are also set in the Capturing Clips section.

See the Keyboard Reference section of the help (or Shift+F1) for all available shortcuts. Ethervane Echo can import items from a text file or a Ditto clipboard database (Tools —> Import Clips). Ethervane Echo has been released as part of DonationCoder’s 2012 N.A.N.Y. (New Apps For The New Year) challenge, requires XP and newer and is available in both portable and installer versions.

Dec 282011

TheFolderSpy monitors folders so one can check for changes. The Spy in the name may conjure up a hesitation or two and the program doesn’t help the cause by having hidden and incognito modes.  In these modes the program runs in the background. However the hidden and incognito modes don’t really make the program invisible, both leave the program’s icon in the tray area, but notifications are disabled in the latter.


Perhaps the best use for TheFolderSpy is to keep an eye on programs that add folders or files in places like the Documents folder when they are being installed.

Using TheFolderSpy starts with adding an item. Choose the path to the folder – and optionally subfolders – to be monitored, if needed add file type filters and optionally execute a file when a change is detected. Created, changed, deleted or renamed are the file attributes that can be monitored.

TheFolderSpy can be paused, made to save a log or start with Windows. It has a built-in feature to send emails when changes occur. The email feature is ready to use with gmail or any other SMTP server. The subject and content of the emails can also be set within TheFolderSpy.

TheFolderSpy has command line parameter support to configure its modes, log file path and others. The email body has parameters as well. For example *f inserts the file name and *n the date and time of a change (See the accompanying readme.txt for others).

TheFolderSpy is freeware, a single executable file, just over 60KB and runs on XP and newer versions of Windows. It requires .NET Framework 3.5.

Dec 262011

Easy Photo Effects (Version: 2.0 as of this post) is a photo or image editor that presents all its settings or features in one screen, a departure from the usual or traditional design. It is very easy to work with, however the undo function – named ‘reset image’ – is somewhat less user friendly in that it asks for confirmation every time and as implied by its reset name is not a step by step undo, all applied effects are undone at once.

Easy Photo Effects

Each effect comes with its own settings button to control transparency, thickness, contrast, colors, editable night and sepia colors, preset and arbitrary resize and others that belong to the effect being used. These Easy Photo Effects effects or features are as follows: Black & White, Sepia, Brightness, Contrast, Topaza (yellow, blue mix), Movie, Night Vision, Embossed, Analogica (horizontal and vertical vignette), Borders, Colored Grid, Tilt Shift, Resize and Rotate/Flip. The image above has analogica and colored grid applied to it.

Easy Photo Effects is true to its name and a good lightweight freeware alternative for fast image manipulation. It is a single executable file and runs on XP and newer versions of Windows.

Dec 222011

Notepad Enhanced is a text editor, it does not have many outstanding features as it basically aims to be a better version of Windows’ own notepad. It supports file associations but that can be done within Windows as well. The main reason for it to be called ‘enhanced’ is its tabbed interface.

Notepad Enhanced

Notepad Enhanced does have a few additional features and they are contained within panels, activated using the View menu. The Document Info Panel has the word, charater and sentence count. The Preference Panel houses the program settings which among others lets the user choose how the program opens, with new blank tab or not, and also if more than one instance of Notepad Enhanced can be opened at the same time. The File View Panel is a bit more interesting or unusual though perhaps not so useful. Here Notepad Enhanced scans local drives, ‘common places’ or Windows’ recent files to load a list of text files it finds. This can be filtered and is presumably a part of the program to ease the search for files to edit.

Notepad Enhanced requires the .NET Framework, is open source and is a simple addition to the list of many freeware text editors.

Dec 162011

Earlier brought you two chances to win Picture Collage Maker Pro, once by itself and another with a thanksgiving pack. Now PearlMountain Technology Co. are back with another giveaway and extra offer. This time Picture Collage Maker Pro is ready with a Christmas pack.

Picture Collage Maker Pro Christmas Pack
Follow the download links to get Picture Collage Maker Pro or if you have Picture Collage Maker Pro installed click the Download More Templates button (see image). Alternatively go straight to to download the all new Christmas pack.

Run the .exe and (re-)open the program. You will have 26 additional Christmas templates.

Comment below to win a copy of Picture Collage Maker Pro and the Christmas pack. Happy Holidays!

Dec 122011

Horizon33 is an easy to use screen capture or screenshot program. It has useful capture and save options.  Choose a combination of the options described below using the gear button to the left of the large capture button and then click the capture button itself to start taking screenshots.


There are six modes of capturing and Horizon33 can save the output in BMP, JPG, GIF or PNG formats. The capture options are full screen, active window, freehand, (configurable) fixed region, (selected) region and object. The output destination is also configurable. The options are save to file, save as, application (Microsoft Paint by default), clipboard, email, Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint or Excel) and upload to web (automatic saving to Imageshack). Multiple outputs is also an option with the capture ending up in more than one of the aforementioned destinations.

Additionally Horizon33 can automatically convert to grayscale, invert color, add watermark and resize too. Finally there is an option to include the cursor in the screenshot.

The program settings accessed via the top right button are divided into the following:

General for things like starting with Windows, delaying before capture, pressing X to close the application, staying always on top and others. Output to choose the default image format and destination for the multiple output operation. Effects has the options for color, resize and watermark. For example, here is the place to choose the file and position of the watermark or overlay image. Hotkeys lets the user assign keyboard shortcuts for any or all of the six capture options. File Name lets the user choose the output file name. Any combination of year to second is possible. A prefix and incremental numbering is available too. Dialogs includes JPG quality and fixed region options among others.

Horizon33 requires Windows XP and newer and is worth a download.

Note: In the image I used Horizon33 to capture this thread on the forum.

Dec 092011

PixBuilder Studio (Version: 2.1.1 as of this post) is a capable image editor. It has many features of those much more expensive than it.

PixBuilder Studio’s features include the typical brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, color balance, auto levels, (background and foreground) fill and more but also support for layers (including rasterize and combine), gradients, masks and even more that elevates it to Photoshop levels. Transform, flip, drop shadow and filters like Gaussian blur, sharpness, emboss and dithering are worth mentioning in terms of the Photoshop comparisons but it doesn’t end there.

Its tools are also numerous. They are pencil, line, brush (configurable type and sizes), eraser, healing brush, clone stamp, ellipse, rounded rectangle, eyedropper, 8BF plugin support and more. The select menu has many of the options one would expect. Lasso, magic wand and magnetic lasso make image and layer manipulation easy and convenient. Color selection and range make working with specific colors within images easier as well.

PixBuilder Studio
The browser panel (Tools—>Browser Panel) eases navigation, a full screen mode (View—>Full screen mode) cleans up the interface, Rulers (View—>Show Rulers) aid in image creation and sizing, multiple undo covers up mistakes, Palettes add many coloring modes and options.

Much like its expensive counterpart and lookalike there is also web preview for JPG, GIF and PNG formats. It can read JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PCX, PSD, TGA, ICO and PBS formats and save to all except PSD. PixBuilder Studio is optionally installed in portable mode and requires Windows XP or newer.

Dec 062011

WildBit Viewer (Version: 5.9 as of this post) is an image viewer complete with support for many image formats. Its interface is divided into a explorer type tree, a file list and the thumbnail or single image view.

WildBit Viewer

WildBit Viewer supports EXIF data and formats like the usual JPG, PNG, GIF, RAW and others but also Photoshop formats like PSD. The thumbnail viewer can be configured to show different sized thumbnails, sorted by name, size and date and any image meta data such as the aforementioned EXIF. There is also the image histogram and zoom via scrolling and geo information for viewing images using Google maps. Not forgetting animated GIF support and the ability to export image info to CSV files.

Via the Add Button button or by dragging folders to the ‘shell toolbar’ at the bottom of the interface favorite folders can be saved for future use. WildBit Viewer also has image compare – two images side by side – and slideshows with many transition effects. Images can be set as wallpaper and edited (Tools —> Editor) as well. The editing features include most of the usual in rotate, flip, adjust, transform, remove red eye, annotate (add text or shape), acquire (from scanner), filter (lens, morph, etc.) and some more.

Search is another noteworthy feature (see image below). Files within folders and optionally its subfolders can be searched by type (when Enable Filters is checked), name, location, date, size, attribute, EXIF, IPTC or XMP data. Note that the Filename text box must not be empty so use “*.*” (without the quotes) at least to start a search.

WildBit Viewer

WildBit Viewer works on Windows 2000 and newer and is available in both portable and installer downloads. It is free for personal use. A pro version with multimedia support and a profile switcher is available as well.

Dec 032011

Métamorphose (Version: 2 (0.8.2 beta) as of this post. That is a beta of version 2) is a powerful, some may say somewhat complicated, renamer program. It works well whether working with few or thousands of files.

The first step is to pick the files and/or folders to be renamed using the Picker tab. Here filters on file types (dropdown immediately below the browse dropdown), case sensitivity and unicode file names (right of the aforementioned file type drowdown) can be picked. Also the recursive option checked to work on subfolders to any number of depths.

The Renamer tab can support any number of operations. Available renaming operations include putting the directory path into the file name, inserting text in any position in the files, replacing text, swapping text, modifying text (to upper case, removing certain characters, etc.) and more. Each time the operation can occur based on regular expressions, for example if a file name includes upper case it can be ignored.


All operations can be sorted to occur in different sequences and also ‘destroyed’ to be deleted. There are options for incremental numbering and date based renaming as well (see image below). A preview is immediately shown when at least one operation is chosen.


The Sorting panel or tab lets files be sorted manually or automatically, this basically lets the user choose to do the renaming operations in different order, for example in descending or ascending file name.

The Help menu has examples, a help file and a page on regular expressions that may be used with the program. Métamorphose is cross platform, works on Windows 2000 and newer and is available via Ubuntu’s Update Manager among other places.

Dec 012011

M8 Free Clipboard (Version: 16.12.1 as of this post) is a clipboard enhancement program that also captures images. It can hold up to 25 clipboard items. Hovering over any item pops up a preview (see image). Items can be dragged or copied to the right hand – white – cells to be kept permanently and not be lost when the 26th item is added. There is more than one way of re-using an item. One is to maximize the program and click on the item, when it will be automatically pasted to the active window, another is to assign hot keys via the preferences.

M8 Free Clipboard

Items in the permanent area can be renamed, sorted A-Z and highlighted to ease later use. Both text and graphic items can be edited (via right click). The text tools available are making upper case, removing blank lines, HTML, leading spaces and more. The image tools include adding text, shapes, lines, resize (including increase!), crop, clip art, overlay with other image and more. There are several sheets that at first seem to make M8 hold more clipboard items but that doesn’t seem the case with each being a different view, certainly confusing. The program has two options menus (via Tools menu), one controls the aforementioned views with settings like ‘keep on top’ and others (see image) and another general one with settings for start with windows, start minimized, hot key activation, remind when clipboard full, screen edge activation, delays in bulk pasting, image pasting options – numbered methods that paste images reduced in size or not, supposedly dependent on the program the image is being pasted into but I could not see a difference in tests -  and many more. Other features or extras include Pictures —> Browse Picture Clips on this Sheet that turns M8 into a sort of image viewer and also a calendar (Tools —>Year Planner) where items can be added via right click and edit.

M8 Free Clipboard

M8 Free Clipboard does not win any ‘intuitive’ awards, and needs a look through the local help file (Help —> Main Help Index) to make some sense but is nevertheless useful as a clipboard program and should run on most Windows versions.