Feb 272012
 

PearlMountain Technology Co. has generously provided a number of Photo Watermark licenses, valued at $19.90 each, comment below to win one!

PearlMountain Photo Watermark is one of the more advanced watermark tools available. It features several ready made text or image watermark templates for protecting photos or images. The user can also create others with one of the many options available.

PearlMountain Photo Watermark

On startup the user can decide to use a template or just click the Load button to go straight to the main program interface. The first step would be to add or drag and drop an image into the image area or alternatively use the Add drop down to add an image, folder of images or to import an image from the web.

The first options are to configure text watermarks. Here any text can be added and fully configured in position (on the image), offset from that position, color, font, justification, edge or border, shadow, opacity and rotation. The text can be anything of course but the program offers lots of options for automatically adding text ranging from special symbols, EXIF meta data, date and source or destination folder path (see image above).

The image watermark tab can be used to add an overlay image instead of text and offers the same flexibility for position, opacity and rotation as the text option. The image watermark can also be tiled to fill the whole photo. The program also comes with a set of 77 images to use for this purpose (see image below).

PearlMountain Photo Watermark

The task area to the left has options to modify the output image(s) to .jpg, .bmp, .tiff, .png, .gif, .pdf, .tiff or .psd. The original image can be resized and renamed. When working with a set or folder of images the output file name can be in the form of increasing increments (image1, image2, etc.) or similar to those offered for the text watermark, as mentioned earlier. Corrections has setting for brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpen/blur. Finally a border can be added to the original image.

The workflow concludes by clicking the Start button and optionally configuring the output folder. PearlMountain Photo Watermark works on Windows 2000 and newer and is good for both 32bit and 64bit systems.

Feb 232012
 

NoteItDown (Version: 1.2 as of this post) is a no-install, portable freeware Notepad alternative. Its features are basic and it is lightweight. It has the .rtf, rich text features such as changing text and (text and note) background color, adding or removing indent, aligning text and changing fonts.

NoteItDown

Notes are saved in a tree structure and while the global search (File—>Find notes or Ctrl+F3) displays results in a separate window the search function above the note area searches the current note and displays matches incrementally as in a search as you type. The Insert menu features Date and Time, Date and Time options.

Links and email addresses are converted automatically and by default notes are saved automatically. On startup NoteItDown prompts the user to choose a location to save the notes or data, the three options available are the system application data, the program’s own or browse and pick any other folder. NoteItDown requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.

Feb 202012
 

My ViewPad (Version: 4.1.0 build 16212 tested) is a freeware image or graphics viewer that is also available for Mac and Linux. It supports over 100 formats, many of them both read and write. These include the common .jpg, .psd, .tiff, .raw, .ico and .gif formats to less common ones like .tga (Targa), .wmf (Windows Metafile), .pict, .psp (Paint Shop Pro) and others.

My ViewPad

The interface is simple and straightforward. The image area includes right click support for Copy, Rename, Delete, Properties, and somehow oddly Open With and Preview. The latter two are for opening the images using another image viewer and Windows’ own picture viewer.

The menus on the right hand side of the program window are as follows:

File menu features Open, Reopen, Open Recent, Open Image Folder, Next Image, Previous Image, Save, Save As, Save As Wallpaper (centered, tiled, stretched, fit and clear desktop), Print, Acquire and Delete Image.

Info presents basic info like path, size, dpi, (jpg) mode, color space, compression and similar info depending on the image format.

Edit features Undo, Redo, Flip, Rotate, Scale, Crop, Color Corrections (Gamma, Brightness, Contrast, Auto levels and Auto contrast), Copy, Copy Full Path, Paste, Clear and Change Checksum.

View features Zoom in, Zoom out, Actual size, Best fit, Full screen and EXIF or Page options relevant to the various formats.

Tools includes settings and associations. The former features Rendering quality and Raw interpolation, among others. My ViewPad should run on all Windows versions.

Feb 172012
 

SMF or Search my Files is as its name indicates a search utility and a good one at that but the developer’s site mentions ‘duplicate files finder’ first. Of course that is not important as SMF does both and is also a copy and erase tool.

After an initialization during startup one finds a busy interface. It presents one of the most number of options and checkboxes seen in one window. A search begins by choosing the desired search path in the tree and optionally including network drives. The search filters are then checked and include the common date modified, created and others, additionally one can use the ‘pre-filter files to search’ button to narrow these filters down further by size, attribute and specific date. Then come the almost dizzying number of options available for the results. The search results can include almost everything about the files or folders, for example if ‘file islocked’, ‘filepath is ansi’ or its ‘associated exe’ (see image).

Search my Files

The search itself is available for both files and folders and contents, with search string regex and wild card support. A check mark activates the duplicate search feature.

The progress tab is visible when an operation is in progress and presents information about the directory being searched, number of files being worked on and a live match or results count.

The show report window provides comprehensive information and is configurable to show as many as the information collected as possible, in columns (see image below). As SMF is SQLite based a lot can be done with the results. Right click on the results grid to send to clipboard, delete, copy, open with, create a zip file of and many more. SMF features third party tools to view files in a hex editor, split them using HJSplit or to rename them.

Search my Files

The results tab also shows some of the other features available such as export results to HTML or XML or save them in a SMF database.

The settings tab has options to set CPU priority for the program, add IrfanView integration and more. There is also a pick of two file erase methods but, as with the copying feature, it is not very clear where the files to be deleted are chosen. There is really no indication if the results window (via right click) is the only place  or not.

Search my Files is open source, should work on XP and newer versions of Windows.

Feb 122012
 

Watch 4 Folder (Version: 2.3 tested) is another freeware and useful utility from Leelu Soft. It is a folder and file monitoring program that can do a bit more.  It supports 12 types of events to monitor, they are File create, File Delete, File Change, File Rename, Association Change, Free Space change, Folder Create, Folder Delete, Folder Rename, Folder Change, Media Insert and Media Remove. After choosing a folder and optionally its subfolders any one or more of the events to monitor can be checked or chosen.

Watch 4 Folder

Watch 4 Folder can execute one of four types of programs when one of the events is triggered.  It support a .vbs, .exe, .bat or .cmd file chosen using the “Execute a program or batch file” field. The “Add changed object as argument” field is available to add an argument to the opened program. This means that, if “File Create – FileName” is selected, and a file is added to the monitored folder it will be opened using the program chosen in the Execute a program field before it.

There are slightly more advanced uses for the argument field. A notable example is the “File Rename – NewFile OldFile” argument. If inside a monitored folder a file is renamed this will create a copy of that file with it’s original name.

Watch 4 Folder has a Live Log tab to view events as they occur and additionally it can save them to a log file. Pop ups and alerts, triggered on events, are also available. Monitoring states can be saved as a configuration file and loaded to be used later. Watch 4 Folder has a command line option to load and run a configurations too.

Watch 4 Folder only requires unzipping and should work on Windows XP and newer.

Feb 092012
 

AstroGrep is a simple search tool. It searches within files for matching text. The program supports regular expressions to search for near matches, it also supports searching within one of several files types only and has options to match whole words and within subfolders. It presents a preview of the line containing the match with the option to show line numbers and also a configurable number of lines above and below where the match is located. The Negation option reverses the search where the results are files that don’t have a match in them. AstroGrep also remembers recent paths and search queries.

AstroGrep

Program’s options (Tools menus) include file type exclusion and specifying an external text editor (default is Notepad) that will open when double clicking on a search result. A ‘plugin’ section enables searching within Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx) files.

AstroGrep is open source, requires Windows XP, Vista or 7 and .Net Framework v3.5 SP1.

Feb 062012
 

Screenshot Captor (Version: 3.00.00 portable tested for this review) is a feature rich and advanced screenshot program. Its main advantage is that it can do a lot of screenshots with minimum effort. It has eight capture modes, accessible using either the Capture menu, right clicking its tray icon or with select keyboard shortcuts. These keys (Configurable via Edit—>Preferences—>Hot keys) are for Entire workspace (Alt+PrtScr), Current screen (PrtScr), Active window (Ctrl+PrtScr), Selected region (Shift+PrtScr), Fixed size region (Ctrl+Alt+PrtScr), Windows object or scrolling window (Ctrl+Shift+PrtScr), Repeat last and finally Screen grab of Screenshot Captor’s own window. Screenshot Captor also supports delay and inclusion of the cursor in the screenshots.

Screenshot Captor

The program’s interface is divided into a thumbnail viewer on the left, (last) screenshot area in the middle and tools to the right (and more on top and bottom too). The tools include a slider to zoom in and out up from 0 to 1000%. Other tools include launching an external image editor, adding shapes, blurring regions, adding text, clipart, picture frame effects and many more. The filename area, at the bottom, has extra information such as the source of the captured image and a field to rename the image to something else if necessary.

When an image is captured a dialog window lets the user take immediate action on the image captured with options to discard the screenshot, keep it, print it, save it elsewhere, copy it or its file name to the clipboard and more (see image below.)

The Windows object or scrolling window capture mode presents a red box with keyboard shortcuts to either grab toolbars or section of windows and – this is where the advanced part comes in – have Screenshot Captor detect vertical regions, like in a long webpage, and try to capture it for you.

Screenshot Captor

Browse the program menu to get a feel of everything else Screenshot Captor offers. File menu has an option to add an image file as an object to an existing screenshot. Edit menu has a magic wand selection mode option to grab areas of matching color for example. SendTo menu can be configured to email a screenshot or to upload it using ZUploader. SpecialFX has watermark, splice out, glow and other enhancement features. Objects can add caption and merge or flatten images. Tools has a color picker with RGB and hex values. After browsing the menus look at the program Preferences and see the multitude of options and features available.

Screenshot Captor is now available in a zip portable version in addition to its self extracting .exe version. It works on Windows 98 and newer. It is one program that can live up to the ‘power user’ phrase. Also see its DonationCoder forum thread.

Feb 052012
 

Commands in Demand provides a collection of tools and shortcuts to make it a centralized all purpose utility.

Commands in Demand

Of note is that every time the program starts there is an error that it is “unable to add hot key Ctrl+Alt+S” (see image), in its help file this hot key combination is described as:

…always reads the Clipboard contents (from any of its section you are working with, and even if its window is not visible), by pressing the Ctrl+Alt+S keys’ combination from your keyboard

Going down the program’s sections Commands in Demand includes the following:

It can kill unrepsonsive or other tasks, remove idle processes, copy text from any system error message, restart Windows Explorer, open task manager and kill a print job.

Next is a section to manage Windows Explorer with buttons to open subfolders, go one level up or deeper, minimize or restore windows, keep the active window on top, resize the active window, add transparency to it and more.

A Clipboard section that can read clipboard items, save them to a text file among others.

A multi-page Desktop section to show or hide desktop icons, use a screen magnifier, an on screen keyboard, capture active or other areas of the screen and gain access to Windows 7’s GodMode control panel.

The Devices section has shortcuts to Device Manager, open and close optical drives and safely remove USB.

Files and Folder has a text file joiner, hash checksum calculator, a list alphabetizer tool ( that can import text files or work with manually entered  text) and a few more shortcuts.

Graphics has a color picker, EXIF viewer and image convertor.

Icons can extract icons from files, hide and show desktop icons and refresh them too.

Internet has the shortcut to a translator, HOST file editor and additionally a shortcut to Google and Neave flash maps and another to search using any of 12 search engines.

Memory and CPU has live CPU and memory usage meters and an ‘Instant memory cleaner’ button.

Miscellaneous features a calendar that can calculate days between dates and a few ‘stress killing’ games.

Network has the shortcut to the Network Connections window and a tool to create Network and TCP/IP statistics reports.

System is another multipage section with shortcuts to the command prompt (normal and colored console), system folders plus an operating system ID report with common info like version, processor type, Windows product ID and more.

SysTray can mute/unmute sound, hide/show clock and a few others.

Taskbar can add transparency to the task bar and hide/show it.

Text and Editing has the join files and online translation shortcuts and two potentially useful tools to separately convert Unicode and ASCII texts between upper and lower case.

Windows Applications is simply a collection of shortcuts to things like Regedit, Task Scheduler, Character Map and others.

The Shutdown Panel has the reboot, standby, logoff , hibernate, shutdown and monitor off buttons.

Commands in Demand

The Tools of Mine section is basically a launcher where the user can add any shortcut and run it (see image above).

Commands in Demand (Version: 12.2 tested) is freeware, one zip file that doesn’t require installation and should run on Windows XP and newer.

Feb 022012
 

Create Synchronicity (Version: 5.2.1 tested for this review) is a very capable backup tool, it can synchronize and mirror folder structures. Creating a profile comes first along with choosing source and destination folders. The type of backup or synchronization can then be chosen and file types included or excluded, with regex support, if necessary. ‘Propagate Updates’ will differentiate between files updated and only those added or deleted. The Strict file time comparison check forces Create Synchronicity to check modified dates to the second so as to not miss often updated files.

Create Synchronicity

Right clicking on the profile name brings up options to edit settings, preview the synchronization, do the actual synchronization and also enable scheduling.

There are three synchronization modes or types available, quoting from the developer site they are:

Left to right (Mirror): New and modified files are copied from left to right. Deletions that occurred on the left are replicated (“mirrored”) on the right. In this case, the right folder becomes an exact copy of the left one, except that files updated on the right side are not reverted to their original state (Unless “strict mirror” is selected.).
Left to right (Incremental): New and modified files are copied from left to right, but deletions are not. In this case, the right folder somehow keeps an incremental history of changes that occurred on the left.
Two ways (Incremental): New and modified files are copied from left to right, and from right to left. No deletions occur. This is especially useful if changes occur also in the destination (eg. your documents on a USB stick)

Create Synchronicity has an expert mode (enabled by adding Expert mode:True to mainconfig.ini or pressing Ctrl+Alt+E) that, among others, enables new variables and md5 integrity check on copied files.

Create Synchronicity includes some command line support. It can also sync to network drives either by the user mapping network drives or using UNC (Uniform Naming Convention) paths.

There are also some hidden settings available to for example create compressed (gzip or bzip2) backups.

Every command line and every setting is fully explained on the detailed Help page. Create Synchronicity is open source, available in both portable and installer downloads. It requires Windows 2000 or newer and the .Net Framework 2.0.

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