Sep 292012
 

Wise JetSearch (Version: 1.22.63) is a freeware search tool that searches a local machine and attached drives. It starts after a short delay as it scans for local drives.

Wise JetSearch

Input a keyword, if necessary include wild cards (* or ?), press enter and it will find the matching results within seconds. The results can be sorted by the usual modified date, path, size and name. Right click on any result to open it, open its containing folder, copy it, copy its path or copy its directory.

The program can be minimized or even closed but still have the ‘Quick Search’ auto hide bar remain on the desktop for faster access to it (see image.) WiseJetHelp.exe in addition to its own WiseJetSearch.exe process belong to this quick search option.

Wise JetSearch works on Windows XP and newer and there is a portable version available as well.

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Sep 272012
 

Quick Search (Version: 1.1.0.189) is a simple and fast freeware tool to list and search for files on a local machine and storage devices attached to it such as USB keys or external hard drives. It is very fast with all files indexed within seconds. Its interface is clean and straight forward. It starts with a floating search bar or its non-full mode, it can be expanded or maximized to show the program window and all its options and menu.

Quick Search

Find or filter for a file as you type and either search within all files or narrow down the results from Show All to any one of Shortcuts, Folders (and files within them), Documents, Pictures, Videos or Music. Other filters can be added via its settings by telling Quick Search which file extensions should belong to the filter.

Quick Search

Any list of files can be exported to a txt file and the list can be arranged by type, date modified, size and name. Files can also be selected to copy, cut or paste. They files are also clickable, Quick Search opens their containing folder.

The settings has an option – on by default – to show and hide the full program window by clicking the Ctrl button twice.

Quick Search should run on all Windows versions.

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Sep 232012
 

Marble is an atlas and virtual globe desktop program. It provides views of Earth – and a few other planets – with a lot of useful information.

Marble

Use the left hand side sliding menu to zoom and pan and navigate to locations by searching for them. Have a look at the Legend to see how the maps present their information. Population density, capitals, terrains, places of interest, boundaries, water bodies, elevation and others are indicated. Different Map Views are available and are not restricted to Earth – Moon, Mercury and Venus are some of other available  – and others can be downloaded as well. Other maps views include the flat and Mercator views and others like Earth at night and average temperature and precipitation for July and December.

When a location is found it can be assigned to home and a placemark placed on it. The Current Location menu has options to save, track and zoom on home or current locations. The Routing menu will attempt to give directions to navigate between two locations and draw the path on the map too.

Use the File menu to create an image of a map or export the visible globe or map to an image file. Edit menu has two options to copy an image of a map – to paste elsewhere – and to copy the coordinates of a location to the clipboard.

The View menu adds additional layers of info over a map. Enable any of photos, weather or earthquake modes to see more info on any location. Bookmark a home location or any other via the Bookmarks menu. Right click on a location to see its Wikipedia entry using Marble’s internal browser.

The program’s Settings has configuration options for distance unit, map quality, navigation type, proxy and cache settings for connections Marble requires to the internet and routing methods. The latter attempts to draw directions between two locations with car, bicycle or pedestrian routes. Other routing methods can be added.

Marble is an educational tool that is also fun to use and discover. It is available for multiple platforms.

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Sep 202012
 

Backstit.ch – in beta – is a personal start page site with a clean interface that may be a good option for those who will miss the soon to be retired iGoogle or those using My Yahoo and others. At least based on initial and first impressions Backstit.ch is different from the usual and familiar start page. The potential for a cluttered look seems less likely with Backstit.ch where the pages seem cleaner.

Backstit.ch

Backstit.ch also makes it easy to view more than just news sources or rss feeds by adding a social aspect with twitter streams, facebook timelines and others that at this (beta) period includes Instagram, Linkedin, App.net, tumblr, Readabilitiy and Instapaper.

Creating a page starts by using the Catalog. The Catalog has a ready made collection available for one click additions. These are divided into featured and other categories like news and travel. The available selection includes TechCrunch, Tanga Deals, CNN and others including more specific social feeds like ‘Photos shared on Facebook’ and ‘Popular photos on Instagram’.

Backstit.ch

If a site is not featured or available click on the feed search link and then type the site name – not the full url! – to find and add a site to your start page.

With Backstit.ch the start page where everything exists is called Patterns. A ‘See all’ button on the top right of each item is like a maximizer for that feed or item. The Threads page on the other hand displays everything in its category – news, social and others – by date and time instead of by site.

The cleanest and perhaps most useful part of Backstit.ch is that when an item is clicked the full version of the article is presented on its own on a clean and no frills page.

Backstit.ch has potential because it is feels different and focuses on reading and viewing more than anything else.

I first learnt about Backstit.ch from this ghacks post and got a prompt reply from its cofounder (Jordan) when I encountered an error adding a twitter feed. In the second screenshot the facebook feed has failed to load but I am confident this will be addressed as Backstit.ch works its way through the beta period.

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Sep 182012
 

Comment below to win a BackupSF license worth $25.00 courtesy of EasySector!

BackupSF is a Windows program for backing up web site files and MySQL databases.

BackupSF

Before backing up a site enter the site login details using the Add Project button. Adding a project means filling in ftp details,  if needed including or excluding web site folders from the back up, and then filling in database details. It is possible to skip one of file or database back up and only do the other. If database back up is chosen BackupSF will need to upload its php script (and .htaccess file, both included in the download) to the BackupSF_scripts folder which it will create on the host server.

After details are entered a back up schedule – daily, weekly or monthly – can be set up. Finally one can change the default local back up folder.

BackupSF

The program’s limitation is that while it does the backing up the restoring is left to the user – via ftp and phpMyAdmin for example.

BackupSF runs on Windows XP and newer. PHP support is required on the host server. It is available in three versions and the standard version available for this giveaway has a 2 site and 2 MySQL limit.

 

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Sep 162012
 

TinyPad (Version: 3.0.1.0) is a simple note taker or notepad. Notes can be uploaded to the sharednote.com site and shared online.

TinyPad

Notes are automatically saved in tabs or pads and all are re-opened when the program is restarted. To avoid clutter when pads add up any number of them can be archived to remain hidden unless the View the archive cabinet button is clicked.

TinyPad’s toolbar covers some text operations like text size, color, style, alignment and lists. There is also an insert date/time stamp button but strangely, even though images are supported, there is no add image button. The only way to add an image is to right click inside a pad and paste a copied image.

Multiple undo and redo is available and Ctrl+F searches inside the current pad or use the search and highlight as you type field.

TinyPad can export all notes and save them anywhere, but in .tp files. It is possible to tweet directly from within TinyPad. TinyPad comes with several themes and should work on all Windows versions.

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Sep 132012
 

DtPad (Version: 2.7.4.40) is a text editor with an interesting and potentially useful set of features.

DtPad

The file menu can open a new document and paste the contents of the clipboard into it automatically. It can open a web page source by typing the address inside DtPad. There are options to save file(s) in zip format, save one as pdf or get or save documents in Dropbox using DtPad’s internal browser.

The edit menu can append text to existing files and ‘swap’ highlighted text with the contents of the clipboard. One can select text by multiple rows too.

The view menu is the place to launch the command prompt, hide or show an annotation panel (see image), launch a hexadecimal viewer/editor or a Windows hosts file editor.

DtPad also has a session feature that is not just save or restore but also can list ‘lost’ (those that were part of a saved session but may not exist anymore) files and more.

The search feature is a powerful one, options like highlight results are there so are number of occurrences and  find or replace last and next occurrence. All come with regular expressions support. DtPad can also look for patterns like duplicate rows, capitalized words, html tags, IP addresses and email addresses. Not forgetting searching selected or highlighted words using google or wikipedia.

The actions menu is where tabs (different open files) can be merged and compared, indentation added, rows moved up and down, case converted, html converted to text and vice versa, space converted to tab, date inserted and lots more. Other interesting features like validating html and translating selected text too.

Options is the menu to toggle word wrap, choose file encoding and font plus export or import DtPad’s settings.

Tools is the place for launching external programs. Notepad and Internet Explorer are available by default but others can be added.

DtPad’s side panel has a notes section to keep text or notes that don’t belong in the files themselves, a tab explorer to move or sort open files, a file explorer to navigate and browse the system, a clipboard monitor, a calculator, a calendar, and another location for searching inside files.

The program settings (Options—>Settings) include options for the looks and feel of the program and others to add DtPad to the Send To, Open With and Windows 7 jump list menus.

DtPad requires Microsoft Windows XP or newer and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4. It is available in a portable version.

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Sep 092012
 

Link Manager (Version: 2012.9) is a no-install light weight freeware. It can be used to collect, search and manage URLs or links. It features almost everything one can do with links.

Link Manager

The first screen or section is the Link Manager. Here links can be added manually by filling the Link Name and Link URL fields. Links can also be auto-completed from a link name. Type any site name into the Link Name and click the Get From Link Name button, Link Manager will  try to complete the Link URL field, it is also possible to auto-complete the name with .com, .net, .org or blogspot.com by clicking the small 1 to 4 buttons respectively. URLs can also be categorized by using the buttons above the URL list, by right clicking on them or alternatively have a category name highlighted when adding a URL. Links can also be added to Internet Explorer favorites or exported to json and html formats for Firefox and Google Chrome. URL lists can be edited with notepad or saved as an html file, additionally one can generate ‘scripts’, this includes bbcode for forums and bullet lists. Finally, URLs can be opened with the system’s default browser or others can be added to over ride the default. Other features, using the buttons above the link list, include shortcuts to Google Search, Google Translate and the PDFmyURL service.

Link Searcher will search for links saved in Link Manager. Link Extractor browses html files and extracts links from them, it includes options to filter text and ignore links in img (image) tags. Links extracted can be saved to a text file or be moved to a new category named after the current date. Link Synchronizer can compare, mirror, synchronize or just show two separate Link Manager databases.

Link Manager

The Tools section encodes or decodes URLs. This is where, among others, dot is replaced by %2E, @ by %40 and colon is replaced by %3A. The encoding is useful for hiding email addresses from spammers or using the URL in a query string for databases. Access to URL shortening services are here as well with q.gs, adf.ly, bit.ly, cli.gs, dot.tk, is.gd, mo.by, NinjURL, ShortURL, Snipr, Tiny.pl or TinyURL being the available services.

Link Manager packs a lot of features into a ~600KB download. It should run on all Windows versions.

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Sep 062012
 

XnConvert (Version: 1.51), from the maker of the excellent image editor and viewer XnView, is a freeware multi-platform batch image converter for Windows, Mac and Linux.

XnConvert

Input or load file(s)/folder(s) and then if necessary filter the images to only work on a set of them.

Next is the Actions tab, choose modifications or conversions required and see a preview on the right hand side. The actions available via the Add Actions button are extensive and are Add mask, Automatic crop, Canvas resize, Change color depth, Clean metadata, Crop, Extract channel, ICC convert, IPTC/XMP, Mirror, Replace color, Resize, Rotate, Set DPI, Text, Vignetting, Watermark, Adjust, Align histogram, Automatic contrast, Automatic levels, Color balance, Conbright, Equalize, Exposure, Gammasat, HLS, Levels, Logarithmic lut, Negative, Normalize, Normalize ex, Posterize, Saturation, Sepia, Shadow highlight, Solarize, Swap component, Temperature. Available filters are Average, Blur, Edge detect, Emboss, Emboss more, Enhance detail, Enhance edges, Enhance focus, Focus restoration, Gaussian blur, Maximum, Median box, Median cross, Minimum, Reduce noise, Sharpen and Soften. Others included are Add noise, Bloom, Border, Border 3-D, Crystallize, De-interlace, Fantasy, Halftone, Lens, Mosaic, Oil painting, Oil painting 2, Old camera, Photo spread, Pointillize, Retro, Shear, Slice, Spread, Swirl, Symmetry, Tile and Waves.

XnConvert

The output section has settings for choosing the output folder, format and an extensive number of options for renaming the image files. Everything from date to folder to increments and metadata can be selected and configured. XnConvert can delete the originals, keep any folder structures and keep multi-page files as multi-page and open windows explorer after conversion is complete.

XnConvert

XnConvert is complete and very easy to use, much like XnView itself actions can be saved as a script for future re-use. Both 32-bit and 64-bit editions are available as are installer and portable versions.

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Sep 032012
 

Alternate Pic View (Version: 1.424) is an image viewer and editor. It has features common to most image viewers. By default the Folder view (show thumbnails and explorer tree) and Allow multiple windows (view images in tabs) are toggled off or disabled. Click their respective icons to enable them (see image).

Alternate Pic View

Alternate Pic View does full screen capture (File—>Capture) and another more advanced method via its Tools menu called Capturer. Here all open windows are listed and the user can choose which to capture (see image). Under Tools there is a convertor and icon extractor as well. The former can convert to any one of bmp, gif, ico, tiff and others with any of resize, keep metadata, mirror, flip, swap colors, pixelize, sharpen, grayscale and alien effect.

Alternate Pic View can resave image by adding increments, for example if image.jpg is open repeatedly clicking File—>Save numbered (F7) will save the image as image__0000.jpg, image__0001.jpg, etc. Copy, crop and paste operation are available, for both whole images and selections. Its collection of effects are rotate, mirror, invert alpha, sharpen, blur, contrast/brightness, adjust color, noisify, pixelize, relief, negative, grayscale, redeye reduction, swap colors, alien effect and random. Using the effects menu one can change the image size, extend the canvas size or more unusually split an image – either by image coordinates or by selection area.

Alternate Pic View can also work straight from a scanner with Twain source and it can also do slideshows. In some instances Alternate Pic View is not the most intuitive. Two features only become apparent only when an image is right clicked in the thumbnail area. First there is an image compare feature which compares two images but it is not obvious how the second one can be chosen or if it works at all. Second there is the animated gif feature which again doesn’t seem to do anything other than let the user click forward or rewind to view each individual frame.

On the editing side it has color picker, pen, pencil, brush, line, arrow, fill, brush, rectangle, round rectangle, ellipse and freehand. Of note is that Edit—>Find pictures will scan a folder for image files. Alternate Pic View should works on all Windows versions.

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