Jan 282013
 

GloboNote (Version: 1.3) is a sticky notes program that is based on Java and therefore multi-platform. It doesn’t require installation and adds a few features to make it a bit more than a simple collection of sticky notes.

GloboNote

Right click or double click the tray icon to create new sticky notes, the sticky note will use the current time as its title but the title can be changed with a double click on the title area – and requires the Enter key for the change to take effect. A single click on the title area rolls up the note up to minimize it.

Right click within any note to access its features and customizations. The features include the ability to assign a note to a (recurring) alarm and reminder.  GloboNote also features some basic rich text options plus image and file attachments. Images and files can be local or web based and the web based can be saved locally if required. Notes can be assigned to groups and be in hidden, parked or visible states per group, individually or altogether. Parked status doesn’t seem to be different than any other user created group, they are probably meant as a temporary or already available group. There is a built-in calculator that will work when mathematical calculations are entered followed by the F2 key. Notes can be printed and exported into txt files. Each note can be individually colored as well using its own Prefereces (sic).

An import option is listed when right clicking within a note but it seems to be missing as of this version. A look at the program preferences reveals more empty areas, perhaps reserved for future versions (The Security and Keys & Sounds tabs are two currently unavailable sections in the preferences). Other preferences include options to detect links, highlight the active note, change look and feel of the program much other Java based programs, change the date format, change the default note appearance, not use the time/date as the default note title and more.

GloboNote

Using the advanced tab of the preferences it is possible to change the location of the notes ‘repository’ to perhaps move it to the program’s own folder instead of burying it in system’s AppData folder. GloboNote works on any system that has Java 6 or higher installed.

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Jan 252013
 

Capture2Text (Version: 2.4) is an open source program that can help a user capture text seen on the screen or transcribe speech.  It supports multiple language for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and recognizing speech. In limited tests it did a decent job of capturing the correct text and speech but it is never really 100% accurate. For OCR it supports 50+ languages and 15 for speech.

Capture2Text

Capture2Text does not requires installation. Download and run it. The default way for starting (and ending) text capture is Win+Q keys. There are other configurable key combination for ending captures, dismissing the program and others. Press the start capture keys, right click and move the mouse over an area, left click to end the area. Capture2Text will present a preview of the text on the top left of the screen and when the capture is finished presents a popup window with the captured text. The program site claims that the text is also sent to the clipboard by default but I noticed that in the preference this is unchecked. It is also possible to send the text to the cursor (ie another program) or a named external program (see last images below.)

Capture2Text

For speech recognition Win+A are the default keys for starting and the program will analyze the speech after it senses that there is no sound coming through the microphone and present the user with possible transcriptions.

Capture2Text

There is a subtitutions.txt file in the program folder which can be used to make automatic substitutions if the program seems to mistake a certain letter consistently. Languages not part of the download can be added and it is also possible to switch language on the fly using the program’s tray icon. Capture2Text also supports a set of command line options.

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Jan 192013
 

Note: DDownloads is currently at version 0.9.3 and it is always a good idea to check for updates as it seems to be in a rapid update cycle.

DDownloads (Version: 0.6.0) is a download helper. It can be used to download software directly without having to search for programs’ download links online. In theory DDownloads makes downloading safer as it makes it less likely to grab a program or update from an infected source.

DDownloads

DDownloads is divided into different sections, the Home tab has links to Must-Have Apps (in this version, 322 programs in 41 categories), Portable Apps (112 in 27), Slim and Toolbar free Apps (4 in 2), Windows Starter Kit (16 must have tools including the likes of Adobe Acrobat Reader, Windows Essential Codec pack, .Net Framework 4.5, Firefox, 7-Zip and others), Recommended Apps (Firefox, Opera, Jdownloader, Revo Uninstaller Free, CCleaner, Recuva, Truecrypt and others)

The other sections are Get Safe Download Link on the quick to search for programs that DDownloads has in its lists. Send App Suggestions, Make Snapshot of Installed Apps and finally the Get Direct Help which includes links to blog, software review, hardware, malware, programming, tutorial, download portal, online virus scanner and other sites.

Right clicking any program name provides extra options like ones to add the program to its download manager queue, check whether it is installed, check if a portable version is available, search for an alternate download link, show screenshot of app and more (see image below.)

DDownloads
The program can be updated via its options or the buttons to the right and left of the Home section. The program options also include a section to ‘Block direct download if the following string(s) is found in download URL’. Admittedly I am not sure why this list includes the likes of softpedia, palemoon, piriform, details.aspx, % and other strings especially since the program does feature download and ‘alternate download link’ in its lists which do include the likes of softpedia.

All in all a useful tool. DDownloads has potential for a solid and growing reference, if nothing else.

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Jan 172013
 

DonationCoder’s NANY (New Apps for the New Year) 2013 is well under way, have a look at a roundup of programs created for the 2013 edition at http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=33518.0 and consider joining the forum for access to discounts and giveaways too. Read below about one of this year’s entries, the Easy Screencast Recorder.

Easy Screencast Recorder

Easy Screencast Recorder (Version: 1.07.02) from DonationCoder is a simple yet powerful tool to record short videos. It can record the entire screen or specific regions whether they are pre-defined sizes or specific windows that it automatically discovers – and the user confirms by clicking the right Ctrl key.

The program comes with a preview window – which can be toggled on and off – to view the captured video. It also comes with a reasonable number of options and preferences that make it both easy and feature rich at the same time. The preferences include the global hotkey setting to start and stop video captures, F9 by default, and a place to see common region sizes and add one’s own if necessary.

Settings for frame rate, countdown before recording starts, maximum file size before recording is terminated are in the Capture Options. Audio Settings let the user choose the input source and recording format. In my case I was interested in capturing system sounds, a seemingly rarer feature compared to mic, CD or other input sources and ‘Audio Input Line: Stereo Mix’ does that. Video Settings comes with advice for which format to choose and the recommended ASF/WMV9 is accompanied by other choices like FLV, MKV, WebM, Mpeg and others. Most require installed codecs. There are additional options for compression mode and quality which are dependent on the file format chosen. One can also set or change the directory videos are saved in and set a file naming template. The Tweaks and Kludges tab of the options includes additional ‘power user’ options (see image below) and the Operations Log can be set to include debug info in case of problems.

Easy Screencast Recorder

After a video is done Easy Screencast Recorder can copy its path to the clipboard, open it in the default video player or perhaps use one of the other tools that one can add in its list of external tools.

Easy Screencast Recorder integrates automatically into Screenshot Captor. Question about it can be asked at http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=32759.0

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Jan 102013
 

Siren (Version: 3.01) is a freeware file renamer, it features many ways to rename, move and copy files using expressions to create renaming rules.

The expressions can be any in number or combination and use almost any file attribute one can think of. One can change the case, remove parts of the file name, use file paths, extensions, audio file tags, modified dates, checksums and lots more. It can use and read attributes belonging to many audio, video, image and other kinds of files.

Siren works by loading a folder and checking off or selecting files to work on or alternatively work on all files and subdirectories. The next step would be to click on the right hand side of the Expression text field to add rules. The first (tag icon) presents all the options available, the second (magic wand icon) helps test and build expressions. When done the new file name(s) will be shown and one can click Rename (play icon) to rename the files. The Create copies (fast forward icon) button will create copies first then apply the rename rules.

The filter option at the top right lets the user filter visible files. Filters can be any combination of file types and regular expressions too. For example to filter down to “jpg”, “bmp” or files beginning with a letter use *.jpg;*.bmp;[A-Z]*

The Favourites menu lets the user save expressions or rules to re-use later. It is also possible to test the expressions and renaming rules with a “testbed” that is available under the ? menu, the same menu also includes Siren’s detailed help file which includes examples.

Siren has some command line support, works on Windows XP and newer and doesn’t require installation.

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Jan 052013
 

Vieas (Version: 5.1.5.2) is a freeware image viewer with some editing features, it can be considered a lightweight alternative. The image formats it can can read or open are gif (including animated), jpg, png, bmp, tiff and it can read from zip (and other archive formats via plugins). There are no plugins currently available (?). The output or save formats are the same with few exceptions such as animated gifs.

Vieas

The program’s interface is not a typical one because by default it opens without a menu or toolbar and they are only shown when the mouse is moved to the top of the program window. A menu is also shown with a right click. Vieas remains an image viewer until the ‘Change to edit window’ button (or Tab key) is pressed.

Vieas features crop, resize, canvas resize, rotation, mirror, flip, equalize, gamma, brightness, contrast, highlight, shadow, color balance, hue, saturation, replace color, negative, blur and a few others. It can also print, stay on top, show exif info, set images as wallpaper and features multi-monitor support.

Vieas

The program’s options are available when right clicking or when in the edit window, they include the following.

Choosing how the program starts, with its main window, edit window or full screen. Toggling the ‘Change the window size to fit a displayed image’ and slideshow interval. Various zoom options that control quality and size of the image and window. Various options for mouse controls such as what double click, left click, mouse wheel and other combinations do. For example double click to full screen. Up to eight placeholders to launch external files or folders. These will be available via right click —> Tools. A plugins tab to add any of the aforementioned plugins. Finally the option to associate various image formats with Vieas and add it to the Send to menu.

Vieas is available in both installer and portable versions and requires Windows XP and newer.

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