Dec 272016
 

At first look DocusTree (version: 3.2) might look like a notes organizer. The interface and look is of the two pane outliner or organizer where the focus is on writing, jotting down and inserting various media or documents. While this is true of DocusTree it is more geared towards organizing existing documents or websites in a central location.

As the demo (see screenshot) shows when right clicking on a node DocusTree is mostly about adding. Of course a user can include a new document and start typing – for keeping a list for example – but this freeware is built in a way that is best suited for inserting documents.

DocusTree supports pdfs, urls, text documents, rich text documents, doc files, XML files and image insertion. It can import individual or a folder of these documents. It can also link to files or folders and therefore not directly show them.

The additional features are the activity tracker and note calendar. The activity tracker presents a six months calendar view where one can click on days to highlight days where the activity is done. There is no flexibility in individual days’ descriptions. As can be seen in the demo screenshot the “3 fruits per day” is either true (for any given day) or not. The note calendar present a single day view calendar with a text area for general notes and separate area for each hour of the day.

The built in search, using either the top right text field or the Edit menu did not find expected results. For example searching for jogging while the Jogging node was open did not return any results. The software also became slow to unresponsive after a pdf node was loaded/clicked on. The program interface is not fully bug free either (see right side of screenshot). These are not good signs, especially since this is at version 3.2.

A password can be set via the program options (Tools —> Options) to prevent access to the program. DocusTree should work on Windows XP and newer but is unfortunately too unpolished.

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Dec 232016
 

Forums or message boards are not the attraction they once were. In the earlier internet era the likes of Ikonboard, vBulletin and phpBB were the leaders in providing a gathering place for users. With the proliferation of social media the forum in its traditional sense is mostly left behind. WordPress, the blogging platform, itself has its own forum options in its vast plugin repository with bbPress being the best known. Other options, the once free SimplePress for example, exist with the built in advantage of using the WordPress database and share the users. Another newer options is wpForo.

wpForo tries to replicate the more feature complete and attractive look of standalone forums in contrast to the more minimalism of bbPress by providing more options and features out of the box.

After installing the plugin much the same way as any other WordPress plugin a Forums menu – whose position in the wp-admin menu can be edited – is added and it consists of Dashboard, Forums, Settings, Members, Usergroups, Phrases, Themes, and Addons sub menus.

The “community” directory is used as the forum index page by default but this can be edited and there is an option to make the forum a WordPress site’s front page. Three different layouts are available which serve slightly difference purposes (see screenshot). These are Simplified, Extended and Q&A.

Add categories –  via the ‘use as category’ check mark when adding a new forum – forums or subforums and reorder them if needed, each forum can have a meta description and of course individual access permissions. Forum wide permissions can be set from the Forum accesses tab of the Settings submenu. The administrator can also control how many topics and posts are displayed per page and if the user can edit or delete his or her own content or add attachments.

wpForo features front end moderating – close, make sticky, report, move, edit and delete – and includes most of the typical usergroups built in. It is possible to add new usergroups in addition to the existing Admin, Customer, Guest, Moderator and Registered groups and control the permissions of each. One useful additional tweak could be the option to use an existing permission set for a new usergroup as a starting point. Member titles and ranks can be added or edited. The existing ones range from New Member to Illustrious Member and are based on post count. Email templates are available for events like notifying admin(s) of new posts or topics or for those sent to users.

The Features tab of the Settings provides a long list of options that one can enable or disable. These include displaying breadcrumbs, displaying forum statistics, disabling new registrations, enabling custom avatars, using the WordPress media library for uploaded attachments and many more. The Styles tabs allows more custom control of the forums’ colors,  this is somewhat confusing because the Themes submenu is where the look and template can be edited safely using new template folders that are not lost when upgrading.

The built in Phrases make it easier to control the displayed language and to translate (11 are currently available) wpForo. As of version 1.1.0 and this post there are two paid or premium addons available. They are Advanced Attachments and Embeds.

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Dec 082016
 

CopyMastro (version: 2.0.7) is a cross platform Qt based backup program. If there is a distinction between a program that helps the user copy files faster using multiple threads and a simple backup utility it is up to the user to decide. CopyMastro can serve both purposes and in its preferences has a setting for number of threads to use.

The program is available in portable and executable downloads, in either case run the program and choose the source and destination or from and to folders. Optionally verify the operation and check the logs and reports tabs for any errors.

CopyMastro will keep file attributes and will check to only copy newer versions if that option is chosen. It can skip or copy hidden files and link (shortcut) files. By adding filters the copy operation can be filtered down to file types. It can also ignore nonessential files like Desktop.ini.

The program also supports using command line programs like Robocopy and rsync to do the heavy lifting. This can be set up in the program preferences. The user can save the to and from and other chosen options to a task file (File —> Save task) for future use but the program remembers last and recent operations.

CopyMastro runs on Windows 7 and newer, OS X 10.8 and newer and Linux 64bit and Raspberry systems with Qt5.

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