Oct 302014
 

CLIB

CLIB is a relative new entry in the freeware clipboard manager space. It uses a different approach than most others in that the interface and settings are within the browser. In the age of privacy violations and concerns the program emphasizes that while it uses the browser it is not using the cloud in anyway, it is only that the program can be accessed locally at http://127.0.0.1:8822/clib/dashboard.do.

CLIB supports images and text items and does automatically tag them based on source and type, clicking on a saved item shows a bigger preview with an option to delete it, edit captured text or add or change tags. Items can be starred and text copied back to the clipboard, the latter is done by clicking the orange icon beside the star icon. To view full captured images the same orange icon can be used and the image is opened in a new tab.

It is also possible to search items and include # with the search term to search tags. There are two view settings, one as a grid like the screenshot above and the other just one item below the next. The program’s settings are accessed from the drop down menu on the top right. There it is possible to add a user and password to protect saved items. Also it is possible to change hot keys for toggling CLIB on and off (from the default  Ctrl+Shift+Alt+B),  change Ctrl+C to something else and change the program’s snipping tool hot key that is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12 by default.

Note that the program runs as a service. CLIB is a 6MB download, requires Windows 7 or newer and works on Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 9 or newer.

Oct 292014
 
  • TreeSize Free previously reviewed on RGdot is at version 3.2.1 now. Personal and professional editions add extra features like scanning network drives and more detailed reports and analysis. There is even a windows mobile version.
  • TextCrawler also previously reviewed is at version 3.0.2 with a professional version for commercial use available.
  • The very useful FastStone Image Viewer is at version 5.3 with recent additions like copying and pasting objects in its draw board.
  • The Java based ImageJ (v.1.48) is a good option for image editing with macro and plugin support that extend its features to advanced levels.
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Sep 252014
 

PDF Compressor
I was contacted and asked to write about PDF Compressor. It is a freeware and at v.3.0.

As its name suggests it is straightforward with one purpose. It is easy to use, simply add or drag and drop pdf files to the program window or alternatively add a folder containing pdf files. Customize the output folder and if necessary the output defaults from 120 dots per inch and 75% compression. Press the Start button and it is done.

In tests on an older XP computer the process took 3 minutes for a 39MB file and approximately 20 seconds for a 4MB one. The most important thing to look for is of course the size of the output. As the author states:

First please check if your PDF files are scanned PDF or not. Scanned PDF documents are made from images so that the program can compress it. If the PDF files are not scanned PDF, the compressor will not work properly and make files bigger than before.

The usefulness of PDF Compressor, and this is true of other similar software too, is therefore limited. The size reduction does depend on the original pdf, if the original is a manual or book it is likely not going to be compressed. Changing the DPI and compression quality will help but may adversely effect text quality in the file.

Sep 162014
 

sChecklist

sChecklist is one in the long list of useful software to come from DonationCoder. sChecklist was one of the entries for 2014 NANY and was initially released in January 2014, it is currently at v.1.0.7.

To use sChecklist just unzip and launch. Create a new list via the icon, menu or a right click in the left pane. Name the list and start adding entries – using Ins key or right click in the right pane. New items can also be inserted via the clipboard and then checked when needed. Multiple lists can be also added and existing lists can be duplicated.  Copy and paste works between lists with the item’s checked state retained when pasting it in another list.

It is possible to sort entries by letter or number or to move all checked items to the top or bottom, individual entries can be moved up or down as well using the arrow icons. The program options are Start with Windows, Minimize on startup, Minimize to tray, Close to tray, Close button (X) minimizes, show gridlines in lists (this is on by default), Auto-size list columns and Display last selected checklist on startup.

sChecklist works on XP and newer and it is possible to export lists to a text file.

 

Sep 062014
 

Cleaner++

Cleaner++ is a  freeware registry cleaner. Cleaning the complex and prone to bloat Windows computer has been the source of countless critical opinion. Numerous start up entries and registry keys and values are two of the more notorious sources of frustration. Keeping a pc as clean as possible by using tools like Cleaner++ and checking entries in msconfig will go a long way in making a computer faster. Ultimately the best solution is to use portable software that do not use the registry and often do not use other system folders either.

Cleaner++’s interface has two sections, one is the Registry Cleaner and the other Program Uninstaller.

The Registry Cleaner identifies orphan registry values or keys that may have left behind after a program has been uninstalled. After making sure that the entries do make sense, for example they don’t belong to an installed program, all or any number of the items can be chosen and removed or cleaned. The same window has a separate setting for cleaning the system’s most recently used (MRU) entries and other logs and unused paths. The second tab is called Unused Programs and identifies programs that may have been uninstalled in the past but may have left behind traces of themselves. This is not really any different than the first tab and it needs a careful look to make sure needed entries are not deleted by mistake. For example in the case of the test pc ‘Malwarebytes Anti-Malware’ was listed but was not uninstalled. A third tab, the Custom Registry Cleaner, lets the user delete keys and values by entering them manually, a sort of alternative to Windows’ own regedit.

The program’s second tab presents a complete list of all installed programs, including all Windows updates. The list is as complete as it can be with size, publisher, version, install location, registry key name,  program url and install date listed. There is even an option to update the program, this is only available for some programs and of course it is only available if Cleaner++ can find the a url or shortcut to it. An html list can be generated and the Change Uninstall Location option can help find the program’s uninstaller if it is not found after clicking the Uninstall button.

Cleaner++ should work on all Windows system and does not need to be installed. Note that the program author’s web site has never been any more than a download link and a screenshot.

Aug 312014
 

CherryTree
CherryTree is an open source cross platform notes organizer with numerous features. Crucially it stores notes in xml (or sqlite) files and has numerous export and import options.

CherryTree is two pane and hierarchical. Nodes and subnodes are used to organize notes. A wide range of formatting options make it possible to change the look of everything stored and kept. If it is used for programming code many syntax highlighting options are present with the option to have the notes in a “codebox” as shown in the screen shot above (Edit—>Insert codebox or Ctrl+Alt+C). Everything from C++ to php, LaTex and sql is present. Images can be inserted anywhere and like text can be justified or moved to the right or elsewhere in a node, the same can be said for tables, ordered and unordered lists and check boxes to create to do lists. Text and images can be linked to internal or external locations and even to another node.

Copy/pasting from many applications into CherryTree works and depending on the source images can be pasted directly inside a node as well. Copying and then pasting a number of files from an explorer windows creates nodes for each file.

The find in CherryTree is not as you type but there are separate (Ctrl+F or Shift+Ctrl+F) hot keys for searching in the current or all nodes. Nodes can be bookmarked for easier and quicker access. The import options are for importing from plain text, html, EssentialPIM, BasKet Note Pads, KeepNote, KeyNote, Tomboy, Zim, Treepad, Gnote and others. The export options are to pdf, html and plain text. These options also exist for individual nodes. There are options to sort nodes via the menu or keyboard (Tree menu).

Nodes can be made to Read Only. The program preferences (Edit –> Preferences) cover the default font and colours, the program theme such as changing the background colour to another, the icons to use in the tree pane and the number of backups to keep.

Official downloads for all Windows versions are available in exe and portable versions and these are complimented with deb files and a PPA to add to the software sources lists to keep up with CherryTree releases when using the Linux version. CherryTree is currently at v0.34.1 but it has long been a stable option for note keeping.

Aug 272014
 

CopyQ

CopyQ is one of the more powerful clipboard utilities available. It offers several ways to manage and work with clipboard items, be they text or images.

Working with the usual Ctrl+C CopyQ keeps items ordered in a list. This can disabled via it’s tray icon or Ctrl+Shift+X. Click on its tray icon to see the program’s main window. The last item copied is always on top and of course in Windows’ own clipboard. The items stored can be moved up and down to bring them to the top and clipboard items can be moved to new tabs (drag them) as a simple sort of grouping. The tabs can be made to look like a tree on the left side of the window as an alternative to the more traditional tab look.

Of course most importantly clicking on item on the list (via right clicking the tray icon) pastes the item into the active window or form.

CopyQ features a whole set of shortcuts for virtually all operations like Ctrl+N to create a new item manually and F2 to edit an item. Each item can have a note attached to it which make it easier to find it but the interface suffers because of this. For example “copied with format” in the screenshot above is a note for the large font clipboard item. Also because the copied text is shown with formatting intact the program window can look confusing and a bit mixed up. Searching for items is done by typing when the CopyQ window is active, just start typing and the list filters down with matching items highlighted.

The clipboard history can be changed from the default 200 items and items unloaded after a certain time period (see History tab in preferences) and the number of items shown on the right click menu can be changed too.

The real strength of CopyQ is in its Commands/Global shortcuts feature (File —> Commands or F6). It can manage tabs, move items to a TODO tab, ignore one character items, decrypt and copy, open in browser, paste as plain text, edit 1st item, ignore password windows, autoplay video when urls match certain criteria and lots more automatically and when matching certain conditions like specific urls and windows. Several operations can be processed together giving CopyQ scripting capability. This section of the CopyQ is worth a look and offers a lot of efficiency improvements for the power user. Command line support makes the program even more versatile.

The option to encrypt clipboard items is available after installing GnuPG, this can be set up in the Items tab of the preferences. The programs’s appearance can also be extensively reconfigured and made to look differently as if to have different themes. CopyQ is available in exe and portable versions and also for other platforms. The non Windows versions may not be as stable, for example the  64bit .deb version tested on a Mint 13 MATE computer does not work when editing a note, the program is killed immediately. This is probably in an attempt to open an external editor (Notepad) that is not available on the said computer.

Aug 212014
 

Cute Sticky Notes

Despite the perhaps silly and generic name Cute Sticky Notes is a useful desktop sticky notes freeware. The install process is a bit different and somewhat overkill in that it checks online to verify the md5 hash of  its own exe just downloaded and also deletes the setup file after installation is complete, to – as it says – reduce chances of malware.

A default note is launched with the program, new notes can be added by clicking the + on the top right of a note, right clicking on a note or the program’s tray icon. Notes can fold, hide, made transparent and set as reminder or alarm notes by hovering over the top portion of a note. By default notes are ‘pinned’ to the desktop but they can also be pinned to any (program) window.

Clicking anywhere on a note makes it ready to use with a set of formatting options made available, alternatively right click on a note and insert from the clipboard (plain text or not) or add an attachment to a note. It is also possible to drag an image or file to a note. In the case of an image the program prompts and ask if the image is to be an attachment or a background for the note. Cute Sticky Notes also has more than one set of options to change the skin of any individual sticky note and to group the notes into categories.

The program settings (right click tray icon) has options for the default font and configurable hot keys to add new note, hide/show notes and insert text from clipboard. Also via the tray icon there are history and recycle bin windows to use to view, permanently delete or restore notes and an option to back up or restore the notes database. Another feature is the cloud sync. Notes can be uploaded to view and use on other computers and mobile devices, this was not tested but is potentially very useful. Cute Sticky Notes is at version 1.0.0.13 and besides the XP and to 7 version there is also a separate Windows 8 version.

Aug 182014
 

Honeyview Image Viewer

Honeyview is an image viewer made by the developers of the Bandizip archiver. Therefore it is not surprising that it is possible to view images inside zip, rar, tar, alz, lzh or 7z archive formats without extracting them.

Honeyview requires the user to load a folder via a right click anywhere in the program window or the left most button on the bottom controls. Then it lets the user view the images in several way, like fit in window and fit to width but also “Smart double page” which made no difference or didn’t work in testing png and jpg files. These are probably set up to work with tiff or other formats. It is also possible to view files in a slideshow with many delay choices and limited set of transition effects. Folder bookmarks make using the program more efficient. Honeyview is also an image editor with rotate, crop, resize and change format settings via the menu and others like gamma adjustment, flip or sharpen via right click on an image. The user can choose to launch an image in an external editor as well. It is also possible to move and copy images around “Photo folders”. The folders can be defined in the program’s settings.

The program settings (F5) add a whole set of tweaks like turning off the screensaver, changing the program language, more control over navigating with the mouse and keyboard, associating the program with different image formats, caching images, using different image profile data and better using the exif data to view and manage images,

The program’s only skin is the Windows 8 looking one.  Honeyview is available in both portable and exe downloads and also supports grabbing GPS data with locations looked up using Google maps.

Aug 152014
 

notation

Notation is a lightweight and simple note taker not too dissimilar to CintaNotes. Its interface can be called minimalist and its features focused on one task. Perhaps crucially Notation doesn’t insert text via a shortcut, it only creates a new note.

At first install the program checks if its default ‘New Note’ shortcut or hot key is used by the system and offers the user a change from the default Win+N. The New Note and Search (default Win+Shift+F) hot keys can be changed anytime and even disabled in Notation’s settings (Edit —> Settings).

To add notes one starts by typing in the bottom portion of the program window, the notes are automatically saved and the first line or few words are used as the note title. The search is as you type highlight across all notes and seems fast. Notation can import text files and exports to html files. The export supports the markdown syntax.

Notation saves the notes in xml format. To help make the notes portable across devices Simplenote is supported, the details should be added in the Simplenote tab of the settings. Notation works on Windows Vista and newer.

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