Jan 192017

LazLock (version: 2.4.2) is a freeware password manager, it is portable and available separately for 32bit and 64 bit computers as well as Linux ones. Just unzip and run the executable.

On first run the master password is chosen and confirmed with the usual disclaimer that it can not be recovered as it uses 128 bit AES encryption. When the program starts empty URL, Username and Password fields tempt the user to start entering and save after typing but the only ways to add an entry is via the menu or icon.

An entry can belong to any one of the 10 categories that are Banking, Education, Email, Media, Other, Shopping, Social Media, Software, Web or Work as seen in the screenshot. Associate an icon with the entry and then enter the details, optionally use the password generator and set parameters for the password. Here the length of the password can be set and it can include any one or all of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols, brackets, or even spaces! The password generator can be used independently of an entry by clicking on its icon in the program’s main window.

Other features include changing the master password (File —>Change password) and strangely Create backup, (File —>Create backup) which exports entries into a plain text file.

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Jan 142017

When Last Android App

When Last a simple activity tracker Android app by DonationCoder that helps keep track of things done. As with everything else from DonationCoder this app stays true to being clean and in this case the permissions are the minimum of read the contents of your USB storage and modify or delete the contents of your USB storage. Network connections and access will also kick in when using the optional sync feature.

The app comes pre-populated with several activities and categories. Each category is in its own tab, that is how activities can be organized. Create a new event or done activity by clicking the + sign, adding a label, choosing or creating a category on the fly, adding an optional remind in and overdue in and clicking ok. The time that it was done will be listed and shown under its label. The next time it is done click the Now button and the last done time will be shown. Click on the pencil edit button to the left of the title and a history of the activity is shown.

The app supports sorting activities by modification date, performed date, alphabetical or time overdue. These are set either in the preferences or using the button to the right of the +. Using the same button one can toggle hidden items or to provide more screen space and toggle the revise (the edit or pencil) button’s visibility.

The aforementioned hidden feature is a choice made when creating an item. Also the aforementioned sync feature is disabled by default and can be enabled in the app preferences (scroll to the bottom in the preferences). The three available options are using dropbox, public folder and your own sync tool and private folder and you own sync file. In each case a sync app needs to be pointed towards the folder and as mentioned in the When Last’s help file the public option is a subdirectory of the device’s downloads folder and the private one is a subdirectory of the app’s folder.

When Last has also very recently added a search feature.

The app includes a widget with settings for widget title, border, background color and the category to show. Check all DonationCoder Android apps and the newest edition of the N.A.N.Y. (New Apps for the New Year) for other programs available.

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Jan 072017

One of the many plugin types used to extend a WordPress site are calendar ones. Many free and premium ones are available in the repository and elsewhere with a whole set of functionality from displaying simple dates to client booking for example. XO Event Calendar is a free plugin on the simpler side of the spectrum.

After a normal plugin installation the Events menu is added in the WordPress backend. XO Event Calendar adds its own custom post type and taxonomy (category). Each category can have its own background color on the calendar. In a similar way any number of holidays can be created and assigned background colors with ‘day-off’, ‘morning-off’ and ‘afternoon-off’ presets available. Add new events by entering a title, description and optionally an excerpt. Pick a start and end date and choose or create its category on the fly. The event title will be displayed on the calendar and linked to the detail page.


To display the calendar on a page or post use the [xo_event_calendar] shortcode. The shortcode includes the option for displaying holidays, somewhat surprisingly showing holidays are not “true” by default. Other options include showing previous and next month arrows and ability to limit the number of months one can move to, for example previous=”1″ and next=”6″ will only display the previous month’s and the next six months’ dates. It is possible to include only certain categories by naming which to display using categories=”slug”. One can also display different versions of the calendar using the id option (“xo-event-calendar-2”, “xo-event-calendar-3”, etc.), this requires a different page for each calendar displayed.

All in all XO Event Calendar is a clean and minimalist calendar for WordPress, it is relatively new on the scene.

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Jan 052017

ToDoList (version: 7.1) is a task or to do list freeware that can help organize and track tasks. The interface and features may be excessive for a to do list.

Upon installation the program displays several prompts asking where (registry or .ini file) to store settings, whether to prepare a network sharing set up, which columns or type of user interface to show. It will also offer to display its sample task list to give the user a start.

The program window is divided into several parts and can seem “busy” but each section can be hidden using View —> Task View Visibility or View —> Bar Visibility. The filter bar can be used to narrow down tasks down to the very specific. When tasks are created they can have all of title, start date, due date, priority (numbered and colored from 1 to 9), completion status, tag, category, allocated to, allocated by and many other attributes or columns including custom ones (View —> Custom Task Attributes) and displayed with their own icons or background colors. Each can be shown or hidden via right clicking on the task view heading. Tasks can have subtasks with their own attributes. Existing tasks can be subdivided into subtasks too. An item can be linked to a file and have a comment attached to it using rich or simple text and the comments will be visible to right side by default. The aforementioned attributed can be set or edited in the attributes section on the bottom of ToDoList’s window.

There are, of course, several methods for adding new tasks such as using the top menu, the toolbar, right clicking in the task views area. Each task can have a reminder with or without recurrence as well and like other features there are the same several methods of adding a reminder.

The main feature of ToDoList is the multiple views available and each user will probably see one as most intuitive. Task Tree displays tasks with subtasks clearly marked, Task List presents a linear list, Calendar is of course a calendar, Gantt Chart in a horizontal series spanning dates and Kanban (new in 7.1) in a white board style. The Burndown view is a visual representation of the number of tasks in the list, displayed per date, it is basically a simple but depressing graph of how much a user has to do!

The programs preferences are massive in number and detail. Each view has its own preferences too (look for the gear button). For example an option to choose a default view at program startup probably exists but is buried in the preferences – however ToDoList does remember the last view between sessions. Examples of options are the program’s behaviour when inactive, program theme, the position of the task comments, default priority color/number, which attributes are inherited by subtasks, backup and autosave.

The program can import and create tasks from .ics, .csv, .txt, outlook, .mm (Freemind), .gan (GanttProject), .ml (My Life Organized) file and export to the same plus .html.

The program’s wiki details all the features in more detail including more advanced features best suited for multi user environments like task dependency where a task’s status (for example its completion) is dependent on another task, reference task where a task watches another for changes and command line options which include working and interacting with external programs such as emailing tasks.

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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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Nov 282016


Seymour (version:0.9.10) is a freeware image viewer with basic editing features, it is also portable.

Seymour is one of the newer entries in the image viewing world and it packs a good number of features in a lightweight download and shares similarities with XnView.

Images can be rated, categorized and tagged and a separate pane is available to view and find categorized images. Files can be grouped or filtered by filename, those tagged or not and those categorized or not and folders can be bookmarked too.

Beyond viewing many formats and moving and copying them there are basic editing features like resize, crop, rotate, grayscale, brightness, hue, auto level and format conversion to name a few. Seymour also supports scripts with some included like listing of images ready to copy into the clipboard, saving views or layouts, moving files based on properties and replacing text in file names and extensions.

One additional features is Search for images online (under Tools menu or right click the image) which uses google images to find similar images, this is in addition to the local Find similar images which will filter and display similar images in the current folder.

The program does feel sluggish at times, especially in the preview pane (see screenshot for one example of two images being overlayed after one is clicked after the other) but also the menu structure, for example List artists is under both File and Scripts menus.

Seymour is sqlite based and works on Windows XP and newer and supports touchscreen gestures.

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Nov 232016

Treek’s Password Manager

Treek’s Password Manager (version: 1.2) is a freeware password manager with strong encryption (Rijndael AES 256bit by default) and optional cloud storage and sync.

Its interface is clean and polished and at first launch it offers to create a new database, and optionally allows the user to view or modify the initilization vector and salt that go along with the user chosen master password. The option to make it a local database or online one is available here or can be chosen later. The free service allows one database in the cloud with a paid version that has more allowances and offers backups.

Treek’s Password Manager can import passwords saved in browsers automatically. Passwords and login data can be copied, via double click by default, and the associated URL opened too. For better security the program options include a setting to clear the clipboard after a number of seconds. Right clicking an entry presents other options. The most useful of these options is the auto type which will (attempt to) paste the username and password in an open browser page.

The program collects telemetry which it of course claims to not include passwords. An ID is associated with this telemetry and it can be reset to “send telemetry with new identity”. Whether or not this is a deal breaker it is up to the user but the program looks clean.

KeePass is and has been the de facto standard for local password storage and arguably the safest available, it is in many ways superior to any online alternative as well but Treek’s Password Manager is one possible option to consider.

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Nov 152016

Super Simple Tasks

Super Simple Tasks as its name implies is a simple Google Chrome extension that is a minimalist tool for creating lists within Chrome.

As always click the extension icon and the drop down hold the items which can be color coded as a form of tagging, can be marked as done, and can be moved or dragged up and down the list. The user can open the list in a new tab instead of the drop down to get a clearer and better view of it.

Super Simple Tasks works offline and can use the users’ logged in Google account to sync with other devices and its accompanying Android app. To stay anonymous while working with others Super Simple Tasks has a sharing feature which provides a link to be sent to another user, after clicking the share icon a link in the form of http://supersimpletasks.com/?share=code will be presented, the recipient will use that code to see the list. A list can also be ‘disconnected’ and live exclusively on the device it is typed on. Syncing with Google tasks would make this more useful perhaps but as it is it remains a basic method to keep lists.

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