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.

Aug 122014
 

ClipMe

A new entry in the clipboard management software category is ClipMe (not the first software or app to use that name?). It is currently at the 0.1.0 beta stage and there is potential for development and lots more to come. At this time ClipMe is basic and does not do all that much. However it is functional even as is.

Use Windows’ usual Ctrl+C to capture text, files and images that are stored in ClipMe’s database. Bring up the manager (Ctrl+Shift+O by default, configurable via the Preferences) to view them and their size. Hover over any captured image in the list to get a preview, edit any text entry if needed.  Delete any entry by clicking on the X beside it. At the bottom of the manager window there is an option to change the number of items ClipMe keeps and remembers, the default is 30.

Currently to reuse an item it is necessary to click on it in the manager window or on it via the program’s tray icon (right click the icon).

The hot key to enable or disable ClipMe’s clipboard tracking is Ctrl+Shift+E, it can be configured to use another combination. ClipMe can be configured to ignore any of the types of captures it supports so, for example, it is possible to use ClipMe only to capture images. ClipMe should run on XP and newer.

Aug 112014
 

Hddb

Hddb is another option for those seeking to have a lightweight search utility. Hddb stands for Hard disk database and similar to Locate32 in that it builds a database and uses it to present results. The program interface is similar to Everything however.

At first start a database is built and this takes seconds only. There is an option to rebuild the database any time and also to clean it as if to start over. Folders can be set to be ignored by Hddb by adding an empty file called _hddbignore in them. In Tools —> Options —> Database there is an option to exclude files by name. The search itself supports searching paths (use \ to start a search) and using wild cards. Probably the most notable feature of Hddb is the Named Searches accessed via the Search menu. This narrows down the search to file, folder, picture, executable, office, book, video, audio, archive, code or text formats. For example a search for “@video milan” returns only video files which have milan in their title. These can be configured to add or include other file types and extensions.

Hddb has options to show folder sizes and to show file info via a tool tip, see the Results List tab of the program options to enable these features.

The program remembers recent searches. The non portable version of the program can add itself to the system’s right click context menu. Hddb is available in exe and portable versions for both 32 and 64 bit machines.

Aug 052014
 

PhotoDemon

PhotoDemon is a portable and relatively small – less than 17MB unzipped – image editor which happens to be open source too. Most, if not all, features expected when working with images are present here. Plus there is also a Batch process mode available via the File menu (or Ctrl+B). A film strip area shows all open images.

PhotoDemon can import directly from the clipboard, cameras and scanners and also from URLs. Mouse and keyboard shortcuts for zoom make it easy to view details. The Image menu features most of what is expected like Resize, Crop, Rotate, and Flip plus a few others like Count unique colours and Transparency. The latter is a bit different because it can make specific colours transparent and leave other parts of an image untouched.

The selection has some interesting extras. When making a selection various effects can be added to the selection instead of the whole image. For example the screenshot above, probably not the best image to illustrate this, shows a rectangular selection with a border (After making a selection click Select –>Border). The Adjustment options are Black and white, Brightness and contrast, Color Balance, Levels, Vibrance, White balance, Channel, Color, Histogram, Invert, Lighting and Monochrome. The Effects are also most of the typical ones expected like Artistic, Blur, Distort, Edge, Experimental, Natural, Noise, Sharpen and Stylize. There is also a Custom filter window which is a fun to play with if not necessarily needed for most. The Experimental and Natural filters include the likes of Underwater, Rainbow, Alien and Radioactive.

The Tools menu is where macros can be recorded and plugins added, the included plugins are Exiftool, pngnq-s9, EZTwain, zlib and FreeImage. PhottoDemon offers a good solution for image editing beyond what is mentioned above and probably belongs high on the list of downloads to keep.

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