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.

Jul 312014
 

Notes Keeper

Long time reader Asen alerted me to a relative new entry in the Notes Organizer category. Notes Keeper currently in Release Candidate or beta stage looks to have potential and already features a good set of useful features.

On first start the user is prompted to create a new database (Ctrl+Ins or via the Note menu). The program interface is divided into cells listing the saved notes. The next step is no create a new note (Ctrl+N). Here a more familiar word processor type – with all the expected formatting options – window pops up. The note title can be edited, it can be added to a group and tags added. The group and tag can be created on the fly. Many other features are available such as inserting images, password protecting notes, using transparent mode, working in full screen, attaching files and always staying on top. There is also a search bar at the bottom of the main window which as of this review seems to search through note titles only.

Notes Keeper

Notes Keeper is portable and requires the .NET framework. At version 0.5 it is very interesting to see what the future brings and follow it to 1.0 and beyond.

Jan 072014
 

Dukto

Sharing and sending files over the internet gets easier and more trivial with every passing year. The same is almost true when it comes to sharing files on a local area network, between two computers in a house for example. It is a waste of bandwidth and resources to use the internet for such a case. There are relatively complex solutions for transferring files in a home network, some require the same operating system and others fiddling with permissions and folder share settings. Dukto (version: R6) is one tool that reduces the effort and also happens to be multi-platform.

Dukto does not write to the registry or pollute the system, its Windows, Linux and other versions can be downloaded and just executed.

Dukto

Just open the program on all installed devices and its discovery protocol should find the others. In most home cases there is nothing else to do but to choose a file, folder, text or clipboard content to send to another computer. There might be times when the discovery might not work and Dukto will attempt an IP connection – the IP address of every device is shown by clicking the bottom middle icon and can be entered manually for IP connection transfers. It is possible to configure where received files are stored by using the bottom right settings icon.

If an error is seen it can be due to a firewall blocking Dukto. The program can be white listed pretty easily, for example in

Windows XP:

Start —> Control Panel –> Windows Firewall, Exceptions tab —> Add Program

Windows 7:

Start —> Control Panel —> Windows Firewall —>Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall, Change Settings and Allow another program buttons

Linux Mint 13 MATE edition:

Menu —> Firewall Configuration. The Firewall is normally disabled when Mint is installed. If it is enabled for any reason Dukto may not work and allowing it will require a firewall that can add application rules and not port or IP address based rules. For example Linux-Firewall.org

Dukto is available for Windows XP and newer, Mac OS 10.6 and newer and via repositories (or manually via deb or rpm files) for use on Linux computers. As tested on Linux Mint 13 the deb file downloaded from http://software.opensuse.org/download.html?project=home:colomboem&package=dukto was used – simply download and double click to ‘Install package’ and it’s ready to be used.

Jan 052014
 

Process Liquidator

Process Liquidator is a small utility that pretty much serves one purpose. This is to have have quick access to running processes and if needed terminate them easily.

A right click on a process name terminates it. Process Liquidator displays process name and process id – and by left clicking on a name additional information about the process. Double click on any running process to see its child processes, if any, or click on the Childs button to see all. After clicking on a process name click on the Wins text to list Windows the process has open.

Process Liquidator

It is docked to the right side of the screen with an option to change docking position, it also auto hides by default and requires hovering the mouse on configurable edges of the screen to re-open. This and other options such as Warn before terminating and are available in the Config section (see images).

Process Liquidator should work on Windows 2000 and newer.

 

 

 

Jan 032014
 

Process Piglet

Process Piglet is a small tool released as part of NANY 2014. It monitors top memory consuming programs and warns of any large changes in RAM usage.

Process Piglet is probably most useful for monitoring browser behaviour.  Of course there are programs that by nature require a lot of resources, those written poorly that have memory leaks and others that don’t release memory properly when different tasks are done or the program is closed. The more common culprits, however, are browsers. Also their add-ons and plugins (hint: Flash) are notorious for bringing even relatively powerful computers to their knees.

Process Piglet provides a window showing top memory users. It generates an alert when memory usage for a process changes a lot and offers the user to terminate or restart it. The same plus other options like navigate to folder are available by right clicking the process name in the program window.

The programs settings include an Exclusions option to ignore processes and by default only cares about processes using more than 50MB, this can be changed by right clicking the tray icon then Edit Options —> Memory Options.

Process Piglet should run on Windows versions going back to Windows 2000 and since it is new is evolving quickly.

 

 

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