Create Menus using the CSS Tab Designer

The CSS Tab Designer is described by its author as

CSS Tab Designer is a unique and easy to use software to help you design css-based lists and tabs visually and without any programming knowledge required

Using Cascading Style Sheets to design or code web pages is often an interesting task. It is often an adventure to create beautiful designs and achieve impressive effects as browser support for CSS is peculiar at best. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is maligned for many things, not least of which is security, but for much of its history it has lagged in web standards support which of course means that the support for the different specifications of Cascading Style Sheets has been less than what most web designer would wish it to be.

One software that is able to create tabbed menus is the CSS Tab Designer. Menus and navigation in general are an important part of a site’s user experience and using a software like the CSS Tab Designer one can not only easily create one of 60 tabbed styled menus but perhaps more importantly one can learn CSS by example through studying the generated HTML and CSS.

Upon opening the CSS Tab Designer one is presented with around 60 styles to choose from. There one can easily add menu items or additional tabs and then very easily change the number, position, order and the text of the tabs using the Edit menu. The actual relevant or generated code is viewable via a separate tab within the program.

The program offers information on browser support by providing a sampling of links to popular and important web sites that offer more tools and discussion on everything CSS. CSS tab Designer is a freeware that runs on Windows 98, ME , 2000, XP, and 2003 and is available at www.highdots.com. A couple of recommended and interesting sites on CSS worth mentioning here are Dynamic Drive and A List Apart

Dirhtml Index.html Generator

The dirhtml index.html generator is described by its author as

Dirhtml builds customizable html files from a folder branch using the gui or command line

Creating a file listing has been one of the oldest and sometimes most discussed implementations for any computer, it is obvious how to and may be even trivial to achieve a list via a search or the CLI (command line interface.)

One tool however, that offers a GUI (graphical user interface) for this task is dirhtml. The program’s options consist of 6 tabs that allow you to customize the input and output in many different and useful ways.

The first tab is called ‘Folders, Files’ and this is where the files or folder(s) the user needs to work on are chosen, those files can be filtered by type, name or even their location in subfolders. This is also the place where the output file template and/or location is chosen.

The second tab is called ‘Miscellaneous’  and offers many options all packed into one page (see below.) Here everything about the output can be customized. The user can choose to include file sizes in the output, change the date format, insert summary statistics and much more.

dirhtml

The third tab is the ‘Sorting’ options one and by comparison it is an empty tab. Two main choices are included here that allow the user to sort the way the files are listed in the output. One is ‘sort by’ where files can be sorted by filename, date, size, extension or random order and the other is ‘sort order’  where ascending, descending and unsorted order are listed. However I have not tried and am not sure how the two can work together, for example what happens if the ‘sort by’ is date and the ‘sort order’ is unsorted?

The fourth tab is ‘Default Words’ and here one can customize and include html tags (such as bold, italic, etc.) for the titles, headings and summary text of the resulting output.

The fifth tab is ‘Recursive’ options and here the user can divide the output. For example the user may want each subfolder worked on and presented separately or perhaps presented in a framed HTML page.

The final tab (see image below) gives the user the control of where the output is launched, what language or font is used and also the option to work with batch files and scripts to automate the process and even further customize every aspect of the resulting output file. Everything from working with alternate rows to using style sheets or validating the output is made possible here. The included help file has examples and a list of tags or words that can be used for the customization.

dirhtml2

All in all a very powerful program, dirhtml is now at version v4.832 and is a portable freeware. It runs under NT/2000/XP/Vista and a Windows 98 compatible version is also available at dirhtml.enware.info.

xNeat Windows Manager utility

The xNeat Windows Manager is described by its author as

xNeat is a very handy windows enhancement utility that gives you full control over your windows and adds functionality to your desktop that you wish that Microsoft had included. It’s neat, compact and combines many useful programs into one.

The xNeat Windows Manager adds several useful and plain fun functionality to any application window. One of the most useful and time saving of the features is ‘Send To Tray’ which like most features is easily accessible by middle clicking on any window’s title bar. Instead of taking up space on the taskbar the window is minimized to the tray bar and into an icon. Also using the same key one can choose to keep any window on top. Hiding a window is also possible in the same way and the hidden window can be retrieved or restored by right clicking on the taskbar and accessing the xNeat Windows Manager menu and all its settings. (see image below)

xneat

It is also possible to control window and taskbar transparency and set priorities for processes and application windows themselves. Not to mention hiding the start button, clock, taskbar and system tray icons altogether. A pro version is also available that adds windows roll ups plus shortcuts accessible from the titlebar, keyboard or mouse. The pro version also makes it possible to clone a file name which can be useful if a file of the same name exists in a given directory. Further to that one can also append the current date to a file’s name when saving it. The xNeat Windows Manager runs on XP and 32 bit Vista and along with Clipboard Management, a clipboard utility, and Application Builder, a program that turns VBScript, JScript, HTA  or HTML files into executables (among other things), is available at www.xneat.com


Ac Browser Plus File Manager

Ac Browser Plus file manager or windows explorer replacement is described by its author as

Advanced, multi-window file manager and FTP client for Windows

File managers are often used by regular and power users alike to extend the functionality of Windows Explorer. There are many mainstays and popular ones like the freeware FreeCommander, UltraExplorer, and Q-Dir and the shareware XYplorer. One rarely mentioned one is the Ac Browser Plus which I have been running for over a year now.

acbrowserplus

It supports many features and is highly customizable. One of the more notable features it has is that you are able to work with many folders (unfortunately limited to 3 in the freeware version)  at the same time. However many additional features are all present in the freeware version. Integrated FTP client is one. Folder synchronization is another important tool. Viewers for many image and text formats is only bettered by a zip viewer which unlike many other file viewers and explorer replacements work perfectly in my many uses. It is very useful to be able to navigate inside zip archives and Ac Browser Plus does the best job I have seen among the few viewers that actually support this feature.

The features don’t stop there, one interesting and useful feature is the ‘hot point’ where you can get file properties and a thumbnail by hovering over a small red rectangle near the file name in list views. There is a renamer included as well, and an useful address bar/breadcrumbs is available that makes folder navigation even easier. Not to mention several scripts for such things as creating file lists and opening applications.

With the very customizable views that it offers and at 2.9MB for a virtually feature complete freeware version Ac Browser Plus deserves better ratings and attention. I feel that if the developer finds more time in adding and developing the additional features like the scripting and quashes a few bugs then with a bit of promotion Ac Browser Plus will get very popular. The OS support is listed as Win XP, NT, 2000, 2003.

Total Text Container PIM

Total Text Container is a PIM (Personal Information Management) software described by its author as

Store Documentation, Notes, Passwords, Images, Bookmarks, Contacts, Spreadsheets, Money Transactions, Calendar Events & Tasks, iCalander events, CD/DVD/Movie catalogs, Multi layer encryption, Portable, xml database, all in one powerful PIM app.

Total Text Container is a pretty complete and feature rich software that allows you to do a lot and organize your information all in one folder.

ttc

It has many interesting and valuable features.  It can store all sorts of lists, such as movies, bookmarks, confidential information and images. Syntax highlighted code and snippets can be saved as well. It is possible to add clipboards and even tasks to Total Text Container and access them via the program’s tray icon without actually wading through the program itself. There is also a ‘Mix Frame’  feature which allows the user to work on different ‘frames’ such as notes, spreadsheets, code and others at the same time, though it seems to be a work in progress in my tests, I got a few access violation errors while attempting to add or show frames.

TTC is worth checking out and though at alpha v0.a070 as of this writing it can prove useful with a bit of caution because as mentioned access violation errors can pop up from time to time. The author claims that

As long as TTC is below version 1.00 then its still in beta stage, I use TTC almost every day so i def want it to be error free myself. I fix errors as i find them but if I don’t know about an error i can’t fix it so let me know on my forums on sourceforge.

so one should be able to get some help just in case. Have a look at http://mtirnanic.googlepages.com/

AdiIRC IRC Client

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is one of those methods of communication that dates back to the early days of when the world wide web was working its way to the mainstream. mIRC and to some extent PIRCH became the more popular client (stand alone program) based ways of using IRC and entering the many channels available on the many networks around the internet. Browser based means like java applets and to a lesser extent flash embeds achieved the same through browsers but sometimes made IRC use awkward.

AdiIRC is one of the more recent entrants but is at version 1.8 now and includes a feature that most IRC clients support only through add-ons or plugins. ‘Now Playing’ display of songs being listened through the likes of WinAmp has a been a mainstay of IRC and AdiIRC has that built-in. Additionally it supports SSL connections, DCC File Transfers, Logging, Tab key cycling, and many other commands and shortcuts to ease its use and expected by those who still call the many IRC networks home. A couple of more impressive additions worth mentioning are what is called ‘Easy Message Search’ where the user can right click in the channel window and search the conversation inline. The other addition is a google search which can be had through customizing the toolbar. After all this it is important to also mention that themes and plug-ins are supported but very few ready made ones are available as of this writing.

The only possible negative that may be attributed to AdiIRC is the .NET (2.0 and above) requirement but otherwise this is a very promising IRC client and very much worth a look.

8start Launcher

8start is decribed by its author as

A free Application Launcher to make your desktop clean, with Tree Notes feature to keep and share your notes fast and easy. Portable, skinable, customizable, innovation…

Using it you can keep notes in trees with additional features recently added like tree shortcuts and favorites. One can customize skins and backgrounds or download a few more available on the developer’s forum. Most importantly one can make rows and rows of shortcuts to launch application, documents and sites and divide them all into categories. On a XP system tested and used for months it has never surpassed 10MB usage and can be made portable as well. The tiny graph to monitor drive space is a useful little tool too.

Take a look at screenshots and a more thorough explanation of 8start’s features. It is free for any use and can be downloaded from here

TeamViewer remote desktop

TeamViewer is a Desktop Sharing, Remote Control and Support software described by its author as

TeamViewer establishes connections to any PC all around the world within just a few seconds. You can remote control your partner’s PC as if you were sitting right in front of it.

TeamViewer makes it very easy to connect to a remote computer for remote control, file sharing or just making presentations. It is even possible to control unattended computers if the software is used as a service. It easily bypasses routers without the need for port-forwarding or other unnecessary and perhaps complex tweaks. teamviewer

After installing and running the full version the window seen here opens which is ready to give access to the host computer or to connect to a remote computer once the ID and password of the said computer is received.  A host or client computer may also download and run without installation a ‘quick support’ version making it very handy for quick help or just help to the less experienced computer user.

Security should be very important here because pretty broad access is given to computers using TeamViewer. Here encryption is based on RSA private/public key exchange and AES (256 Bit) session encoding. Plus the password is re-generated for each time the program is used adding another layer of protection.

TeamViewer is free for private/non-commercial use is only 1.8MB for the full version.

Dexpot virtual desktops

Dexpot is a virtual desktop manager and is described by its author as

Dexpot 1.4 turns your monitor into up to 20. It creates and manages virtual desktops and enables you to work far more efficiently and comfortably with many simultaneously opened windows on Windows 95/98/ME and NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista (incl. x64).

What it means is that by using Dexpot you can increase the number of Desktops you have and reduce clutter.

dexpotsettings

The Dexpot Settings window allows you to configure the number of desktops, set  the initial window and also how the program starts and exits.

The second image below is the Dexpot Windows one and allows you to distribute icons on the desktops  and perhaps is the most important in so far as playing around goes, here you can copy or cut icons to various desktops for example.

The program is very customizable and among it features is one additional and powerful setting called Desktop Rules, using it you can set rules or triggers so that applications are opened in certain desktops automatically.

All settings are accessible by right clicking the program’s taskbar icon.

dexpotwindows

Lots to discover and play around with but one note of caution. The program requires the user to right click on the desktop and uncheck  Align To Grid, this will mess up your icon layout if you exit and/or stop using Dexpot. I recommend you download a layout restorer such as Icon Restore and save your desktop layout before using Dexpot.

Dexpot is available at http://dexpot.de/ and is free for private use. A good deal of tutorials and more is available on the publisher’s site.