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.

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.

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.

Nov 282016
 

Seymour

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.

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.

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.

Oct 312016
 

70 Ways to Save the Earth

As a follow up much earlier post here on RGdot I was contacted about an extended list that we can all use as reference. Some very simple like turning off lights when not in use to sometimes not so easy ones like using organic products the list includes 70 things we can all do. A few like using less packaging requires more consumers becoming conscious and vocal to influence change but doing even one or few of the list will help the environment.

The full list, courtesy of Greenmatch UK, is at http://www.greenmatch.co.uk/70-ways-to-save-the-earth 

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Oct 312016
 

AnnoPad

AnnoPad (version:1.5.3) or URL Specific Notepad – AnnoPad to mention its full name is a Google Chrome extension that saves notes in a drop down accessible via its icon much the same way as many other extensions.

The interface is simple, click on the icon and add a new note. The URL of the current page is automatically saved with the note. The note can be formatted in bold or italic and be an unordered or ordered numbered list. Notes are saved automatically and clicking the back button takes the user back to the notes list.

It is possible to assign a category to a note however the notes list interface does not show the category. The category is therefore only currently useful in the as you type incremental search. The same search of course finds text in the notes’ content as well. When a page or site is open notes can be filtered to those with a matching address. Saved notes can also be displayed by newest, oldest, page ascending and page descending. The latter two refer to the URLs associated with saved notes.

AnnoPad’s settings are Export to TXT, Export to PDF and Delete.

Oct 282016
 

(Un)colored

(Un)colored (version: 0.9.1) is a cross platform open source freeware or donationware text editor. It is currently tagged as beta.

It provides a distraction free interface with a toolbar or menu only becoming visible when the user hovers near the top of the window. It also features shortcuts to type or move through a document like Ctrl+1 for a XL header type text and Ctrl+Shift+C to clear formatting. A list of the shortcuts can be seen via the top menu.

(Un)colored-AV

Selecting any text will also highlight the toolbar to format the text. Clicking Alt is the alternative method of doing the same.

What makes (Un)colored more modern is support for emojis and its embed feature. Youtube, SoundCloud and others can be embedded directly into a document.

A document can be saved in HTML  or markdown format. The former supports themes, as in the saved HTML document can have different font sizes or colors. Currently there are four themes, Attitude, GitHub Style, Horizon and White Room.

As the author warns that (Un)colored can trigger antivirus warning, it did so on the Windows 10 machine it was tested on. Avast Virus Lab analyzed and returned a false positive (see screenshot). The more people use it the less likely this will happen in the future.

It is available for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows 7 (installer or portable) or newer and only in 64-bit format.

Oct 262016
 

SaMotion

SaMotion (version: 1.11 Build 325) is a minimalist and portable task manager or more simply a to do list. Just download and extract the exe, then double click it.

The program offers a dark or light theme and nothing else except categories and tasks indented. Hovering shows the + icon to add either a category or task, only one level deep. Clicking on an existing category or task makes its title or text editable. The other program settings are docking to the left or right and staying on top. The .sm file extension can be associated with the program as this is the format the lists are saved in. A task can be color coded to any one of green, orange or red colors by clicking immediately to the left of an item.

Lists or projects as they are called are encrypted (Blowfish 448Bit) and the list can be exported to a password protected PDF.

The program could use enhancements that still keep it minimalist. Two such features or improvements could be support for dates and better handling of longer text. In the screenshot above the longer item just disappears without any indication.

SaMotion runs on Windows 7 and newer.

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