Link Manager (Version: 2012.9) is a no-install light weight freeware. It can be used to collect, search and manage URLs or links. It features almost everything one can do with links.
The first screen or section is the Link Manager. Here links can be added manually by filling the Link Name and Link URL fields. Links can also be auto-completed from a link name. Type any site name into the Link Name and click the Get From Link Name button, Link Manager will try to complete the Link URL field, it is also possible to auto-complete the name with .com, .net, .org or blogspot.com by clicking the small 1 to 4 buttons respectively. URLs can also be categorized by using the buttons above the URL list, by right clicking on them or alternatively have a category name highlighted when adding a URL. Links can also be added to Internet Explorer favorites or exported to json and html formats for Firefox and Google Chrome. URL lists can be edited with notepad or saved as an html file, additionally one can generate ‘scripts’, this includes bbcode for forums and bullet lists. Finally, URLs can be opened with the system’s default browser or others can be added to over ride the default. Other features, using the buttons above the link list, include shortcuts to Google Search, Google Translate and the PDFmyURL service.
Link Searcher will search for links saved in Link Manager. Link Extractor browses html files and extracts links from them, it includes options to filter text and ignore links in img (image) tags. Links extracted can be saved to a text file or be moved to a new category named after the current date. Link Synchronizer can compare, mirror, synchronize or just show two separate Link Manager databases.
The Tools section encodes or decodes URLs. This is where, among others, dot is replaced by %2E, @ by %40 and colon is replaced by %3A. The encoding is useful for hiding email addresses from spammers or using the URL in a query string for databases. Access to URL shortening services are here as well with q.gs, adf.ly, bit.ly, cli.gs, dot.tk, is.gd, mo.by, NinjURL, ShortURL, Snipr, Tiny.pl or TinyURL being the available services.
Link Manager packs a lot of features into a ~600KB download. It should run on all Windows versions.
KeepNote is described by its author simply as
KeepNote is a note taking application that works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X
KeepNote is started by creating a new notebook and then new page(s) within it. Each page can contain text of course, but images can be inserted (Edit—>Insert Image…) as well as screenshots (Edit—>Insert Screenshot…) and files (Edit—>Attach File…). For screenshots KeepNote Minimizes itself and in dragging the mouse one can choose a rectangular area for capture. Note that the aforementioned insertions work when in a page or when a page is visible or highlighted in the tree structure.
The notebooks are saved in a tree structure or hierarchy with a notebook as the root and page and sub pages within it. Search and replace is available across all notes or for the open/visible page. The usual text formatting and aligning options are present as well.
The View menu’s ‘View Note In File Explorer’ opens the highlighted or open notebook’s folder in an instance of Windows Explorer (or other alternative). ‘View Note In Text Editor’ opens up a page in Wordpad. In both ‘View Note In Web Browser’ and ‘Open File’ options the page is shown in Internet Explorer (and not in system’s default browser).
The Go menu adds navigation options to move between tree nodes (notebooks), individual pages, to expand or collapse notes and more.
The Tools menu is where the python prompt (KeepNote is implemented or written using PyGTK) and optional Spell Check features reside but the required GtkSpell is not cross platform (it is Linux only).
The help menu includes a link to the program’s preferences file, here one can play around and change settings such as ‘new_notebook_path’, the aforementioned browser used to open notes (by changing ‘Web Browser’ from ‘C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe’ to the path for Firefox, Google Chrome or other browser) and even change Windows Explorer to an alternative such Ac Browser Plus, FreeCommander or other (by changing ‘File Launcher’ from ‘explorer.exe’ to the (full) path of the chosen executable).
Notebooks or pages can be exported in HTML format and can be backed up and tarred as well.
KeepNote deserves top marks for ease of use and the convenient and many editable options it provides.
CubicExplorer is described by its author as
CubicExplorer is a file manager which is aimed to replace Windows Explorer. It’s goal is to be easy and pleasant to use but still have enough power for more advanced usage.
CubicExplorer has an uncluttered interface with a relatively limited amount of features. It manages to give a clean look impression to the user and remains easy enough for simple use. It has the usual and needed features in the ability to set bookmarks and remember folders. Filters to show only certain files types within folders. A quick view for internal image previews and a built-in text editor. It is also possible to set transparency levels for the program and choose one of many themes included, both these settings and options are in the View menu. It is also possible to create one’s own theme and they can be featured on the app’s forum. CubicExplorer also supports many of the typical shortcut keys and command line variables in its address bar, however it also supports breadcrumb navigation.
The author has set up a roadmap detailing some of the features in the works. It is a registry free program and can be used without an installer in zip format. A number of screenshots are available on the program’s home page.
Lunascape is described by its author as
…the world’s only triple engine browser
As seen by the developers the main strength or selling point of the browser is that every page can be loaded and rendered properly without switching browsers, since 3 browser engines are available within the program. On first thought that is an excellent concept but the user may need more convincing to use Lunascape because switching between open windows of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, by pressing alt-tab for example, does not add significant time to the process of loading a page.
Probably needing to rely on different and interesting features the developers have tried to include some options and ease of use features in the default install. For example it is claimed that Internet Explorer toolbars will work without any problems, using the same browser engine as Microsoft’s browser that might seem obvious, but as with most software that may not always be the case. A set of mouse gestures are included with the ability to set one’s own. Different tabs can be loaded using different engines within the same window. The Bookmarklets located under the Tools menu offer many built-in capabilities. One can go one level up in the site’s structure, check the cookies set by the particular site that is loaded, translate pages, zoom in and out, get a tinyurl for the address, using the Webkit engine rotate the page 90 degrees and many more. Lunascape supports add-ons and a large number of themes or skins are also available. Lunascape comes with an auto hide sidebar that gives access to virtually all its settings by hovering the mouse on the left hand side of the window.
It will likely find it difficult to compete with the browsers that everybody is more familiar with but Lunascape has most of the features users want or need.
Another note or two of interest is that the Lunascape download is 9MB for its initial setup file and in the process of installation it downloads approximately 19MB more for the Webkit (the Chrome and Safari engine) and Gecko (the Mozilla/Firefox engine). Also as a sort of crude test I loaded the same page (only 1 tab open) using all engines and recorded the memory usage and they are as follows:
23MB for Trident
58MB for Gecko
23MB for Webkit
These results are in line with most memory use tests of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome respectively. Requirements are Windows 2000 to Vista and Internet Explorer 6 installed.
Hyperwords is a firefox add-on that adds useful features and shortcuts to some common and may be not so common tasks. The default install available on the author’s website and via the Mozilla add-ons site presents a menu any time a word is highlighted or selected. Via the menu one can search google, Microsoft’s bing, the web page the word resides on, and others for the selected word. The search options do not stop there as share prices can be checked if the selected word is a stock symbol, the word can be searched for on wikipedia, wiktionary, urban dictionary and other places. A shop shortcut checks amazon, eBay and others. One can share the text via email, twitter, facebook, and other supported blogging platforms as well. In some cases even more useful is the option to copy the text as plain text or as link and send it to notepad for example. The translate option presents many languages to choose from and replaces the chosen words with the translated version, however it is not immediately obvious how the original text can be reset to its original language. The view option scans the page for occurrences of the same word, paragraphs with the same word and more.
The settings of Hyperwords include some additional possibilities and advanced features and give a good amount of control over the appearance and behaviour of this add-on. The first and perhaps most important in terms of making Hyperwords less intrusive is the ability to make its menu not appear any time a text is selected but to use it via Firefox’s own right click context menu or to require the user to click enter after highlighting a text. The aforementioned options for this are not the only ones available as others can be chosen as the list of settings is rather extensive. The included currency converter, available when a number is highlighted, can be tweaked for example and shortcuts for its use edited. The shop services such as Amazon can be localized to search local shops. One can set how search results are presented as well with the default being a new tab in the foreground.
The not so clever article title aside SE-Explorer is a relatively new entry into the file manager/Windows Explorer alternative space. As of this date it is at version 0.0.30.600 and is not without its performance issues. The portable version tested on a XP computer is slow to start and the ever illusive zip or archive exploring or viewing seems to be a work in progress. I have tested and have looked for a file manager that handles archives well and have come up empty handed – with the possible exception of Ac Browser Plus featured here on RGdot – for the most part but SE-Explorer does come close in achieving it.
Feature-wise SE-Explorer is a good pick. Besides the aforementioned archive viewing it supports most image formats as well as viewing PDF, DOC, CHM help file and some other text based formats. Its built-in media player supports many audio and video formats which can be played as a whole folder or individually and also shuffled and repeated as a play list. A text comparer is also included as is syntax highlighting in its internal viewer, accessible by right clicking a document icon and choosing view. SE-Explorer also has a file search engine that can find files that satisfy a variety of criteria such as search ‘files by tags’ and others. The size scanner builds a drive summary and can classify or create reports based on largest files, folder sizes, file types and more. A task info tab keeps a record of file operations such as any moving and copying done and can be thought of as a log but it looks like it can include additional features in future versions of the program.
SE-Explorer runs on Windows 2000, 2003, XP, and Vista and is one to watch out for. Many more screenshots are also available at the developer’s site.
Canaware NetNotes allows the capture, organization and storage of whole webpages or excerpts directly from a browser. It is really easy to create a knowledgebase or simply a collection of text using NetNotes. The captured material can be categorized, highlighted and even edited using the built-in editor. The captures are organized and saved in folders that reside within libraries, all of which are fully searchable, movable and mergeable. It is further possible to email notes and captures and also to back them up in zipped format and since all are stored in HTML they remain usable even without the NetNotes application.
Canaware NetNotes’ usage consists of highlighting the portion of a web page or just right clicking (Firefox requires the accompanying but optional Add-on) on an empty area of a page and choosing the Export To Canaware Netnotes option. The program then opens with the option of saving the capture and optionally editing its title and adding keywords. Prompt will be given to choose and download any attachments that are part of the capture as in elements that may exist within a webpage.
Under the Tools—>Option menu such things as the default library, in which to automatically save new notes, is configurable but more importanly it is possible to make the captures safe by forcing NetNotes to filter out potentially dangerous elements and scripts. (see image above)
Canaware NetNotes runs on Windows 2000 and up and requires Internet Explorer or Firefox and perhaps as a con the .Net framework. The limitation on browsers of either not being directly supported or needing an Add-on can be viewed as a negative, and when there is no support such as for Opera, to a positive because one is not forced into yet another download and can just launch the program directly to and paste the contents of the clipboard and use the program.
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.
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.