Mar 112013
 

Grab a copy of PCWinSoft’s SuperLauncher, normally $29.95. Click the link below, fill in your email and details to get the activation key.

SuperLauncher (Version: 1.9.3.00) is a program launcher and also a task scheduler and reminder. It can help make computer usage somewhat more efficient.

SuperLauncher

After installation it can be accessed via its tray icon, or if enabled, its floating icon on the desktop. By default it includes some common shortcuts. These shortcuts include calculator, command prompt, recycle bin, notepad, restart computer, shut down computer and shortcuts to yahoo, msn, google and others. Most of these already have a hot key assigned to them, shown in the program’s Shortcut Manager. These hot keys are editable using the Edit button.

New shortcuts are added by clicking the New button then typing a name, choosing one of application, file, folder, website, batch file, reminder message  or insert text and then setting parameters as applicable. When adding a file, folder, batch file or application shortcut use the Get button to browse to its path. Test any shortcuts with the Execute option (either right click on the entry to access the option or use the menu in the program’s Shortcut Manager ) and then set its hot keys, delete it and schedule it the same way.

The reminder message provides a pop up at the scheduled time if the Popup button is pressed or active when it is shown (see image below) . It can be set to a recurring reminder via the Advanced key in the scheduling window. When an insert text is created use the Ctrl+Win+left mouse buttons to activate a popup menu that lists the text configured with SuperLauncher.

SuperLauncher

There is brief tutorial available at first launch or anytime via its tray icon. SuperLauncher can export and import its database for backup and restore, is available in six languages and works on Windows 2000 and newer.

Giveaway link:
http://www.pcwinsoft.com/promotion/RGdotSP/registration.asp

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Nov 072012
 

Mouse Extender is a freeware launcher for mouse users, it seems that its development has stopped but at its last or current version (1.9.9.3) it is still a useful tool.

Mouse Extender

The default method of opening the program is the middle mouse button (or the F4 key) but this can be changed via the program’s settings.

Mouse Extender can launch files, folders, programs or web sites – it features proxy support for the latter. It also comes with (double click) buttons for the system control panel, reboot, shutdown, hibernate or sleep.

Right click on the program’s interface to add shortcuts or to add a tab (see image) to organize shortcuts. Right click on an icon to edit its target – to add arguments, to change its icon or working directory. The same right click can move or send shortcuts to different tabs to reorganize them. The option to ‘Add Running Program’ makes it easy to add a shortcut from a list of open windows, to save clicks.

The exclude option is also very useful, for example adding Firefox to the exclusion list frees the middle mouse button for Firefox’s use.

If the program was being further developed one suggestion would be add captions to shortcuts since in the case of a folder one must rely on its tooltip to remember which is being launched.

When starting the program’s its update check fails, presumably because the program is not active, but this can be ignored. Mouse Extender does not require installation, it does however require .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. Works on XP and newer.

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Mar 242012
 

ControlPad is a launcher and command executor that uses the numeric keypad. It can execute or open documents and websites and send commands to a Windows computer. ControlPad is invoked by pressing the keypad key *, then typing a number using the keypad into the ensuing ControlPad window and then pressing enter.The program comes with a set of built-in commands. The list is available via a right click on the program’s tray icon or using the 902 code. These include reload (9998), Exit (9999), WinClose (9), WinMinimize (77), browser back button (222) and more.

ControlPad

Other codes or commands can be added by invoking the program, pressing *, typing a command (say 888) and pressing the / key on the numeric keypad. After doing so a window will appear (see image) where the user can browse to a program or file or press the {} button to choose from some of the built-in shortcuts. These include turning volume up, down or mute, playing media, launching the default mail program, going to browser’s home page, sending keys like F1, Ctrl and others to the system, sending the system to sleep or killing or closing processes. After doing so has been the number or command (888 in this case) will be associated with the chosen action. A virtually unlimited number of commands can be created to automate tasks.

ControlPad also has a SpeedPad feature where, when enabled – via the tray icon for example –  single keypad keys, 0-9 and the dot (.), can be associated with commands. The only restriction is that these will work only when Numlock is turned off. ControlPad accepts anything that can be typed in the Windows’ own run box, “Notepad” (without the quotes) for example. Starting a command with + or ~ means sending keys to the system or one of the program’s internal commands respectively. These can all be found in the Help file’s Command section.

ControlPad

ControlPad’s options include a Laptop mode (Settings or Options —> Launch key) section where * is replaced by F12 and / by F10.

ControlPad is useful for keyboard fans but as with any launcher type program requires getting used to.

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Nov 112011
 

Quick Pop Menu (Version: 1.1.9 as of this post) is a simple launcher that works with shortcuts users choose to add to it. By default it uses the combination of Ctrl and middle mouse keys to pop up in the form of a floating menu on the screen.

After installing it the program folder will contain two subfolders, one called x64 and another called x86 – for 64 bit and 32 bit computers respectively. Within each there is Shortcuts folder. Adding or dropping any shortcuts, to a file or folder, will create a corresponding item to the Quick Pop Menu floating menu.

Quick Pop Menu

The aforementioned hotkey can be changed via the program’s tray icon (Settings —> Set Hotkey). There is also an ‘Advanced Usage’ possibility described on the author’s site for assigning another mouse button to another folder with shortcuts, creating a second menu.

Quick Pop Menu should run on Windows versions going back to Windows 2000.

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Dec 172010
 

MadAppLauncher

MadAppLauncher is a free and simple launcher that gets out of your way when not needed. It strives to minimize mouse clicks when launching not only programs but files and folders too.

Other than using its File menu MadAppLauncher supports dragging and dropping anything (files, folders, programs, shortcuts, etc.) into squares to create a launch space. Its interface is divided into 10 tabs numbered one to 10 each with 30 spaces with their own letter or symbol. To launch any of the shortcuts start MadAppLauncher, either using the tray icon or by using a hotkey (assigned in the Settings menu) then click the number to activate the corresponding tab and then the letter (or symbol) assigned to the shortcut to launch it.

MadAppLauncher can stay open when working to add shortcuts but go into auto hide mode when in actual use. Another useful feature in its settings is the option to auto activate tabs by hovering the mouse over the tab numbers, this is probably most useful because it may be difficult to remember which tab contains which shortcut and it is a welcome feature to be able to more easily navigate tabs.

A more advanced feature is the ability to create what MadAppLauncher calls cascading groups. By creating a configuration file one can open any number of programs, files or folders at the same time. A somewhat incomplete but useful explanation is given on the author’s site. Don’t forget to save any current (*.mal file created by using the File menu’s save option) setup before proceeding to create another series of shortcuts or a cascading group. MadAppLauncher is also hosted on sourceforge but I was not able to find its source files. It requires Windows XP at a minimum and is in early stages of development, however it works well.

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Dec 062010
 

MemPad

MemPad calls itself a text outliner. It is more precisely a freeware 140KB download which is a notes organizer, one which stores notes in a tree structure.

It offers basic features for fonts and colors, auto save – in minutes increments and/or automatically as text is entered – search (and replace) across all notes and the ability to export notes. It does have some more advanced features like internal linking between notes (highlight and right click to create links) and linking to system files or programs which can be used to launch anything from web links to executables from within MemPad.

With a F6 click (or Page —>Diary Page) MemPad creates a diary page for the current day and therefore it can be used as a structured diary program. It is also possible to move nodes and child nodes or pages up and down to restructure the tree. Additionally a page can be locked to provide temporary protection against accidental edits, a sort of read only format. It is also possible to encrypt a page to keep it away from prying eyes.

MemPad can do more via the Lookup.txt and Launcher.txt files found initially in its Examples folder. The chevron button on the far right of MemPad’s toolbar can be turned into a launcher by populating the Launcher.txt file with statements like Calculator;calc.exe for example – to launch the system calculator. Lookups, done via right clicking highlighted text, can be added with entries like Wikipedia;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/$ for example – to look up the highlighted word in Wikipedia. Note that to use the lookups and the launcher the Lookup.txt and Launcher.txt files must be moved from the Examples folder to Mempad’s root folder.

MemPad is more powerful than its size or ‘text outliner’ description may indicate. Its help file has more, from how to modify text margins and date formats to how to more efficiently work with its launcher and lookup features.

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Oct 232010
 

Quick Cliq, packed into a single executable, is an interesting launcher and productivity tool. It incorporates launching files, folders, URLs and emails with an enhanced clipboard utility and the ability to keep text snippets as memos. It also supports a number of Windows manipulation features.

The program interface is launched by choosing the Add/Change item via its tray icon or via – the configurable – Win+Z keys. The options for configuring hot keys and mouse gestures are found under the settings menu. Other settings include enabling features such memos and setting colors and such things as adding the program to the Windows context menu.

The program is divided into four main sections or features each launched in it own configurable way. They are described below.

Accessing the Main menu: hold right mouse button and move mouse down or the aforementioned Win+Z if using the keyboard. Here you can create quick launches by adding folders, files, URLs, and email addresses in a sort of a list that will then be available for using the same mouse gesture or key combination.

Windows menu: hold right mouse button and move mouse right or Win+C keys. The Windows menus allows you to hide or show windows and a few others settings like choosing to keep a window on top. When windows are hidden any one of them can be previewed by hovering over their name in the windows list while pressing the Ctrl key.

Memos menu: hold right mouse button and move mouse left or Win+A keys. Add as many memos as you need and then send them to clipboard or automatically add them to the current open window.

Clips menu: hold right mouse button and move mouse up or Win+X keys. This is where the program is on the innovative side of things. In addition to holding up to nine clipboard items it is possible to append or add data to any one of the existing clips. As the tutorial video on the developer site shows suppose a user needs to copy only certain paragraphs from a long page or text into a new clip. Using Quick Cliq instead of repeatedly selecting the text and then pressing Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V while going back and forth between the long text and the new clip or document the user can press Ctrl+1 (the 1 represents the numbered clip item so it could be any of 1 to 9) to copy and then press Alt+1 to paste, all without leaving the original long page or text. Then to append or add to the clip (clip 1 in this example) other text can be selected and added to that clip or document simply and only by pressing Ctrl+Win+1.

Quick Cliq is in active development and in addition to the video tutorials it is also a good idea to follow the developer blog. It requires Windows XP as a minimum.

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Jun 182010
 

M3U Dropper is an open source offering from the maker of dirhtml. M3U Dropper not only creates the text based music playlist format (M3U) but does not restrict itself to media files. By Dragging and dropping any file (or folder) one can create and keep a launch or playlist file and use M3U Dropper as a portable launcher.
Eric, the author, develops actively. For example one of the latest changes or tweaks to the program is that while the program used to start with the first item at the top of the (play) list it now does so with the previously visible (last time the program was exited) top item. The order of items can be changed via the Item menu, selections can be checked, unchecked and sorted in various ways. Since the playlist format is essentially a text file it is possible to make text operations on any whole list or on individual entries. For example it is also possible to manipulate, edit or change sections of any folder path using M3U Dropper’s replace features (see the Misc menu). This is convenient when carrying a list from one computer to another and needing to accomodate for any differences in file paths.
M3U Dropper also generates a config file, with the *.m3udrop file extension, with such settings as ‘always_on_top=FALSE’. M3U Dropper is a simple useful program that can serve a useful purpose or two.

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Jun 102010
 

Trix is a lightweight and no-install program that acts much like other hotkey managers. It makes certain task easier and faster. Trix assigns, and lets the user choose, combination of hotkeys for some typical and often-used PC tasks. Combinations of Ctrl, Shift, Win and other letters or keys are assigned to and are configurable for the following tasks:

  • Export copied text to (default) email client, Word, Excel or Notepad. The copied text is automatically inserted into the applications.
  • Open Files, folders, websites or the terminal. In this case it is probably easier to do it the old fashioned way especially since trying to open multiple items at the same time is seemingly not possible.
  • Unzip and zip chosen or highlighted files.
  • Show brief computer specs, quote of the day, a timestamp with the current date and more, or stats on any highlighted text such as the number of characters. All these are shown in tooltip style.
  • Access power management tools such as hibernation, rebooting, or locking the computer.
  • Generate passwords. Encrypt and decrypt copied text. In the latter Trix will prompt for a passkey and allow the encryption level to be chosen and then asks what to do with the encrypted text (copy encrypted text to the clipboard for example).
  • Speak the highlighted text.
  • Control system volume.
  • Convert units of measurement. This works on a highlighted number.
  • Calculate highlighted expression. Here if “44+44” is highlighted the tooltip will show “44+44=88”
  • Generate Lorem Ipsum text.
  • Translate highlighted text, either based on saved settings (one of the last items in Trix’s settings window) or by choosing languages on the fly.
  • Extract email, IP, links or file and folder paths from any copied text.
  • Transform text. Reverse case for example but perhaps most importantly strip formatting.
  • Adjust the focused window to fill the screen or maximize the focused window.
  • Open the system color picker.
  • Launch any one of web searches, from google to iconfinder and more.

The somewhat confusing nature of Trix is that some of the text tools seem to require a text highlight while in others the text needs to be copied. This along with the fact that to be really productive one must learn the assigned hotkeys makes Trix, or any other hotkey manager for that matter, useful for some and not for others.

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May 122010
 

Krento is described by its author as

Krento is an application manager and widget engine for Microsoft Windows

Krento is a lightweight launcher that is not too unlike Radian featured earlier here. Upon installation a circular set of ‘stones’ and a ‘pulsar’ appear on the desktop (see image above). The pulsar which fades into the desktop if the mouse is away from it offers one way to activate the stones or the main interface of Krento. By right clicking on each segment or stone of the program it can be changed to one of the pre-configured settings like the ability to show, in the center of the program interface, the current time, IP address or to shut down the computer. Alternatively stones can be configured to open programs with command line parameter support. Win+C is the default keyboard method of opening the program, this and other settings, for example to activate Krento via the mouse, are available in the program’s option (right click the tray icon). Using the Ctrl key with any one of F1 to F12 keys is the keyboard method of opening each of the 12 stone targets (the stones are numbered as seen in the image above).

Krento supports and includes many skins and is compatible with Rocket Dock and Object Dock skins as well, as explained here. One point to note is that as with any program with mouse and keyboard shortcuts this can interfere with other programs’ settings but since the defaults can change Krento of course remains useful.

Krento requires the .Net Framework (2.0) and works with Windows XP, Vista and 7.

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