STDU Viewer is described by its author as
View all most popular documents formats by one program.
STDU Viewer supports many text based formats and can present them in an unobtrusive and somewhat attractive interface. It tries to centralize the task that may require several programs. For example notepad to open *.txt files and a PDF viewer to open *.pdf files. To that end STDU Viewer supports TXT, TIFF, PDF, DjVu, CBR, CBZ and XPS file formats.
The program has some interesting and useful features that perhaps make it more useful for some. Using the View menu it is possible to enable navigation tabs (see image) which will appear to the left of the document. Here one can search the document, view thumbnails of its pages, view its contents or bookmark a page. The latter is possible via a right click on the desired page or location of a document. Also within the View menu is the ability to rotate pages of the document. Perhaps more interestingly the Setting option, again residing under the same View menu, lets the user change the brightness, gamma or contrast of a document, this can prove useful when viewing poor quality documents or getting a better view of embedded graphics.
STDU Viewer works on Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista. It is free for non-commercial use.
DragTargets is a desktop tool that is similar to DropIt featured here on RGdot.com.
DragTargets makes the task of moving or copying files more efficient by providing an interface that acts as alternative of opening instances of Windows or alternative Explorers and then navigating to a particular folder.
When installed DragTargets presents a small window on the desktop, right clicking the window one can browse to a drive or folder and create a new dragtarget. After a new dragtarget is created any files dragged and dropped into the interface or target will copied to that destination or chosen folder. The default action here is to copy the files but checking the small square (see image) at the bottom of the program interface changes the action to move instead of copy.
Additionally, clicking on any of the saved targets opens the destination folder so targets are also alternative shortcuts to folders and drives on the computer.
Nexus, from the makers of the Winstep desktop enhancement package, is a standalone dock launcher that is otherwise also part of the aforementioned shareware package. This is a true dock in competition with RocketDock and ObjectDock. It is attractive but lightweight and fast.
Going through the settings or preferences, accessible most easily by right clicking the Nexus icon that is part of the default dock or by right clicking on the tray icon itself, is the way to discover its many features. Adding program shortcuts to the dock is done in two ways. The more difficult way is to right click anywhere on the dock and choose ‘Insert New Dock Item’. Doing it this way requires choosing a label, finding the item or program by browsing and more. The slightly easier way is to drag the program’s icon to the dock where it can be added automatically. In both cases a hot key can be added by choosing combinations of Ctrl, Shift and Alt keys or mouse actions or gestures such as ‘bumping’ corners of the screen.
Getting back to the program’s options and preferences, there are many possibilities for making an attractive and useful dock. The Position & Behavior tab has settings for the screen position of the dock, offset pixels from any of the set (top, center, etc.) positions, behavior relating to multi-monitor set ups, auto hide options and whether the dock reserves its place on screen or allows windows to open on top of it or permanently stays on top. The Appearance tab controls the size of the dock icons and transparency and reflection of the dock and icons respectively. The Effects tab is the place to change the effects (obviously) of the icons when they are clicked. Themes is where the shape of the dock as a whole is chosen and the default install includes choices that make its background transparent. Tasks, among others, has such settings as ‘Show running applications in this dock’ and ‘Would you like to group windows that belong to the same application in a single icon or next to each other?’. Therefore the tasks setting can dramatically increase the size of the dock but provide easy access to all open windows. Sounds adds sounds (obviously again) to many and all actions associated with the program including a talking clock. The General tab is to control such things as the auto-hide settings, Windows Start up behavior and others such as leaving the program icon in the tray area and whether to launch programs within the dock with a single or double click. Advanced tries to help the user in balancing performance and speed, troubleshoot, back up and restore dock configurations and more.
As seen in the image I have added the stacks from Standalonestack, featured here on RGdot, on to the Nexus dock. In my opinion this works well in terms of efficiency, productivity and even eye candy.
Nexus runs on virtually all versions of Windows including its 64 bit flavors and Windows 7.
StandaloneStack is an attractive and useful way of accessing files and folders from any location.
The main use of StandaloneStack is to place a shortcut of sorts on the desktop that acts as a launcher. Only in this case StandaloneStack as it is is not a dock like ObjectDock from StarDock or perhaps the more famous RocketDock. Here a ‘stack’ is created and provides some eye candy and navigation without a dock.
Once downloaded and unzipped one can create a new stack by simply clicking ‘New Stack’. Choose a name and browse to the folder which will be the target of the stack and opened when clicking on the stack icon. Then choose it’s shape and direction. The shape can be in the form of accordion like collection of icons or a rectangular grid (as shown in the image). The sorting can be set here as well plus the option to add an icon to open the folder in the usual way via Windows Explorer.
Some of the more interesting ‘General Settings’ consist of the following. It is possible to animate video icons, meaning that if a video resides in one of the stacked folders the icon will be dynamic and change. Custom icons are supported when checking the corresponding option and placing the icons or images in the Images folder inside the program folder. By checking the option to ‘Don’t Close Stack On Focus Lost (Run Shortcut Again To close)’ one can keep the stack open since by default the stack collapses after losing focus like when a file is launched. Icon size, text spacing, color and font are configurable for the fan or accordion and grid styles as well as the transparency and color of the text and stack background itself.
But perhaps most importantly is the fact that one can navigate within stacks. Clicking on a folder opens the sub folder using the same stack style with an additional icon to go back.
Follow its development on the Aqua-Soft forums where you can find many interesting utilities and related discussions.
Hawkscope is described by its author as
Hawkscope is a productivity tool that allows you to access your hard drive contents quickly via system tray / menubar icon with dynamic pop-up menu
The main feature and usefulness of Hawkscope is that it provides a dynamic menu that pops up anywhere on the desktop by way of a configurable hot key. The same can be done by clicking on the program icon in the tray area. The Quick Access tab of the settings lets folders be chosen that will appear above the default local drive navigation built in. The Blacklist is somewhat an interesting and rare feature in that certain folders can be configured or added to the list to remain hidden and not show up when navigating using Hawkscope. The Network tab lets the user configure a proxy server to use when invoking the plugins that require internet access.
The available plugins are few as of this article and some are of limited value. For example the Googlescope plugin opens an ‘Input Dialog’ box that then in turns opens the system’s default browser to search google for the term(s) entered. As far as productivity and number of clicks little is gained but other plugins that exist now and in the future may prove more useful. The final tab in the settings is the Open With one and here programs can be chosen for opening directories (perhaps a windows explorer alternative) and unknown files (perhaps a text editor) by double clicking in the corresponding text box. Additionally file extensions can be associated with programs so that using Hawkscope one can override the default applications that open .txt, .html or any other file.
Hawkscope is cross platform and is certainly promising. With more plugins and slightly better memory usage – up to 60MB on a XP SP3 system – it has potential for efficiency and productivity users.
CSS-BuMa is described by its author as
CSS-BuMa is a program to create pure Cascading Style Sheet Buttons
CSS-BuMa is an alternative to the CSS Tab Designer reviewed here earlier in the year or the online CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) menu generators like CSSMenuMaker just to name one. Besides being a lightweight and interesting application it has an advantage over its online counterparts in that it is possible to save menus as re-usable projects. It does not create or generate multi-level menus however as it is limited to creating horizontal or vertical pure CSS menus.
Entering button captions or text and the accompanying links is the first step in creating a menu, adding them for as many menu items as needed, then collectively for the whole menu or each item individually various settings can be chosen and edited. (Almost) everything can be set and edited including text of course but also font, background color, position, letter spacing, height, width, margin and others. An integrated color picker can aid in choosing a color as well. The same is configurable to control the behaviour of the menu in hover and visited states. Additionally a background image can be chosen for one or all the items and its position and repeat state set as well.
In addition to the aforementioned feature of saving a menu as a project, with CSS-BuMa one can also save menus as templates where everything (color, font, etc.) is saved except the menu text. This allows future use while retaining something akin to a theme.
Finally the “Parse HTML File” tab supposedly extracts (in a “the address”;”description” format) links from an existing HTML file so the link targets can be automatically added to a menu that the user has created using CSS-BuMa. In my test of an HTML page with 10+ links only two links were parsed or shown so I am not sure about the usability of this feature.
Like many other programs from Sam Francke CSS-BuMa is easy to use even if it is not always updated anymore. It is cardware or freeware and it runs under Windows 98SE, XP and 2000.
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