Thursday, December 31, 2009
Taskbar Shuffle: we open several windows as and when required and under the windows operating system, the tabs of these programs are placed on the extreme right of the taskbar. However we want to keep similar windows together so that it is easier to cycle through them. Unfortunately this is not possible under windows XP & Vista although it is possible under Windows 7. However, this can be accomplished with a small tool i.e. Taskbar Shuffle. It not only makes it possible to rearrange the tabs on the taskbar, but also allows you to rearrange the icons on the system tray.
Virtua Win: now if you open too many windows at a time, a single taskbar may not be sufficient for you. Keeping tabs in two rows would not be a very good idea as screen space comes at a premium. To solve the issue you can use Virtua Win. This application allows you to have multiple desktops and switch between them according to your needs. When you open it, an icon appears in the tray, right clicking on it allows you to switch between tabs. While the program is running, you can middle click on the title bar of any program to take it to another window. With this program you can have as many as 9 desktops although it beats me why anyone would want to have that many.
TClock: while you are trying to increase your efficiency, it always pays to keep a watch on the time. TClock lets you do just that. It helps you to keep a closer look on the time. You can customize the way time is displayed on your taskbar. You can chose to display time only or the time and date. It also allows you to set alarms and timers. In fact, it has many more tricks up its sleeves, but I leave you to figure them out.
Hint: while TClock is running, right click on the time and go to TClock properties.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
OK, so just a general conversation in not a very good English. So why I write this is, there are a lot of people out there who want an invite. I have 6 invites, just ask me for one if you want. Just leave a comment over here with your email ID.
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Monday, October 12, 2009
Softwares are generally updated. As developers find bugs and develop new features, a software is updated with bug-fixes and these new features. But not all updates are liked by people. Sometimes when software gets updated, people find it less usable than the older versions and prefer to remain with the older versions. however these older versions disappear over time and we have to change to a new a software or are forced to use the new version. for instance, Nero 6 was very light weight & had all features one would want. But with subsequent versions it suffered a feature overload & the size kept on growing. Now it takes over a GB on installing. flashget was adware free till 1.96, but version 2 displays ads. So, sometimes you might prefer to stay with the older version.
However, the older versions are not all lost. Some sites offer old versions of softwares for download. If you want the older versions of any software, you can visit the following sites:
One of my personal favourite mobile software is opera mini. there may be 100s of reasons you might want to stay with an older version. so here you can get all old versions: http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=221224
Friday, August 28, 2009
Most of us are familiar with the windows task manager. Mostly the only purpose it serves is ending those programs which are not responding. However it can be much more useful, only if you install Prio on your computer.
Prio adds a services tab & a TCP/IP tab to task manager. Just like you can right click on a task & go to its process, you will be able to eight click on a process & go to its service. This helps you find out any service which serves no purpose to you. On hovesring over any process details of the process are shown along with the path to its executable file. Both these features combined, help you to determine if any malicious software is running on your PC.
With the TCP/IP tab you can determine which process is using your internet connection. You can thus get to know if any malicious software uses you connection.
So give Prio a try and free your PC from unwanted processes.
Just a small tip, If you want to know more about any service, go to start>run, type services.msc and press enter.
Now locate the service and click on it, the left pane shows the details of the service. To know more about any process, go to processlibrary.com ant type the name of the process.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
If you often deal with many files, that too of many types mixed together, then you would have often found yourself craving for more features in windows explorer. However, the fact remains that it does not have many helpful features to make file handling easy. So FreeCommander comes to your rescue.
FreeCommander’s interface is divided into two panes displaying separate folders. Needless to say you can drag & drop between the two panes making organizing files an infinitely simpler task. It also has tabs allowing you to open more than 2 folders in the same window. It can treat .rar, .zip & .cab files as folders allowing you to browse them & extract individual files if required.
It has a multi-rename feature which comes in handy while renaming a lot of files in any particular order (this is however far less powerful than Lupas Renamer discussed in earlier posts). FreeCommander letsyou filter files based on their extensions. It also lets you store predefined filters. For example you can store a filter named documents with extensions .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf etc. Trust me; reducing the number of files being displayed on the screen makes things much easier.
All these features combined with small additions like one-click access to any drive or even control panel, splitting up of files, opening command prompt with current folder etc. make it a fun software to use. There are many more features you will find out while using the software. Sometimes you start wondering who the good person is who makes your life so easy, that too for free.
Give it a try, download here. You can also download a portable version here.
See a screenshot
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Saturday, August 8, 2009
Nero, one of the most popular CD/DVD burning software, is now available for free. Although nero Burning ROM has always been free, the much easier to use and good looking StartSmart was a paid software. But now it is not. However, it does not contain the additional softwares like Nero Home, Nero media player, Nero Vision etc. that were a part of the pack. It also does not allow you to make mp3 and video CDs & DVDs. In some sense, this is actually good. It is now very light weight and does not contain anything which in any case, you would never have used. The advantage of Nero, according to me, is that it is extremely reliable and there is very low probability that discs burned with Nero will have any errors.
The interface of StartSmart is familiar to most of us and with slight changes from version 8, looks even better. The download is just 54 MB. Download it from here.
An alternative download & screenshots are available at filehippo
Monday, August 3, 2009
once in a while there is a time when we have to deal with a large number of files and at some point of time we would need to rename them in bulk. For example we may have to remove all the blank spaces from the name of 20 files. Doing this with windows explorer would seem a daunting task. So to help you out there is Lupas Renamer.
Lupas renamer can handle any number of files or folders at a time. It can append names, crop names, insert or remove any character from any position in the file name. It can also handle extensions and auto numbering of files. It can also be used to rename files based on their ID3 tags.
Although active development of the software has ceased, still the last available version is quite useful and the simple interface makes it very easy to use. It does not need to be installed, that means it is a portable software. Download it from here.
Friday, July 24, 2009
When it comes to making a document or a presentation, Microsoft's office package is the default choice for everyone. However, if we ask people how many of them have bought the software, not many a hands are raised. Little do people realise that it is wrong to use pirated software, worst, many of them are not even aware that alternatives exist.
So today I introduce you to OpenOffice.org by Sun Microsystems Inc. This is a really worthy competitor of MS office and has got all features an average user needs. Its interface is quite similar to MS office 2003, that means it has menus and not a ribbon. However, menus are standard in windows and shouldn't be a problem.
I'l quickly introduce you to the softwares in this suite. It has 6 softwares. OpenOffice Writer is a document editor (Which I am using right now), OpenOffice Calc is a spreadsheet program, OpenOffice Impress is a presentation making program, OpenOffice Draw is a drawing application, that means a desktop publishing (DTP) software, OpenOffice Base is a database application fit for use in small offices and finally, OpenOffice math is an equation editor.
OpenOffice.org is a free software and is opensource. It is also available as a portable application from portableapps.com.
Do visit why.openoffice.org.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
some of us are very fond of listening to music on our PCs. There are many tracks lying on such PCs which are not well organized. We just listen to whatever is visible at the moment. Thus one day when we start looking for that track which we heard last month and liked very much, we can not find it.
It pays to keep your music well organized so that you can find any track when you want it. So here are some steps to organize your music well.
First of all, to organize ones music, it is necessary to understand ID3 tags. Id3 tag is way of storing information about the song in the mp3 file itself. Information such as album, artist, track number etc. are stored in these tags. Music is organized with the help of these tags.
Before starting any media library management software, it is better to put some basic information on the tags. For this download and install audio shell tag editor. This puts a tag editor tab in the properties of mp3 flies. Your might have your music stored in folders according to album or artist. Select all tracks in a folder, right click and select properties or press alt+enter from the keyboard. Go to tag editor tab and fill the common information pertaining to all tracks. Fill in any other information which you know. This may take a bit of time.
When you are done filling the information manually, its time to do some serious organize. Download and install Mediamonkey. The free version has a few features missing compared to the paid version but you wont miss them much. The download is just around 10 MB. After installation is complete, import all your songs into the library.
On the toolbar select “show album art with details” and “show track browser”. This view gives you easy access to all your tracks. Now use the auto tag feature to organize your music further. Select a song, right click on it and click auto tag from the web. Howsoever, this feature doesn't work very well with Hindi tracks, but will help you a lot if you have English music in your library. It also downloads the album art if available. Assign ratings to your favorite tracks.
Now in the track browser, by default, artist, album and genre are visible. You can right click the heading and choose any other field which you may like, for example ratings, if you have assigned them according to your preference.
Mediamonkey lets you create play-lists and save them as .m3u files. You can also synchronize your portable music player with Mediamonkey and it also supports Ipods. You can also copy songs to any external device while encoding them on the fly.
After your music is organized, you can use the search box in the toolbar to search for any track, it should come up within a second. No doubt having your music well organized and sorted makes it more fun listening to them.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
India has adopted the internet and its associated technologies very fast. Many people use various types of services on the internet. But most people are content just using those services, very few individuals are willing to contribute. Although there are many organisations and companies who are developing content for the Indian market, they are also compelled to develop in English language lest there product may not have a pan India appeal. This has led to a lack of awareness about the availability of Hindi as an option in computing. So I’ve decided to list a few options which may help you use your computer in Hindi.
The most popular search engine of the world, Google, is available in Hindi. Just go to google.co.in and click on Hindi below the search box. The popular online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, is also available in Hindi. For this you will need to visit hi.wikipedia.org. it has many articles in Hindi, you may also make your contributions.
There are a few dedicated search engines for Hindi language such as hinkhoj.com and raftaar.com. With these you can search online for content in Hindi. The difference between these and Hindi Google is that Google searches only for Unicode fonts whereas these can search for legacy fonts as well.
We often need to translate a few passages in Hindi from English, but we are stuck with a few words of which we don’t know the Hindi form. To help you out there is sabdkosh.com. it thrives on user contributions and has a large repository of words.
Finally we come to writing in Hindi. Although Hindi keyboards are available but in reality they are tough to get. And even if we get it, it might not be worth it to learn a new layout for everyone as some may need to type just a couple of lines. So people invented the concept of typing phonetically, i.e., you type the word in English as it would sound in Hindi and it gets typed in Hindi. For example, to write भारत you need to type bhaarat or bhArat.
We have two options for using this technology, online options and offline options. One very good offline software is baraha. It has a notepad like editor as well as an application to enable you to type Hindi directly in any application called baraha direct. Download it from here.
Quillpad.in is an online option. Quillpad’s being online has one added advantage, it matches your word with its dictionary before writing it. Thus spelling mistskes are reduced and you also don’t need to follow any rigid code.
Both baraha and quillpad support few other Indian languages also.
Before you try out Hindi, make sure your computer is adequately equipped to display Hindi correctly. For this open control panel and then regional and language options. Go to the languages tab and check install files for East Asian languages. Then click apply. You will be asked for the Windows XP CD at this point. Insert it and click OK.
You can also transform Windows XP’s interface into Hindi. For this visit bhashaindia.com and download windows XP Hindi LIP. Keep in mind though that for this you will need to have genuine windows license.
It seems strange that I’m writing this article in English. This is because i want to reach to those who are not at all using Hindi language on their PCs. Hindi version of this blog post is also available at http://gouravhi.blogspot.com/2009/07/blog-post.html#links
Friday, July 10, 2009
The answer to all these problems is Everything Search. It uses the master file table of the NTFS drive to build its index and searches in that index. Thus it is lightning fast. To give you a clear idea, it takes around 20 seconds to build its index on my 250 GB SATA 3.0 Gbps hard drive which has around 60 GB of free space. Thus it is ready within a few seconds to get you any file or folder which you may seek. Keep in mind though that you cannot search the contents of files with this program, only file names, but then, how many of us do that anyways.
Everything Search has got a very simple interface with just a menu bar and a search box. The rest of the area shows the results. To search a specific location, you need to type the location within quotes. It easily integrates with windows explorer thus letting you search any folder with just a few clicks. The context menu within the results lets you copy the path of the file which is a sorely missed feature of windows explorer.
Everything search is a portable program and does not need installation. So you can run in it off a pen drive on any computer. Download is just 272 KB. Get it here.
Note however that this program can only be used on NTFS formatted hard drives.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Windows is the most used operating system in the world, no doubt about it, but still, it does come with its share of downsides. Some of these are the ever increasing size of the registry and temporary folders.
We often install programs which later on we don’t like and uninstall. Very often these programs do not delete the registry entries at the time of uninstallation. Similarly many programs store temporary files at various locations which are left there even after their purpose has been served. The accumulation of such files and registry entries slows down the PC over time.
To solve these problems many free softwares are available online. One of these is CCleaner. CCleaner has a very simple and easy to use interface. It can clean the registry of unwanted entries and also cleans the temporary folders. In addition it clears up the recent list of many programs, browser cache and history etc. It can also be used to monitor and disable startup items and uninstall softwares.
While deleting temporary files one can opt for secure deletion. It also gives the option to backup the registry before deleting the entries. Download the latest version from here.
A portable version of CCleaner is also available. This can be executed without installation and also from a pen drive. Download it here.
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