Feb 29, 2008

Best App for year 2007!

Launchy is a free open source application launcher for windows. It has won the source forge community choice awards for 'Best New Project' for year 2007. Let's go straight-forward why you need it.

Why Launchy : Because
1. I no longer need to dig deep 10 folders down to locate file/application.
2. I no longer need to search for mp3 file in my music folder or in media library.
3. I need to forget about the start menu, the icons on desktop, and even the file manager.

Launchy automatically loads itself on boot and waits for the user to call it by pressing Alt + Space or a custom user hotkey which activates a search box on your screen. The user then starts typing the name of the program or file they wish to launch. Launchy automatically searches its list of programs for the closest match as the user types. When it finds the desired program, the user hits enter and it is automatically launched.

Windows already has built in support for this type of activation(start->run), but here you have to enter the full name/path of underlying executable. So the ability to launch a program by typing just the fragment of name is definitely useful. This is what Launchy does and Windows desperately lacks.

How it works : Launchy is preset to index your start menu links but can be customized to index any location on your hard drive for any type of file. Launchy has the option to add folders and file formats to its catalog for indexing. You can use it to index your music collection, search firefox keyword bookmarks, navigate file system, and launch apps on the go from portable USB drive. Unlike Google Desktop which indexes everything on your computer and thus hogging the system resources, Launchy is fast, efficient, tiny simple application, way faster than a mouse.

Launchy is very extensible due to its plugin architecture. The following plugins are included with the current release:

1.Controly plugin : To find control panel applications and list them.

2.Weby plugin : Launchy now supports the following search keywords: google,
msn, yahoo, live, weather, amazon, wikipedia, dictionary, thesaurus, imdb, netflix,
and msdn websearch. Type in any of these keywords, hit tab, type in your search query,
and hit enter!
Plus You can add the custom web searches!

3.Calcy plugin : Type in some math ... Launchy will figure out what to do.

The start menu substitute, Launchy reminds that you still have a keyboard.....very effective! Newest version has a genuinely attractive interface. This is highly recommended for any user.

Download link

Feb 16, 2008

Simple way to Copy'n'Paste

Bill Gates and his team at Microsoft seems to have missed out a very important thing while designing Windows . Let us consider this : For what purpose do you select the text on a window.... 99% of the times for copying text with the 100% intention of pasting it later . There are way too many clicks . Copy paste should be a simple one-or-two tap thing . It will be great if selecting the text automatically copies it to the clipboard and a single middle mouse click automatically pastes it . You will be surprised by how significantly your work flow improves if this happens .



This is possible with True X-Mouse Gizmo for windows , a standalone utility( no installation required ) . If you want to use it every time your computer boots , simply drop it in your startup folder as shown in the image below . Every time you select text , a small X next to the mouse appears indicating that your selection has been copied to clipboard . This utility is highly recommended for all RSI patients . Here is an excerpt from author's page :


"Have you ever paid attention to striking difference in the thickness of forefingers in X11/Unix and MS Windows users, respectively? The latter have much more muscular forefingers that often suffer from chronic aches in their joints. They also much more often develop mouse arm, pain in the neck and shoulders, and other troubles known as Repetitive Stress Syndrome and associated with excessive usage of a pointing device. Why?

The explanation is simple: all X11 users benefit from the fact that no significant effort is needed to place a selected chunk of text into the clipboard and to fetch it from there. Unfortunately, this is not the case in MS Windows. Moreover, different applications require different procedures. For example, to simply copy the selected piece of text to the clipboard, you may need to

- choose Edit -> Copy from the menu
- press a button with two pieces of paper on it
- use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-Insert or Ctrl-C."

The Gizmo also allows for easy switching of windows by sending currently active window to the bottom when you right click on title bar .


Auto Copy - Firefox Extension : for firefox users.

Feb 14, 2008

Backup ANY file of ANY size to email in just 2 clicks !

When it comes to backing up , be in practical life or computing , we enthusiastically come forward advising people the benefits of backup . However , it's another fact that not many of us will really do it or are in the habit of backing up until our system crashes and we end up losing precious data : those snaps , curriculum vitae ... the list is endless . The reason why we do not like to create backups is it takes too much time . Backup requires planning : what to back up , how are you going to do it . Should it really be this hard ? The answer is NO , at least for our computer data . There is an easy way.

Backup any file (even of type .exe) , any folder of any size to email in exactly 2 clicks reliably and immediately : simply right click the file/folder , choose backup to email from the context menu that pops up . And it's done!

It can't get better than this . Backup to Email will do the aforesaid job for you . As the storage size for the email boxes provided by Google , Yahoo , or MSN increases to gigabytes, it's really a nice idea to use them for backup . All you have to do is download the set up file , install it and do configuration settings . If you do use Gmail you have to setup it the way it is shown in the image above. Make sure you check the Requires Authentication and SSL options and provide your user name and password . When you enter in the settings screen the email address where you want to backup files, then the rest of the details (like outgoing SMTP server, requires authentication, SSL) are entered automatically for you for known mail servers.

How it works : it automatically zips your file/folder in chunks of 10 MB (that's the max. attachment size for Gmail) , appends the extension .mp3 to filename so that it bypasses Gmail filters , and finally ferries those chunks one by one to the predetermined mail account . The good part is that it does all this without slowing down your computer as compared to other alternatives like Gmail drive . Now comes the reliability part : in case of dropped connection it will re-attempt the transfer 100 times at two minutes intervals . I'll often back up after working hours on an assignment--just in case my hard drive chooses that moment to die . This is one of the most useful program I have found for backing up the data and surely deserves to be kept in my tool belt.

Feb 9, 2008

How to visualize your hard drive usage ?

How many times have you run low on free hard disk space and then simply left off wondering what to delete, or what to move ? A big old avi stands out a mile in a folder of jpgs ! But what to do if you do know about its location. Here is an solution : Visualize your hard drive usage in blocks of files and folders as colored rectangle that's proportional to file or folder size .

Googling for tools for aforesaid job will give you plenty of results : some paid one . And you will be wanting the best one or probably free. Well what about if you get both ? Windirstat : another great title from the source forge community does the same job for free . Windirstat is a drive visualizer and space manager allowing you to instantly visualize file distribution across an entire drive or folder in the most intuitive way . Files and folders are color coded and can be clicked to reveal file name , path details etc .
Windirstat reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views : the directory list , which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size ; the tree map , which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away : you are going to use this one the most ; and the extension list , which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types .
WinDirStat is loaded with features for managing your files , such as the ability to automatically delete files without even bothering with the Recycle Bin . It can also analyze your local devices .
It's one of those tools that you didn't know you needed until you started using it , but once installed , it's hard to imagine life without it. Granted, this is the program you are not going to use too often but it truly deserves to be kept in your arsenal . The program weighs a miniscule 720 kb so it can be used when you are rapidly running out of space. The visuals are extremely helpful and program works without bloating your system . After using the program you feel your gratitude towards developer for making such a great app . The program is simply the best of its kind !

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