Category Archives: Software Review

Jajuk: Great Free Music Organizer

Well, the topic should have been “Great Free Music Organizer And Much More” since that’s what Jajuk really is. An excellent UI, tons of features, multi platform and free. Perfect. Just look at these screenshots and you’ll get the whole idea.

You may also want to read this interview with the creator of this awesome project.

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Autopatcher: All Windows Updates Bundled

This is a must download for each and every Windows XP user. The number of patches Microsoft released since SP2 is…a lot (I think about 300). It’s just a pain in the back to deal with them each time you re-install your Windows XP. It gets worse if your internet connection is not good enough. 

From time to time, a friend of mine decides to format his/her drive and asks for assistance. Quite often, the only thing that bothers me are those updates.

And here comes the ultimate solution: AutoPatcher.

In short, Autopatcher is a free bundled package which includes all the windows updates (both critical and non-critical) as well as other add-ons like TweakUI and additional components like IE7 or Windows Media Player 11.

After you download Autopatcher you need to extract the files which take some time due to the big download file (around 350MB with all updates and other things). When the installation is complete, you can run AutoPatcher to update the system, and choose to add a desktop and/or start menu icon.

Let me repeat myself about these updates in general. I don’t recommend built-in Windows Update feature. Just dangerous. Never ever install “Windows Genuine Advantage”. It’s a spyware. Period.

Let’s end where we started: This is a must download for each and every Windows XP user.

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Great Information Manager: Surfulater

If you regularly spend some proportion of your daily life surfing the web then you face this problem almost everyday: You come across some pages, sites that in some way is of your interest, sites that you need to keep track of or just that you think you may need it in the future. Often, you will not be interested in the whole web site but rather just a single page or a section of a single page. At this stage you have two options.First option is to bookmark the page, which results in a huge bookmark junk pretty quickly. And even if you try to organize your bookmarks from time to time it’s just no help. Think of me with hundreds of bookmarks (No kidding! Actually I’m scared to spell the word “thousand”). I’ve recently read that people actually revisit 2% of their bookmarks. Usually, you won’t even remember why you bookmarked that page in the first place. Furthermore, it’s not carved in stone that your carefully bookmarked page will be there when you visit next time (the standard life span of an ordinary web page is less than you’d think of). Last but certainly not least, you cannot really search your bookmarks except by their title which may not be good enough.

A second option is saving the complete web page or select some portion of the page and save it to a text file. Option two was my choice for many years and I was unhappy to say the least. I’ve saved web files, text files everywhere. I organize them once a month but to no avail. Images do not get along with text files, the formatting is gone. Did I hear Microsoft Word? It’s just not for this type of thing. Forget it.

So I googled once again. My keywords were “best”, “PIM”. In case you don’t know, PIM is the acronym for Personal Information Manager. I’ve already tried many of those but it took me 5-10 minutes to uninstall all of them. Downloaded 5 or so programs that I’ve never tried before and there it was. The software I was looking for: Surfulater.

It’s possible to categorize Surfulater as a PIM but the main feature and strength of this awesome program is managing those web sites that I was talking about at the beginning. It’s so easy to capture those pages or clippings. Basically, you select the portion of the web page that you’d like to keep, right click, choose one of Surfulater’s saving options, which are built into the context menu once you install the program, and there you go (of course, you’re not limited to just those selections).

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Those options include: Add new article, Add article plus page, Attach page to article, Bookmark this page, which are self explanatory and covers all bases. A good news for Firefox users is that with Surfulater you’re not limited with IE (Internet Explorer). Once you capture, the title and the link of the page is automatically inserted. A fantastic feature of Surfulater is that you can actually edit the pages you’ve saved. You can even annotate or cross-reference them. Needless to say, now you can search whatever you want in any way you want (an even more advanced search option will probably be included in future versions).

Surfulater is not just saving those clippings or pages. You may as well use it as personal notebook like Microsoft OneNote. You can import your bookmarks from IE or Firefox and organize them.

The main reason why I liked this program is that it’s so easy to get organized. It’s evident that the software has come a long way and evolved into something this good.

I’ve been using Surfulater for some 15 days and I’ve contacted them a few times for assistance and always had prompt replies. You will rarely need to contact them tough as the software comes with an extensive help file. The help file even includes what you can actually expect to come in future versions. One feature that I’ll be looking for is  synchronization across PC’s.

With a price tag of $35, I don’t think that Surfulater is too expensive and I do think that it will worth every penny and then some more. Check out the difference with other similar products (like MyBase) and my general points will even be clearer.

In this age we live in, tremendous amount of information is pouring over us. On the other hand the only thing we cannot reverse, stop or buy is time. Surfulater will save you lots and lots of time. Catch my point?

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menuApp: A Wonderful Free Utility

Wow! This little software is just fantastic. I dare to say it’s one of the best (including those expensive commercials) utilities I’ve come across. The idea behind menuApp is simple but so powerful. From the website:

menuApp is an application which allows you to configure menus and use them to launch your favourite programs, music files, documents, websites, etc.

Its fast, doesn’t hog a lot of resource and is easy to setup and use (so long as you can handle a text editor).

What’s more, it doesn’t drop any extraneous files on your system and it stays well clear of the registry.”

First, download this ultra light zip file (only 32Kb). Then, unzip that file anywhere you wish, preferably to Program Files folder. I’ll make a menu on the desktop which will allow me to browse in my photoshop folder which is located in my D drive and contains lots of actions, brushes and all that related to Adobe Photoshop software.

Go to where you unzipped menuApp software (I placed in C:\Program Files\). Right-click on menuApp.exe file and choose Send To, Desktop (create shortcut):

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This is the file on the desktop:

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This the menu that appears when I right-click:

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Click properties, this is what you see:

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Now comes the important bit: Find the box which says “Start in” as marked above. That’s where you will type which folders menu you want your menu to list. So when I click the shortcut I’ve just created I’ll see my photoshop folder as a browsable menu (with all the relevant submenus also available as menus), as shown below (to make things easier for myself I’ve changed the shortcut’s name to _Photoshop):

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Obviously, you can do whatever you want, wherever you want. The program is capable of many more things and there’s a brief Help file provided.

I’m quite surprised that not many people are aware of this wonderful software, anyhow at least, now, you will know.

Well done guys, my hat is off to you.

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Easy File Management

Due to whatever, you work a lot with files and folders. You don’t like default windows file management utility, best known as explorer. You’ve tried so many different third party softwares, both free and maybe commercial. If you’re still out there looking for something decent and simple maybe Folderbox is for you.

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Folderbox is a Windows Explorer plugin that adds an additional pane within the lower part of any open folder window, so that the window displays the contents of two different folders at once.

If you do a lot of file management in Windows Explorer or need to routinely move files into certain folders then you may find FolderBox very useful. It is kind of a 2-paned mini file manager that you can access instantly within every folder window. There are up to 5 buttons within the lower window that you can define in order to switch quickly to your favorite folders (see screenshot), or you can browse manually to any folder you need to work with. Note that it is possible to have the Folderbox lower folder pane show in Internet Explorer as well.

Differences between the free and paid versions: the paid version gives you 10 ‘folderbox’ favorite buttons instead of 5. It also enables a button which you can use to switch Folderbox on/off quickly, instead of having to check/uncheck Folderbox from the folder’s view menu. The free version is licensed for home use only.I’m using it for the last one week and I think I found what I’m looking for.

BaxBex, the company who produced Folderbox has another great utility called Folder Pilot. It finds folders quickly, in just a few clicks, with the enhanced Folder Pilot Address bar in Windows Explorer and locate your favorites folder in a snap with the Folder Pilot shortcut menu.

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WITS: Windows Inspection Tool Set

I was looking for a decent Windows process explorer program and I just came up with WITS:  Windows Inspection Tool Set.

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GreenBorder

Are you paranoid about internet security as I am? GreenBorder offers something really different to protect your privacy.

GreenBorder puts a virtual barrier around your Windows PC so the bad guys can’t get in. Every time you surf the Web or shop on-line, your computer is invisible to would-be intruders.

Instead of relying on reactive signature-based detection to deter malware, GreenBorder Professional isolates threats from the rest of the operating system. GreenBorder adds a layer of virtualization between the core Windows operating system and Outlook 2002 and 2003 or IE, essentially creating a shadow file system and registry and utilizing protected memory. Any files, services or settings spawned from a GreenBorder-protected application can be easily removed with the click of a button or when the user logs out.

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