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List of Useful and Free Software v2

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by Genocidicbunny, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    Another neat feature of Visual CD, in particular, that i didn't actually notice until a few days ago, is that it can index the contents of compressed files (the help file says "Support Zip, 7-Zip, Rar, Ace, and Cab archive"). This is pretty useful in my situation (I tend to shove old logfiles on a CD after sticking them in an archive. They kind of get bulky but I sorta need to keep them around. Theres other things, too, but it's mostly text-based stuff i compress.).
     
  2. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    This simply empties your recycle bin. I found it works pretty well when the recycle bin is stubborn and won't empty normally (there's other ways, but I'm lazy). Apparently you can also run it from command-line or task scheduler, I haven't tested those yet though.
    http://bluefive.pair.com/recyclenow.htm

    This creates a window of a bunch of icons leading to folders, so you can drag and drop files into them. (There's also a neat 'conveyor belt' feature, which I can't explain in good words). It's one of those things you don't realize is useful until you start using it.
    http://www.pneumatictubes.rapidstreams.net/
     
  3. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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  4. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    Clipboard manager. Ever since the one I used stopped developing and began not working, I've been trying out different ones, and this is the one I like most: Yankee-Clipper 3

    (Unlike my previous one, it only saves a limited amount of clipboards, but I rarely have to go back that far anyways).

    (Also, the only reason I use a clipboard manager is because I have an awful habit of accidentally overwriting it.)

    (Also it asks for an email, use a throwaway or go to SnapFiles which is where I discovered it)
     
  5. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    Here's some folder structures in 7z archives (I would post them as ZIP, but when I tried to convert it didn't work). One is every day of the year (I didn't bother putting in February 29, if you need it just add it) and the second one is alphabetically. Just unzip it it's ready to go.

    Also, here's a couple useful programs:
    http://skwire.dcmembers.com/fp/?page=text-2-folders (This takes a list of text strings and makes them directories)
    http://skwire.dcmembers.com/fp/?page=zero-zipper (This clones the directories and files as zero-byte and zips them)
    http://www.rjlsoftware.com/software/utility/treecopy/ (This clones the directory structure)
     
  6. cardgame

    cardgame Obsessively Opposed to the Typical

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    OSX only.

    Adium is an open-source IM app that combines over a dozen IM platforms (AOL, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, Twitter, ICQ, IRC channels, Bonjour – which hooks up all Bonjour accounts over the same wireless network – etc. into one streamlined program.
     
  7. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/print-edit/
    This is a very useful Firefox addon that works like PrintWhatYouLike but is an addon rather than a website. (I found it after PWYL went down for a few hours).

    Very simple tool to make RTFs into TXT (sure you can just save the file but it gets tedious if you have lots of files to work with):
    http://www.emreakkas.com/localization-tools/convert-rtf-to-txt

    This I use to view SWF files locally:
    http://www.eolsoft.com/freeware/flash_movie_player/

    Simple import/export registry (the site is down so I link here):
    http://www.freewarefiles.com/Reg-Assistant_program_18931.html
     
  8. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Short version: Here's a command line program that will automatically switch the default audio device to whatever you tell it to. http://www.daveamenta.com/2011-05/p...e-default-sound-playback-device-in-windows-7/

    This is useful as you can run it from a script or programmatically. I use AutoHotKey to switch my audio devices now, which is awesome.

    Long version:
    Spoiler :
    Apparently this was a very unusual use case, but just in case here’s a tip.

    I have my PC connected to my TV via HDMI, which means that if I want to watch a movie or something on my TV I can just drag the window across to the TV, maximise it, and it plays. However, the sound always comes out of the default audio device, which in my case is usually the onboard sound card / PC speakers. If I want the sound to come out of my TV, I have to right click the little speaker icon in the system tray, click “Playback Devices", select my TV from the list, and then set that as the default device. Then, if I’m done watching the film and want to listen to music or play a game, I have to do the same thing to re-set my default device back to my PC speakers.

    This is all very tedious, and being a man of a certain disposition, I wanted a programmatic solution. My first instinct was to use AutoHotKey, which is a fantastic piece of software that not only saves me time and effort at home, but also saved the company I work for no less than $1m. I kid you not; we got a quote from our IT consultants that came to at least $1m to replicate the things I was using AutoHotKey for (and without even adding any additional functionality!). Anyway, it turns out that, while AHK can literally provide million-dollar solutions, it can’t switch the default audio device in a manner that I wanted. It could replicate the commands and button clicks that are required to do the job — i.e. it could perform the actions I outlined earlier (albeit a little more neatly with shortcuts and so on) — but it couldn’t do this silently, hidden away in the background.

    Why is this a problem? It does the job, doesn’t it? The control panel flashes up for like, 0.1 seconds, and then disappears, leaving me with the audio coming out of the right place. Job done, right? Yeah, sure, but consider this use case (which has happened, like, every day this week so far). I watch a video on my TV, and I use the script to switch the audio device to the TV. No problem. Now I’m done watching stuff on the TV, so I turn it off and load up a full screen computer game. But wait! I forgot to use the script to switch the default audio device back to my PC speakers! Thank goodness I have bound the script to a hotkey! So, I press my hotkey. But because I’m in a full screen game, all sorts of shenanigans go on. The script loads up the control panel, stealing focus from my full screen game. This minimises the game, which, if it is being played in a different resolution to the desktop resolution, takes a few seconds as the monitor adjusts to the new resolution. Then it does its thang, but the script requires key presses at various stages to simulate what a human would press, and coming out of full screen and adjusting resolution very often that up. Sure, the script waits for focus before sending keypresses, but because all hell breaks loose window-wise when you go from full screen game back to desktop at a different resolution, they often get missed, get sent to the wrong window, get sent at the wrong time, and so on. So the script doesn’t always work.

    But even when it does work, I’m still left back at the desktop with my fullscreen game running! Games take a lot of CPU cycles, especially on my crappy old Core2duo from like 2007 or whatever that was even 2 years out of date when I bought it. And switching resolutions, loading the desktop, loading the control panel, and then loading the game and switching resolutions again all causes my computer to lose its $%^&.

    And then there’s the game itself. Like, seriously, games do not appreciate being minimised; anyone who’s played a full screen game, even nowadays, will have experienced the trauma that is accidentally pressing the windows key while you’re in a full screen game. It takes like a million years to get back up and running in game, and even then, things screw up!

    So this solution was inadequate for my use case. My very particular use case. But the great thing about there being 7 billion people on the planet is that a whole bunch of people also have your problems, and out of that bunch of people, some of them will be good enough at programming to come up with a solution. Now, I consider myself good enough at programming to write a noddy little programme that calls some APIs and switches the default audio device. APIs are really easy and Windows is full of them. Surely there’s an API for this?

    Apparently not. MS has never allowed the default audio device to be changed programmatically, because of the potential scenario of multiple different programs all fighting each other for who gets to set the default audio device. So MS does not release a public API for this. However, thankfully, out of that bunch of people who share my problem, there is at least 1 person who is smart enough to reverse engineer the undocumented API calls that Windows Control Panel makes when it sets the default audio device!

    That man’s name is Dave Amenta, and this is his solution: a command line programme that takes 1 single parameter and no fussy output, the audio device that you want to set as default: http://www.daveamenta.com/2011-05/p...e-default-sound-playback-device-in-windows-7/

    With this simple .exe, my AHK script was reduced to two lines: just run the .exe with either 1 or 0 as the parameter (as I have only 2 audio playback devices), and set the run option so that the program and output are all complete hidden. Now my hotkey runs silently, and no longer screws up my full screen games!

    Thank you, Dave Amenta!
     
  9. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Hm, when I get home I will be mapping a mouse button to switch between my headphones and my speakers.
     
  10. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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  11. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    CodeBank2.
    Meant for code snippets, but I also use it for other things as well.
    Disadvantages: plain-text, hasn't been updated in years, and occasionally throws errors that necessitate a restart.
    Advantages: XML-based file structure (open it up in Notepad++), useful search function, syntax highlighting for the code, data compression and 256bit AES encryption of the datafiles themselves, and other cool stuff too.
     
  12. Azurian

    Azurian The Azurian

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    Florida, USA
  13. Takhisis

    Takhisis brown-haired beauty

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    up yours!
    :drool:
     
  14. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    I now highly recommend against the IZarc archiver. When I updated it, it aggressively tried to install toolbars and other greyware even after I very carefully made sure to opt out.

    On a more positive note, I found Shadow Explorer, which lets you access the Volume Shadow Copy Service backups, even if your version of Windows doesn't have it by default.
     
  15. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Dunno if this has been posted before but: http://www.ehiti.de/katmouse/

    KatMouse allows you to scroll on whichever application your mouse is hovering over, instead of which window is active. AMAZING.
     
  16. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton King, Warrior, Prophet, Magician, Lover

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    Oh yes
    Oh yes!

    Downloading...
     
  17. cardgame

    cardgame Obsessively Opposed to the Typical

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    It is amazing, and something I've been doing for over a year now :D

    natively
     
  18. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Reminds me of that joke:

    "How can you tell if someone's an Apple user?

    You don't -- they'll tell you."


    (Of course you can replace Apple with pretty much anything and the joke still works...)
     
  19. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton King, Warrior, Prophet, Magician, Lover

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    It surprises me that Apple didn't patent it.
     
  20. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Could anyone please recommend me a good stand-alone windows calendar program :)?
    I pretty much like the outlook calendar, but I need something which is not work related ^^.
    Mozilla Sunbird looks good, but it's not in development anymore :/.
     

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