Monday, January 19, 2009

Linkfest: Inaugural-eve Edition

Quite a selection of great and useful applications have been updated over the past weeks.

Belly up to the bar and have a pint.

For the Visual Learners

  • Flickr: Search The Commons and Library of Congress Releases Report on Flickr Pilot – The Library of Congress uploaded thousands of visual images in their archives to Flicker.  It is a simply amazing collection of material.  Much of it unseen until now.  It is a treasure-trove of images from a by-gone era.
  • FlickrLeech – FlickrLeech used to be a web-site location where you could enter some search terms, pick a date, etc. and then be treated with a ton of greatly arranged and presented images from Flickr.  It was tons cooler and more effective than going to Flickr itself.  Unfortunately for the creator this caused a few issues.  The first was bandwidth, the other was that it could pull images that might not be appropriate according to various country’s censorship laws.  In the end, Andrew Houser scrapped the current model and is developing FlickrLeech (in alpha) so you can now download this tool (Adobe Air based) and do your searching here.  Current caveats: First you need to have a Flickr account and when you start the application, you must log in to Flickr to agree to the content presented.  Secondly, this early version only allows searching for most interesting images based on date.  There are many tantalizing enhanced features that are visible but not active quite yet.  So have fun kids and stay tuned for updates. This has become my daily diversion application!  It runs smooth and fast on our Vista systems no no problems, but it seems to lock up our XP system with CPU cycles getting pegged.  I’m not sure if that is just me or an XP thing.
  • TiltShiftMaker - (web-service) – Site does some photo-manipulation work using blur filters to create a tilt-shift lens effect.  Not quite as good as the real thing, but it is a bit fun.
  • The 10 Most Stunning Photo Blogs | MakeUseOf.com – Nice roundup of some other websites that feature the best in amateur photography.  Quite a nice list of sites. Almost all of them provide daily images. 
  • The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging — Global Nerdy – Completely non-image related post, but provides an interesting flow-chart that reflects on decision to respond via comments to a blog post or not.  Besides being a great flow-chart, it also is quite translatable to a guide for posting comments of your own.  I like the way it shows that some “engagements” might not be worth pursuing.

Utilities

  • OperaCacheView -  v1.15 – “...a small utility that reads the cache folder of Opera Web browser, and displays the list of all files currently stored in the cache.” Changes include adding 'Show Zero-Length Files' option and add of filter by file type. (text/html, image, audio, video, application).

  • ChromeCacheView – v1.10 – “...a small utility that reads the cache folder of Google Chrome Web browser, and displays the list of all files currently stored in the cache.”  Changes include adding 'Show Zero-Length Files' option and add of filter by file type. (text/html, image, audio, video, application).

  • RegDllView – v1.30 – “…a small utility that displays the list of all registered dll/ocx/exe files (COM registration). For each registered file, you can view the last date/time that it was registered, and the list of all registration entries (CLSID/ProgID).  RegDllView also allows you to unregister dll/ocx files that you don't need on your system anymore.”  Changes include the following new informational columns: File Modified Time, File Created Time, File Attributes.

  • SysExporter – v1.41 – “…allows you to grab the data stored in standard list-views, tree-views, list boxes, combo boxes, text-boxes, and WebBrowser/HTML controls from almost any application running on your system, and export it to text, HTML or XML file> This version add a new option: Add Tree Indent Spaces To Exported Data.

  • OpenedFilesView – v1.30 – “…displays the list of all opened files on your system. For each opened file, additional information is displayed: handle value, read/write/delete access, file position, the process that opened the file, and more... Optionally, you can also close one or more opened files, or close the process that opened these files.”  New option: Bring process to front and enhanced with more accelerator keys.

  • CurrPorts - v 1.56 – “…displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process, version information of the process (product name, file description, and so on), the time that the process was created, and the user that created it.”  Newest release adds option: Ask before any action.

  • CCleaner – new release version offers these tweaks: command-line secure deletion, google Chrome thumbnail cleaning, moved language files to /lang folder, improved options cookie list browser detection, fixed minor bug in XP prefetch cleaning, fixed bug in IE History Index.dat cleaning, installer engine updates, and minor architecture improvements.

  • Recuva -  This is a great freeware tool to restore files that have been accidentally or purposely deleted from a Windows system. Works on both hard drives, flash memory devices, and digital camera memory cards or MP3 players.  Changes to this release include Improved messages when cancelling large file recovery, secure delete is now grayed for non-deleted files, improved recovery of .TIF files from FAT32 drives, filter category text now updates dynamically when changing languages, fixed 'Check for updates' position in Vista, along with various minor tweaks and improvements.

  • VirtualBox 2.1 – While I still primarily use Virtual PC 2007 for my Microsoft virtual systems, if I need to do virtualization of a Linux system, this is the tool I go to.  In addition to a large number of tweaks, performance enhancements, and bug-fixes, the following major changes were made: support for hardware virtualization (VT-x and AMD-V) on Mac OS X hosts, support for 64-bit guests on 32-bit host operating systems (experimental), experimental 3D acceleration via OpenGL, full VMDK/VHD support including snapshots, new NAT engine with signi´Čücantly better performance, reliability and ICMP echo (ping) support, and new Host Interface Networking implementations for Windows and Linux hosts with easier setup (replaces TUN/TAP on Linux and manual bridging on Windows).

NirBlog: NirSoft utilities on Windows 7 Beta – Nir Softer has been playing with the new Windows 7 beta version and finds that his wonderful apps seem to work just fine.  That’s great news!

 New Finds

  • Fried Babelfish – Do you do a lot of language translation work?  Generally when I do I fire up a web-browser session and hop over to Google Translate and to the job.  Fried Babelfish doesn’t use the Babelfish service but does use the Google Translate service, accessing it from within the application itself and not via a web-browser.  Clever!  Spotted over at Download Squad.

  • Free Desktop FLV Player – nice standalone Flash video player.  GUI is very sweet.  Quite portable so you can take it with you on your USB stick.

  • SUPER  - I don’t usually do much re-coding of media files.  Generally I need to do it only when I am converting a video for use on one of the girls’ iPod nanos.  Super is a great tool to simply that process.  This is a new release version.  Spotted via Download Squad.

  • Howto: Generate many files of a particular size in Windows « the back room tech – Great post that points to a simple technique to generate test-files in high volume for testing of data or application handling.  Great tip Julie!

  • Stardock ObjectDock - (freeware) -  OK. Confession.  I am a RocketDock fanboy and thing that next to nothing can go wrong with that application.  However, Stardock’s ObjectDock offers a freeware version that might give RocketDock fans pause to wonder.  RocketDock hasn’t been updated for a while (which based on its current stability isn’t a bad thing) but Stardock seems to continue product improvement.  If you are looking for some sexy eye–candy dock launchers, I think either one might fit your bill.                       

Browser Bits

  • Firefox new tab behavior to be updated – MozillaLinks tips us that the new tab handling feature in Firefox 3.1 is being tweaked a bit.  While it doesn’t look like it is getting a kill-command to nuke the bad behavior, it will now open child tabs directly to the right of the parent tab.  I guess that might make things simpler for some folks. 

  • Update Firefox’s search bar with new Google favicon, again (MozillaLinks). You may or may not have noticed, but Google recently updated their favicon.  In most cases my Google-related bookmarks have slowly been updating to the new icon, but not the Google icon in the searchbar.  I tried the tweak linked but it didn’t stick in my 3.1 builds.  So I came up with another technique that did.  First I deleted Google from my list of searchbar plugins and selected another as the default.  Then I hopped over to the Mycroft Project: Google Search Engine Plugins and reinstalled the Google searchbar item and set it as the default.  That worked and it sticks. 

  • Textarea Cache :: Firefox Add-ons – Great little extension that caches the contents of text-area text while you type in comments.  Users can now recover the saved texts in the cache window, even the tab or the window is closed unexpectedly.  This might help save the day if you accidently crash while composing that extended comment or click-off with a hand-to-mouse spasm.

Full yet?

--Claus V.

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