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Author Topic: Any new ideas for small utilities?  (Read 37658 times)
mouser
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« on: March 14, 2005, 10:35:07 PM »

If anyone has an idea for a small little utility (the smaller the better!) that hasn't been done well yet, please post your ideas - i'm always looking for small little projects that can be written in a week or so.
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Jibz
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2005, 02:30:14 AM »

How about a tool to search through your harddisk and find all icons (both ico and embedded in exe or dll files), and display them in a nice way. Letting you sort/filter on different criteria, and save any you might find useful.
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"A problem, properly stated, is a problem on it's way to being solved" -Buckminster Fuller
"Multithreading is just one damn thing after, before, or simultaneous with another" -Andrei Alexandrescu
mouser
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2005, 03:01:56 AM »

it's a good idea but its been done a lot; there are tons of apps that do this and do it well smiley
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Jibz
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2005, 04:25:40 AM »

Ok. Could you post links to a couple of the best ones?
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"A problem, properly stated, is a problem on it's way to being solved" -Buckminster Fuller
"Multithreading is just one damn thing after, before, or simultaneous with another" -Andrei Alexandrescu
mouser
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2005, 05:19:25 AM »

i have to admit i've not explored the icon extractors - i've been meaning too but havent yet;
maybe something to investigate and then review..

i just found some random ones:
Icon Scanner - http://www.softspice.com/
Icon Catcher - http://www.helexis.com/products/find_icons/

i'm sure there must be some good free ones too..
seems to me one feature that would be nice would be dupe checking.
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2005, 05:49:13 PM »

If anyone has an idea for a small little utility (the smaller the better!) that hasn't been done well yet, please post your ideas - i'm always looking for small little projects that can be written in a week or so.

hello mouser,

not sure if this is just something that really annoys me or it's a common thing. the scenario is this...

kind of large monitor, say, 19" or above. you do something common like deleting a file, maybe dragging it into the recycle bin and then a confirmation box pops up in the middle of the screen which has to be acknowledged with a click (or by hitting a key).

the annoyance is that my mouse is nowhere near the box that needs confirmation - it would be better if the box in question opened up under where my mouse cursor is positioned (wherever that may be) then i can just click and carry on.

i know there is the option with some utils to have the mouse cursor jump to the button that is in focus but i find that sort of thing really interrupts the flow of using the interface.

maybe i'm just lazy and can't stand moving my hand around just a few centimeters.

in short, how about a little util that made dialogue boxes or confirmation windows or whatever open up under where the mouse cursor is situated - or as near as it can without straying of the edges of the screen. maybe there could be a user defined border to prevent windows reaching anywhere near the edge.

had to mention it as this is something that really bugs me Angry.

hope you can help.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2005, 07:24:52 PM »

now that is an interesting idea..
as you say, i've heard of programs that jump the mouse cursor to the box, but not ones that do what you say, which does seem like it might be kinda cool and less disorienting.

i do already have code to efficiently enumerate windows written in process tamer,
maybe i will do some more investigating into possible window operations that might be useful, in addition to moving certain dialogs to the position under the mouse.  i'm not sure it would be worth the effort just for that, but maybe if there were a bunch of things, like auto pushing certain buttons, that altogether it would be worth doing..
the only reservation i have is that it seems like the best solution would be to have one of these existing programs that already do much of this to add this one feature, rather than me writing a whole new thing.  but it is intriguing..
i will def. give some thoughts to this since process tamer is already a good skeleton for such things.
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nudone
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2005, 02:16:50 AM »

to be honest i thought it might be too trivial an idea - for the amount of time it would take to develop compared with the effort it takes me to move my mouse cursor.

if you could incorporate it into a more useful app though - how about something that allowed more features with open/close dialog boxes as well as the auto click feature you speak of.

i've used dialogxrsizer - now using dialogmate instead (which is free) - so i know dialog box mods are a common thing. the quick folder favorites being the main feature for these utils. maybe if you could incorporate something similar - but better.  cheesy

must admit i can't think of anything 'better' at the moment - will post back as soon as i do.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2005, 02:47:11 AM »

well now you are talking about something near and dear to my heart.

i *LURVE* the dialog box modifiers, and i could not live without them.

we plan to do a review comparing them soon - there are quite a few now, all of which work slightly differently.

i have seriously considered making my own dialog box modifier, and you are right, that would be the situation where adding such functionality like moving dialogs under cursor could be added.

there are enough cheap dialog box modifiers now that i'm still not sure it pays to make one of my own.. i havent found a free one yet so i guess i have to go investigate dialogmate now smiley

if you have ideas for new features it would be intersting to hear.

i have been using recently filebox extender, which i purchases a license for several years ago, switched away from when it started having trouble with ms office dialogs, and just recently switched back to now that it seems to be working well again.

psHotFolders is also very good.

i like the subtle way filebox extender and pshotfolders add just one tiny icon to upper right with list of favorites.

i use mine not just for the quick favotites but also to expand open/save dialog box sizes and switch always into details mode.

truly i could not live without a dialog box modifier,
and this is one of these things people don't know even exist.

ripe for a donationcoder.com review.. will have to plan one soon smiley
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nudone
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2005, 03:45:01 AM »

i'll have another look at those you suggested.

dialogmate does exactly the same though - with the one button in the corner approach - so you might like to give it a serious test drive.

it does have some extra features, one i've never seen implemented elsewhere. right clicking the 'maximise' button in a window will shrink the window down to a floating (transparent) icon on your desktop - like the window blind things you see elsewhere. this method seems more efficient though i forget to use it.

it will also allow you to minimise your window to the system tray - another common trick you see with other utils.

one criticism is that it's a bit fiddly to set up the paths you want in the favorites button but what can you expect for free.

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nudone
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2005, 03:59:07 AM »

just reread you last post mouser.

having the dialog box auto list in details view is great i have to agree.

if you do have a go at one of these dialog box thingies could you provide that kind of feature, maybe allow the user to specify which dialog boxes open up in which kind of view - details for some, thumbnails for others, maybe even in what way the details should be arranged: by name or by filesize or whatever. but all this would be remembered and specific to certain dialog boxes depending on the parent program that they opened from.
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Jibz
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2005, 05:25:33 AM »

Filebox extender looks quite nice .. I hadn't seen it before. I liked the added feature of being able to toggle windows always on top.

The interface is slightly less 'fancy' than PSHotFolders, but it seems to have more options.

Only thing that might worry me a bit is that it's v1.90 and you get free updates up to the next major version number mrgreen.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2005, 05:29:25 AM by Jibz » Logged

"A problem, properly stated, is a problem on it's way to being solved" -Buckminster Fuller
"Multithreading is just one damn thing after, before, or simultaneous with another" -Andrei Alexandrescu
mouser
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2005, 07:30:08 AM »

 lol
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nudone
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2005, 05:02:51 AM »

here's another idea...

i've just been trying to find a suitable desktop ruler type util - the sort of thing used by skinners and graphic designers to measure the pixel distance of things.

there are plenty to choose from it seems, but i can't find one with a built in 'zoom' feature so that you can get an enlarged preview of where the cursor is. i'm almost going blind staring at my screen trying to work out exactly what pixel my cursor is located on when i'm measuring something out.

it's seems and obvious thing to incorporate so i wouldn't be surprised if i've just not found the right app that already does it.

if anyone knows of something that does exactly what i'm asking can they let me know please.
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Jibz
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2005, 08:10:56 AM »

Googled a bit and came up with these .. perhaps one of them is close to what you need:

http://shareware.techmedia-software.com.br/

http://www.mioplanet.com/products/miotoolbox/

http://www.neuber.com/free/mousezoom/index.html

Thmbsup
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"A problem, properly stated, is a problem on it's way to being solved" -Buckminster Fuller
"Multithreading is just one damn thing after, before, or simultaneous with another" -Andrei Alexandrescu
nudone
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2005, 08:39:39 AM »

 Thmbsup that's great. really appreciate that.

i did search for a while trying to find something but couldn't really find anything that fitted the job.

these look just right though.

i shall now go and try them out.
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nudone
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2005, 12:19:24 PM »

just an idea for another quick time saving type program - if it would be worth coding.

it takes five clicks to change the view in windows explorer to show or hide 'hidden files and folders' and i'm sure i can't be the only person who changes it back from one view to the other quite regularly.

wouldn't it be nice to have a button alongside the other buttons in windows explorer that did the same show or hide function.

i know i could use another type of file manager that probably has this kind of capability but i know i would still end up using the default windows explorer as well.

i use a little program that adds a 'create new folder' button on the explorer window so i know this sort of thing is possible (also allows a quick tap of the F12 key to create a new folder).

(i'll be running through a list of these sort of little enhancement utils in my column, as i think they enhance the windows user interface - can't quite understand why they weren't included by microsoft in the first place.)
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mouser
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« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2005, 03:00:02 AM »

the idea of using plain old built-in windows explorer gives me nightmares  ohmy
i am one of those people that spends a great deal of their time using a file browser, so to me its important to have a good one, like total commander, powerdesk, directory opus, etc.

directory opus (maybe the others too) has a nice feature that can show hidden files with a different color or something so that you can leave them visible all the time while still seeing them clearly.  i must say i do not like the idea of having them invisible at all.

however i wonder if your problem might not be solvable with a little .reg file pair that toggled on and off the view hidden files registry setting (i'm assuming its a registry setting), and just adding these reg file shortcuts as buttons on the file browser (or desktop if you are using windows explorer).
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nudone
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« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2005, 01:46:26 PM »

i guess you're right. i just get into habits of doing things in certain ways for no reason (or at least not a good reason).

i use xplorer2 which has the ability to show hidden things without taking any notice of what windows explorer is set to do so i should just use that really.

directory opus looks like the best file browser i've seen - not cheap though. i suppose if i was going to use one file browser all the time then it would be that one and the price would be worth it.

i suppose it's more of an esthetic thing for me. a lot of the time i just want a window/folder to show the files within it without all extra buttons and panes surrounding them.

i'm beginning to weird myself out just thinking why it matters so much to me.
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mouser
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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2005, 03:18:53 PM »

well you are in good company here i suspect if you have tiny little pet peeves about your software, many of us are that way here, though there are differences in what we like and dont like.

TotalCommander is another file manager that some people absolutely swear by, though its not my style.
Directory Opus is very expensive, inappropriately so.
Powerdesk is my other favorite.
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nudone
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« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2005, 10:48:27 AM »

yes, powerdesk, i remember it well.

it seemed to be the ultimate file browser a few years ago - i seem to recall there were lots of the other small utils that came with it??? something that allowed previews of images in dialog boxes well before anyone else caught onto the idea (i might be suffering from false memory syndrome on that).

i shall have a look at the latest version of powerdesk - xplorer2 does a vast amount to say it's free though.
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mouser
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« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2005, 10:51:48 AM »

yeah powerdesk has lots of liltte helpers, and a nice search util.

dir opus has some great features, but its search util takes about 20 minutes to start up, making it very painful to use.
i think a file explorer review is in the works soon.
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nudone
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« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2005, 12:21:32 PM »

 smiley a file browser review makes a lot of sense.

i'm going to mention in my column a few 'addons' for the plain old ms windows explorer that make it behave in a more 'grown up' manner as it's something that i've not really seen covered elsewhere.
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mouser
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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2005, 12:23:16 PM »

sounds nice, looking forward to reading it.

in the blogs you can make a post and mark it as "draft"
which will keep it from being published publically, so you can edit it and preview it until you are ready to post it.
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2005, 10:22:36 AM »

Hi!

I have an idea of a little program:
"Make the desktop smaller than it is".
Ok, this sound silly, but hang on, there is more to it.  embarassed

I have a desktop with "samurize" on the right embedded in the desktop (I know other people have other similar programs on their side).

Lets say the desktop is 1280pixels wide, but the program on the right is taking up 100pixels.

What I would like the program to do:
When I press maximize-button in any window it maximizes to 1180pixels, leaving the right side open for view.

it would be great if the program had a exeption-list, there is always programs that one would like to take up the holde desktop.

Maybe the little program would make other gui's understand there was only 1180 pixels left? So that one couldn't place anything over the program laying on the right?

Well, thats my little utopia smiley

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