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Last post Author Topic: Your most used SPECIAL programs  (Read 79545 times)

Curt

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Your most used SPECIAL programs
« on: August 01, 2008, 05:57:10 AM »
We have had some threads before, about which programs we use the most, but this time I was hoping we could tell each other about the more specialized kind of apps we use. Could we exclude Internet browsers, e-mail clients, launchers, PIMs, Calendars, Clipboard, Clocks, etcetera, and instead include the more special kind of programs. Maybe you don't use them every day all around the year, but for seasonally kind of jobs...

As an example, and as the first post:

I have recently taken interest in HDR images from Flickr, so at the moment I use Bulk Image Downloader every day. It was merely $17.95, but makes it so easy for me to download all original sized photos by any photographer at Flickr's (and of course many other sites), in just a couple of clicks.

Some of the photographers at Flickr don't care to give their visitors the large dimensioned files, but merely uploads big thumbnails... (in my opinion, 500x375 pixels is not an image, but a thumbnail, if you know what I mean). For this reason I also use Image Compressor 2008 Pro - obviously not for compressing, but for enlarging. It gives a very fine quality, but if I hadn't received it from Giveawayoftheday, I wouldn't know about it, because the listed asking price is $99 - so I cannot afford to update... Well, they offered me to update for $50, but that is still a lot of money to me when I only want half of the program, so to speak. But as I said, it gives a very fine quality.

A lot of the downloaded photos are equally named, "beautiful_sunset.jpg" etcetera. The easiest way to handle this problem is to bulk-add the photographers name, "Beautiful Sunset © Photograher's Name.jpg", so yet another important program to me at the moment is the $20 File Renamer Deluxe Turbo, from Kristanix Software. It is really good looking, and easy to operate - and more importantly, it doesn't confuse me the way some other renamers will do.

---

Passing on the torch...  :tellme:

f0dder

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2008, 08:07:02 AM »
Hm, upscaling thumbnails? Why? You never get better quality than the thumbnail :s

And why pay for a file rename when you've these two DC threads? :P
- carpe noctem

Curt

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2008, 09:07:53 AM »
It was really uplifting to read your post, f0dder.  :-\

You are of course also welcome to tell what kind of special programs you are using a lot, and for what.

f0dder

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2008, 09:37:54 AM »
It was really uplifting to read your post, f0dder.  :-\

You are of course also welcome to tell what kind of special programs you are using a lot, and for what.
Sorry, you just left me a bit puzzled, so I had to ask :) - I'd like to know why you upscale those "thumbnails" (for use as a desktop wallpaper? That's the only reason I can personally think of), and which features file renamer has, that made you purchase it instead of using a free alternative.

I don't use any programs that I consider really special - or well, perhaps there are a few.

IDA Pro - I sometimes deal with malware analysis and software protection, where this disassembler very useful. Heck, even when doing normal program development, I sometimes use it to check what my compiler spits out (often it's more readable than a compiler-generated assembly listing). And yes, I actually do own a license for this. It wasn't cheap, and there was a lot of hassles involving registering it, including faxing stuff to DataRescue.

Exact Audio Copy, or EAC among friends. I'm in the process of converting my CD collection to high-quality audio files (lossless FLAC), using a single file and a .cue sheet per album. EAC, helped by AccurateRip, guarantees I get perfect rips. I believe that dBpoweramp is superior to EAC (ripping smarter instead of harder), but unfortunately it doesn't support single-file-per-album mode.

I use MyEnTunnel to keep certain subversion connections secure, and I use The Regulator when messing around with Regular Expressions. Probably not quite up to the level of Regex Buddy, but I don't use regular expressions enough to warrant a $46 purchase (not that I think that's an unfair price, and I'll probably end up purchasing it sometime, unless somebody can tell me a free alternative that's about as good :)).

So, there were a few somewhat-special apps after all :) :)
- carpe noctem

fenixproductions

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2008, 09:52:44 AM »
It was hard to decide which applications are irreplaceable for me. I know that in this thread I should not mention PIMs, file managers, IMs, etc. but my "three little guys" are somehow related to the rest of my software and my whole PC also. I had heard about them and started to use many years ago. And I've never been unsatisfied.

These handy tools were provided by Sysinternals (now it is a part of MS) and are called:
1. Autoruns
2. Filemon
3. Regmon

The first one helped me many times to fix someones computer remotely and clean-up my own. With last two I have never had non-fixable problems with the other software I use. I am pluginoholic when it comes to Miranda IM or Total Commander and these guys always helped me to diagnose the source of the problems. I would really be ungrateful to Mark Russinovich (or/and Bryce Cogswell) if I said that I can replace their tools with something else.

These are small, powerful and can be treated like debuggers for my own OS.

lanux128

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2008, 10:09:40 AM »
Curt, this is an interesting topic but you may have to include a clause to exclude system diagnose tools as well. :)

my list:
1. Process Explorer - and other similar tools, mainly from SysInternals & Nirsoft.
2. AutoGK - i'm not too inclined to learn the nuances of DVD backups so it's a one-step solution.
3. BatchRun - useful when setting up educational programs for my kids.
4. GridinSoft's CHM Editor - when you get help files with illegible fonts.
5. Seedling's Random MixTape Maker - create totally random playlists.

in a way, one can say that programs in this thread are not for daily productivity but they're ever ready when the need arises. :)

tomos

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2008, 10:28:48 AM »
Let's see

Skrommel recently made :-* DragLock which forces the mouse to drag in horizontal or vertical directions
I use it when printing details of large images to pan the image in the print-preview box (in FreeHand)
-
FH9003.pngYour most used SPECIAL programs


Next one I hardly ever use but it's one of those wonderful little programmes that does something obscure very well
Time Stamp Modifier
The program is pretty simple. It enables to get the time from the EXIF info (stored inside by the JPEG file) and set it as the time of the file.

It also enables to select multiple files in a list and shift their date/time by a time slice - by single click you can increase/decrease seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or years.
so
if something screws up your last modified date of your photos you can recover it from the Exif info ...


Not so specialised or obscure, FileHamster the versioning backup programme

[edit changed the link for Time Stamp Modifier]
Tom
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 10:33:19 AM by tomos »

nosh

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2008, 11:09:17 AM »
It would have to be Autohotkey for me, most apps have a certain utility - they are what they are - AHK keeps getting better (doing more) with time. It has let me hack my way through several annoyances I've tolerated for a long time, do more with old programs & basically make the PC more fun to use... cheesy, but true!  :)

yksyks

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2008, 11:55:34 AM »
With appearance of the digital TV broadcast I developed a new hobby: creating DVDs from recorded material. After some experimenting I finally settled on a steady and quite effective process comprising:

VideoReDo -- for cutting out commercials and trim the movies
DVDStyler -- for creating simple menus and converting the material to proper DVD structure
DVDShrink -- when the final size doesn't fit on a DVD5

and then Nero 6 for burning, but there's nothing special on this one.

40hz

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2008, 12:20:58 PM »
Actually, I have three:

My most-used "special" is CrossLoop.

From the website:
Quote
CrossLoop simplifies the process of securely working with friends located in different physical locations and across different network environments. CrossLoop enables you to see the screen and control the mouse and keyboard on a remote computer. It is as if you are working side by side at the same PC.

You can get up and running with CrossLoop in under 2 minutes. Simply download and install the application and it will automatically configure itself to your network environment.

PC Requirements

CrossLoop requires Windows 2000 or newer, including Vista; 128 MB RAM or greater; 2 MB hard drive space and a broadband internet connection

http://www.crossloop...page.htm?id=download


There are a lot of remote desktop applications out on the market. What I really like about CrossLoop is that the person on the remote machine must be there and explicitly grant you access before you can connect.

That may sound like a limitation, since most remote admin applications will grant access as long as you have the required credentials. But a lot of people (and some of my clients) aren't all that happy with having a doorway like that, even if it is kept securely locked. And no security measure is completely bulletproof. But with this app you don't need to worry about compromised user id's and passwords. If somebody isn't on the other end to let you in, then you don't get in. Period.

It's free and has no use restrictions. Get a copy on every box you're responsible for. Put it on your Mom's Dell desktop, and your sister-in-law's laptop, and you'll be able to handle those unpaid tech support requests with aplomb. No more blind troubleshooting and giving directions over the phone!

My second is PartedMagic.

This is an open source disk partitioner/formatter on steroids. Handles everything. Also has a nice collection of tech tools to make your life easier when you're "down to the metal." Downloads as a bootable CD image. Must have for your toolbox. Get it at: http://partedmagic.c...wiki/PartedMagic.php

partitioning_small.jpg

The third is Darik's Boot and Nuke

From the website:
Quote

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

The development and support of the DBAN software project is funded in part by GEEP International. GEEP is the largest, the most efficient, and the most environmentally conscientious consumer electronics recycling company in North America.

Download it at: http://www.dban.org/download

Did you know that Geek Squad charges something like $40 US to do a "secure wipe" on a hard drive? That's an awful lot of money (to my mind anyway) for a service that doesn't require you to do much of anything except: (1) load a floppy or CD, (2) boot the machine, (3) answer a few quick questions, and then (4) walk away until it's done.

Does anybody else see an income opportunity here?  ;) $$$$$

(P.S. I charge $25.) 8)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2008, 12:26:16 PM by 40hz »

cmpm

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2008, 02:27:57 PM »
Google Photo Screensaver

http://pack.google.com/screensaver.html

Apart from all the editors and viewers, it's the most enjoyable.
Because I work with two computers and three monitors, the one will go through my pictures or feeds that I choose while working with the other computer on various stuff. And taking a break, I get 3 monitors showing my pics.

Skype. http://www.skype.com/

While forums or chat are ok, live talk is better for good communication and hanging out together from distant points on the map.
Plenty of interactive add ons. Social in nature, which is it's function I believe.

cranioscopical

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2008, 02:48:43 PM »
fSekrit by f0dder bolsters my increasingly dodgy memory by safely reminding me of important, private data.
Unlocker says "Let go!" when a file is locked and you know that it's safe to loosen the grip.

40hz

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2008, 02:55:21 PM »
Forgot to include Returnil Virtual System 2008 Personal Edition v2.0

http://www.returnilv...iles/rvspersonal.htm

Great for doing temporary installs of software:

   a) you want to try out or test
   b) you don't completely trust yet
   c) you don't plan on keeping
   d) you're afraid might break something

I use this one almost daily. 8)

app103

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2008, 03:32:14 PM »
I am just going to list a few weird and/or obscure things that most people may not know about, that I use either often or constantly...

dirHTML - generates custom index.html files for directories on your hard drive.

Xerver - small, cross platform, lightweight, easy to use, Java based web server that is great for testing out PHP or Perl scripts. It can be optionally configured to only accept connections originating from localhost, so nobody outside of your machine would be able to access anything. Runs quite well on an old slow 9x machine, as long as you have it configured to run in non-gui mode.

Rutgers University Physics Lab Wave Generator - This is always running in the background generating a 25Hz tone that can't be heard through my cheap pc speakers (silent noise). I have a combo modem/soundcard that performs much better if sound is constantly playing. Without it, I would need to run Winamp with music playing all the time, otherwise my pc will lock up and I'll get disconnected from the internet, if any sound plays on my pc, such as a system sound or IM notification sound.  It also generates white noise and other sounds, which some people might find relaxing or as an aid to concentration in a noisey environment.

Run and Hide - this is used to minimize the wave generator to my tray.

"Internet Glue" - through trial & error (and partly by accident) I discovered exactly what will keep my dialup isp from disconnecting me for inactivity. It works where all other such utilities have failed. I have not quite finished it yet, so it is not currently available to the public. It needs a few options and some polishing up first. (if anyone knows of any stable safe fast loading search engines, as clean as google's, containing no flash, graphical ads (text based ads are ok), or other crap, please PM me and share the URLs so I can finish this and release it)



I'll add to this list at some point in the future, when I am on a better pc and can run more goodies.   8)

allen

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2008, 03:43:46 PM »
The criteria in the thread eliminate most of my software... what's left? Hmn... I love PowerGrep, E-music download manager, Amazon Unbox and have been more impressed than I expected by Adobe Air; some cool apps have been made for it.

Deozaan

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2008, 07:48:26 PM »
Thanks for this thread, Curt. It's been really neat so far to see the handy dandy little utilities people use!

Forgot to include Returnil Virtual System 2008 Personal Edition v2.0

The thing I don't like about Returnil is always having to reboot to restore old settings.

dirHTML - generates custom index.html files for directories on your hard drive.

Cool! I've been wishing for something like this for years!

Run and Hide - this is used to minimize the wave generator to my tray.

I was just looking for something like this today!

... have been more impressed than I expected by Adobe Air; some cool apps have been made for it.

Will you give some examples of the cool apps for Adobe Air that you like?


allen

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2008, 09:16:05 PM »
Mostly specialized stuff for various web apps. I first learned of air via Pownce, that very early on offered an AIR client to go with their service.  Twhirl is a wildly popular twitter interface.  Pandora has got one, too. Stuff popping up all over. Playing with a few ideas for air apps m'self...

zridling

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2008, 10:46:07 PM »
Ah, since moving to Linux, it's been the Bluefish Editor. Extremely well designed and even slow people like me can have useful results!

bluefish-s.jpg

40hz

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2008, 11:26:21 PM »
Will you give some examples of the cool apps for Adobe Air that you like?

If you play or compose for guitar take a look at Chorducopia. (not free - $35 US)

http://www.tanagerau...roducts/Chorducopia/

From the website:
Quote
Chorducopia is like the PC or Mac version of that trusty tattered chord notebook in your guitar case-only better. When you are writing and you have that perfect sound in your head, but can't quite translate it to your fingers, Chorducopia can help.

With over nine-hundred chords hand-diagrammed and recorded in every key, Chorducopia offers the songwriter or student access to the essential elements of songwriting.

Browse through chords, filter them by key or a variety of other methods, or search for just the one you are looking for-then listen to them. Chorducopia can show you chords related to what you have found for that extra bit of inspiration.

Care has been taken with every chord, in every key to provide the most useful and accurate representation.

And it sounds great too. We have put great attention to detail into the recording of every chord. We offer chord voicings made up from both the notes contained in the chord formula as well as the actual fingered notes as shown in the fretboard diagrams. All recording was done using state-of-the-art equipment and the results can be heard. Instrument, cabinet, reverb, attack and spread of individual notes in the chord have all been carefully selected for the clearest and most useful representation.

Crush

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2008, 02:45:45 AM »
I´m using Altiris SVS http://www.symantec....mp;pvid=sv_sol_pro_1 very often. It keeps my system perfect clean when only trying out games and programs.

Curt

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2008, 05:38:53 PM »
What a thrill it has been for me tonight, coming home after 7 hours of train travelling, and read all of your answers. Really exciting! Who would have dreamed that April is playing subsonic noise non-stop, merely to stay connected?!!  I sure hope more people will post & tell.  :up:

-
Amazon Unbox may be fine and cheap, but is only available to USA residents.

-
f0dder was of course right: My only reason for systematically destroying hundreds of images, is for the sake of making desktop wallpapers out of them.

Curt, this is an interesting topic but you may have to include a clause to exclude system diagnose tools as well. :)

  ;D

I have a lot of the kind, but only keep Process Explorer open & visible (in sys-tray). Everything else is on demand only, when 'something' happens.


I will use the occasion to tell about the little but very fine ClickOff. It doesn't work too well on Vista, which the author doesn't have, so it may take a while before it fully will be Vistable. But I am running XP and have ClickOff placed in Start, and I like it a lot. After installing ClickOff you only need to answer questions like "are your sure you want to exit the program?" once:Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: August 02, 2008, 05:40:32 PM by Curt »

allen

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2008, 11:59:48 PM »
Amazon Unbox may be fine and cheap, but is only available to USA residents.

The question was what I enjoyed using, not what the world enjoyed using, right? :D

Curt

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2008, 02:26:44 AM »
Amazon Unbox may be fine and cheap, but is only available to USA residents.
The question was what I enjoyed using, not what the world enjoyed using, right? :D

- forgive me for the unintended curt tone. I was merely informing the public in general. I should of course have added the rest of the sentence >"- so unfortunately I am not able to try this app. Sigh!"< to give the intended meaning.

You are all most welcome to tell about programs unavailable to parts of the world.

Thank you for pointing out my authorial shortcoming!  :-[
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 02:30:38 AM by Curt »

J-Mac

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2008, 01:53:52 PM »
This thread is not what I expected at all!  I thought I had a good idea of what would be listed here, but I am seeing a lot of surprises!

My "special" programs:

The Journal for keeping several standard and specialized personal journals.

And next, my never-ending search for the most appropriate note/clipping/data collection app:  Ultra Recall, Evernote, SQL Notes.

Nothing else is really what I would call "Special".   :)

Just a quick OT re: Amazon Unbox - I tried it and then wiped it for good.  Amazingly intrusive T&C's come with Unbox, at least IMO.  I prefer to have control over the content placed on and removed from my computer.  Heckuva nice product otherwise, though!

Jim

Lashiec

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Re: Your most used SPECIAL programs
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2008, 03:51:22 PM »
I still not understand what makes a program "special", but I give it a shot nonetheless :D

Some of my most "pedestrian" tools include things like Universal Extractor, handy for those installers, or obscure compression formats and Universal Viewer, thanks to its range of plugins and what you can achieve with them.

Then a bunch of the typical security-related tools, things like HijackThis, the Sysinternals and NirSoft gamut of utilities, and virtualization apps like VirtualBox, or sandboxes like Sandboxie

In the realm of the truly specialized apps, I use things like Skrommel's WinWarden, or the useful Tooltip Fix, rom tools like ClrMamePro, NSRT, and a few patchers, and some things for the college, like JFLAP, chip emulators and a tool to simulate digital logic circuits which I can't recall right now (as I don't have it installed)