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Messages - XMinus1 [ switch to compact view ]

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General Review Discussion / Re: Educational Software reviews?
« on: September 01, 2007, 07:17 AM »
here's a college level open source course site-

a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.

Have you actually figured out how to view/listen to lectures?  I've browsed the site a few times, downloaded various course materials, but I have yet to find anything other than sylabusses and schedules (just today I tried "Ancient Rome" and "The Emergence of Europe" and got nowhere.  The "Download this Course" link on the homepages got me a zip with a bunch of junk.  Do they offer what the Teaching Company offers, video/audio lectures?  (I can highly recommend the "Teaching Company":  I've purchased 3 of their works, and I will be buying many more in future).


 My newfound interest in Web 2.0 has awoken another interest:  tagging.  I'm not entirely convinced that tagging can, or should, completely replace hierarchical organization, but it certainly has advantages over traditional methods of file organization.  At first I was less-than-impressed with tagging due, in part, to the fact that I mistakenly associated it with social networking (like <a href="">Digg</a>), which I continue to have misgivings about.  I slowly began to experiment with tagging, and I eventually chose to use <a href="">BlinkList</a> as a bookmark repository, primarily for their tagging capability (although I think I've really only scratched the surface of BlinkLists's capabilities...).  I've really enjoyed using BlinkList:  tagging is much more freeform than hierarchical organization and therefore simpler to work with (in my case, at least).  Don't get me wrong, I still feel the urge to organize things hierarchically, but that urge has faded significantly.  I'm still keeping an eye on <a href="">Yahoo's Beta Bookmarks</a>, which has excellent features, not the lest of which is both tagging and traditional organization, both working together seamlessly.  Anyway, on to the real subject of this post:  I began to realize that tagging would have great implications for filtering/searching files across a file system.  I searched for, but was unable to find a utility that would do such a thing.  In the course of my studies I discovered that Vista incorporates some tagging, but only for certain filetypes.  I've also read that a Mac OS incorporates tagging, but Im not sure to what extent.  Then I discovered <a href="">Tag2Find</a>, and I've signed up for the 'Technical Preview" (but haven't been approved yet).  Apparently Tag2Find is the first tagging utilty for all file types on windows file systems.  I'm really excited about this utility, and I look forward to taking it for a test drive.  I knew that my fellow software geeks at DC would want in on the action too, thus my post.

I'll post impressions in the review section after I have a chance to play around with it for a few days (not sure when I'll be approved for testing, so the review might not be for a week or two)

General Software Discussion / Best Online Text-Editing?
« on: February 10, 2007, 05:49 PM »
Ha! I decided to post a question about online text-editing and I discover that DC has a Personal Area that allows users to create posts/replies.  Great idea, I wish more sites had this feature. 

Basically, I'd like to find an online-source for creating text files for posting questions to forums.  The text editor can be rudimentary.  I'd like to be able to get to a new file with a single click (similar to the way that bookmark sites provide their subscribers with bookmarks that allow the user to bookmark a page with a click or two).  I'd also like to keep the various text files long term, so some storage capability is desirable.

I'm using Thinkfree ( , and it's great, but it's overkill for what I want to do.


Hi Guys,

I'm looking for an effective web-based calendar and todo site.  I've tried Yahoo's and Google's Calendar betas but I'm less than impressed with the integration of ToDos and Calendar items:  I'd like my ToDo (Tasks) displayed on my calendar, or at least the option to display all tasks due on day X on the same page that I view all events taking place on day x. 

I'm willing to reconsider the web-based option if necessary.  I think that I'd like the flexibility of a web-based service (free or paid, if not too expensive) but I'm open to suggestions about resident applications. 

I have a Palm, and am a bit interested in compatibility with my Palm, but I can live without it if necessary.

Thanks, and please point me to the pertinent threads if this has already been hashed out (I searched for online calendar and didn't get much byond Google's Beta)

(Added after-the-fact:  Discovered HipCal which looked very promising, but then found that they've been sold to Plaxo .  I don't care for Plaxo's Calendar/ToDo, but I get the sense that that's not what Plaxo has been designed for.  Sounds like they may incorporate some of HipCal's Calendar/ToTo features, but who knows when, if at all?  Anyway, HipCal is as close as I've some to satisfying my requirements)

(Added after-the-fact:  also discovered ( ) which might help.  Who would have thought there was such a site?)

Thanks, and Happy New Year

Site/Forum Features / Re: DonationCredits Discussion
« on: September 23, 2006, 09:02 PM »

Oops, figured it out, I haven't been activating (using the link in the confirmation email).


Thanks guys

Site/Forum Features / Re: DonationCredits Discussion
« on: September 23, 2006, 08:57 PM »

I'm not sure if this is the correct thread to ask this question in:  please move it if I've posted improperly.

I've donated at least twice, and perhaps three times, but I've not received any donation credits.  Perhaps there's something special that I have to do to specify that the donations be assigned as credits?

The first time was, of course, my intial donation to achieve membership.  I believe that I gave the second time because I'd gotten some really good forum advice about software (I'm pretty sure about this second donation, but not 100%).  The third was last night, as part of the donation drive ($50:  the first two were for much less, I think, maybe $10 or $20).

Can someone help?



I'm looking for free webmail with the characteristics I've listed below.  I'd like to establish a long term webmail provider (long-term=lifetime) so such things as organizational flexibility for mail storage is crucuial (see #3).

1.  Free (or at least very cheap)

2.  A simple, strightforward domain name (I once had an email address at Ureach, e.g. [email protected]:  when I told someone what my email address was I had to spell out the 'ureach' so that they wouldn't send it to 'youreach':  '[email protected]' is a perfect example of a simple, straightforward domain name)

3.  Nested folders, i.e. a storage system that can accomodate a hierchy of folders within other folders.  The flat hierchy of folders that services like Gmail and Yahoo provide will, eventually, become cumbersome.

4.  Large Capacity (250MByte at least)

5.  Long-term viability, i.e. no fly-by-night providers.

I know that I have some potentially conflicting requirements.  From what I've seen here at DC you guys can deliver the goods (if anyone can). 


XMinus1: I'm pretty sure those iMation drives aren't flash memory but rather micro-harddrives...

Yep, you're right, it's not flash, I misspoke:  it's some sort of tiny disc drive.

Amazing that one can be made so small...

OK well I'll probably get chewed out for this but I'm not actually going to answer your question:  instead, I'll respond to a statement you made in the intial post of this thread about External HDDs like Maxtor's One Touch.  I have an External 160 GByte Seagate (apparently the 160GByte is no longer available).  It's been a champ:  I've had it for perhaps 2.5-3 years.  About 2 years ago it fell 3-4 feet onto a tile floor:  it's still going two years later (and it gets a lot of use).  I'm very impressed with it, although I've read customer complaints about some of the higher-capacity units, and I have a co-worker that had one fail.

I do have a bit of experience with hdd chassis.  A few years ago I bouoght a bunch of cheap ($15-20?) chassis from a local PC shop and installed all of my HDDs in them.  That didn't work out very well:  each had a fan for cooling, but it was poor quality, and I began to have thermal issues, and other problems.  I went back to the old way, and have stayed there ever since.  I now have a 4GByte Flash Drive (actually it's one of those iMation microdrive devices that looks like a lock:  great design and a great performer so far, after a month's use) so data portabilty is no longer an issue for me.  I'm sure I had problems woth the swappable chassis because I cheaped out:  I got what I paid for.


I've used several Anti-Virus Apps over the past few years:  I was really happy with PC Cillin for a year or two, but then some odd things began to happen to my PC, and I couldn't figure out what was going on.  After doing a bit of net-research I discovered that other PC Cillin users were suddenly having similar problems.  PC Cillin had added new 'features' (i.e. it had become something more than an AV app) and had surreptisiously altered systems to do it's new thing.  The alterations conflicted with other programs.  I dropped it and moved to another AV app (can't remember which one) and, eventually, it too became bloatware, and caused problems with other, more streamlined apps that I'd picked to do certain jobs.  I then moved to Avast, which I've used for a year or two but, just a few weeks ago, I began to experience odd, and inconsistent, problems with secure sites (https).  This one was tough:  I tried shutting down all extraneous processes but I couldn't narrow down the source of the problem.  I suspected (irrationally, actually) that Kerio 2.5.1 had begun to give me issues, and I liked what Mouser had to say about Outpost Firewall, so I switched.  No change.  I uninstalled Spy-Sweeper.  No change.  I then uninstalled Outpost.  No change.  I then uninstalled Avast and voila!  problem solved. 

This is infuriating:  I've spent untold amounts of time solving this problem, and now I have to spend a bunch more time figuring out which AV program to adopt and, of course, I'm certain that whichever one it is I'll eventually have to go through this process again, as it 'evolves' into bloatware, i.e. becomes not only AV but spyware detector, firewall, etc.

One of the most irritating aspects of this was Avast's persistence, even after I told it to shut down:  three Avast processes continued to run after shutting down the app via the menus.  And even after shutting down those processes something in Avast continued to prevent consistent access to https addresses.

What can I use as a one-stop-shop for AV?

My spyware and firewall apps:

1.  Spysweeper (well, it will be, once I reinstall it)

2.  Kerio 2.5.1 or Outpost (not sure which I'll stick with)


I'm using Newsleecher...

Well I've tried it and I really like it.  Newsbin began to act-up (problems with downloading) so I gave Newsleecher a go and I like it, particularly the interface.  I can see that sticking with  BNR2 for as long as I did really left me behind the times:  Newsleecher (and Newsbin, while it worked) are both great and, compared to BNR2, supremely stable and fast.

Thanks for the reccommendation.

Good idea Mouser.  I may give it a try, or perhaps review a series of clients over time.  I agree that apples should be compared to apples.

Hi Folks,

I've finally given up on Binary News Reaper 2/3 (BNR 2/3) after several years of devoted, but frustrating, use.  Over the years I've toyed with other Usenet Binary grabbers, but their shortcomings always led me back to BNR 2/3.  Now that I've given it up for good I've been using Newsbin Pro, which seems solid and quick (I do have a fairly powerfull machine, though).  I can't think of a major shortcoming at this point, but I'm not crazy about the priority scheme:  BNR allowed the assignment of a numeric priority for a particular file, Newsbin Pro uses a top-to-bottom scheme, which can be clunky when many files are queued.

What Usenet binary downloaders do you use, and why?

BTW, I use another app, Dialog, for text-based Usenet browsing.  I used Agent for many years, but got tired of waiting for an update, and so switched to Dialog, which is similar to Agent in many respects.  I highly reccommend it.

Thanks for the help.

My current favorite is Pegtop's PStart.  I use alternative shells:  GeoShell for a bit, years ago, then Litestep for the last few years, now happily back to Geoshell.  I found the perfect LS theme for my needs, so for years I didn't need a stand-alone app launcher.  Now that I've returned to GS I need some way to manage all of my apps.  PStart is the perfect tool for me:  drag and drop capablity, simple and straightforward.  my favorite feature is it's ability to be invoked by the mouse, just where the cursor is at, by configuring the mouse to pass on a particular button click as a global keystroke, i.e. I no longer have to move the cursor to the systray to start apps.  Of course, that's not a unique feature, but it's nice that such a relatively small app has just those features that are critical to me.  I like it's simplicity:  it's not the one-stop-shop that some app-launchers aspire to.

I used Kana Launcher, another small launcher, but had problems with it after I rebuilt and reloaded my WinXP box, so I gave it up for PStart.

General Review Discussion / Re: Vote for what Review to do Next
« on: February 01, 2006, 10:54 PM »
For a hierchical note-taking app I'd have to rank TexNotes numero uno.  However, they've not developed a portable edition for PDAs,.  Still a great app, but difficult to use for those not tied to their desk (me).

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Blackbox for windows - shell replacement
« on: December 29, 2005, 07:17 PM »
I believe that I tried BlackBox a couple of years ago, but I've stuck with Litestep.  I first dabbled with shells using GeoShell, a nice, very minimalist alternative to Explorer.  Then I tried LiteStep and never looked back (although, out of curiosity, I have tested out other shells on occasion).  Both Geoshell and Litestep have regularly active IRC channels on Freenode.  Of the two communities, Geoshell is (or at least was a year or so ago) more established as a recognizeable group.

Living Room / Re: which hierarchical note program?
« on: November 09, 2005, 04:02 AM »
I'm a registered TexNotes Pro user.  It's a great app, with many outstanding features.  My greatest disappointment with it is it's lack of PDA (Palm, in my case) support.  The Developers claim that such a feature would be worthwhile, but there's been no notiveable advancment towards.

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