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Messages - Jimdoria [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: Anyone actually use rewriteable media?
« on: April 27, 2006, 04:50 PM »
Wow, all this time I thought it was just ME that couldn't get CD-RW to work!  :o The promise of CD-RW was always that you could use it more or less like a big floppy disk. I've NEVER had that kind of experience. Has anyone?  :-[

I've tried on many different systems with many different drives and a few different packages (Nero's InCD, the Roxio thingy, etc.) I always suspected I was missing some major piece of the big picture or was just having a really long string of bad luck. I couldn't believe that a technology as ubiquitous as CD-RW could be so flaky, unreliable, incompatible and flat-out difficult to use.

In fact, I still don't get it. How can they keep selling CD/RW disks and drives if EVERYONE has these kinds of problems using it? It seems like the technology would have choked on its own bile by now. Are people just buying them and using them like CD-Rs because they don't know the difference?

I'm still using the RoboType utility from PC Magazine that I downloaded back when they gave their utilities away for free.

RoboType 3 at PC Magazine

Cheat Sheeter / Re: New Program Idea: Cheat Sheeter
« on: March 16, 2006, 04:36 PM »
Cool idea, mouser!

May I suggest an enhancement, possibly for version 2.0?

The company I used to work for made a toolbar component for programmers to add toolbars to their applications. Part of the design-time interface for this component was a "menu copier" tool. You could point it at an application and it would "walk" the app's menu structure, duplicating the layout of the menu items and sub-items in the proprietary format used by the component.

Maybe it would be possible to add support for an "auto cheat sheet builder" using similar functionality. (This is kind of similar to reading the application's INI file that was suggested, but goes in through the front door instead of the back.) The util could walk the menu structure looking for any stand-alone letter (such as O for Open) or group of letters beginning with "Ctrl-" or "Shift-". It could then build a basic cheat sheet that contained the menu text plus the hot key.

Just my 2 cents. Keep up the good work & thanks! I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one!

PS - I hope you keep the ability to use the Win key as part of the hotkey combo to display the cheat sheet. It is under-used, and less likely to conflict with either an application or system-wide hotkey than a Ctrl-Alt or Ctrl-Shift hotkey would be.

I'm coming in a bit late to this conversation, but I was surprised to see that with all the discussion of tools old and new there hasn't been more mention of InfoSelect. From what I recall this was the product that spawned the whole outliner/notes application genre. (Or at least the grandson of the product. Tornado Notes for DOS was arguably the first outliner/indexed organizer, and InfoSelect is the suped-up Windows version.)

I've toyed with the idea of getting InfoSelect over the years, but I can never quite get past how breathtakingly expensive it is. However, it has a lot of features that I think are pretty useful and unique. Many of these are PIM features like ticklers and reminders, and so are probably not germaine to this discussion.

But it also has a couple of things that really set it apart, AFAIK. One is the ability to create grid-style notes and form-style notes. A lot of times I need to store tabular data, and busting rows & columns down to plain text qucikly becomes a headache if you've got to do any editing or maintenance of the info. And the ability to create notes that are like mini database forms is also great. Outliners work well with unstrucutured data, but there's no reason they shouldn't handle structured data as well.

Their implementation of "hot spots" is also interesting. These are essentially mini-tabs for selected category sub-items that appear at the same level as the parent item in the category. So you can move items to frequently used sub-folders withouth having to expand the folder that contains them.

It's a shame this app is still stuck at the high end of the price range. On the one hand, it does so many things I can see why they charge so much for it. But on the other hand, when a product like Surfulater can be had for less than $50, it makes you wonder whether it's worth it.

Best ScreenCaster / Re: Another possibility - WME
« on: March 16, 2006, 01:54 PM »
You can check out the Firefly features list at the following page:

There are other related pages at their site, but this gives the most concise and informative sum-up of what the app can do.

Best ScreenCaster / Another possibility - WME
« on: March 15, 2006, 09:56 AM »
Hi, guys!

Great review. Thanks very much. I've watched this category myself over the years, and it's always good to keep up to date with what's current now.

My company is using a screencasting tool called Firefly for some of its training stuff. It's pretty high end, but has some interesting abilities, like being able to simulate applications. It actually captures menu choices, drop-down choices, etc. and caches them even when they are not chosen/displayed during recording, so during the demo you can turn the controls over to the viewer/user and let them play with a simulated version of the app you are demoing. Pretty unique.

But the other thing I didn't see mentioned and wanted to point out was that there is a tool for capturing fluid movies that gives hgh-quality output and is free - Windows Media Encoder. The latest version of WME include a "screen codec" with capabilities similar to Camtasia's proprietary codec, and you can use the encoder app to capture screen movies with audio narration.

There are no bells or whistles - no editing and no annotation/graphics. But the output is very good and the price is right as well. Makes a good alternative to Wink if you are in the "free or nothing" crowd (unless you're also in the Mac or Linux crowd!)  :)

General Software Discussion / Re: startup/tasks manager?
« on: February 01, 2006, 01:52 PM »
I'm glad I'm a packrat and have saved all the PC Magazine utilities I downloaded years ago. They still come in handy, but now I'd have to pay to re-download them. Oh, well....

I also use MLin's Startup Monitor and Startup Control Panel. But the utility I've found the most useful for managing startup configs is Startup Delayer by R2 studios. ( It has no database functionality and doesn't seem to deal with services at all, but what it does it does well. It manages your startup items, and lets you specify a variable delay for each item. Basically, this gives you control over the order of the startup process, and lets you space out the startup of certain apps so they're not all competing for the CPU and HD at the same time. The result is a more responsive machine during startup and (theoretically - I've not tested this) a faster startup time for each item.

The best part is that in addition to spacing out the execution of startup files, it has an interactive mode where you can cancel any item in the startup process. So when I'm working offline on my laptop, I can prevent my firewall software and other internet-specific apps from loading at all.

SD could definitely use a few tweaks - the ability to skip a single process without cancelling everything that follows it, or the option to launch an item immediately instead of waiting for its programmed delay to elapse - but even so I've found this to be a great startup manager.

(My first post as a member, BTW, so hi everybody!  :-[)

- Jimdoria [email protected]>@

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