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Messages - m_s [ switch to compact view ]

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Bingo!  It worked when I unloaded WindowBlinds (mine is a legit copy, btw)...  Reloaded WB, and it doesn't work again.  Any ideas for a workaround, or just wait for new version of WB?

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GeminiSoft Pimmy
« on: April 07, 2006, 04:19 AM »
I recently reinstalled XP on home and work machines, and I've not got around to reinstalling FK on the work machine - which is where I use it: as I said, I've not used it much in awhile, so it's a pretty low priority.  Which means I don't know which version I have...  I know I said it was 5 or 6 years of messages I needed to access, but actually I realise we had CompuServe messages starting around 1992 or 93, and Pegasus from around 98.  When I took up this job, the previous incumbent had about five versions of the CompuServe software installed, in order to be able to read messages from all the different versions!  FK fixed that nicely.

Now I'm very confused - completely removed the three add-ins I had installed, but Outlook still looks the same!  Then reinstalled Outlook and updated graphics drivers, but still exactly the same...

General Software Discussion / Outlook display messed - any ideas?
« on: April 07, 2006, 03:12 AM »
I've just run Outlook for the first time on my clean XP install.  Everything is up-to-date, but my screen is messed as in screenshot.  Before running, I installed MS Visual Studio 2005 Runtime Engine, Outlook 2003 PIA, and RemoteCalendars - the first two both are prerequisites for the third, which allows you to load iCal format into Outlook.  I wondered if it might be a case of WindowBlinds messing things up, but excluding Outlook from WindowBlinds makes no difference.  Any ideas? 

(PS. Screenshot taken with the sweet - but not nearly as powerful as ScreenshotCaptor! - ScreenJot (http://www.downloads...reen-with-screenjot/), then converted from BMP to PNG with the brilliant built-in image converter in DOpus.)

Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: GeminiSoft Pimmy
« on: April 07, 2006, 01:19 AM »
I've used ForKeeps for two years now, and it was absolutely invaluable for accessing an archive of 5 or 6 years of CompuServe and Pegasus message.  It's really easy to work with and very simply does what it says on the box.  My only wish for it would be a faster search function - at the moment, the search is linear, so you have to go from one hit to the next; a summary page of all hits would be much easier for me to work with.  Alternately, if I could find a GDS plugin that would read ForKeeps's database I would be set.  But, because I've only actually had to search that archive 4 or 5 times in the past year, this is a very low priority for me.

That's great!  Thanks, housetier.  It get's pretty hard after level 5!

What I would really like would be a two-phase powerdimmer screensaver: so it dims the screen for ten or fifteen minutes, and then it launches another screensaver (my choice would be the lovely imitation mac flurry saver - and  Is this possible?

For Carol: Off topic - Beware:

How do we in England claim our waffle?

Thanks for the warning - which meant nothing to me!  After a bit of research on this, I'm pretty sure it counts down from 100 - as in 100% a-okay.  (At least I hope so...)

I like Netjaxer - I used it for a month or two and found it to be useful, except that it seemed a little heavy on resources for what it does.

General Software Discussion / Re: EULAlyzer™ 1.1
« on: April 04, 2006, 08:41 AM »
I've used this for awhile - along with their excellent SpywareBlaster and MRUBlaster - and it's great!

Not exactly soundtracks, but in some ways similar: I've recently started listening to an Australian podcast ambient program -

And similarly, there's - which is what I'm listening to right now.

Ray!  Thanks, Mouser!

Living Room / Re: Eets
« on: March 29, 2006, 12:55 PM »
I think Eets is sweet!  It hasn't caught me in the way that Samorost did, but it is fun, and as Allen said, it's got a nice spirit to it.

General Software Discussion / Re: GreatNews RSS Reader
« on: March 29, 2006, 02:58 AM »
Moerl: yes, it does have newspaper views, which I consider essential - and I think it has autowatches, though that's not functionality that I use right now: I prefer to manually update, since I'm on a dial-up broadband and not always-on, and I like to choose when my machine is connected.  I've switched over to FeedDemon to test it properly for a few weeks, but so far - nice as it is - I'm not seeing $29.95 worth of superiority over GreatNews.

That's great!  Thanks for the link brotherS.  It keys into the kinds of discussion they have over on 37signals' excellent blog, Signal Vs Noise:

This is a subject that I've become very interested in: how to reduce to essences without giving away what is needed for clear communication.  But I'm coming at it more from a point of view of life than of design.

Having grown up in South Africa, we had even less choice than England - I was a little shocked on my first visit to a UK supermarket.  But not nearly as shocked as I was when trying to pick up a snack in a Manhattan drug store!

General Software Discussion / Re: GreatNews RSS Reader
« on: March 28, 2006, 10:54 AM »
I just went over to Newsgator and discovered that they released version 2.0 of FeedDemon yesterday, and have changed their subscription models also.  I've donwloaded it and it really is nice - but I'm still not sure yet whether it's $29.95 better than GreatNews!

Is FeedDemon really that good?  I've played with it quite a bit, but I wasn't sure at the end of all that whether it was any better than GreatNews (at many times the price!).  Again, I thought it ran quite heavy, which I really don't need in a feed reader...

And I think it runs a bit heavy on its own - 35mb at the moment on my system.  Nice looking - particularly like the feed history panel, which is neatly arranged and simple.  But I haven't yet found a RSS reader that beats GreatNews...

I like their EULA also:


(c) Copyright Square Eight 2002-2006. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: No warranties, either express or implied, are hereby given. All
software is supplied as is, without guarantee. The user assumes all
responsibility for damages resulting from the use of this software,
including, but not limited to, frustration, disgust, system abends, disk
head-crashes, general malfeasance, floods, fires, shark attack, nerve
gas, locust infestation, cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, local
electromagnetic disruptions, hydraulic brake system failure, invasion,
hashing collisions, normal wear and tear of friction surfaces, comic
radiation, inadvertent destruction of sensitive electronic components,
windstorms, the Riders of Nazgul, infuriated chickens, malfunctioning
mechanical or electrical sexual devices, premature activation of the
distant early warning system, peasant uprisings, halitosis, artillery
bombardment, explosions, cave-ins, and/or frogs falling from the sky.

I used this for awhile and was really keen on it - especially the Clock and Volume visual-display plugins, for which I've found no equivalent among other hotkey programs.  But I stopped using it this week, because I found that it was hogging the keyboard hook that allows Google Desktop Search 3's neat Quick Search Box, and frankly I would rather have that than HotKeys, especially since TrueLaunchBar can give me all the hotkeys I need.

You're right - it might be a scam!  But it looks quite sound to me.  I always am exceptionally edgy about entering my details on any of these aggregating sites - like Protopage or Pageflakes - but I have given in a few times, after investigating the site a bit, and just tried them, and that doesn't seem (yet) to have had any negative consequences...

Thanks for those links, nontroppo. 

I have mainly used Miranda and Yahoo chat, but also Windows Messenger, Skype, and Google Talk.  I was really optimistic about Google Talk's chances, but not enough of my friends were able to use it. 

For the last year or so I have stuck with Trillian, simply because I find it easy to setup and operate - flirted a bit with buying the pro version, but decided against it. 

I've been thinking more recently of just using, since that would allow me to run one fewer program.  Actually, that said, I very rarely fire up my messenger program - or Skype, or Gizmo - since they're just a drag on my system while my friends slowly catch up on using this kind of technology to stay in touch.

A few days after I recently re-installed Windows XP, my computer crashed while I was defragging the C: drive.  I’ve had no problems with this drive, but a few years ago the main harddrive on my then-boss’s computer died – a long, long time since I had last backed it up.  It was extremely expensive to recover his data – much more, in fact, than it would have cost to buy a new computer – but this was mission-critical data, so we had to pay the money.  I was worried about my own harddrive now, so I decided to look around for some SMART disk monitoring software.

My first stop was Speedfan (donationware;, since I already run this on my laptop.  It’s a neat and powerful little motherboard monitor that sits in the system tray and discretely displays processor or hard-drive temperature there.

Speedfan uses only 4mb of memory, and it gives a great deal of information – much more than I know how to make sense of:

My only problem with Speedfan is that it can only display one or the other piece of information in the system tray – drive temperature or processor.  I like to be able to keep an eye on processor temp, as my beloved Pavilion ZD7010 simply switches itself off if the temp gets above 70 degrees C (something that hasn’t happened since I cleaned its heatsink a few months back), so I need both displayed at once.  Granted, you can get both in a tooltip, but I like being able to see them without having to touch my mouse.

So I moved on to a program I saw mentioned a while back on Lifehacker: HDD Health (donationware;  Like Speedfan, HDD Health puts an icon in the system tray:

Unlike Speedfan, that icon doesn’t give you any information in tooltips; but when you click it, you get a clear display of your drive’s details, and on the various tabs, detailed information about the drive-state.

HDD Health uses 6mb of memory, and it has some very good features, such as sending email or network alerts when the drive overheats or is getting to a dangerous state.  And it’s donationware/freeware.   

But, you’ve guessed it: I have to click something to get my information, and I don’t like that.

Next, I tried O&O Software’s DriveLED ($19.95; http://www.oo-softwa...products/oodriveled/).  This is quite sweet: it displays each drive and partition separately, and you can use the image of the drive as a shortcut – so double-clicking on C: in this picture will open an Explorer window at the Root.

Also, double-clicking on the picture of the harddrive – at left in this image – brings up XP’s built-in Disk Management console, which could be very useful.  You can also set it to monitor plug and play drives, which is a nice feature.  It uses between 4 and 8mb of RAM.

It hides at the screen edge and rolls out on mouseover – at least that’s the idea; actually, this feature’s not working very well for me, and it is why I decided to try yet another similar program.  I position DriveLED where it’s most useful for me – just above the system tray; but it seems to get very confused.  It is meant to hide at the right edge of the screen; but every time I restart Windows, DriveLED hides itself behind the Taskbar, and then won’t come back up – it leaves just a sliver of itself in view, and if I use the mouse to pull this up, I’m left with just that sliver of the window!  Oh dear: I didn’t know it would do this, but in trying to get a screenshot of this, it’s gone and done a variation on this behaviour – now all I’ve got is the edge that’s usually visible when it is properly docked to the right!

And I can’t do anything with the sliver, either – so I have to close it down and restart.  This happens every time I run DriveLED, and as much as I like some of its features, I just can’t be dealing with this odd behaviour.

And that brings me to today’s final candidate: HDDlife (  At $29 for the full version, it’s the most expensive of the various programs I’ve tried, but I believe it’s the best (and read on, dear DonationCoder member, because there’s news of a discount coming up).  There is also a limited freeware version – in fact, after 14 days, the full version just reverts to the free one.

First of all, HDDlife has that coveted feature of displaying the drive temp in the system tray:

But not just the temp – that line under the number is ‘life status progress bar’, which tells you about your drive’s health and performance.  (You can see from this screenshot that, actually, mine’s doing pretty well!)  You can choose from a number of options for how information is displayed.

A tooltip gives you all the information you might need in a glance:

And when you maximise the main window, you get a representation and a summary of drive health, some sage advice ("do not forget to back up your data at least once a week since nobody is protected against bad luck"), and a display of space usage on all partitions:

It would be nice if you could, as in DriveLED, use the ‘Logical disks info’ panel as shortcuts to the partitions, but at the moment you can’t do that.  It also doesn’t monitor external drives – really, this is a different kind of feature to a drive-health analysis (since none of my external media are SMART enabled anyway), but it would be quite useful.

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can also adjust the noise/performance ratio with any AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) enabled drive.

As with HDD Health, warnings can be sent to networked computers, or via email, and it also has a pretty nifty line in audio warnings – my other laptop has squawked a few times while I’ve been writing this: it’s too darn hot!  Or you can set HDDlife to turn your computer off, or set it to hibernate, when the temperature rises over a threshold that you set.

The next great feature is that HDDlife can re-skin your drives – so the iconset that you choose in this window is applied system-wide, so wherever you look at your drives, these are the icons that will be used:

And you can check your drives’ health from within any program – you may have noticed the little green dot over the drive in the screenshot for HDD Health(?) – well, that’s HDDlife showing that all is well.  Likewise, when you open a file in Word (or any other program), you can see how your drives are doing:

So, there it is: my brief overview of drive-health monitors.  What I like most about HDDlife is simply the fact that it displays the temperature in the system tray, and I know that Speedfan, which was where I started from, could do exactly this – but when I combine this necessary feature with the various other nice touches it offers, HDDlife Pro is definitely my choice for best-of-category.  Although HDDlife Pro is also the heaviest on resources, usually clocking in at 10mb on my machine, I have no hesitation in running it myself, and recommending it to you.

I’ve been in touch with the developers of HDDlife Pro, and they’ve offered a 30% discount on their program – Mouser is going to post the link for this in the Members Only section.

Living Room / Re: Keeping track of software license/serial keys
« on: March 19, 2006, 06:08 AM »
I have started using SafeNotes in Roboform for this purpose - just one note per license.  Works well for me.

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