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146
Mini-Reviews by Members / TopDesk
« on: February 10, 2006, 05:50 AM »
I did a quick search of the forums (using the new DC search in FARR!) and saw that the only two references to TopDesk have been made by me...  Perhaps not as many of you are aware of this great tool as should be.  So a few brief comments, because I think it is among the most useful programs I have on my machine.

I have been running TopDesk (http://www.otakusoftware.com) about a year or so, and it just keeps getting better.  Basically, it is a replacement for the Windows Alt-Tab, along the lines of OSX's sexy Expose function.  (Say that fast a few times!  "OSX's sexy Expose"!)  It sits quietly in your system tray and does nothing.  Okay, granted, it does use up some memory while it's just sitting there (24mb working set and 156mb virtual at the moment on this machine), but it's worth every tiny bit, I think. 

The magic starts when you either (a) hit Alt-Tab, (b) hit F9, F10, or (c) move your mouse pointer to one of the screen hotspots.  (These are just the default setting, all key-combinations and hotspots are fully configurable.)

When you activate one of these options, you get one of several things happening - again, configurable in Topdesk Options.  Either you get a screen with all your open windows tiled, so that you can click on the one you want to change to (Grid layout), or you get a screen showing each window's relative size (Spatial layout), or -  this is a new feature in the recently released 1.4.1 - you get a side-on 3D image of each of your open windows stacked behind one another, with a title bar for the active (topmost) window across the screen, and Alt-Tabbing then moves through the windows.  Or instead of getting all your windows, you get just the windows of the same application - useful if you have, for instance, several MS Word documents open at once.  Each of these windows is visually accurate - i.e. you can see in the tiled or stacked windows the contents of each window.







When you hit F11 all your windows slide down to reveal your desktop.





(These animated gifs - linked from the Otaku Software site - are slow on my machine - the program runs lightnigh-fast, though!)

This is the best and most useful feauture for me! - I probably use this 5 or 6 times in an hour.  It's particularly useful when I'm working with things that demand a full-screen - video editing, for instance, and on my smaller laptop, even simple word processing - but where I occasionally need to access something that's in a folder on my desktop.

I love the look of it, the elegance and smoothness of the animations.  I know there are keyboard shortcuts to do almost everything TopDesk does, but this is such a pleasure to work with, and such fun, that I would choose it every time over a simple (and aesthetically empty) Win+D.  I have tested Winplosion and a few other similar programs, but nothing touches Topdesk, in my estimation.

And it's cheap!  Just $9.95 - as far as my computer is concerned, this was probably the best ten bucks I've ever spent!  And the reason I decided to write a short review this particular bright Winter morning?  Well, because I have had my licensed copy running on my home machine since I bought it, and I have made all kinds of compromises on my work machine (mainly TaskswitchXP, and recently SmallWindows, which is neat, but not nearly as neat) in the meantime, but have always felt less than satisfied, especially because that's where I do all my video-editing.  So I decided I would check to see the licensing details, and on the forum found a post that confirmed that the licensing is per-user, which means you can run it on more than one machine.  At $9.95 for a license, that's more than generous!

TopDesk, to me an absolute essential on a Windows machine - I love it, and I never want to be without it!

147
Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Addressbook Software Mini-Shootout
« on: February 03, 2006, 05:30 AM »
Wow!  What a fantastic review!  Thanks, superboyac! (And thanks for nod, too.)

148
Post New Requests Here / Re: Notes Snippet organizer
« on: February 03, 2006, 05:27 AM »
I haven't RTFM (I very seldom do!), but I have found that stickies linger on and on - when I reinstalled it recently, there were all my stickies from the previous version.  You can simply save each sticky into a folder as you create it, but it does backup quite dependably.  And then you can right-click system tray icon, select 'Restore closed stickies', and there's the full list of 'em.

I'm just downloading WikidPad now - I have seen it before, but never tried it...

149
Post New Requests Here / Re: Notes Snippet organizer
« on: February 03, 2006, 05:00 AM »
Nobody has mentioned the possibility of using some kind of Wiki, either online or locally...  For some reason I'm finding it impossible to run Instiki on either of my machines, though they claim it's really easy - I guess I've not given it the right kind of attention yet, but when I run it and try to access localhost:2500 nothing happens...  But I have used PBWiki, which runs online, and gives free accounts - that's working quite well for me to store things I might need access to from anywhere.  And then I use Tom Revell's Stickies (www.zhornsoftware.co.uk) for all the myriad little notes I type as I go, and the Firefox Scrapbook extension for webpages.  Stickies is really worth a look - I used it a few years ago and dumped it, but it's come along so far now!  I think it's great.

150
Living Room / Dropsend
« on: February 02, 2006, 01:57 PM »
I've just started using this (free) online system for storing and sending big files: www.dropsend.com

It's very quick to set up, and worked very easily for me - I would recommend it, if anybody else has the need to send large files every now and then.  A little more storage would be nice, and is available if you pay for one of the subscription options; but the free one might be fine for most people.  Check it out...

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