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Messages - Edvard [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: Google Earth - free tool/toy
« on: July 28, 2005, 02:51 PM »
Think that's cool? Check out Google Moon to see their commemoration of the moon landing anniversary. Be sure to zoom all the way in, it's amazing!

Living Room / Re: Scripting utility suggestions?
« on: July 20, 2005, 06:54 PM »
I also use AutoIt quite a bit, so I may be biased. If your looking for an editor, many script editors have AutoIt syntaxes you can use, but AutoIt has a version of SciTE that build-checks your scripts and gives you hint boxes as you type, compile from the editor, etc. as well as the rest of the features you might expect (syntax coloring, etc.). Also, a character by the name of Rob van der Woude has a page full of scripting resources from good ol' batch to VBScript, Kixtart, Perl, Rexx and WSH. Other than that, I've tiddled around with Kixtart and I only have VBScript experience writing tables for Visual Pinball (0wnZ!!) so can't speak for any others.

Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: Printing your file window
« on: July 18, 2005, 12:37 PM »
Karen's Directory Printer works pretty good, too.
PowerDesk has that function built-in. (search Google for "pd5free.exe" for the personal edition of version 5)
Also see the topic I started at Xplorer2 forums for a pretty wild discussion towards the end about doing it with batch files. Here's what eventually shook out:
I found this on a "Tips and Tricks" site which is quite simple and uses some of the techniques mentioned before. Still not as nice as Karen's, but useful and fast nonetheless. First make a batch file named "PrintDir" (or something even more ingenious) and stick it in C:\ (or somewhere appropriate):
@echo off
dir %1 /-p /o:gn > "%temp%\Listing"
start /w notepad /p "%temp%\Listing"
del "%temp%\Listing"
Then make a new reg key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\Print Directory\command
with the following value:
c:\printdir.bat %1\
Now you can right click on any directory and select the "Print Directory" command and it will print a list of all folder names inside. To print a list of files also add "/s" after the "dir" command in the batch file. In fact, look at the DIR help page for even more options.

Maybe keep us posted on what pics you already got. I'd like to send a pic of the Timex-Sinclair 1000. Possibly the cheapest functional (barely...) personal computer ever made. (I got one when I was 12 when they went on sale for 10 bucks around christmas time.)

Image Manager Shootout / Re: Xnview vs. Irfan View
« on: July 06, 2005, 11:01 AM »
I myself have been torn between the two, here's my two cents (if I may)...
1. (re: irfanview's 'save as') choose 'save' instead. It will prompt you instead of instantly saving and it is in the present working directory.
2. xnview has 'Auto crop'
3. irfanview has more image manipulation functions and it has 'negative' (if xnview has it, i've not found it yet)
4. irfanview has more options when saving to different formats.
5. in irfanview, you can select the background color for the 'cut' function (useful when retouching a strictly b/w image)
6. xnview has grab handles for the crop function.
7. xnview is a little faster...
8. irfanview is ALL free and xnview has a 'deluxe' pay-for version with more plugins and image functions.
9. irfanview's print dialog has more options, and it lets you set print properties before printing EVERY time (in xnview, if you print something, and then go to print something else, it willl use the previous printer settings  without warning you.)

As it is, I have added two context menu entries for the most common image files...

Edit with Irfanview
Edit with XnView


Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: PowerPro
« on: June 30, 2005, 01:48 PM »
I've edited my review to include some caveats. PP is great but not perfect.

Frogblast? Anything to add?

What you say!! :D

Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: extra window functions
« on: June 29, 2005, 04:55 PM »
who was it that was going to write up a little something on Powerpro?
I don't recall,
our new mini-user-review section of the forum would be an ideal place for it
but I put one up anyways.
Actualtools looks really very useful, but I couldn't find any freeware bits mentioned. 'sides, Powerpro does a lot of those things except the titlebar buttons, although it can 'paint' bar buttons on the title bar. They look a tad out-of-place but get the job done.

Mini-Reviews by Members / PowerPro
« on: June 29, 2005, 04:00 PM »
Powerpro 4.3
(from the website...)
PowerPro lets you take control of how you use Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP. Run commands and configure your system any way you want.

PowerPro gives you a compact and powerful launch bar, menu, and tray icon facility. But this is just the start. With a little experimenting with its configuration, you'll find that you can use PowerPro to change the way you work with your system. The source of its power is the way PowerPro integrates three capabilities:

    * Running commands: Tool bars, tray icons, hot keys, mouse actions, menus, timer, scheduler.
    * Controlling other program's windows: Close, minimize, maximize, roll-up to caption, tray minimize, position.
    * Providing utility functions: Send keystrokes to programs, run commands when windows first open, virtual desktops, clipboard extender, keyboard macros, shutdown, show all folder files in a menu, sounds, wallpaper, and screensaver activation and randomization.

That said, I must say PowerPro is the most powerful tool I have ever installed on a Windows box. I am always finding new ways to make it do something useful. Firefox changed the way I surf, Xplorer2 changed the way I file, but Powerpro changed the way I work with, play with and use Windows. Freeware.
Since this is a mini-review, 'nuff said

I forgot, since this is a review, I should include some caveats (not necessarily bugs)
*transparency functions and some plugins are 2K/XP only.
*because this little program does so much, the configuration gui is quite complex.
*some apps do not behave well when using virtual desktops (although this is true for most virtual desktop progs)
*some functions have unexpected side effects, as they override windows function for the same mouse-click/hotkey. For example:
--enabling "right click drag" is nice to be able to drag a window from any part of the window, but it overrides windows' context drag.
--configuring a menu to pop up on right-clicking the desktop (one of the nice things many alternative shells do...) overrides windows context menu on icons unless the icon is left-click selected first.
*the forum is a yahoo! group (that's not necessarily bad but I would prefer not...)

Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: extra window functions
« on: June 29, 2005, 12:00 PM »
Nope and Nope. One monitor and I haven't changed resolutions since the boss got me a flat screen :)
I just found out that Powerpro's Gui control allows me to right-click drag from any piece of the window. So as long as I have one corner, I can move that bugger... (I fear I am becoming highly dependent on PowerPro, but that may be a good thing...)

Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: extra window functions
« on: June 28, 2005, 03:43 PM »
Thanks for the link, although I must say Powerpro does the same (and about 2 million other things...) and since it is always running, that's what I use. I am excited to hear you've got something in the works, I think a lot of folks will find it useful. Out of curiosity, is this a long-running bug with Windows (author of Discover says it's peculiar to NT/95) or does it still occur with 'modern' Windows? I suppose it could happen by 'user error' (dragging something off-screen accidentally or when changing position of taskbar) and so still needs addressed now and then, but thought I'd ask. I know I ALWAYS have to use it when I run VirtuaWin and run the 'options'... the options window is the lower right-hand corner sticking out of the NW corner of my screen. (and I'm on NT4...)

Finished Programs / Re: IDEA: Small shell switcher for windowsXP
« on: June 28, 2005, 03:31 PM »
Thanks Malacandra, I was hoping someone would come up with something before I did, (not much time here)
However, I have written a quick-n-dirty-get-back-to-explorer utility for emergencies (like when you are testing a new shell or a beta update to your favorite and it doesn't go quite right) which I have written in AutoIt3 along with a compiled executable. I have no webspace ATM somebody wanna babysit it?

Unfinished Requests / IDEA: extra window functions
« on: June 27, 2005, 12:43 PM »
You know when you right click the button of a running task or the little titlebar icon and you get a dropdown that says Restore, Move, Size, etc? I want to add functions to that menu, specifically Move to Center (for those annoying times when I get a window half-off the *$%@#&% screen, and 'Move' doesn't %&$#@ work, BTW) but perhaps add calls to those third-party programs that do roll-up or vertical/horizontal maximize and other fancy window tricks. I realize that there probably is a prog that does this but I've not been able to find it.

I was just scooting around the web looking at different shell-related sites and there seems to be no one repository of knowledge with regard to replacement shells in general. If I had the time and web space, I'd give my take on it, but I don't, so I'll do my best here. See my post above (reply #6) and here is a tidbit from Desktopian's "What are Replacement Shells" page:
"Replacement Shells" are programs that are run in place of the normal Microsoft explorer shell to give your
desktop a completely different look & feel. In simplest terms, they replace the default Windows interface (Start
Button, Task Bar, icons on desktop) with an interface either borrowed from other operating systems (like Unix,
MacOS, or the Amiga) or something completely new and different.

Note, in almost every case, these applications are doing things that Microsoft never intended to happen on their
operating systems. In addition, many are in early beta (or even alpha) release. That means that some bugs and
minor incompatibilities are to be expected. But the good news is that many are in active development, which means
that bugs and incompatibilities are rapidly being addressed.
A (fairly) comprehensive list of alt shells past and present can be found at Shellfront's list page. Many of the links are broken but Google can help, and a link copied and pasted to the WayBack Machine can get you some shells that are long dead support-wise, but still work. Many developers of dead shells are now working in active shell projects, so hit the forums and take names.
 My best advice is; 1- Read all you can before divng in. Check out online documentation as well as the shells 'readme' files. The easiest shells to start with are bbLean,GeoShell (get the installer) and the Litestep Installer.
2- I recommend you get a 'back door' app to get back to explorer in case things go wrong. There are many alt-shell managers like shellon, Litespawn and Carapace can handle getting you out of a bad spot, but I have written a small script in AutoIt3 to do just that; get you back to explorer quickly. I'll post my script (and perhaps an exe? Mouser?) in another topic. Maybe someone can re-write it in C or C++ for efficiency.

Hope that helps, and to geektechnu: If you're good with litestep, check out xDesktop1.7. It's just about as easy to config as it gets, does at least 95% of what explorer's desk does and in the readme it tells how to use jdesk to interface with your actual desktop folder. Which is almost the remaining 5%. sweet. For wallpaper, I recommend bsetroot from the bb4win download site. It not only handles wallpapers, (bmp and jpg maybe others) but it'll do nice gradient washes so your "plain' paper is not so plain.

ok, download Litestep (just the base package is all you need) here. Then get one or both of these:
Icon and IconDesk.
Unzip everything to the same folder, and here's the step.rc:
;LoadModule $litestepdir$\IconDesk.dll
;LoadModule $litestepdir$\icon.dll

;--icon configuration--
IconTextColor 000000
IconDesktopFolder $desktop$
IconXstart 16
IconYstart 44
IconXoffset 80
IconYoffset 80

;--IconDesk configuration--
IconDeskGroups                  Desktop
*IconDeskDesktopFolder          .desktop
IconDeskDesktopSize             32
IconDeskDesktopX                32
IconDeskDesktopY                0
IconDeskDesktopSpacingX         4
IconDeskDesktopSpacingY         4
IconDeskDesktopDirection        right
IconDeskDesktopWrapDirection    down
IconDeskDesktopWrapCount        4
IconDeskDesktopFont             "Tahoma"
IconDeskDesktopFontSize         12
;IconDeskDesktopTextShadowDepth  1

Notice in the 'LoadModule' section, both are commented out. That's because I had trouble starting Icondesk but it may work for you, so uncomment ONLY ONE at a time and do a recycle (from commandline: Drive:\path\to\litestep.exe !recycle)
Icon is just quick&dirty icons from your desktop folder no mycomputer, recycle bin, etc. Icondesk is a little more advanced.
Now, if you're into shells, you proabably know what to do from here. If not, the quick & dirty way to run litestep is to open task manager, kill explorer and start Litestep.exe from 'File -> New Task (Run)'. After that you're on your own, RTFM, and welcome to Litestep.

I think this one may be solved...
Litestep + icondesk module. If I have time today :)  I'll post a (totally non-ots-compliant) step.rc.

PowerPro & Xplorer2 on the desk (and sometimes JS Pager); WinRoll and H+BEDV Antivir in the tray. Add Outlook when I'm at work (wish I could use Thunderbird). When I am using BBLean as shell, I don't need PowerPro Winroll or JS Pager.

I myself am wanting just such a thing. There are many shell-switchers and alternative shell managers out there, but the switchers re-boot instead of logoff, (I'm on NT4 here at work, which reboots like bricks swim) and the managers sit in memory ( :down:) so at the moment, I am looking into doing the very thing you have described with an AutoIt script which can be compiles into an exe. If I can in the near future, I'll post the script here (easy enough) but don't let me stop someone else from giving it a go...

To further' own explorer.exe is what's normally running as the main interface (shell) on most windows systems. Not just a file manager, it provides the desktop (including icons) taskbar, start menu, system context menus, dde handler, etc. A replacement shell is intended to take over that job with the real purpose being to get work done without microsoft's features/limitations getting in the way, as well as being able to do some fun eye candy along the way. Some examples (and by no means exhaustive...)
Litestep: the oldest and most popular shell replacement
Geoshell: nice looking and useful
BB4Win[: a windows clone of *nix's BlackBox window manager; currently 4 branches of this project.
More info can be found at Shellfront, Shell-Shocked online mag, and Desktopian.
What is asked for is something which would provide nothing but the desktop, as not many (in fact, almost none) of the replacement shells provide this, and as ObjectBar and all its cousins are somewhat resource-hungry, using something small and useful to replace explorer would be quite desirable. I wish I had an answer for this one.

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