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Messages - Plasma Man [ switch to compact view ]

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Has anyone compared Altiris SVS, Sandboxie and Bufferzone 's performance hit when running an application installed in their sandbox?

Sandboxie is great for for pre-install testing. Used with Dependency Walker it's great way to get a snapshot of what horrors (or delights) may lay ahead. If you have to invoke the Mighty Windows Installer it can slow the process down a bit on a low spec laptop (understatement).

For others, Bufferzone, is here: (this is next on my list.)

No "20 Questions" download forms to fill out either - how strange!

Altiris is basically the one suite that can do 1000 things. As you'll see the list is a confusing way to present the product. The ws doesn't really get you involved or interested in the way e.g. Thinstall is presented.

It's a "20 Questions" download for the demo.

A project that also deserves mention is JauntePE - you might have to dig around for a mirror to DL.

I've just spent maybe an hour reading through the Thinstall website about their product amazingly enough called the Thinstall Virtualization Suite (Win).

Looks like these guys have successfully automated the whole procedure for install capture, portable app conversion and sand boxing (including virtual registry). One thing I like is the ability to roll NET framework (which must hold the world record for registry entries) into the one *.exe, along with the app. With compression I'd imagine you could cook up nice springy, small footprint stuff. I'd love see a compacted version of CS3 working this way.

Watch videos here:

Features - and a lot of them:

Apps they have tested:

Help - with outlines of the configuration options:

Do take a look at the price tag. Could be OK if you have 5000 staff ... Anyone here played with this?

Just to get back to the orginal post for a minute ..

The problem with these sorts of shoot-outs is that so often no evaluation criteria are clearly set out or at least some basis for inquiry.

In this case, I'd be thinking of questions like:

- what are the useful / inadequate features of Win Explorer? How can Win Explorer (as it is) be tweaked to make it more useful? What simple shell utilities could you use to make file management easier?
- how does Win Explorer stack up against other file explorers / managers in other OSes?

- why would you want a replacement?
- what are the typical features of Explorer replacements (e.g. installed or portable, footprint, extra plugins needed, dual/ multi pane, dedicated hotkeys for file manaipulation etc etc)

- what sort of new or added functionality would be beneficial for you? "You" (your needs) would then need defining. Are you working with a lot of text, multimedia, imagery only. audio only, video only etc.? Are working within a networked environment? For business or general messing around?

- going a little deeper - what are the advantages of using an actual shell replacement?

and so on ...


Conversions Plus (http://www.dataviz.c...onsplus/index.html)? I've no idea if it will do this, and you may have already given it a go but...
I finally got to use Conversion Plus on a friend's computer. I ran a number of tests covering a range of text, spreadsheet and database docs and it seems to work smoothly and handles foreign language materials well.

Some observations on Conversions Plus:

- by default it converts everything to Times Roman (i.e. no font output option).

- it will not open folders with symbols or "non-english" characters - you'll have to rename those folders using plain text. Example: "Br>!" has to be changed to "Br". This will catch you out the first time, since there is no warning from CP that it cannot open the folder.

- double quotation marks such as [ " hello " ] will often appear as [ _ hello' ]

- text formatting is approx 90% spot on - expect at llittle editing to tidy up errant tabs, indents etc.

- you'll need to manually insert the field headings in speadsheet & database docs

- doumentation is minimal. For more detail on Mac formats you'll have to go to MacDisk. They provide detailed information on nearly any Mac format you could think of, which you'll see listed here on their site map:

Basically DataViz Conversion Plus works - it's easy to use, handles batch processing and supports most of the commonly used MAC formats - so it gets my recommendation.


I've been testing out Ability Office which I uninstalled (btw looked very prosiming but alas there are still some formatting problems with bullets and indents etc. in WP docs which don't translate well into MS Office or OO).

There are at least 48 "non-deletable" keys (out of 100s of orphaned Ability keys).

Tried a multiple delete in Registry Workshop - no go. Can Registrar Registry Manager deal successfully with this kind of "invasion"?


Just a quick update here.

Using MacDrive I could access all my old floppies.

I copied the Clarisworks files (*.cwk) across to a new folder in XP. Then with this small utility I converted everything to RTF with all diacriticals and most of the formatting in tact. (hooray!)

For anyone interested more about keyboard layouts and speical keys:

Next project ... Fonts ...


Shouldn't you be looking at the ScrapBook plug-in for FF?  Or, as alternatives, NetSnippets, Evernote or Surfulater, the first two of these having completely free versions, and all mentioned (frequently) elsewhere on DC, notably the General brainstorming for Note-taking software thread?  I see you've posted there, but it's an awful long thread to work through.
Yes, a long thread and a lot to think over ...

Thanks for the suggestion for Net Snippets - I'd seen it but not tried it.

But to clarify my point was basically about adding some more functionality to the existing Bookmarks Manager within firefox; in particular the ability to swap quickly between a number of customized bookmark pages -  i.e. manipulating lists of bookmarks. The idea is just an offshoot of the original request ...

The beauty of the bookmark pages in FF (as they are) is that they are very easy to edit in using cut/paste, drag/drop. You can sort through 100s of bookmarks and re-order them into folders, move folders around, insert separators etc in a few minutes. (unlike IE where you are dealing in hundreds of individual link files written to disk)

You can chop a page down as desired to a selected list of URLs and export the page to another folder and later send the page(s) to other FF users. They can be loaded easily into other Gecko based browsers like K-Meleon.

FF also has a nice feature where you can just drag a link from the navigation box straight across to your bookmarks side bar and place it anywhere you wish on the list (which I'm sure most people are aware of).

As I see it, having the ability to simply swap between a number of custom URL lists in FF (in the form of multiple Bookmark pages) would be a real bonus, adding extra goodness to what is already there. Everything stays in FF - no other software required.

A bit OT here but as for web page capture, DL management and archiving I've been using Offline Commander for over 4 years now for various research and multimedia projects. It's proved to be the most practical solution I've found. It does the one thing and very well IMO. All your project archives are basically stand alone exe files - all neat and tidy and easy to search.


Willyram - reading again your excellent set of criteria reminded me of a suite of products that I don't think any one has mentioned thus far.

A while a go I came across the GemX range of pims / notetaking products which I never had time to fully test out but I'm going to look at again. They are certainly feature packed but whether or not they have the qualitities that would inspire regular use I'm not sure yet. If anything they seemed very busy with tons of customization options.

Their three key products are:
Tex-Notes Pro
Surfgem - which has some parallels with Surfulator

Anyone else here tried these out?


As for alternatives, I've been testing Ability Office [ AO ] for a design firm here who are fed up with all the MS licensing hanky panky and are keen to unhook themselves from the evil clutches of "Them" asap - innovations or no innovations.

But there are risks - many of their clients & consultants are sure to upgrade to MS 2007 to stay in the race. But if we can settle on something that covers the essentials for general business and is reliable then we're more than halfway there. One key issue is and will be compatibility of formatting, templates etc - especilly for docs and reports that use an extended range of circus tricks. This is where MS more or less decides on the rules of the game.

I was a little skeptical about AO given the sometimes disasterous performance of earlier versions, but thus far the latest release looks very solid, each component looks well thought out and it's very pleasant to use. The Pro version comes in at US $ 74.99 - so no complaints there. It certainly loads a lot faster than OO (actually 5 times faster). As much I love OO, AO seems to have a much more efficent engine which is handy if you want to make use of an older computer for WP, accounts or basic DTP work.


Note that Syncmarks for Firefox v1.5xx can be found here:

While we're on this subject I'd always thought that the Bookmark Manager in FFwould benefit from a number of power features such as...

1) Save as text list (links only) which would mean you could load the list (or part of) straight into an offline explorer / download manager like Offline Commander (in the latter case using the "Drop Box"). Obviously a text list makes it very easy to convert URLs to any other bookmark format or to import into a doc / html editor.

2) Strip data such as - last accessed / visted / modified etc for an even cleaner bookmark page.

3) Create a Bookmarks "Swap List" menu where FF could load any number of bookmark pages and you can quickly swap them using a hot key / "Recent Bookmark List" drop down menu / as an extended option for Ctrl + B / as links in the sidebar itself / tabbed pages in the browser itself  (... and so on ...)

Here you could arrange all you bookmark pages into themes and move between them quickly. Smaller lists or groups of folders would appear in the side bar - sanity for people who have to do a lot of reseach!


General Software Discussion / Re: Photo panorama creation
« on: July 20, 2006, 09:26 PM »

I'm using Panorama Factory which I settled on after a fair amount of testing (a few months ago). Aside from a few panorama sequences, I've been mainly using PF for "over-sized" document archiving (plans, maps, posters, broadsheets etc) and it's been rock solid with excellent rendering quality. The documentation is comprehensive as well. The current version doesn't support mosaics like say "the original and the best" Autostich does, but this is planned for a future release.

As for the other products I looked at, I'll have to look through my notes and report back.


Interesting coincidence. After trying out quite a few of the apps recommended in the most interesting Note-taking software thread, I've been looking into writer's software. I came across a good round-up of the high-end shareware stuff:

Back in the yWriter end of town, Rough Draft gets regular use here. It has been recently updated and now it's pretty well my main "brain-storming" note thingy for now - nice and simple. yWriter is has more plotting / scenario-building features, but I like the way everything is kept as simple and as functional as possible.

And yes, it would be great if more of these apps had full Unicode support! I've swapped most of my fonts to Unicode.


...This project looks like a genuine attempt to develop a fast, efficient and fluid engine for data management / search / recall, based on "nodes". In other words, this kind of engine used within the context of note-taking software, hot-rodded PIMs and the like, could be extremely versatile. I like the idea here - trees that morph into other trees ...

Andre, I'm afraid I'm at a loss as to your point here. A Tree is just one part of the puzzle. I can't see any mention of a "fluid engine for data management" when I read their site. BTW It sure would be nice if the site rendered poperly in IE.

FYI my product Surfulater uses a Virtual Tree that I've written. This is a very important core component and enables me to morph the tree quickly and easilly.

Nevf - I should have included "my interpretation" (OK, maybe reading a bit too much into this one)... I was curious if anyone here has actually played with VT (or similar) with the intention of incorporating it into a Note Taker / PIM, and whether it would work or not. Just following up on the points about possible choices of core components in general - that's all.

Btw, I like your ideas and your concern to develop a product that is focussed and well integrated. “Sometimes people you think are your customers aren’t your customers at all.” Great point!


Following up on this "Virtual File Manager" idea ... have you guys discussed Soft Gems before? In particular, Virtual Treeview

This project looks like a genuine attempt to develop a fast, efficient and fluid engine for data management / search / recall, based on "nodes". In other words, this kind of engine used within the context of note-taking software, hot-rodded PIMs and the like, could be extremely versatile. I like the idea here - trees that morph into other trees ...

Btw, there is a related site: with a demo of List View, based on VTV (or maybe it was was the other way round).


As it happens, I just bumped into this site today ... is an amazing project covering over 40 years worth of GUIs for a great number of OSes. At best, it's a reminder of the power of graphic simplicity of some of the older systems.

The site has been developed by Marcin Wichary and you can read more about the project here:

A tremendous amount of work has gone into this. The screen caps are excellent and each OS is cross- referenced with articles, books, links etc.

Well worth a look.


If you can find a commandline tool that can convert a single file,
then you can use my Drag+Drop Robot to convert thousands using drag and drop easily.
That's a great utility! I've found a couple of other small apps for text conversion, but the results are only about 30% successful. I'll ask these guys and see what they suggest.

Thanks for the suggestion. Dataviz claim to have the all-in-one solution but guess what? No demos available. The same with nearly all the other solutions I've looked at. They just assume you will buy ...  the kind of mentality we all saw in the early days of shareware.  :down:

MacDisk offer a MAC translation utility but the UI is nearly impossible to use - a real shame because it looks like they have done their homework.

For the time being I've been working with Replacer Mode in the trusty Handy File Tool v1.2 - one of my fave file tools. A pain to have to create a multi search/replace list manually ... but I can report some progress.

Not sure if Mouser or any of the other guys here would be interested in cooking up a nice compact drag n drop MAC / PC format text conversion tool, but hey, it could be good!



Here are some examples of text files converted from The Old But Mighty Fine Clarisworks (most likely the 1993 edition): -

... Tu Žs divina e graciosa
Est‡tua majestosa do amor ...

... poesia bil'ngŸe ...

... ÔDigitationsÕ is a botanical term ...

... I know a mouse and he hasnÕt got a house
I donÕt know why I call him Gerald ....

I have a ton of this stuff in a number of differnent languages and I'm sure I'm not alone on this one. I seem to remember that this is an 7 bit to 8 bit conversion problem (or vice versa). It still crops up from time to time and drives everyone involved nuts!

Someone here MUST know of a fantastic utility that will batch convert hundreds of text files like these into either PC unicode *.txt and/ or *.rtf files. I've searched and searched. Btw, I mostly use Unicode fonts for general multi-lingual sanity.

Btw, just tried with NoteTab Pro (Fookes) which claims to handle this but it's no go there.

Thanks in advance!


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