Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cost of free

An article goes into all the problems with free and open software.  Here was the draft response I wrote:

Definitely don't use a free browser or a free operating system (except all the major ones are).  Anything besides Microsoft Office is unacceptable (nevermind that their support is notoriously bad).  Linux is open source and that's definitely been hijacked many times and caused all kinds of problems so now no one uses it except for most servers and most cell phones.

I didn't post it as the article is obviously clickbait nonsense, intentionally written to incite.  It's wrong on so many levels but sometimes you have to define your opposite.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

File sharing banhammer

The existence of this program and frequent interaction with peer-to-peer bandwidth hogs really made me want to give instructions on our BitTorrent entries about how to cap your connection.  I've been on the fence about this for some time so feedback welcome.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Best of portable

It's not a recent list but still this MakeUseOf article has a lot of real gems that are also on PortableFreeware.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Some developer resources

  • Get feedback on your software.  The guy behind 7+ Taskbar Tweaker uses it.
  • Documentation isn't fun but here are some good reasons why you should give it your time and energy.
  • Especially for developers with big monitors, WinSize2 can help with user interface testing to see how how different window sizes look

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Another look at filesystems

This time those available primarily on Windows.  Goes into some background, but you can get a good summary towards the end.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The story of Kitchen Sink project (Part 1)

This is part 1 of what might become a series on a project I worked on almost 10 years ago and racked up 16,000+ downloads on torrent networks: the Kitchen Sink.


Back in 2007, I started having problems with an IBM ThinkPad.  After two system reloads and tech support telling me I had to spend a bunch of money to get a RestoreCD, I decided that it was important to make my laptop easy to break down and bring back.  So I started looking into software that didn't require an install, and mostly left the computer alone. 

At the same time, I was doing tech support on the side and started coming across more and more tools that would help me.  The great data recovery tools to get back files that were deleted or corrupted were a huge hit both just because I could occasionally fix things considered unfixable or undo my own mistakes.


I also liked being able to take my computer with me, whether on CD, DVD, or flash drive.



The whole thing really began with an excellent launcher program.  Most importantly, the menu system for all of this software was critical.  You can't just create shortcuts in Windows because those change depending on what drive letter the program is assigned to.  It needs to behave the same whether it's in your CD drive (usually D) or on your flash drive (usually E or F).


Although there were a variety of programs available to do this, the best one I found (and still use) is something called PStart.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Recent finds in the PDF world

  • The more time passes the more I like SumatraPDF.  Undoubtedly Adobe Acrobat keeps getting bigger and more bulky but even the alternatives out there focus on features over speed.  Meanwhile Sumatra has near-instant startup and is actually packaged into the next item ...
  • I still find FileVoyager a little cumbersome to use as compared to other file management tools but it's ability to preview files (primarily PDFs) from a list view is irreplaceable.  OS X is very good about this but FV is even better.
  • Firefox's plugin "Print Edit" solves the problem of limited PDF editors out there by cutting out crap you don't need before you initially convert it.  Also, this program has a TON of features under the hood.
  • PDF SAM only comes up once in a while but I'm so glad to have it.