Sunday, April 30, 2017

Windows Store-only machines

I'm increasingly concerned that more and more windows boxes are going to be setup in public environments to only accept a set number of programs.  Now, for example, you can setup Windows 10 to only accept programs from the Windows Store.

This is not a good thing for fans of portable software.

Font use in LibreOffice

I've been unhappy with the default font for LibreOffice for some time now and almost categorically switch to the Calibri font, which I find it the most readable and is the default font for Microsoft Office 2010 and above.  However, I'm well aware of the fact that it's proprietary and not cross-platform.  I want it's authors to get compensated for their work but I don't have an indication that the font will enter the public domain.

As a result, I was very interested to hear about two related projects:
  • Noto - a very comprehensive font collection (including every Unicode symbol) distributed under an open font license.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

"Backburner" programs I want to test

Below are a group of programs that have been on my list for such a long time I have to accept I'm probably not going to address them.  I'm listing them here because there's just too much going on in my life right now for me to reasonably expect to do all the fun stuff I want to do. 

Hopefully at some point I'll be able to come back to these very important tools.


"Synergy is a software to allow you to control two PC's (could be mac-windowsor-linux or something like that) with one mouse and keyboard and allow them to share a clipboard.

I've heard some really amazing things about this program.  I don't have multiple systems right now, but if I did, I'd be all over this.


Related PFW posts: and Rsync portable.


Java-based cloud service encryption that looks really great.


I almost put SyncThing on this list but I think I'll be able to figure something out here in the next 6 months.  This program is just too important.

Hating on Word

Sometime back was in a discussion with Microsoft Word grumps.  I wanted to post more on the topic but it was rapidly turning into a "thread hijack" (essentially changing the subject away from the intended direction). 

Two related links:

Working for freeware

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hipchat - your bulky chat client

I haven't tested the program for portability but I'm mostly suggesting people avoid it as the program uses 295 megs across two processes (Hipchat.exe and QtWebEngineProcess.exe) and perpetually uses 1-3% of my processor even when idle.

For reference both Skype for Business (Lync) and regular Skype take up just under 80 megs.  Neither uses that kind of processor power.

Alternatives: Since (at least my version) of the program will send you an email when someone tries to contact you offline, I actually disable the program and rely on my email to know when to enable the software.  There's also a web client.

(Analysis done on a 2.4 ghz i5 with (thankfully) 8 gigs RAM.  Win7x64 is installed.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Freeware as a game

When I was a kid, I loved playing with toys.  I was a big Lego person but I liked toys of all kinds.  As I got older, this morphed into what was frequently referred to as an "interactive" learner. 

In college, some of the best advice I ever got was to actively write in the margins of a book, as if replying or commenting on the text I was reading.  I used to dig into this quite far, carving up my textbooks with notes, making them less valuable when I sold them back but improving the experience by involving me in the book and it's outcome.

As I grew up, my interests turned towards computers and I found -- in some ways -- they were just toys for grown ups.  I liked how interactive they were and the flexibility they offered.  Freeware seemed like a near-unlimited set of free toys to constantly play with, but lots of installations would clog up the registry and slow down the computer.

Now with portable software, I have at my fingertips hundreds of programs for every use and interest.  Since they don't slow down my system, I have them at work, I have them at home, and I carry them with me everywhere.  Whatever I use for whatever small project, it's not as taxing or tedious with some kind of multi-tool.

Although work on the site is occasionally a chore because of my goals, projects maintain my focus as freeware never stops resembling play.

MiTeC issue

This issue mostly got cleared up, but I wanted to add the following:

No, we don't think that MiTeC is distributing malware.  Yes, we think it's a false positive.  Feel free to download the actual files and run them through VirusTotal.

Yes, Chrome and Firefox was listing it as a bad site.  They actually use the same list so this isn't an instance of one malware list corroborating another.

This whole situation is one of the reasons I encourage developers to use Softpedia or other download websites.  They're not perfect, but try to maintain a reputation for distributing clean software don't get wholesale blocked.

Better interfaces

A lovely introduction to user-friendly interfaces in software and beyond.

File systems and flash drives

So I've had MANY files get corrupted doing anything but backups and copy-paste operations on FAT32 drives, however this article seems to suggest that format isn't total junk.

Anyway, I strongly recommend NTFS for anything you'll be running portable programs from.