Wednesday, September 29, 2004


As the name implies, Restoration is a file restoration program. This one seems to work really well on my XP system. It is simple to use, and also gives you the option to really delete files, that is, destroy them so that simple undelete programs like this one cannot restore them. ( Experts with specilized software might
still be able to retrieve data after you use the "delete completely" option).

From the Download site:
"Restoration is an easy to use and straight forward tool to undelete files
that were removed from the recycle bin or directly deleted from within
Windows. Upon start, you can scan for all files that may be recovered and
also limit the results by entering a search term or extension. In
addition, it also provides the option to wipe the found files beyond
simple recovery. The program is small and standalone, it does not require
installation and can also run from a Floppy disk. Restoration works with
FAT and NTFS as well as digital cameras cards. "

Runs on:

Get it here:


ProcInfo is a very handy little program that gives information about
running processes just by clicking! It works really well!

From the Download site:

"ProcInfo provides you with a quick overview of all currently running
processes and displays detailed information for many of them, explaining
what they do and if they are needed. It uses several online resources to
gather the information (if available) and allows you to classify processes
by assigning an icon to each. In addition, you can terminate a selected
process and browse the local folder for further investigation. "

Runs on:

Get it here:
ProcInfo From Snapfiles

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Open Expert

This is a handy little app that enhances the "Open With" function on the
right-click menu. It works really well on both my XP and 98 systems.

From the developers site:

"Ever had the problem that you frequently use a file type with more
than one application, while you can only associate one application
with that file type?

OpenExpert enables you to specify any number of suitable applications for
each file type. In this way, when you open a file, instead of being
restricted to using a single pre-determined application, you can easily
choose among a list of suitable applications.

Easily open your graphic files in your favorite paint programs or
view your HTML files in either Netscape or Internet Explorer, just
with a few mouse clicks. You can even add different versions of the
same program to the OpenExpert menu."

Runs on Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP

You can get it here:
Open Expert

Pegasus Mail

For quite a long time I have been exclusively using the Pegasus email client, which in my opinion, is streets ahead of any other email program that I've tried to date.

Pegasus is the brain-child of gifted New Zealand programmer, David Harris. In spite of the vast amount of work involved in maintaining and updating such a complex program, David is committed to keeping Pegasus totally free. The only revenue that the programmer derives from Pegasus is through the sale of manual sets and Pegasus novelty items such as clocks and coffee cups. The online help files that come with the software are very good, so there is no need to buy the manual unless you need help with particularly advanced configurations.

The program's comparative security is just one of its outstanding features. As the information on the site states:

"Pegasus Mail protects you from even the worst HTML-borne virus and trojans, and protects your privacy by intercepting web bugs. Pegasus Mail is immune to *all* the exploits that affect the "other" mailer - browse your mail with genuine confidence."

Pegasus also has an outstanding filtering system that allows you to set up simple, or very complex, rule sets to ensure that your mail ends up exactly where you want it. This includes the ability to manipulate copies of sent emails to appropriate folders as well as server side filtering. This powerful content control can be an excellent anti-spam tool.

Another plus is the control the user has over the way email is sorted. Within each individual folder, you can set one of a number of views, such as threaded, or grouped, views, subject, date, sender, or size, and the folders will retain this configuration between openings.

This software has so many features that it would be impossible for me to write about them all here. For me, its the attention to detail that makes the software so good. For example, if you include the word "attachment" in the text of an email and then don't actually attach anything, it will ask you if there was meant to be an attachment before it executes the send. This can prove to be a real embarrassment saver!

As you may have gathered from the above, this is software that I, and many others in the worldwide community of Pegasus users, have grown to love.

However, because the program is so powerful and feature rich, it may not be quite as easy to "drive" as clients like Outlook Express. That is, to get the most out of the client, you may need to spend some time learning its secrets. Also, the aforementioned security features mean that it may handle HTML email differently than OE users have grown to expect.

All in all, I consider Pegasus Email to be among the very best programs that I use, and this includes bought programs as well as freeware.

Click the link below to download the program and find out more.

You can find out more about Pegasus and download the program via the link below:
Pegasus Mail

Monday, September 13, 2004

Read Please 2003

ReadPlease 2003 is an excellent freeware program that converts text to
speech. To use it, you simply copy and paste the text you want
to here into the program window and press "play". There are two
female and two male voices to choose from and you can vary the
speed of the voices as well as the font size of the written text.

I use ReadPlease as a way of checking essays or other written
work. Actually hearing the material spoken out loud can help to
identify grammatical errors, missing words and even spelling

You can also use ReadPlease to read emails or website content
while you relax with your morning coffee.

A bonus for me is that my young children love it. They can type
in words or sentences and have it spoken back to them very slowly
or very fast. Also, if they type in some strange word like
hoooaaaaaapppp, the voices come out with some weird sounds which
they think are hilarious.

The standard version of the software is free, but you can also
purchase a "plus" version. When you download the free version,
you can choose to install a trial of the plus version. This will
revert to the standard version after a set time.

You can download the program from here:
ReadPlease 2003

Friday, September 10, 2004

First Thoughts on Gmail.

What can I say? Gmail is great! For someone who has never been a fan of web-based email, that is high praise indeed!

A couple of weeks ago I finally received an invitation to start a Gmail account. Gmail is Google's web based email service. Currently, I think you can only get a Gmail account via an official invitation. I believe this is Google's way of rolling out the new product in a controlled and sensible fashion. So far I'm very impressed. Now that I have an account, I get to send invites to a few other people.

Gmail has some quite innovative ways of handling web-based email. It is also very fast, and has a massive amount of storage space. Very powerful search facilities make it easy to find exactly what you want. I'm planning on using it for some of the ezines I subscribe to. With a 1000mb of storage and excellent search capability you could store 100’s of issues of a newsletter and find the article you're after very quickly.

Gmail is still new and will need some improvements in some areas, but I'm sure it will just get better and better. One thing that bugs me at the moment is that it won't work correctly in Opera 7, which is the browser I mostly use.

I haven't had time to fully explore Gmail yet, but I'll write more about the product in the near future.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Virtual Desktop Manager

I've been playing around with some of the Microsoft XP Power Toys.
One of the coolest is the Virtual Desktop Manager. If you work on
your computer with several applications open at once, then this toy
might increase your efficiency quite a lot. It took me a day or so
to get used to using virtual desktops, but now I'm finding it to be a
very efficient and intuitive way to use Windows.

Of course, your opinion of it will be largely dependant on your
personal taste and your individual computing style. Still, if you
use XP, you might like to give it a whirl.

From the download site:

"Virtual Desktop Manager is a Microsoft Powertoy for Windows XP. It
allows you to maintain up to 4 different desktops, each with its own
applications and desktop wallpapers. It integrates into the taskbar and
allows you to quickly switch between your virtual desktops. You can also
assign keyboard hotkeys to switch between or preview all 4 desktops at
once. For example, you can open your e-mail program on one desktop, an
Internet chess game on the second, several Internet sessions on the third,
and multiple database sessions on the fourth."

Runs on: Windows XP only.

Get Virtual Desktop Manager

Saturday, August 21, 2004


For the last couple of weeks I've been trying out Picasa, a
digital photo organizing program. This is *great* software, the
best I've used in the field. It's very easy to use and I love the
interface. It's much better than the rather stodgy software that
came with my digital camera, that's for sure.

You can use the program to easily email photos to friends and
family members. Picasa also allows you to export complete albums
as web pages. There are several web page templates you can choose
from that generate thumbnails of the images in the album. Clicking
on the thumbnails opens a full sized image. Using the "Export
album as web page" option is a great way to easily share multiple
photos. Once you have uploaded the web page and images to a
website you can simple email the link to your friends and family.

Picasa is now owned by Google and is free. From the download site:

"Everything you need to enjoy your digital photos in a single
software product:

Auto-transfer photos from your digital camera.
Organize and find pictures in seconds.
Edit, print, and share photos with ease.
Create slideshows, order prints and more!"

Check Out Picasa

Thursday, June 24, 2004


WinKey a very handy little application, that can make your computing more
efficient. I've used it for a long time on my Windows 98 system. It also works well on my XP system.

From the download site:

"Open your favorite applications, folders, and Web pages instantly
with Windows key shortcuts that you create. This shell extension
allows you to create keyboard shortcuts using the Windows key. You
can use up to 200 different key combinations in addition to the ten
built-in links. This update includes new shortcut commands to manage the
state of an active window, a new "Browse for Folder" button in the
shortcut properties, and more."

You can get it here.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Spyware Blaster

Anti-spyware programs like Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy do an
excellent job of ridding your computer of spyware components. In fact, if
your goal is to maintain a secure and stable computing environment, a good
quality anti-spyware scanner is practically a must have.

Having said that, the majority of anti-spyware scanners provide a
cure for spyware rather than offer prevention. Obviously, it would be more
desirable to prevent the installation of spyware in the first place rather
than get rid of it later. This is where an excellent freeware application
called SpywareBlaster comes into its own.

SpywareBlaster sets a so-called "kill bit" that prevents spyware
Active X controls on a webpage from being installed at all. It can
also stop some Active X controls from running if they have already
been installed. The software achieves this by checking its database
of known spyware Active X controls. The program has a built in
updater, so that information about new spyware threats can be easily added
to the spyware database.

This software has quite a lot of useful options. You can configure it to
block spyware / tracking cookies, create an encrypted back up of your
browser hosts file and a lot more. It also offers the ability to create a
"System Snapshot" of your computer when it is in a "clean", spyware free
state. A spyware infection can make a lot of changes to your computer
settings but the "System Snapshot" function allows you to reverse a lot of
these changes quickly and easily.

Although it protects your system from Active X threats in real time, you
do not have to have the program running all the time, which saves system
resources. However, it is important to open the program and check for
updates on a regular basis.

I am not suggesting that SpywareBlaster is a *replacement* for
spyware scanners like Ad-Aware, as this is not the case.
SpywareBlaster cannot do a full spyware scan of your system and rid
your computer of all existing spyware. I have Spybot Search and
Destroy, Ad-Aware and SpywareBlaster installed on my systems.
Together they provide very thorough protection against spyware.

It is only fair to mention that Spybot Search and Destroy has the
"Immunize" option, which provides protection against Active X
Controls in a similar way to SpywareBlaster. However, SpywareBlaster is
more comprehensive and configurable in this area.

SpywareBlaster is freeware, is compatible with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4,
2000 and XP and is a relatively small download at a little over 700KB.

You can read more about SpywareBlaster and download the product via
the link below:
Spyware Blaster

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Easy Thumbnails

I've been testing out this software for creating thumbnails. So far
I'm quite impressed. It works very well, and there are quite a lot
of options.

From the developers site:

"Easy Thumbnails is a popular free utility for creating accurate
thumbnail images and scaled-down/up copies from a wide range of
popular picture formats. An elegant interface makes it a snap to find
your images and select them for processing individually, in groups,
or in whole folders, using a simple file selector and built-in image
viewer. You can use slider controls to rotate images and adjust their
contrast, brightness, sharpness and quality, and check out the
results with the built-in viewer.

Key Features:
Scale images up or down in batches
Nine resampling filters, including Lanczos3
Sharpen soft images from digital cameras
Real-time preview of target image
Supports the new JPEG 2000 image format
Preserves EXIF data in JPEG images
Supports lossless JPEG rotation
Free software producing quality results "

Runs on:

Get it here:

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


WordWeb and it is a stand-alone dictionary
and thesaurus. The program sits in the System Tray and you can
call it up from just about any program you may be using including
your browser. To check a word, you simply highlight it and click
the tray icon or use a keyboard shortcut. The WordWeb dialog
appears and presents you with a definition of the word as well as
a list of synonyms. If the word is spelled incorrectly, it will
present an alternative where possible as well as a list of like
words for you to choose from. You can substitute the word with
one from the list by using the "replace" button.

You can also enter a word directly into the search field and have
the search function present you with a definition, synonyms,
antonyms and more.

This software is excellent if you are working in text editors,
email clients, html editors or other programs that might not have
access to the powerful grammar and spelling functionality of
software like MS Word. It also very handy for checking the
meanings of words you may encounter while browsing the Internet.

The program is compatible with Win 95, 98, NT, 2000 and XP.

You can find out more about the program from the following links:
Developer's Website
Download Mirror

NOTE: This version of the program is freeware and fully
functional. However, there is a Pro version of the software that
offers extra options for a fee.

Monday, April 12, 2004

CPU Speed

This little app works a treat.

From the download site:

"CPU Speed is a small, standalone tool that measures the actual speed
of your Intel or AMD processor (CPU). It requires no installation,
just run the executable and start the speed test. The determined
speed may not reflect exact speed as indicated by your system
information (since other processes may take up CPU resources), but it
should be fairly close to it"

Runs on: 98/ME/2000/XP

Get it here.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

If you've always wanted to try out the Linux operating system, but
haven't had the time or inclination to delve into it too deeply, Damn
Small Linux might be just the right distribution for you.

I'm currently trying this out on my second (Windows 98) machine, and
it works fine. The OS boots from a CD, so you don't have to worry
about installing it on your hard-drive or fiddling around with Linux

It comes with some essential applications such as a browser, email
client, word processing and graphics tools. I reckon this is a great
way for Linux virgins like yours truly to get a taste of the OS.

You will need a computer that allows you to boot from a CD . Often
you can hop into the BIOS and change it so that you can boot from
CD, rather than a floppy disk.

Under 50mb is pretty small for a complete operating system. However,
it is still a fairly hefty download if you are on a dial-up
connection. I got my copy of a computer magazine disk.

You can get more information and download a copy from here: