Monday, December 18, 2006

In the news!

OSAfW has been in the news I found:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/issues/issue139.htm#Section_4.2
http://www.billslinksandmore.com/misc__software_links.html#Miscsoftwaresites


You might just find some more similar sites there. Thanks for mentioning about OSAfW and linking to it.
And yes the site is still ticking just that I am bit busy relocating and settling down in a very new place and a new country! ;)
But I have been following up on some really exciting open source options and news, and will be posting them very shortly.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

CrossLoop - based on TightVNC


CrossLoop is a FREE secure screen sharing utility designed for people of all technical skill levels. CrossLoop extends the boundaries of traditional screen sharing by enabling non-technical users to get connected from anywhere on the Internet in seconds without changing any firewall or router settings. It only takes a few minutes to setup and no signup is required.
CrossLoop screen sharing has countless remote applications:
  • Collaborate with a coworker in Word, Excel or Powerpoint or any other application
  • Troubleshoot difficult to describe computer problems for a family member
  • Talk on Skype with a friend while co-browsing the web
  • And many more...

  • All data sent between computers is encrypted using a strong 128-bit blowfish encryption algorithm.

    CrossLoop also uses the free, open-source VNC (Virtual Network Computing) viewer and server combination from TightVNC. CrossLoop makes it possible for TightVNC to operate when either or both of the computers are situated behind restrictive firewalls.

    Mrinal Desai says:
    "CrossLoop by itself is not opensource but tightVNC, what we use underneath, is. We packaged it with our code to make it really simple."
    "is powered by proprietary VIP Tunnel technology"
    "It is built on a P2P architecture and is available at www.crossloop.com."




    Wondering why I posted it here when CrossLoop is not open source? Well I wanted to write about TightVNC and ended up posting about CrossLoop. I mentioned about UltraVNC sometime back and talked about some of its features. The reason I have included CrossLoop here is because this will help us in some ways to appreciate the open source development sensibility and how it empowers others to think in different yet simpler ways. I will not talk about the pros or cons of CrossLoop because that is not something that will fit in here but definitely talk a bit about TightVNC which seems to have proved that it can be fit into any industry standard software so seamlessly thus not only empowering the person using it but also the idea behind having open source software in the first place. TightVNC is similar to RealVNC except that it is much more advanced and feature packed than RealVNC. A small introduction to TightVNC is available which describes in detail the amazing capabilities of TightVNC. No wonder we can expect it to be part of many more applications to come. I am watching out for some exciting options from DimDim which is part of this application space (collaboration, screen sharing etc...) and I can say from the way it looks it will be one more amazing initiative in the open source realm. More on DimDim in the future.

    Incase you are interested to know more about CrossLoop you may visit:
    Open Source, Innovation and Service - Story of Crossloop by Rajesh Shetty.

    Question to readers:
    Can open source and closed source applications complement each other ? Does CrossLoop based on TightVNC prove this?

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Searchmonkey - power searching without the pain

    What is searchmonkey?

    A fast real-time search engine for displaying regular expression matches (both file name and content) across multiple directories.

    Written in Gtk2+ it is highly portable, and as well as running on Linux, ports are available on FreeBSD, or even Windows and MacOS.

    Why searchmonkey?
    Linux currently has two leading search methods:
    * Beagle – simple to use, but shows too many matches.
    * Find/Grep – hard to use, but provides exact matching.
    searchmonkey takes the best features from both.

    It provides a simple to use interface, but has the power of find and grep combined. In addition, the end search result is an easy to browse list of matching files, and matching lines.

    I haven't been able to either see Searchmonkey in action yet. But I was impressed by the features mentioned. I have tried and use free desktop search and none had regular expression search in them. I had mentioned many desktop search applications before but have been searching one which will be based on the Beagle search. Finally I found one which seems to address that. Beagle is a renowned desktop search application in the Linux environment and we don't have a windows port of Beagle yet. It was then that I chanced on Searchmonkey. Since it is in Gtk2+ it is extremely portable and we have instructions of compiling and running it in windows. The entire procedure has been documented well and can be carried out by someone who has some time. I would have liked to do it myself but with even less time these days to post here I am not sure if this will happen soon. But it would be exciting if someone who reads this tries it and provides it for downloading. I am ready to host the executable here if required too. The instructions for compiling Searchmonkey on windows is available here. Lets be hopeful as I have been. At least there is a way to compile Searchmonkey in windows!

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    SWiK : A Database of Open Source Projects

    Back after a very long hiatus indeed. Had been to my home town with my wife for a vacation. The best is that we still don't have net connectivity from there and whatever telephone services which we have are also usually down. Gave me time to be truly disconnected for sometime ;-)

    SWiK is a community driven resource for open source software. Try starting a page about your favorite project, syndicating a blog for a topic, or browsing through tags people have added to projects or pages.

    SWiK contains information and news about thousands of open source projects and people are constantly adding cool new stuff.

    I literally stumbled upon this one. An interesting approach to find open source applications on the web. You can search for items under Tags and also a direct search through their search engine. I think the novelty is letting people add and maintain the list of open source applications and letting them tag them. But that may be its drawback too. I have observed that there still exists a lump of misunderstanding between freeware and open source apps. I will not try and get to the details but if this is of help then I could say:

    "Open Source applications are freeware; but freeware applications need not necessarily be Open Source"

    There is a growing need to identify quality open source applications and put it in the right perspective. In these times when there is so much about something available, it is not difficult to have incorrect information about the same in considerable numbers.

    My number one source till today to find quality open source applications has been sourceforge.net hopefully it turns out the same for you too.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Follars.com – Free, Open Source Dollars

    A trillion dollar question it seems; this site provides mammoth references and links to make money out of open source software. A burning question for many full time open source developers and companies, I think this is one part of open source which is yet to be tapped. Asking the question "Can open source software companies and individuals developing these softwares make money?" raises another range of questions unanswered. I too have tried to rake my tiny grey cells and I came to a conclusion that we definitely can make money out of open source if we can provide a comprehensive and organised approach to open source software systems. By saying organised and comprehensive I would like to mean a more robust support and development approach. Once we have the quality and conformity in place we can try to raise a business around or way to earn some money from it. Thoughts are one and practical scenarios are different. It would be nice to hear some words on this from some open source developer or company which has tried its hand at trying to be financially viable for itself and the open source user community as well.
    101 Ways to Make Money off Open Source
    Found this link on the Pentaho site (a Business Intelligence Suite). Though 101, the author has listed at least 46 ways to make money from open source.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    TrueCrypt

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
    Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows XP/2000/2003 and Linux

    TrueCrypt is a software system for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume (data storage device). On-the-fly encryption means that data is automatically encrypted or decrypted right before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/keyfile(s) or correct encryption keys. Entire file system is encrypted (e.g.., file names, folder names, contents of every file, free space, meta data, etc).

    Read more:
    TrueCrypt Introduction
    TrueCrypt Wikipedia Page
    TrueCrypt Tutorial

    A very professional software to encrypt and decrypt entire drives with a collection of powerful encryption and decryption algorithms. The entire encryption and decryption is carried out on the fly and fast. Any file added to a encrypted volume also gets encrypted. It creates a virtual container very much like a hard disk drive in which everything once put is encrypted. This effectively means we can use it to encrypt and decrypt folders/files/drives or rather any data on our hard disk.


    Windows XP/2000/2003
    Direct Download Link: truecrypt-4.2a.zip

    Steganos LockNote

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.usStore your most valuable notes in a LockNote. Hide your everyday notes in a safe place. Application and document in one: the mechanism to encrypt and decrypt a note is part of it. Secure, simple, independent. No installation required.

    A very simple open source utility which provides AES 256bit encryption for your text notes. Just drag and drop the text file on the exe and get a encrypted (exe) copy of the input file. Which means decryption of the file does not need LockNote. The strength of this encryption depends on the length and complexity of the password but the algorithm (AES) used has been certified by the US government to be used for TOP SECRET documents!

    So what you have in your hands is a small tool but extremely safe to be used on your top secret text documents too!


    Direct Download Link:LockNote.exe

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Keynote

    KeyNote: Tabbed notebook and personal information manager, with tree structure and strong encryption. Open source.

    Keynote is a flexible, multi-featured tabbed notebook, based on Windows standard RichEdit control. It's always accessible with a single keypress, even if you work in another application. Take a look at the screenshots page.

    The basic idea in KeyNote is that you can include many separate notes within a single file. Optionally, KeyNote can encrypt your data securely using the Blowfish or Idea algorithms. Keynote's interface and behavior are extremely configurable. KeyNote was written to overcome major limitations in other popular information managers, both free and shareware. With powerful text formatting capabilities, easily navigable interface and additional features such as styles, macros, plugins, and templates, KeyNote is has become the favorite note keeper, diary, outliner, knowledge base and information manager for thousands of users.

    KeyNote is distributed under Mozilla Public License (MPL). A separate website has been established on SourceForge.net to facilitate Open-Source development of KeyNote.

    Once again a very simple concept presented as simple as ever. From the same developer who gave us Kookiejar this is a very useful software which can be used for multiple purposes. Use it as a note taker, got to do list manager, bookmark collector, journal and more. It can keep notes in tabs or in a single tab with a tree structure and a combination of both. It can encrypt notes/tabs and keep them safe. It can save all the data in it automatically - anything typed is saved immediately. The uncluttered look gives easy and quick access to your categories, tabs and notes. Occupies very less system memory it is quick and very responsive for such an application. Surprisingly this software is few years old now (without any updates) and still manages to be here!

    My wish-list for KeyNote are search for the entire KeyNote and a reminder option. These two features will definitely in many ways complete the package.

    Just a reminder that this software is not supported by the developer anymore as he has declared a "hobby programmer bankruptcy". So my wishes and yours might just have to wait for a interested Samaritan to be picked up and added to KeyNote. Nonetheless the software is up to the standards and extremely popular in many circuits. You might have to give it a run yourself to see if it really suits your needs. I have been using this one for the past few months now and I am more than happy to move to anything else for the time being. Excellent, nifty, simple and powerful are the four words I would use to describe KeyNote.

    (kntsetup.exe - full install package; about 1.7 MB)
    Direct Download Link: kntsetup.exe

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    OSAfW Seal!

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

    This is a fun logo/seal I created for this site using the link : http://www.says-it.com/seal/index.php

    I liked the look of it and hope you too. There are also some very significant reasons for the selection of the logo items. In any case leave a comment and your thoughts about it too.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Gobby - a collaborative text editor

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Gobby is a free software collaborative real-time editor available on Windows and Unix-like platforms. It is confirmed to run on the Mac OS X platform, albeit not natively but using Apple's X11 instead. It was initially released in June 2005 by the 0x539 dev group.



    What is Gobby?
    Gobby is a free collaborative editor based on libobby, a library which provides synced document buffers. It supports multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms.
    It uses GTK+ 2.6 as its windowing toolkit and thus integrates nicely into the GNOME desktop environment.
    Check out the features of Gobby, take a look around in our screenshots section and download it right now.

    This a wonderful collaborative tool for technical teams across many physical locations. I would personally prefer a wiki but then Gobby is real-time and has some features which I haven't seen before. It is extremely simple to start and hook the team to it and that is what I liked best about it. Its usage could vary, and the best way to find if its the right thing for you would be to give it a fling.

    Link: How to Use Gobby as a Collaborative Editor
    Link: An excellent Gobby review from Softpedia (By: Bogdan Radulescu, Editor, Linux Software Reviews)

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    KookieJar

    What is KookieJar?

    Kookie Jar is a program for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 and XP which generates signatures you may use with your favourite email or news program. A signature is a small piece of text, automatically attached to every email message or newsgroup posting. It typically includes a random quote -— a so-called tagline (a sample tagline file is included with the program).

    Very truly a very simple and straightforward application which adds signatures with random quotes selected from a collection. I have been using it for sometime now and its making a huge impression on people who are reading my emails. The signature with its random quotes and tag lines appended, creates a first impression like never before. The set-up is fairly simple - identifying the correct Outlook (or any other email client's) correct signature file from KookieJar and then formatting it with the required tags which will be later replaced by the correct text/data. Set the frequency of change and its done - get a unique signature on every desired scheduled interval. Wonderfully enough the application is available for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 and XP which is usually difficult to see these days! The sad news is that this product is not going to be developed any further as the author has declared a "hobby programmer bankruptcy". Still the code is out in the open under the Mozilla Public License and is free for changes by anyone who would be interested. A great software, one of its kind, simple and small and openly available its something which speaks volumes of the philosophy of open source and its reach.

    Another review on one more excellent software from the same author is KeyNote which will be talked about in my next posts. Till then happy signaturing using KookieJar!

    I have also started a page http://opensourceforwindows.infogami.com/ where I will be segregating the applications I have discussed in separate sections for easier access. Infogami seems to be a great tool in the making which is definitely simpler and gives more freedom to us to make things the way we want to. Hopefully the page would be up and ready in a few more days. I am glad that the listible open source applications for windows page now has a considerable collection of open source applications for windows.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Safarp

    Safarp is a small and fast alternative to the Add or Remove Programs Control Panel applet of Windows 2000/XP. It displays a list of the installed programs and allows one to uninstall / repair them.



    Additional features are:

    * Search function
    * Obsolete list entries removal
    * Export program list to a file (HTML, RTF, CSV...)
    * New report templates can be written to export to other file formats
    * Accessibility via the Control Panel (optional)
    * Option to hide the Windows hotfixes
    * Standard Windows interface (no fancy UI that slows down the program)

    Then came Safarp

    So I made Safarp. It was designed for Windows 2000 and later versions (Windows XP, Windows Server 2003...). Safarp stands for Small And Fast Add/Remove Programs. It's not as full featured, not as pretty, but it's fast. As a comparison, where Add or Remove Programs takes 30~40 seconds to load, Safarp loads in less than a second. This fastness is allowed by two features: the Fast mode and the Load icons option.


    I had to write about Safarp. I could not resist talking about it. I have been so troubled with the Windows original "Add and Remove Program" that when I found about Safarp, it came as a big relief.
    If anyone has used the Windows version of the application we are discussing then they would have realised the pain involved in uninstalling a program with it. The pain areas are basically the amount of time it takes to open the window and then the amount of time it takes to show the complete list of applications installed. It might not have be so perceptible had it not been that I install and uninstall applications routinely and so frequently. I have found the uninstalling of programs so dragging that I would at times postpone that for days so that I could do it together.
    With Safarp this has become a breeze. It loads in a giffy and the applications are listed as fast. With a search feature I don't even have to scroll. I type the application name and it filters out just as I type. And click on the "remove" button to finish the purge! Small and Fast - Safarp can literally blow off your old uninstall experience like never before...
    To keep Safarp small and fast, only Win32 API calls were used (no MFC).

    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    Putty - Telnet/SSH Client

    PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham.

    From their FAQ
    A.1.1 What is PuTTY?

    PuTTY is a client program for the SSH, Telnet and Rlogin network protocols.

    These protocols are all used to run a remote session on a computer, over a network. PuTTY implements the client end of that session: the end at which the session is displayed, rather than the end at which it runs.

    In really simple terms: you run PuTTY on a Windows machine, and tell it to connect to (for example) a Unix machine. PuTTY opens a window. Then, anything you type into that window is sent straight to the Unix machine, and everything the Unix machine sends back is displayed in the window. So you can work on the Unix machine as if you were sitting at its console, while actually sitting somewhere else.

    I am not sure since when I have been using Putty. I think I have always used it. Though in between I had used ScureCRT and some more such similar terminals. But whatever be it I had to go back to one of the favorite clients on Windows for remote login - Putty. Well frankly I have not stopped experimenting other newer clients like Poderosa but they will have a long way to catch up with Putty. It is matured and is very well maintained, and is one of the most conforming to standards. Simon Tatham has made sure that what we have is one very light and fast pure Windows based client to match up to the UNIX/Linux version of the same. He with his team is working on porting it to Mac and others too. Any help according to him on porting from any quarter is welcome. So if you have the skills and are interested in similar development activities can help him out. Over the years I have found that colors and mouse support is excellent in Putty than compared to any other. Also the speed of communication seems to be visibly faster in Putty than many well known commercial clients. One of the features which I would like to see in Putty is tabbed terminals in a single window but somehow there seem to be some technical problems. As of now UNIX "screen", Wintabber and PuttyTabs help me through. For some more interesting tweaks and software based on Putty check out its Putty Links page

    The PuTTY executables and source code are distributed under the MIT licence, which is similar in effect to the BSD licence. (This licence is Open Source certified and complies with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.)

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    K-Meleon - The Browser You Control

    K-Meleon is an extremely fast, customizable, lightweight web browser for the win32 (Windows) platform based on the Gecko layout engine (the rendering engine of Mozilla). K-Meleon is free, open source software released under the GNU General Public License.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: K-Meleon is a web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform, based on the Gecko layout engine. Compared to Mozilla Firefox, K-Meleon is not cross-platform because it uses native Windows API to create the user interface instead of using the XUL layer. However, this reduces the resource requirement and makes K-Meleon much more responsive, which is especially important for users of low-end hardware. This approach is similar to that of Galeon and Epiphany (for GNOME), and Camino (for Mac OS X).

    The latest preview release, 1.0 Release Candidate 2, was released on June 28, 2006[2], based on Gecko 1.8.0.5.

    Another browser? The browser war is getting furious with Opera coming out with their new release 9, Mozilla with Firefox 2 and IE with 7.0. Now within all these another browser? Yes K-Meleon is another browser which helps you in rendering html pages on the internet. Whats the big news, whats the catch here or what is new? The answer to all these is that there is nothing special about K-Meleon. Its way too simple and does not look any better than the rest. It does not support extensions the way Firefox does! It also does not do all the cool stuff Flock does. Let me talk about all the usual stuff it has. It has mouse gestures inbuilt, keyword support, cofigurable menu items, tab(layers) support, skinnable toolbars, themes, plugins and macros. Now the not so usual things we forget. Adding extensions does make our lives easier but it also bloats our browser. Finally eating up huge amounts of the memory with just one tab open. And then one day it takes just about 5 seconds to open the browser window (thats approximately the time it takes in my machine and sometimes more). So I started looking out for one which just helped me browse faster and load even faster. K-Meleon was the answer (for me). I found it to have extremely fast load times and low memory footprints when compared to others. Also pages did turn up faster when compared to others. Surprisingly even the download of files seemed to be faster though I never timed it, it seems so. I had tried K-Meleon long time back but removed it once I started using Firefox. I came back to it now with K-Meleon 1RC. Before K-Meleon was supposed to be for the nerdy and configuring it would actually require manual changes in its configuration files. This time they have done away with that and made many options available as easy preference items. For me K-Meleon is fast becoming a usual with Firefox while surfing. And I am enjoying the speed upgrade I have got along. I am sure this would be one silent achiever which would take its steady time.

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    FreeMeter

    FreeMeter is a simple, friendly network monitoring and diagnosis tool, written in C# using the MS .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005. Its primary function is to display graphically how much data you are transferring over the network interfaces in your computer. It is also a handy tool for tasks such as copying broken URLs to your browser, pinging and tracing other computers, and watching for new email.

    FEATURES:
    -Graph of bandwidth usage, show download only, upload only, or both.
    -Iconified Graph of bandwidth usage in Systray allows hiding of main graph when it is an obstruction.
    -Display units in bits or bytes or both.
    -Configurable connection speed (graph scale) and update interval.
    -Monitor any or all network interfaces installed in your computer.
    -Select colors and transparecy of the graph.
    -Log total bytes, time, and averages to an html or text file.
    -View graph of last 24 hours stats.
    -URL grabber watches clipboard for URLs, removes line breaks and opens them in your browser.
    -Email notifier can check up to 5 POP/IMAP email accounts for new messages periodically.
    -Graphic Ping and Traceroute utilities to help diagnose network problems.
    -GPL license, free for all to use

    Simple and small this is a useful application. Tracks my network usage and gives me an idea of my internet connection speeds. The download and upload speed details are my favourite giving me the correct amount of data being transmitted and received by my system. Very active development ensures that its always ahead and updated. With additional utilities like ping, traceroute and URL grabber this should be a one stop place for monitoring your network connection. Highly configurable and simple navigation options make it one of the 'simple' best applications I have come across. Checkout FreeMeter screenshot

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Notepad++

    Notepad++ is a free source code editor (and Notepad replacement) which supports several programming languages running under the MS Windows environment.

    This project, based on Scintilla edit component (a very powerful editor component) are written in C++ with pure win32 api and STL (that ensures the higher execution speed and smaller size of the program), is under the GPL License.

    Another Notepad! Well this might be the genuine reaction of many. We can understand, why not, with a notepad which MS has handed(bundled) down over the ages we have hardly asked for more. Notepad++ is - I should say state of the art notepad. We have had better (!) and better (!!) Windows every year but what happened to the small and always used notepad? Notepad++ does exactly that. I definitely think the "++" captures the idea well. Its a neat little very big on features notepad(++) making the MS notepad literally obsolete. With features like macros, highlights, tabs, plugins, regular expressions, auto complete and much much more this is the cutting edge in text editing.
    I know I have mentioned about Cream/Vim before and I still say that Vim is a very powerful editor, it can be rather said as a programmers editor to some extent. But notepad++ takes up where others have left off. It is very fast, feature rich easy to use and definitely light on the eyes too. I have already replaced my old Windows notepad with the new Notepad++ and I can assure anyone that it is a breeze to work with it. Some observations I made about Notepad++ is it takes close to 8MB of my RAM for a blank tab which does not increase (much) with 20 more blank tabs. Yet the time it takes to start is amazingly fast. Another test I tried out was trying to open a huge file - I opened a avi file of approximately 700MB and it was successfully able to open it and best of all did not crash. But surprisingly for a smaller file of around 300MB it did crash. Now I am not sure who will have a 700MB/300MB text file (other than system log files which we all don't use yet I think) but then if you have one go ahead and use Notepad++ to open it.
    Check out some of Notepad++ screen shots.
    Enjoy editing!

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Lighty Tray Release 0.1

    This is the first release of Lighty Tray. This is a system tray menu to control and configure LightTPD. It is easy to use and simple to understand. I don't think anyone would have to go through a learning curve to use it. Best of all anyone is free to edit and configure the entire tray menu whichever way. The use of this software does not require any licenses and neither is anyone stopped from making any kind of changes to it. In case you do update just let everyone know about it and make it available free.
    And just in case you find it useful and good leave a note :-)

    I should mention that there might be (very rare) some problems as I had it ready in a few of my long late night jaunts with my computer. I also thank my wife for being patient as always and bearing the keyboard clatter and lights late in the night. You might consider it a beta release and let me know in case you have any problem getting it up.

    Lighty Tray Release 0.1
    * Provides a bare minimum menu option for users using LightTPD.
    * Start and Shutdown LightTPD from a single place, plus get through to its various options quick.
    * Easily configure the menu items.
    * Right mouse Click - Brings up the Lighty Tray menu
    * Left mouse Click - Brings up the menu configuration and details menu
    * No installation required - have LightTPD in the right place and just fire up the tray!

    Future features:
    1. Enable LightTPD as a windows service.
    2. Able to identify the state of the service from the tray menu.
    3. Enable more options and make it better ;)

    Download: Lighty Tray Version 0.1
    LightyTray V 0.1.7z 458325 Bytes

    LightyTray V 0.1.zip 604230 Bytes

    If you download Lighty Tray, please Digg it.. Thanks.

    I just liked the line "NO RIGHTS RESERVED" :-)

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    LightTPD

    I am planning to start off a small project [ LightyTray] mostly because I did not find one that would do the work for me.
    I had setup lighty (LightTPD) for myself and wanted a system tray menu control option for the same. Thanks to Kevin I had lighty up and running on my Windows box fast. And I like it cause its fast and definitely light! But searching the whole wide web did not give me one place to control lighty through a tray icon from the system tray menu. Searching SourceForge I found UWS(Universal Windows Service) which will create a service out of a simple .exe and also provide a place to track the service created. Then I came across this article - Create your own user-defined services Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and the "Aestan Tray Menu" website which seems to provide the kind of answers I am looking for.
    I want a way to manage lighty and control it easily from a easily accessible place and I think they should be enough for me to achieve it. I will keep everyone posted on the developments. Till then get hooked to LightTPD. Its a great http server with very less fat! ;)

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    regain

    regain is a search engine similar to web search engines like Google, with the difference that you don't search the web, but your own files and documents. Using regain you can search through large portions of data (several gigabytes!) in split seconds!

    This is possible by using a search index. regain crawles through your files or webpages, extracts all text and puts it in a smart search index. All this happens in the background. So if you want to search something you get the results immediately.

    There are two versions of regain: The desktop search and the server search. The desktop search is to be used on a normal desktop computer and it offers you a fast search for documents or intranet webpages. The server search you can install on web servers. It provides searching functionality for a website or for intranet fileservers.

    regain is written in Java and thus applicable on all Java compatible platforms (amongst others Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Solaris). The server search works with Java Server Pages (JSPs) and a tag library, the desktop search comes with its own small webserver.

    regain is released under the open source license LGPL (Lesser General Public License). I.e. regain may be used for free without any temporal limit.

    You can find more information about the details of regain here.


    Another viable option in place of Google Desktop Search, though not as many docked windows and indexing limits as the latter.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    ‘MS was never against Open Source’

    FACE TO FACE [source : http://economictimes.com]
    Publication: Economic Times Mumbai; Date:2006 May 18; Section:Networked; Page Number 13
    [http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1536097.cms]
    Get the whole article here in print

    MICROSOFT and Open Source software - one always thought they were like India and Pakistan. Forever doomed to be enemies. However, a tad surprisingly, it turns out that both Microsoft and Open Source have learnt to cooperate in many areas. Prabhakar Deshpande caught up with Bill Hilf, general manager, Platform Technology Strategy of Microsoft to understand this newfound love.

    Aren’t Microsoft and Open Source software rivals?
    Not really. The way we look at it is that Open Source is a process of developing software. Microsoft has never been against the Open Source community, or the process. Yes, we do compete with an Open Source product – say Red Hat Linux. We also compete with other commercial software like those from Oracle. Then again, we work jointly with Oracle too as the software can be loaded on Windows.

    What is Microsoft’s stand on Open Source?
    Building software is a process that has many aspects – understanding customer requirements, code writing, quality assurance and support. On code writing, Open Source does pretty well. However, the challenge is in customers’ requirements. Who is Open Source coders designing the software for? Most often, the developer is designing for himself – something like scratching your own back. Microsoft, on the other hand, tries to understand customer requirements. These are entirely two different approaches.

    Are Microsoft and Open Source platforms now more closely integrated?
    We have to work together. We share a common customer base. Microsoft software products have to work with Oracle or IBM products as well. It is more of co-opetition. We are simultaneously adopting a competitive and collaborative approach. For instance, I went to deliver the keynote address at Linux World this year. We are vitalising and supporting Linux on the Windows Server environment. We work on Windows so that it can run Linux and even, Linux can run Windows.

    How do you see the future of Open Source software over the next 10 years?
    Open Source will be around in certain areas. However, due to the deficiency in their development model, they will not be able to do better than they have done in the past.
    It is the same 10 companies that have been there are dominating. It could be argued that Open Source has peaked. They are incrementally getting better no doubt. But there is unlikely to be any big-bang change.

    Are there any special challenges in trying to work on inter-operability with Open Source software?
    There are some advantages in working with Open Source. They are faster to work. They are more pragmatic. They are, in fact, more open to Windows. However, there are disadvantages too. They have a very restrictive licensing regime. This surprisingly constrains the freedom and choice, despite being known as Open Source.

    Why do software engineers work on open source?
    Though there are millions of Open Source engineers – most of them work on device drivers and so on. But often the work on, say Linux, is done by paid engineers. There are only 100-150 engineers doing work on Linux and 99% are employed for doing the work. Similarly, most of the work on MySQL, Apache, PHP is done by paid engineers.


    Had to put it up for all to read. Interesting is it not? Especially comments like "They have a very restrictive licensing regime. This surprisingly constrains the freedom and choice" and "there are millions of Open Source engineers – most of them work on device drivers and so on". Now this is news from the omniscient M we did not know, did we?

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    TaskSwitchXP Pro 2.0

    TaskSwitchXP is an advanced task management utility that picks up where the standard Windows Alt+Tab switcher leaves off. It provides the same functionality, and adds visual styles to the dialog and also enhances it by displaying thumbnail preview of the application that will be switched to. TaskSwitchXP also has a powerful process and window management capability that allows you quickly to close/minimize applications and their groups. The unique capabilities of TaskSwitchXP make it useful for tracking down multitudinous windows, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.

    I miss this program in Windows 2000 sorely! Please point me to anything similar for Windows 2000 incase anyone comes across one. This is one which basically redefines Alt-Tab use. Once used to it, its impossible to be without it!

    Open Source - Your Open source Plan

    Once a toy for geeks, open source is slowly but surely filtering into the enterprise and transforming the way software is designed, sold and supported. And any CIO without an open-source strategy in 2003 will be paying too much for IT in 2004.

    BY CHRISTOPHER KOCH

    A great article on Open Source and its permeating nature.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    ClamWin

    ClamWin is a Free Antivirus for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
    and 2003. It provides a graphical user interface to the Clam AntiVirus engine.
    ClamWin Free Antivirus comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge. It features:
    * High detection rates for viruses and spyware;
    * Scanning Scheduler;
    * Automatic downloads of regularly updated Virus Database.
    * Standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer;
    * Addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.

    ClamWin Free Antivirus uses the GNU General Public License by the Free Software Foundation and is free (as in freedom) software. To find out more about GNU GPL, please visit the following link:
    Philosophy of the GNU Project - Free Software Foundation.

    Now why would anyone want to select a antivirus software which is open source? I don't think many ask this question. What are the benefits of having a open source antivirus software and what are the cons? Does ClamWin provide the kind of response that other free or not so free antivirus softwares provide for newer and upcoming viri?
    Lets start with the benefits I have observed:
    1. It scans for virus and informs me when it find one! (basic but very important)
    2. Its free and open source so I can be re assured that nothing is happening behind my back.
    3. Its light both in CPU and memory for me(this might not be the same for everyone!)
    4. It has got a auto email attachment scanner, scanning my email attachments runtime.
    5. Its got a daily virus scan scheduler
    6. Its got a auto downloader for the latest virus definitions from its site. This is very very important to keep the software up to date and working. And best of all I don't have to ask some one to give me the updates or more interestingly to pay for the virus definition updates.
    7. And have heard from some (reliable) sources that they are usually the first to find and come out with a solution for any new virus! After all they have got to be at least as close to the virus and as early as possible. No use if I get the fix after the damage has been done right?
    8. Its only a antivirus and nothing else!

    Now for the not so good things about ClamWin
    1. Its does not support realtime file access scan yet! Thats a problem they are working on and also humbly accept that this is needed and a must for any anti virus software.
    But hold on lets not lose hope, for the time being we can use Winpooch another open source utility. They both combine to bring it at par with most of the well known anti virus softwares. Also if you use Firefox you might want to install the ClamWin download scan extension for auto scanning of downloaded files from Firefox.
    2. "Although the total number of viruses may seem less than other commercial Antivirus vendors claim to have but if ClamAV database misses some viruses then these will be ancient species" - a genuine problem as they have not been in the scene for a very long time have they? ;)


    Another small but nice review here.

    ClamWin making the world a virus free one!

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Winpooch

    Winpooch, an opensource watch-dog for Windows
    Winpooch is a Windows watchdog, free and open source. Anti spyware and anti trojan, it gives a full protection against local or external attacks by scanning the activity of programs in real time. Associated with ClamWin antivirus, Winpooch keeps safe your computer against virus.

    API Hooking
    : Winpooch uses the API Hooking method. It spies programs when they are running and gives to the user a powerful control of their activity.For example, you can forbid a program to write in a system directory or in the registry, or else to connect to internet. That makes the difference between others anti spywares using a database of known signatures.

    Details:
    * Description: detection of spywares and trojans. It becomes an anti virus if associated with ClamWin
    * Development Status: open source project in progess
    * Environment: Win32 (MS Windows)
    * License: GNU General Public License (GPL)
    * Natural Language: English, French, Italian, Polish
    * Operating System: 32-bit MS Windows (NT/2000/XP)
    * Programming Language: C

    Name: Winpooch
    Birthday: 2004-10-26

    I finally found a antispyware and antitrojan which is light and simple. The best about Winpooch is that it uses filters which are powerful and easily customizable. I was able to test by changing some startup parameters and it worked flawlessly by identifying the access and immediately notified me too. I use Winpooch with ClamWin and its a charm to have them both. I will be talking about ClamWin in my next post. I found the the combination of ClamWin, Winpooch and the Firefox extension plug in for ClamWin together made up a very powerful, dynamic and accurate barrier for all the rogue elements we come across everyday! And best of all, all is free and all is open source.

    Hide Windows


    Hide Windows Basic can hide any desktop window with keyboard shortcuts, or via its own user interface. The windows can be restored to the same state at any later time. Possible operations are

    * Hide the current window
    * Hide all desktop windows
    * and more

    It works! Much better than the other available windows hide utilities because this is made for what it is supposed to do (and nothing more), and does not have hidden agendas and intentions. Go ahead and try it with ease!

    Folder Size

    Folder Size for Windows adds a new column to the Details view in Windows Explorer. The new column shows not only the size of files, but also the size of folders. It keeps track of which folders you view, and scans them in the background so you can see complete size of all files within the folder. It's very useful for cleaning up your disk. Once you get used to having that information available, a directory listing simply looks incomplete without it!

    * Don't switch to another program to see folder sizes.
    * No scanning phase before you can start.
    * Explorer will automatically update the folder size column in real-time.
    * Background scans won't monopolize your disk.
    * It won't waste any CPU time.
    * Folder Size will also display in these languages. French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
    * Folder Size for Windows may be distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

    Folder Size for Windows is split up into three components: The service which caches folder size information and makes it available to other processes; a column handler shell extension that makes a column available to Windows Explorer using data retrieved from the service, and a control panel for configuration.

    Folder Size for Windows is written in C++ using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. See the source code!

    I have this on my system (have been running it for the past few months now) and I realised how much its become a useful part of my daily use when I had accidently removed it. Nothing overboard, very simple and extremely efficient this is a unique application which is a must have. Wonder why Windows did not think of this before! Folder Size in action screen shot here.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    VLC (VideoLAN) Media Player


    VLC is a free cross-platform media player.
    VLC (initially VideoLAN Client) is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

    Features:

    For more information about what features are supported on your operating system, please see the full features list. You can also have a look at some VLC screenshots.


    To get a glimpse of its popularity check its download statistics. I have been using V-LAN for the past few months and its one player which has never let me down. Plays almost any known music audio or video file format and also looks nice with its different skins. Best of all anyone can make their own skin. It can be used to stream video on to the network. A useful feature is that it can convert video formats from one to the other. I have been able to convert a avi file to a mpeg format using it. You might just have to see its feature list to believe me. The possibilities of this player seem endless. Just WOW!

    SpamBayes

    The SpamBayes project is working on developing a statistical (commonly, although a little inaccurately, referred to as Bayesian) anti-spam filter, initially based on the work of Paul Graham. The major difference between this and other, similar projects is the emphasis on testing newer approaches to scoring messages. While most anti-spam projects are still working with the original graham algorithm, we found that a number of alternate methods yielded a more useful response. This is documented on the background page.

    I have been using this spam filter for my Outlook inbox and yes the application has been able to filter the junk 98% of the time. This works cause I have trained it to identify the bad from the good. Within some time has been effective in clearing most of the junk from my inbox. Its dynamic and scans the emails in realtime so that it gets filtered to the junk mail folder as soon as it reaches your inbox.
    I will be trying out another open source anti spam software Spamato now which seems to be very promising. But if you dont have much time to wait for the next review please go ahead and check out SpamBayes. This is one open source application which is a must have in these times! Bye bye spam...


    Dug up some reviews and tests on SpamBayes. Comes up as a winner!
    1. Winning the War on spam: Comparison of Bayesian spam filters
    2. What people are saying about (us) SpamBayes (from their own site)

    Launchy


    Launchy is a free windows utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, your desktop icons, and your file manager. Launchy indexes and launches your applications, documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

    What is Launchy?
    Launchy is the most efficient way to open files and programs on your computer. Nobody likes to hunt through the start menu to find an application, just to find that the application is hidden under some obscure folder named after a company you have never heard of! Instead, Launchy is a smart search program which tries to guess which program or file you are looking for and will launch it when you hit the enter key. It is only visible when you hit the alt+space key combination; otherwise it hides in the background. Once you have used it for a few days, it becomes an indispensable utility for your computer. And it’s free!

    This application is very much similar to the famous (or not so famous) AppRocket and is almost at par with it. Some of the draw backs of Launchy would be that it does not index everything and indexing is manual. Otherwise neat, skin able and fast this is one killer app in the making!

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Jarnal - a Java Notetaker and PDF Annotator

    Jarnal is an open-source application for notetaking, sketching, keeping a journal, making a presentation, annotating a document - including pdf - or collaborating using a stylus, mouse or keyboard. It is similar to Microsoft Windows Journal and to the earlier Mimeo whiteboarding and Palm notepad applications. There is also a commercial knockoff of Jarnal called PDF Annotator - for $50 you can enjoy a subset of the capabilities that Jarnal provides for free.

    Why is this program better than Microsoft Windows Journal or One-Note? Because it is written in Java files can be edited and viewed on any platform, and the editor/viewer is freely redistributable - not to speak of customizable. MS Journal files can be edited only on a Tablet PC and viewed only with Windows XP or 2000. One-Note also uses proprietary file formats that can be viewed only on a few platforms, and edited only by purchasing the latest version of Microsoft Office. In Jarnal the files are in a standard non-proprietary format, human readable, and usable by other applications. By default, no information identifying the author is stored in the file. Jarnal also offers document annotation capabilities, collaboration and networking connectivity not available with the MS programs. [If you are interested in this software and run Linux, you should also take a look at Gournal and Xournal.] Why is this program better than PDF Annotator? Because it does for free everything PDF Annotator does and much more: cross-platform support; the ability to enter text from the keyboard; combine pdf documents and rearrange pages; the ability to annotate faxes and other non-pdf documents - to name a few.

    I tried using this application and found the concept of collaborative note taking through Jarnal very exciting. It was easy to make one of the Jarnal instances into a server and Jarnal copies in other machines to connect to the server. Requires no installation and the menu options seem to be exhaustive - the signs of a mature software ;) The ability of annotating a pdf document is nifty. It basically means we can edit and save our changes made to a pdf file. A lot for very less by David K. Levine and Gunnar Teege.

    Check out the Demos: There is a simple on-line demo and and a more advanced (and fun) demo demonstrating networked usage.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Daphne

    Daphne is a small (system tray) application for killing, controlling and debuging window's processes. You can kill a process by dragging the mouse over the windows, by right-clicking the process in the main process list, or by typing its name with the "Kill all by name" command. You can set a any window to be always on top, to be transparent, to be enable, et cetera. The main window displays a list of currently running process with detailed information about:

    * CPU usage
    * Process ID
    * Process name
    * Full path (and arguments)
    * Priority
    * Class (Process / Service)
    * Current memory usage
    * Peek memory usage
    * Current swap usage
    * Peek swap usage
    * Number of threads

    I have always found the "Windows Task Manager" insufficient in tracking my processes. With each process having their own quirky names (for a layman like me ;) ) and even worse their usual hangs on Windows, I find it extremely difficult to identify and track such processes. Daphne has some useful features like the "Control Inspector" to identify the processes from the application GUI and tracking of peak values of the parameters and of course the location of the processes in the system. See Daphne in action here.
    Released under the GPL this is one plugin that will be definitely useful in Windows.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Mouse Gestures for Internet Explorer

    This might look a bit out of place here cause even though we may have the source its not under any known (GNU/GPL...) open source licenses. The author of this program has nonetheless made available the entire source code repository of this application for the general public. He has also gone all the way to discuss and explain his code in detail.

    This is one killer app which I am sure anyone would love to have. After having tried Firefox and Opera how much have I missed mouse gestures in IE(Internet Explorer)! But with this useful application I have been able to enable mouse gestures and start using them all over IE. Definitely worth a try.

    Yes this is a genuine Windows only app! ;) And will work only in Windows IE.

    The code, executable and article are also available at the codeproject.com site.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    IMGV

    IMGV is a powerful, free and open source, Image Viewer that tries to do what other image viewers cannot. It can run on most versions of Microsoft Windows and Unix systems (Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and others)

    Written completely in Python it's amazingly versatile.
    It can run on Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, and more.

    The project was started in 2001 by Ryan Kulla.

    This reminds me of a very old image viewer I used to use when we had MS-DOS. I tried it out and its very nifty and neat. Wonder now when we have so much of the GUI (Graphical User Interface ) thrown onto us how did the developer come up with something like this which looks so simple and uncluttered. Well its small and best of all displays your images fast.
    Supported Files: JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, TGA, PPM, PNM, PBM, PGM, XPM, XCF, LBM, IFF, MPEG
    MPEG support means you can watch video (movies in this format) too. And if you really want all those options which you think is needed other than just displaying the images then a right click is to be clicked ;)

    I had mentioned about Cornice before and yes you may compare them both. I still will like IMGV! (Wonder what IMGV stands for?)

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    TestDisk

    TestDisk is a powerful data recovery utility! It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally erasing your Partition Table).

    A very handy and simple tool - TestDisk has features for both novices and experts. For those who know little or nothing about data recovery techniques, TestDisk can be used to collect detailed information about a non-booting drive which can then be sent to a tech for further analysis. Those more familiar with such procedures should find TestDisk a handy tool in performing onsite recovery.

    I can assure you of its simplicity. It is very simple to use this software and that is what I liked most about it. It does what its supposed to do and best of all without knowing too much about how it does. I tested it with a 1GB USB drive containing picture files (all I GB of it). I had deleted the files and was still able to get them all back safe and sound once I ran TestDisk. It has versions for quite a few of the operating systems so it should not be difficult to find a copy of it for your platform.

    TestDisk is OpenSource software and is licensed under the GNU Public License.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Krut Computer Recorder

    A computer recorder. Record audio and video from your computer screen into .mov-files and .wav-files. Can be used to e.g. make instructional videos or record games. Could also be used to record streaming video and audio.
    Screenshots here.

    I had mentioned about a screen recorder for windows vnc2swf-screen-recorder in a previous post. Well the obvious difference is that the vnc2swf saves the recording in swf (flash) format whereas Krut in .mov and .wav files. Some uses may include ripping streaming video in any format as long as it is getting displayed on the screen and to prepare a instructional video for some presentation. A very plus for Krut would be that it does not require installation of any other software or setting up some other application to do its work. Moreover it is platform independent - which basically means we could take the same code/application and run it without any modification on any operating system (be it Linux or Windows). Haven't done a thorough use or analysis of this application yet but should be useful. So if someone finds something more do post a comment.

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Wilbur, Wilma and The File Seeker

    Continuing with the last post here are two more open source applications which can be used to search the computer for files and contents of those files.

    Wilbur: Supposed to be a file assistant to search for files in your system drive. According to the developers "Every office seems to have one vital person who is the only one who can find anything in the file cabinets. Wilbur wants to be the electronic equivalent of that person for your computer." I was not impressed much with this as far as looks go. And neither have I run a timing test to check its indexing speed or result return rates. If anybody has then do post the find. The features are listed here and some of them like the quick mini preview of the contents is a neat feature not found in the others.

    The File Seeker: It is an application to find files in hard disks quickly. Neat looks and a quick index makes it promising. Yet like the others need to work up on a lot more features still.

    Wilma:Wilma is a program for quickly finding text lurking in the files on your computer. It does this by creating an index of what words are in which files and this allows it to later find files containing a given word or set of words almost instantaneously. Somehow I still have to get used to the browser based search of my desktop. But like GDS many find it more easy to get it done from their browsers and with a tabbed Firefox it can be done from a single window. The application will need to support more file types before people can take it as a alternative to Google's GDS.

    Carry on ye eager seekers!

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Open Source Desktop Search Applications

    I had mentioned about open source desktop search tools before.
    Today I found few desktop search utilities from sourceforge.net These applications are similar to the more popular X1, Google Desktop Search(GDS), Copernic Desktop Search(CDS) and Yahoo Desktop Search(YDS). Most of them are based on Apache's Lucene search engine a open source search engine. Its supposed to be fast and has a very small memory footprint.

    I was able to run and try out DocSearcher. Its very simple and intuitive and seems to be OK for the list of supported file types it indexes. I was able to index my drives/folders very fast which are all in GBs.

    The other one is MaxFisher and I was not able to test it out as I failed to get a search result. It comes with a small webserver called Jetty as the search results and query boxes are presented in a web browser, almost similar to GDS.

    Both of them are in Java(hence run anywhere where theres Java) and the GUI seems to be very simple. They still have a very very long way to go before they can catch up to the functionality or features the other desktop search utilities provide. But yes its definitely a start and am looking forward to the later releases of these applications. It should not be long before we see stiff competition from them to the closed alternatives.

    I would be looking at things like "search as you type", indexing of PST (Outlook mails) and auto indexing before I can permanently have them on my machine.

    Find the two new open source aplternatives to desktop search in the list here...

    Happy searching till then.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    News feed: Open Source Applications for Windows feed

    Open Source Applications for Windows feed
    I have added the list of open source applications mentioned in my blog to this list.
    You might be able to rank them and vote the applications to the top. If required we can add more such open source applications for Windows to the list too.

    The feed is at www.listible.com