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.