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Top 3 Program Launchers for Windows

If you’ve installed a lot of apps in your Windows then using a program launcher is the best productive solution. It will also help you in making your desktop clutter-less. For Windows OS, there are lot of program launchers to choose from. Here are 3 which I found very useful.

#1. Mad App Launcher

launch 1

It’s a visual app launcher with a tabbed interface. There are 10 tabs which can hold a maximum of 300 apps! With tabs, you can classify your apps, for example you can use one tab for all your browsers, another one for media players etc. To add an app, just drag it to one of the key (on the on-screen keyboard), after dragging all your apps then save it. Each app is designated with a letter on the on-screen keyboard, you can also assign hotkeys for the launcher. If you’re looking for a minimal (no themes, fancy stuff) app launcher then go download it.

Link: Download Mad App Launcher

#2. Launchy

launch

Launchy is a lot more than a program launcher, it’s an OpenSource keystroke app launcher. Apart from launching programs, it can also index folders, documents and it can even launch your favorite websites. If you’re running Firefox 3+ then it can also search your browser bookmarks. It also performs simple calculations and can execute run commands. There are also 6 skins available in the latest release, just like Mad App Launcher you can set hotkey for it. If you don’t like the fancy interface, just select portable in the settings window.

Link: Download Launchy

#3. Rocket Dock

launch 2
It’s a very well known Windows-only dock-based app launcher. Just drag the program shortcuts into the dock to add new programs. In the latest version of Rocket Dock you can also minimize running applications, so your taskbar will be clean enough. It’s interface is highly visually appealing, in the first the interface may look addictive but eventually it will slow your system if you don’t have good RAM. It also has a active forum where members post icon packs, skins and walls.

Rocket Dock In Action

Link: Download Rocket Dock

So, have you tried any of these program launchers? Which one do you feel is the best? Do drop in your comments

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Tips

3 Software to Download Wallpapers in Bulk

A good Wallpaper really brings freshness to a desktop, but the problem is it takes time to browse, select and download them. Don’t worry, there are few ways to download wallpapers in bulk. I want to share 3 software which do gets the job done.

#1. Pulse

Windows Vista/7 users can download Wallpapers in bulk using Pulse.  It’s a freeware app which downloads wallpapers based on your keywords. It uses ReWalls (as it’s a Russian site, please use Google translate for English version of it) as wallpapers resource but I’m sure it will support many more sites in the future. You can also set the app to change wallpaper for every minute, hour or so. If you don’t like the Wallpaper set by Pulse, then you can replace it with the next one. It’s still in beta, so don’t panic, you may find some bugs.

It Works fine on Windows 7 and Vista. I’ve personally tried it on my Windows XP desktop, it downloads wallpapers without fail but doesn’t set them.

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Link: Download Pulse

#2. Natgeo Wallpaper Downloader

Here comes another freeware app known as Natgeo Wallpaper downloader, as the name suggests, it can only download wallpapers from Natgeo, but as you know Natgeo is a very good resource for wallpapers (More than 5000 Wallpapers are available for download). Unlike Pulse, you don’t need to type the keyword, instead you can select any category. You can also select the resolution of the Wallpapers.

If you’re running XP, for changing Wallpapers automatically you can use Wallpaper changer Power toy.

Link: Download Natgeo Wallpaper Downloader | Download Wallpaper Changer Power toy

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#3. DownThemAll!

I’m not much of a Firefox fan, but if I want to download images in bulk, then I use Firefox. DownThemAll! is a very popular Firefox add-on, When you run it (through right-click context menu), it shows all the links, images and videos available to download from that page. So, if all you want is images, then filter the selections using image extensions (JPEG, PNG etc). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an alternative for Chrome.

Do you know any other way to download images in bulk? Also, if you know any Downthemall! alternative for Chrome, please let us know!

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Tips

[Reloaded] 6 Steps to Get Most Out Of Your Google Chrome

Lately, in March I wrote a post on 9 tips to get most out of Google Chrome and now this is the second part of it. This post includes pinning tabs, tweaking start pages, creating favicon-only bookmarks and more!

#1. Pin Tabs

Even before Mozilla had introduced their Firefox 4,  stuffed with App Tabs feature, Chrome already had a similar feature named “Pin Tabs”.

When you pin a Tab, it shrinks so that you can only so its favicon. This feature is mainly targeted for power users who deal with lots of tabs.

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To Pin a Tab, Right click on that Tab and select “Pin Tab”.

#2. Update Plug-ins

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Outdated plug-ins can make your browser vulnerable, but this is not the case with Chrome because whenever you visit a site which requires a plug-in and if you don’t have a updated version of that plug-in, then you will be notified. However, you can check the status of all your plug-ins using about:plugins page.

about: pages are special pages which gives info about memory, plug-ins, upcoming features and more! Type about:about in Chrome to get the list of all the about: pages

#3. Favicon-only Bookmarks

I organize my bookmarks using folders but I keep some of the sites (which I visit daily) on bookmarks bar, now it will mess up my bookmarks bar. Here’s a tricky, silly solution to organize bookmarks placed on your bookmarks bar.

  • Right click on the bookmark you want to make favicon-only and click edit
  • Make sure the “name” field is empty, if not then empty it and click ok.
  • That’s it, now the bookmark will not show the text, it will only show the favicon (which is enough to recognize the site).

#4. Start Page

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We have already written an article about start pages available for Chrome. Those include MyFav.es, Incredible start page, Speed Dial, Speed Dial 2 and many more.

A good start page can do wonders for your productivity online, especially if you work online.

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#5. Using Chrome Bookmarks Intelligently

So you’ve replaced Chrome’s boring new tab page with a stylish start page and then your mind triggers, how to access Chrome apps? Here’s a simple solution. Open one of your Chrome apps and bookmark that page (I know, the address bar is empty), that’s it. 🙂

Installed lots of apps? then don’t hesitate to create a separate bookmarks folder for it.

#6. Use Side Tabs

Using a wide-screen monitor? then Side Tabs feature is for you! Generally browser tabs are at the top of Chrome’s window, but when you enable Side Tabs feature (head on to Chrome:flags to enable it), the browser tabs appear at the left side of Chrome. This feature doesn’t suit normal monitors as the meta tags do not appear completely.

Do you know any other Chrome tips? Drop them in your comments.

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Tips

Get Rid of Autorun Virus with USB Immunizer

Autorun.inf, the very well known virus carrier can now be immunized using Bitdefender’s USB Immunizer. This Autorun technology (introduced by Microsoft) has grabbed lots of hatred from security experts. Autorun.inf is a configuration file which knows what actions to perform when a new removable device is attached, but this is used by malware for spreading virus on to other computers (when the same USB is plugged into another computer).

BitDefender USB Immunizer

  • Using Bitdefender’s USB Immunizer you can immunize your computer and USB, thus no more virus spread. USB Immunizer actually disables the Autorun feature and deactivates the Autorun.inf file thus the malware can’t modify it.
  • The only disadvantage I found is you can’t activate Autorun once you deactivate using USB Immunizer, so think twice before you take action. 😀

Alternatives

  • One of the best alternatives to USB Immunizer is Panda Research USB Vaccine. Even it does the same i.e. disabling Autorun but I would prefer USB Immunizer to USB Vaccine as USB Vaccine needs installation while USB Immunizer is a portable app (doesn’t need installation).
  • There may be more alternatives but think twice before downloading any such apps because there are many fake apps which promise to immunize Autorun.inf file but do the reverse (checkout Lavasoft’s rogue apps page).

Another interesting thing I found is, even though I immunized my computer using USB Immunizer, USB Vaccine still shows my computer is not immunized, strange!

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Bitdefender USB ImmunizerPanda Research USB Vaccine

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Reviews

20 Bookmarklet Alternative for Popular Chrome Extensions


As soon as you read the title of this post, you must have got a doubt “why should I avoid extensions?”  Well, too many extensions for a browser is not good and when it comes to Chrome, it’s horrible because Chrome is already known for its high memory usage and now if you install more extensions, then it become a resource hog!

How to avoid extensions?

  • Have you heard about Bookmarklets? At least you must’ve known about User Scripts. Currently those two are the only alternatives to these memory sucking extensions. Bookmarklets are small java script codes which alter the webpage you’re viewing; they’re generally stored as bookmarks.
  • An Extension loads up as soon as a browsers starts and it continues to work (irrespective of website). On the other hand Bookmarklets and User Scripts are Website specific, for example if you want to spice up your Facebook theme, then all you wanted is a simple Userscript not an extension like Better Facebook.
  • Installing Bookmarklets is as easy as pie. Just drag the Bookmarklet links into your bookmarks bar and click to access them instantly.

List of Extensions you can avoid

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  1. Firebug Lite Bookmarklet – Alternative to Firebug Lite Extension
  2. Capture Screenshot Bookmarklet – Alternative to Screen Capture(by Google) Extension
  3. Dictionary.com Bookmarklet – Alternative to Google Dictionary Extension
  4. Blog this! Bookmarklet – Alternative to Blog this! Extension
  5. Tineye Bookmarklet – Alternative to Tineye reverse image search Extension
  6. TBuzz Bookmarklet – Alternative to Twitter Tweet button Extension
  7. WOT Bookmarklet – Alternative to WOT Extension
  8. Retail Me Not Bookmarklet – Alternative to Invisible Hand Extension
  9. Amazon Wish List Bookmarklet – Alternative to Amazon Wish List Extension
  10. FFixer UserScript – Alternative to Better Facebook Extension
  11. Facebook Photo Theatre Killer UserScript – Alternative to Revert Facebook Photo Viewer Extension
  12. MegaUpload Auto Download UserScript – Alternative to MegaUpload Download Helper Extension
  13. RapidShare Auto Download UserScript – Alternative to RapidShare Download Helper Extension
  14. Quix Bookmarklet – Alternative to Bitly Sidebar, Readability, Clip to Evernote and many more!
  15. YouTube Lyrics UserScript – Alternative to Music Video Lyrics for YouTube Extension
  16. Loopy for YouTube UserScript – Alternative to Auto Replay for YouTube Extension
  17. Keepvid Bookmarklet – Alternative to YouTube Downloader Extension
  18. Turn Off The Lights UserScript – Alternative to Turn off the Lights Extension
  19. Read Later Bookmarklet – Alternative to Instapaper Extension
  20. Alternative to FlashBlock – If you’re using Chrome as your default browser, then you can make use of this tutorial to block flash elements.
  • Type about:flags in the Omni bar and hit enter, now search for click to play experiment and click enable.
  • Next, go to Chrome’s settings page i.e. chrome://settings/content, under Plugins section, select click to play. That’s it, from now chrome doesn’t load flash elements.

Tip: You can allow flash elements to load in video sites like YouTube through the plugins icon in the omni bar.

I know, these UserScripts and Bookmarklets cannot replace the Extensions perfectly but still, if you think from memory perspective then they’re worth trying.

Do share your views on these UserScripts and Bookmarklets.

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Reviews

[Free Software] Automate File Management on Windows with Belvedere

Belvedere is a Windows-only file management tool which can really ease some of the tasks like renaming, copying, moving and deleting files. It can also manage recycle bin i.e. you can set Belvedere to delete files in recycle bin now and then. You can set rules for files based on their extensions, name, size, date created etc.

If you want your Desktop and Downloads folder to be clean, then Belvedere is a must.

Setting up rules

  • You can add unlimited number of folders to manage and you can set unlimited number of rules for those folders.
  • First you need to select some conditions based on which the files will be detected, and the rules will be acted upon it.
  • It detects file based on extension, name, date created, date modified, last opened and size and then you need to select the verb from the drop-down menu. For example, as all the downloaded songs remain on my desktop, I created the above rule (in screenshot).
  • As you can see in the screenshot there are 3 Rule options – Enabled, Confirm Action and Recursive. Tick “Enabled” to enable the rule, if you want to get a popup every time Belvedere takes action on a file, then tick “Confirm action”. Tick “Recursive” if you want Belvedere to scan inner folders or sub-directories of the folder you’re managing.

Automate Recycle bin Management

Apart from managing folder and drives, Belvedere can also clean up the Recycle Bin regularly. Just navigate to the “Recycle bin” tab and tick “Allow Belvedere to manage my recycle bin”, and then you can select the time period, you can keep anything from minutes to weeks.

Backup/Import Settings

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  • Belvedere is all about making your own settings, in case if you lose them, it will be a hectic task to set the rules again! Fortunately, you can Backup and Import your settings.
  • Go to “Backup settings” in the “File” drop-down menu and there you can backup your settings to an external file through which you can import your settings as usually.
  • For proper function, it needs to be in the Windows startup, but don’t worry, it doesn’t take lots of memory nor it lags your system.

So try out Belvedere Software to have better file management in place and drop in your comments.

Link: Download Belvedere

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Reviews

4 Tools to Preview and Compare Installed Fonts

If you’re a designer or even a site owner, then you will be having lots of fonts installed on your system and obviously you will feel irritating about which font to choose when designing a logo or choosing fonts for your site. Luckily, there are many tools which can help us in comparing fonts installed on a PC. Through this, you can visualize all those fonts installed on your PC, so it eventually saves you a lot of time!

#1. Wordmark.it

This is the best among the three sites I have found for previewing fonts! It also provides PRO accounts through which you can save selections for later reference, toggle between upper case and lower case previews etc. Luckily Wordmark.it is providing PRO accounts for free (free for first month of use), you just need to signup to get the PRO account.

#2. Font Picker

Font Picker is available in web as well as desktop versions. To run the desktop app, you need to have Adobe AIR installed on your PC which you can get here. The desktop app is almost similar to the web version. Click the “cross” button beside a font so that you will be left with a small list of desired fonts. It would be better if there was a feature to save font selections for later reference (like, in Wordmark).

#3. FontMatrix


This is one of the best font managers for Windows, besides general tasks like previewing, installing and uninstalling fonts; it can also extract fonts from PDF files and images! It gives complete information of each font including its type, family and even its designer! Another innovative feature is, if you like a font, then you can find other fonts which are similar to that. It supports Windows, Linux and Mac (OS X).

#4. NexusFont

It has a very sleek interface resembling Mac OS X. You can create sets so you can preview all similar fonts under one set, for example I have created a set “Hand Writing” and grouped all the Hand writing fonts under it, so the next time you’re looking for a good Hand writing font, you don’t need to search.

There are many more tools for Windows but I reviewed the best ones that I found useful. Do drop in your comments.

Additional Tip:

If you’re running Mac (OS X) then you might want to checkout FontCase. 🙂

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Reviews

List of 5 Online Tools to Find Similar Images

Google’s new addition to its image search is “similar image search” through which you can find similar or duplicate images. This feature is particularly useful when you want to view the source image, for example you have found an edited/photoshopped image of Sachin Tendulkar then you might want to know the source of that image.

For example, take a look at the below two images, you can keep the first image as wallpaper (by tiling) but not the second one (looks ugly). So, this can help wallpaper junkies a lot!

Here are some of the best sites which can help you in identifying similar images:

#1. Google Similar Images

“Google Similar Images” was a Google lab experiment but now it’s integrated into Google images. You can see the text “similar” at the bottom of any image when you hover over it. When I checked similar images for the below picture, there were 8 images which were matching it.

Link: Google Images

Related: Google Image swirl, it organizes similar image search results into groups and sub-groups.

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#2. TinEye Reverse Image Search

This is a bit advanced and it’s the best when compared to rest of them. What amazed me is that, when I searched similar images for the same image (which I used in Google image search), it came up with 32 relevant results!

So, the relevancy of TinEye is very high compared to Google Image search. It also provides cool extensions for IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers. You can make use of their bookmarklet too!

Link: Tineye

#3. GazoPa

GazoPa is a similar image search engine with more than 90,000,000 images, that’s a huge database isn’t it? It’s better than Google image search; it found 10 similar images when I searched using “sachin.jpg” image. It gives similarity percentage also, which can be used as another metric in finding relevant similar images.

GazoPa is also available for iPhone, you can download their free app here. Similar to TinEye it also provides Bookmarklets and plugins which you can get from here

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Link: GazoPa

#4. Pixolu

Pixolu helps you in finding better images according to your taste. It uses Google and Yahoo search engines to find images.

  • Enter your keyword in the search box
  • Select some of the images you like and click next (you can zoom-in by dragging the bar present on the top-right location).
  • Get better images, you can also refine your selection at the end.
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Link: Pixolu

#5. Retrievr

If you’re a Flickr fan then you should try Retrievr. Draw some raw sketch and it will show similar images almost in real-time. Currently, their server is down, but I hope they will be back in a few days.

Link: Retrievr

So do you think these tools will be helpful? Speak your mind!

Update: Gazopa is no longer up for image search. It has been shut down, but you can always try alternatives. 

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Tips

[Trick] Display Custom Dials on Your Chrome’s New Tab Page

In one of the previous posts, I have covered “6 Ways to customize chrome’s New-tab or Start page“. Some of you might be liking the default new tab page of Chrome and that’s why you may be refraining from installing those extensions. In browsers like Opera, we can make custom dials while this not the case with Chrome! This trick will help you to display custom dials on the New tab page.

Let’s get to work

  1. First, make sure you have closed Google chrome completely.
  2. Head on to this path in windows explorer – ” C:Documents and Settings(user)Local SettingsApplication DataGoogleChromeUser DataDefault” (make sure you enabled “show hidden files and folders” in folder options).
  3. In that folder, look up for a file named “Top sites”
  4. Delete that file and relaunch Google chrome
  5. Now, you will see a plain New tab page with just two dials, without closing that tab, visit all your favourite websites one by one (wait till the website loads completely).
  6. That’s it! Now you can enjoy your New tab page with custom dials!

So did this trick work for you? Stay tuned for more and do drop in your comments.

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Tips

List of 4 Ways to Update All Your Software in Windows

The frequency of software updates have increased day by day, due to which updating software manually has become a hectic task. If you’re a software junkie and have a lot of software installed on your system then, it will become a big headache for you.

This is the reason Update checkers have started gaining popularity. An update checker is a simple piece of software which checks updates for the softwares installed on your PC.

Why should you have a update checker?

  • Update checkers generally have a database of latest software, so when you run an Update checker it checks the version of the software installed on your PC and the latest software version available in its database.
  • If your firewall blocks these Update checkers, then add them to the exceptions list because they need to access internet in order to update your software.
  • Software developers constantly fix bugs and release new versions so in order to stay away from security glitches you need to update software constantly.
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Here are some of the best Update checkers –

#1. FileHippo Update Checker

FileHippo is one the best software hosting websites. Its software detection rate makes it the best Update Checker. It is portable enough. When I scanned my system, it showed me 16 updates of which 3 were Beta updates. As FileHippo doesn’t host commercial/shareware softwares, you won’t be able to see updates for paid softwares installed on your system.

Link: FileHippo Update Checker

#2. TechTracker

TechTracker is developed by the famous software hosting website, Download.com (Cnet). It is portable too but with less software detection rate. It showed me 13 updates. TechTracker has a major advantage over FileHippo Update checker i.e. it checks updates of commercial softwares (as download.com contains shareware too!).

Link: TechTracker

#3. Update Star

Update Star is available in two versions; one is freeware while the other is premium/shareware. The freeware gives you access to only limited number of updates (it showed me only 6 updates). It has a good visual appealing interface (similar to Snagit Image capture utility) but it’s a bit bulky than the other Update Checkers.

Link: UpdateStar

#4. Software Informer

It is developed by informer.com. When I ran it, what amazed me is that it showed updates for not just software, but also for drivers installed on my system! But unfortunately it didn’t give the download links for the updated drivers; instead it gave link to my laptop manufacturer’s site. It showed me a total of 32 updates of which 2-3 were false positives. This makes it my second favorite after FileHippo update checker.

Link: Software Informer

So use these services and make sure that software on your Windows OS is always updated. Do drop in your comments.