Kornhornio's Discoveries

This blog is about useful software I've discovered. I may post a program of my own from time to time, but for the most part this blog is about cool little programs and utilities I've found. Most of them are free or open source programs. These are programs I use on my own computers, and they work well for me, but don't blame me if your computer ends up opening a hole in the Earth.

RSS Reader: NewsGator   Thursday, May 22, 2008

I just discovered a very flexible RSS reader called NewsGator. Not only do they provide a web-based interface, which is quite useful if you have to use multiple computers, but they also have Mac, Windows, and mobile phone clients. The best part: all of these different versions are hooked to your single account, so your read counts will stay up-to-date across multiple computers or devices.

I'm using the Mac version right now, and so far I'm very happy.

After you get set up, don't forget to hit the NewsGator link over on the right side of this page to subscribe to Kornhornio's Discoveries :)

- Kornhornio

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Giveaway of the Day   Friday, February 02, 2007

Giveaway of the Day offers a different piece of commercial software for FREE every day. It looks to be mostly shareware/trialware software, so don't expect to get free copies of Windows or anything. The only catch is that you must download and install the software while the free offer is still valid. They have an RSS feed, so plug that into your RSS reader and let them hook you up.

- Kornhornio

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Ditto - Clipboard Manager   Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Screen shot? Marketing? Who knows? © Ditto
Here's a nice one for people who like to copy and paste. It's called Ditto. It keeps a history of the things you've copied to the clipboard so you can recall them for pasting later. It can handle text, formatted text, images, and probably some other stuff I haven't found yet. You can even run it on multiple networked computers and share the clipboard across them.

That's all great, but those aren't even my favorite features. My main reason for using it is to store permanent clips that I find myself using often. I personally keep some small blocks of source code in there and sprinkle them as needed in different projects. But maybe you sell stuff on eBay and you want to send the same generic cookie-cutter response to everyone who buys something from you. Or you haven't found the e-mail signature option in Outlook (among the other 82,238,927 options nobody ever uses), and you want your name/company name/number/fax/e-mail/pager/social security number/driver's license number/penis size to show up at the end of all your e-mails just like everybody else. Well, Ditto can help you there too.

It's also useful for copying multiple things from one place to another without having to switch back and forth between windows. Instead of copy/switch/paste/switch/copy/switch/paste/etc, you can just do a series of copies, switch windows, then do a series of pastes.

One recommendation: the default option is to have an unlimited clipboard history size. I haven't done any real benchmarking, but I think the performance starts to suffer as the clipboard history gets very long. Mine was up to 7000+ items, and it was taking several seconds to get the Ditto menu to pop up. I turned on some limits in the options (see screenshot below), and now it's working fast again.

- Kornhornio

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KDE mouse   Friday, April 07, 2006

If you've ever used KDE or Enlightenment in Linux, you might have noticed a feature that lets you move and resize windows without having to click on their title bars or borders. You can hold down the ALT key and move windows around with the left mouse button, or resize them with the right mouse button. The cool part is you can do this anywhere on the window, so you can save yourself a lot of mouse movement.

Martin Ankerl has made a little program called KDE Mouse to emulate this behavior in Windows.

A little note: while this program works great if you're mainly stuck in normal Windows applications (Word, Excel, whatever spyware-infested crap is floating around the internet in e-mails with "FW:" in the subject line), I've seen it cause problems with certain games. If you run into problems, you may need to close this program before starting up your games.

Edit: Updated link to Martin's new website AGAIN - stop moving!! :)

TaskSwitchXP   Thursday, March 16, 2006

Screen shot of TaskSwitchXP
Screen shot © 2006 NTWind Software
TaskSwitchXP is a program that replaces the default Windows Alt-Tab task switcher. It improves upon the Windows version by showing a picture of each open window instead of just an icon.

This can be very helpful when you have several windows open for the same program (your web browser, for example) because you can easily see which window is which. That may not sound important until you try to alt-tab your way out of a porn site at work and end up at... another porn site. If only you could have seen where you were switching, you might still have a job.

allSnap   Wednesday, March 15, 2006

allSnap in actionIf you're as messy as me, you probably have windows cluttered all over your screen. And if you're as anal as me, you probably hate to see even one pixel go to waste. allSnap is a useful little program that will make your windows "snap" together very easily.

The author's webpage mentions that it uses a techinque called "hooking" to make the windows snap, and that supposedly this is supposed to be a bad thing. I personally have been using allSnap for probably over a year, and I've never seen it cause any problems.

Yahoo! Widget Engine   Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yesterday we got you organized... so today we'll clutter your desktop. Yahoo! Widgets (formerly known as Konfabulator) lets you put all kinds of things directly on your desktop, from RSS/Atom news feeds (shown here), to the weather, to system meters, to various cartoon characters that say things when you click on them. Ever since Yahoo changed it from Konfabulator to Yahoo Widget Engine, they've been putting out craploads of Yahoo-integrated widgets (day planner, mail, notepad, etc.). I like to use the Day Planner widget at work so that I can see my Outlook calendar events for the day, as well as my to-do list.

If for some reason you're anti-Yahoo, or you just want to see what alternatives are out there, here are a couple others:
  • Google Desktop added support for dragging panels off the sidebar and onto your desktop in version 3. It's free, and also has powerful desktop search capabilities.
  • Stardock DesktopX is not free, and I've never used it myself, but my co-worker claims that this was the one that started it all.
- Kornhornio

Free Launch Bar   Sunday, March 12, 2006

Free Launch Bar screenshot
Screen shot © 2001-2005 TORDEX
I had a hard time deciding which program to start with for the first post, so I decided to give you one that will help you keep the rest organized.

Have you ever wished you could fit more on the Windows quick launch bar without having to take up a bunch of space? Well, the way to do that is to add menus to it.

Bob: "But Kornhornio, I have a menu. It's called the Start Menu. Why are you showing me this?"
Kornhornio: "Because you came to me , remember?"
Bob: "....... Sorry."

The Start Menu was a great idea, and it's still better than those old Program Groups it replaced from Windows 3.1 <shudder>. But these days it seems like every program that gets installed wants to put 50 shortcuts in there, and before you know it you can't find anything anymore. And would it be too much to ask that the Start Menu actually stay in alphabetical order? I don't think so.

Free Launch Bar can solve these problems. It takes your existing Quick Launch shortcuts as a starting point, but you can add menus to it, and it's easy to set those menus to auto-sort alphabetically (right-click inside a menu, Arrange Icons By, Auto Arrange). I personally like to keep my most-used programs right on the main bar, my not-quite-as-used programs under a few menus (apps, games, etc), and crap I hardly ever use buried somewhere in the Start Menu.

- Kornhornio

What the hell is this blog about?  

For several years now, I've been running a personal website called KoRnhornio's Kreations. I'm a computer programmer, and I set up that site so that I would have a place to show the world my programs. They weren't anything special; just little projects I worked on in my spare time. As time went on, I discovered that while I love to work with computers and write programs, I just don't have that many good ideas for new programs.

But other people do. And a lot of them have great ideas. So since I don't have a lot of original "Kreations" to share anymore, I thought maybe I should start sharing my discoveries instead. I may post a program of my own from time to time, but for the most part this blog is about cool little programs and utilities I've found. Most of them are free or open source programs. These are programs I use on my own computers, and they work well for me, but don't blame me if your computer ends up opening a hole in the Earth.

- Kornhornio