So much for New Year resolutions. Made one to regularly update this column. And promptly broke it. Excuses anyone? Let’s say the column is regular as my water supply. Which flows for approximately 30 minutes every other day here in Secunderabad.
It’s not that there’s nothing to write about. There’s at least one new, interesting free software released weekly. It’s just finding the time to install and assess its capabilities is hard to find. However over the past fortnight I’ve been able to test TEN Notepad, a free Notepad replacement. Songbird, a Mozilla-based desktop Web player and digital jukebox.
This week’s post is written with TEN Notepad. That like Windows Notepad it’s a pure plain-text editor using the same uncluttered (but somewhat dated to this reviewer) interface. Why dated? Well, it would be nice if it had a toolbar option. But all it offers are extended menu options that can be accessed using hot keys (keyboard shortcuts). However used as I am to Note Tab Pro, I need to learn the most commonly used ones.
TEN Notepad can handle any pure text function. Like simple lists, notes and even programming source code like HTML. But when programming you need to know the format string. I couldn’t find any built-in extenders (like those bundled with NoteTab: my usual text based editor). But you download FireFly software TEXTools, a powerful pipe-based text editing workbench for Windows. Except that TEXTools isn’t free. For more on why TEN Notepad make an excellent Notepad replacement, read the improvements. Browse the documentation.
And on to Songbird 0.21 Developer Preview. This cross-platform (MacOS, Linux, Windows) software is developed using Mozilla Gecko 1.8 (identical to Firefox 1.5.x and Firefox 2). A forthcoming release will be developed with Gecko 1.9 to support more features.
Songbird supports over 30 languages and is 64-bit ready. And uses an iTunes-like interface to organize your digital audio and video media files by album and artist. Search is a built-in function, and includes not only web search engines, but also digital media-specific ones. Songbird can also be used as a mixer. Visit the Songbird Features list for a complete description of its capabilities.
Songbird supports its own extensions. And one to search albums and artists on Wikipedia is included. Most current offerings are OS-specific community contributions. Included with the Developer Preview are 2 themes: the all-black with white text Rubberducky. And Dove in silver-yellow.
As a digital media player Songbird is pretty good. It even offers a separate min-player interface. But it sucks as a web browser. You can only open a single URL; this in spite of being developed with Gecko that supports tabbed browsing! Should you download the tool. Yes, if you are looking for an iTunes-style jukebox. But if you’d been able to successfully download and install MusikCube. Or have a good media player like Winamp, XMPLay or even Windows Media Player 11 installed, I’d recommend waiting for the next version.
There’s a new Opera 9.12 Build 8710 available. This Beta includes several fixes, including re-enabling Java support. And introduces a new Usage Reporting function that’s enabled by default. You need to access the opera:config (opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableUsageReport) to disable the feature. That, when enabled, stores statistics on your Internet access in an XML file saved to your Opera profile folder. This information is sent to the Opera Browser Development team when you close the browser.
For now the profiling is limited to capturing numerical usage statistics of the Wand, Mail, RSS Feeds, History, Workspace, BitTorrent downloads, Bookmarks, Contacts, Widgets installed, Notes, News, Chat, your preferences, and the date/time when Opera was installed. For some features (Bookmarks, Contacts, Feeds, News, Chat and Wand) it also records the date/time an entry was added, modified or last accessed.
That’s all this time. So until the next post, Stay Safe!