Finally managed to write an actual column that made sense 🙂 It also helps that I encountered some cool software to help me walk the walk.
Let’s begin with Total Commander 7. This latest full update of a great, Norton Commander style, dual-pane Windows Explorer replacement. With integrated FTP client (supports up to 10 simultaneous connections). Text file viewer. Advanced file archiving (zip & unzip) support for zip, rar, tar, tar.gz along with 7z (7-Zip), sqx, bz and tar.bz (requires free extenders). As well as programmer-friendly features like folder and file compare.
If you haven’t got it, I recommend you download and install a copy without fail. This shareware works indefinitely without a key. But you have to suffer its random button approval process until you do. And don’t let the very klunky order system dissuade you from acquiring a key 🙂
Actually I was wondering when the final version would be released. As the first Total Commander 7 Beta appeared in October 2006. Noteworthy improvements include a Windows Vista-ready user interface with theme-based buttons and new icons. As well as an ability to set separate background colors for odd and even lines. The integrated compare by content feature is extended with manual file synchronization and editing. There are new column sort levels. As well as FTP server search. The multi-rename feature (Ctrl+M) now lets you edit target names too. And the integrated Lister text (and with extensions image) viewer now displays a text cursor. There’s more on the Total Commander What’s New page.
Another handy freeware I use a lot of is BonkEncoder. Now in version 1.0.3, the free CD ripper is available as a Zip file, installer and source. It includes advanced audio encoding and supports MP3, MP4/M4A, OGG (Ogg Vorbis), AAC, Bonk and FLAC files. The interface seems rather basic at first glance. You drop-in files to be encoded. Then set the encoder (with option of customizing the selected encoder). And finally click the start button. Although you may want to tweak the settings so that the encoded files are saved to a folder of your (vs. BonkEnc’s) choosing. The secret to BonkEnc’s relatively uncluttered interface is that almost all non-daily options are buried in multi-layered sub-menus. Download your copy from here.
A friend pointed me to Super (Simplified Universal Player Encoder Renderer). This format rich (Video: 3GP/3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, FLI, FLC, FLV, MKV, MPG, MOV, MP4, OGG, QT, RM, RAM, RMVB, STR (Play Station), SWF (Flash), TS (HDTV), VIV, VOB & WMV; Video: AAC, AC3, AMR, MMF, MP2, MP3, MP4, MPC, OGG, RA, WAV & WMA) player and encoder is a great solution. Unfortunately unless you really need it you’ll probably never use it after you install it. Because Super offers very quirky and cluttered interface. What I found most surprising was the lack of defied player controls for Fast Forward, Rewind and Pause. The interface quirkiness (maybe its a disease) also extends to the download interface. Where going in circles looking for the download link is dead easy. It took me 4 tries before I found the right one. And had I not really need the software I probably would have given up!
And keeping with my (new?) mantra for short weekly posts, here’s the last software. NetMeter 1.1.0 (Beta) has been released after several years in the wild. NetMeter is a neat, free download and upload speed monitoring application. It can scan a specific single interface (e.g. modem nor LAN) or all installed interfaces. I use the app to monitor data transfers on my capped-bandwidth dial-up connection. What I especially like about the software is its click-thru transparency support on Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista that lets me fade it into the background. So I can monitor traffic statistics without losing desktop space. The new 1.1.0 Beta offers way more features than I’m willing to include in this short post. Go read ’em all on the NetMeter Homepage.
Adios for now!