Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Virtual Desktops Manager from Windows Sysinternals

Computers development is moving fast in different directions. Your monitors become bigger and the screen resolution – better. At the same time, the amount of applications, shortcuts, widgets, and other useful elements you would like to keep handy, may grow faster, than the ability to place on your desktop. The common solution available is offered by multiple virtual desktops. You can define them by users, if multiple users utilize the same computer, or by functions, for example – one desktop for business, another – for leisure, or keeping in mind some other objectives.

There are multiple software programs, both freeware and commercial versions, addressing these needs, and we are going to present today the tiny 60-KB utility from Windows Sysinternals (owned by Microsoft) is a simple way to set up four virtual desktops on your system.

Desktops utility allows you to organize your applications on up to four virtual desktops. Read email on one, browse the web on the second, and do work in your productivity software on the third, without the clutter of the windows you're not using. After you configure hotkeys for switching desktops, you can create and switch desktops either by clicking on the tray icon to open a desktop preview and switching window, or by using the hotkeys.

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Unlike other virtual desktop utilities that implement their desktops by showing the windows that are active on a desktop and hiding the rest, Sysinternals Desktops uses a Windows desktop object for each desktop. Application windows are bound to a desktop object when they are created, so Windows maintains the connection between windows and desktops and knows which ones to show when you switch a desktop. That making Sysinternals Desktops very lightweight and free from bugs that the other approach is prone to where their view of active windows becomes inconsistent with the visible windows.

Desktops reliance on Windows desktop objects means that it cannot provide some of the functionality of other virtual desktop utilities, however. For example, Windows doesn't provide a way to move a window from one desktop object to another, and because a separate Explorer process must run on each desktop to provide a taskbar and start menu, most tray applications are only visible on the first desktop. Further, there is no way to delete a desktop object, so Desktops does not provide a way to close a desktop, because that would result in orphaned windows and processes. The recommended way to exit Desktops is therefore to logoff.

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Alternative program we observed earlier - Dexpot. Feel free to check it, if you like the idea, but need to explore more features-rich utility.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jaangle Free Portable Music Player and Organizer

Jaangle (formerly Teen Spirit) is open source, free, music player and organizer software. It categorizes your mp3, ogg, wma, avi etc collection and displays it in easy to browse, user interface. It has a quality audio - video player and also an integrated tag editor.

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Jaangle has an intuitive and user-friendly interface for playing music, an excellent library for music managing, and very interesting download capabilities of artist photos/bios, song lyrics, etc.

You start by adding a folder which contains your music files (mp3, wma, avi, mpg etc). Jaangle scans and reads the available tag info. The artists appear in the tree like control. Each time you click on an artist all his tracks can be seen in the list pane, artist biography and image are automatically downloaded from the internet and displayed in the information pane. By double clicking a track in the list you hear the music playing. More info may appear (if available) in the info pane like lyrics or comments.

Jaangle is a Microsoft © Windows software application and it is tested in Windows XP/2003, Vista. It is certified by softpedia as 100% free of malware, including adware, spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors.

License: Open source (GPL) free software (Freeware).

Main Features

* Media Player. Jaangle is using minimal resources (memory, CPU) for playing audio files based on the excellent bass engine. It plays video files using the DirectShow filters. By default it crossfades between tracks.
* Supported Audio Formats: mp3, mp2, wma, cda, ogg, mp1, aiff, xm, it, s3m, mod, mtm, umx, mo3, mpc, flac, mid, midi, ac3, mp4, ape, m4a and more based on directshow filters installed.
* Supported Video Formats: mpg, avi, mpeg, wmv, mp4 and more based on directshow filters installed.
* Music file tag editor (mp3, mpc, wma ...). You can tag files easily by right clicking in each track and click "properties". Alternatively you can drag-drop a track over a different artist/album/genre/year in the tree control. There are more ways to mass-tag your tracks by changing Artist / Album properties or by multiple select many tracks.
* Management. You can view your collection in various ways like Artists / Album, Year / Albums and more. Sorting is also available for every item type.
* Information downloading. By default, Jaangle, automatically downloads information from various sources in web. It is able to download information from Amazon (Album covers / Album reviews), LastFm (Artist Bio / Artist photo / Album covers), and Google (Track lyrics).
* History Logging. Jaangle automatically keeps log of the music you play. Note that it logs it only if you fully listen the track. You can see the full log of all the tracks that you have played and also track / artist statistics like top 10 per year/month etc.
* Info Display. Detailed information is displayed is the bottom right panel. It shows the artist (picture / bio) or the album (cover / review). By clicking the config button (the second icon in the title bar) you can choose to display visualizations/video or a web browser.
* Advanced Searching
* Visualization. Jaangle uses the excellent WinAmp's avs for displaying visualizations. You can add more visualization by adding visualizations scripts in the avs subdirectory.

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* Game. Jaangle feature some variations of a music quiz game (it is inspired from my iPod) and the interface reminds "who wants the millionaire" TV game.The general idea is to select as quickly as possible the correct track that you listen. The games feature a total available time, a bonus in a correct answer, and a penalty in a mistaken one.
* And more…

Developers Website:

Direct Downloading Link (portable version):

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