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Lyn Borchert
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I.T. Dude
I.T. Dude

19 followers
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I'm really not a fan of utilities that are meant to enhance things that already exist in an operating system. But I do make some exceptions once in a while. GreenShot is one of those exceptions.

If you are using your computer for business purposes then you will find that GreenShot is worth having. While the Windows SNIP tool does a decent job of capturing screenshots. GreenShot takes it to the next level. I like that it activates with the press of the keyboard PrtScrn button. That it has magnified crosshairs to get exactly on the corner of what you want to capture. That it has a built in BASIC image editor making it SUPER EASY to highlight something or add a little text to the image before you paste it into that email or document or save it as it's own image file.

Unlike so many tools that have loads of features GreenShot is NOT complex. I found all the choices very intuitive and I've never had a problem trying to get GreenShot to do exactly what I wanted it to do. There are very few programs in my life that I could say that about.

I have no doubt that if you install it and remember to use it once in a while you'll be very happy you did. http://getgreenshot.org/ If you like it, be sure to give them a couple bucks to show your appreciation for such a great tool.
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A little different photo. Still not happy with it though..
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My latest favorite software is more for I.T. pros than it is for the general software consumer because it's a "server based" application.  Where I work we have had a shared network drive for many  years.  It is a bit of a nightmare to manage because everyone uses it and a lot of what they put on it gets forgotten.  Worse yet, they put a copy of a company document on the shared drive and before you know it there are 10 different copies of the same document but all are different versions.  So which one is the correct or most current version?  

And then of course I have to worry about making sure all this stuff gets backed up on a regular basis.  Another problem we used to have is the flow of paper.  What I mean by that is, for example, if we have a change to a part, a form must be filled out and then must be passed to each department for approval.  These forms often get stuck at someones desk for one reason or another.  The person wanting this change literally has to walk around from person to person to get it all approved in a timely manner.

Well, I found some FREE software that solves a lot of these problems and gives me great piece of mind.  It's call Alfresco.  If you know what Microsoft Shares are then you understand alot about how Alfresco works.  It runs on a server machine.  It prefers a Linux OS, but I'm running mine on a Windows 7 computer.   

It's accessed via a web browser and each person has a login that takes them to their very one dashboard.  They can create new "sites" which is like a mini-website where they can invite others to join and collaborate.

The first one I made was a site called "Manuals & Literature".  I then uploaded all the current manuals and pieces of literature for our company and invited all employees to the site.  There is now one location that everyone can be assured is where the most recent version of a manual or machine literature is at.  Plus they can see a history of the changes as the manual or literature was updated.  AND if for some reason they need to get an older version of that document, they can!!!..  

How cool is that!  Guess what, I can punch a hole through my router and give access to Alfresco to people outside the office too!  And remember that paperwork that had to travel from desk to desk, well Alfresco has that built in so I can upload the document, assign who needs to see and approve it and Alfresco walks it around for me.  At any time I can check to see who is holding up the progress and thus bug them with an email or phone call if need be.  

Alfresco supports FTP to the file database, so I can use another nice free program to automatically, at scheduled times, make a complete copy of all stored files off to some other network drive and that copy can then be included in system wide backups.  It's awesome!

Here's the blurb from their website.

Alfresco Community Edition allows organizations to manage any type of content, from simple office documents to scanned images, photographs, engineering drawings and large video files. Common usage includes:

Document management systems
Content platforms
CMIS-compliant repositories

Check it out at http://alfresco.org
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I have to say that I really like the FastStone products.  Their image viewer is one of the nicer image viewing programs I've run across in all my years.  The way it functions reminds me of the days when quality programs were written in assembly language, took up virtually no drive space or RAM, and were incredibly powerful.

Some of that power came from their simplicity in operation.  FastStone image viewer is very intuitive and a great way to prevent the people you support at the desktop level from calling you because they can't figure out how to open or view an image that someone sent them.  In it's simplest form it opens the image full screen with no toolbars or other window dressing.  Just the image you selected to view.  If you punch an arrow key it displays the next image in the folder quickly and seamlessly.  Done looking?  Just tap the ESC key and as quickly as it came it's gone.  I would be sold if that's all it did.

But wait, there's more!  While viewing an image, move your mouse to the left edge and a menu appears that has all the basic tools you could want.  They are easy to use and understand though some might find them a little scary at first. Flip, rotate, crop, etc.. they are all there.  NICE!

Want more?  Sure.. Run your mouse to the other side of the image and out pops all the hidden meta data and stats for this image.  But we aren't done yet..  Move your mouse to the top and get thumbnail images along with basic folder/file navigation buttons and flip rotate slideshow, email, print, etc..  Oh and the familiar red X button for those who didn't think about hitting ESC to exit the program.

Not to be left out, mouse down to the bottom of the screen for the 4th and final pop-out button bar with most of the same functions of the left menu but in button only form for the more familiar user.

And all this in a FREE for the home user program.  Even for commercial use, the $35 price tag is very reasonable for what you are getting. I highly recommend this one..  http://faststone.org

Oh, I almost forgot.  If you just open the program from the start menu you are presented with a very nice file navigation system to use for organizing all your images.  Did I mention how fast it was? This puts windows explorer to shame when it comes to performance.

Here is the brief description from the website..

FastStone Image Viewer 5.3 Freeware (Last Update: 2014-10-24)  
An image browser, converter and editor that supports all major graphic formats including BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO, TGA and camera raw files. It has a nice array of features such as image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, color adjustments, musical slideshow and much more.

FastStone has other image handling tools that are very much worth a look at while you are there.  I've used their image resizer on a web project with thousands of images that all had to be sized the same. It was done in no time with no learning curve what so ever.  Go get it, you'll be glad you did!
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For many many years now I have tried very hard NOT to get attached to utility software.  Too many times in the past I've fallen in love with a piece of software that made a task easier only to be let down when the author or company dropped it.  Or the newer version of Windows no longer supported it and the author company did a complete rewrite of it and ruined it for me.  Never again! I've said time and time again. 

Well, without trying, I've allowed one to creep into my life.  I do a lot of editing of various file types.  HTML files, Config files, PHP files, Text Files, etc.  And while notepad.exe works for all these, it leaves a lot to be desired.  Most of the time I'm jumping between HTML and PHP files so having something that works with both AND that highlights the code parts of these files is very helpful.  So I had been playing with many different ones.  From things like coffeecup for HTML files to NotePad++ for most anything.  I mean I downloaded and used a very large assortment of these kinds of programs.

But over the years, there is one that I keep going back to.  It's PSPad.  I also liked one called UltraEdit, but PSPad is freeware while UltraEdit has a lofty price tag.  $80 for a text editor is just a little over the top. I would have found it tough at half that price.  Don't get me wrong, it does a bunch of really cool and useful things.  But PSPad fulfills all my needs and it's free. 

When I'm working on HTML files I really like the built in code formatter.  It's not perfect (are any of them) but it does a good enough job for when I take over a web page that someone else made a mess of. 

The features I use the most are just a small portion of the features it has available, but they have become a bare minimum for my needs in a text editor. 
  And code syntax highlighter
  Macros
  column mode for the selection tool
  spellchecker
  powerful search including searching in multiple files
  matching bracket highlighting
  and working with multiple files.

That is just the tip of the iceberg of features it has.  I've found it to be very stable and one of those little programs that I just can't live without.

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KeePass Password Safe

We all need to use software like this these days.  There are just too many places online that require a password.  And they are requiring the passwords be more and more complex along with security questions, etc. I've found that KeePass Password Safe is a great program for managing all my passwords in one place with access via one password.

There are 2 versions of KeePass available.  While the newer version (2.24 as of this writing) has more features it has one really annoying bug.  The first time you open it each day it takes forever to load.  For this reason I went back to the previous version 1.26 which works just fine for my needs.

I make it even better by using the portable version of KeePass and then placing it on a dropbox or skydrive along with the password file.  That way it's available to all my computers and if I add or change a password while at work, when I get home and open KeePass there all the changes are there.  There is even a KeePass and dropbox app for my Android phone.  I have not used it yet, but I like that should I need to get to my passwords and all I have is my cell phone.  I will be able to.  All for no cost.  Gotta love it!

If you don't currently use a password keeper of some kind I urge you to start now.  Yes it's a little bit of a hassle, but that little hassle will save you many moments of frustration when you can't recall your password and have to renew it.  Check out all the feature of KeePass by clicking on the link.

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Couldn't believe that there wasn't something like this already on Google communities.  So I made one myself.  ;-)
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I've never been a "fan" of Adobe software products, so it's no surprize that I don't use Adobe Reader as my default PDF viewing program.  For a utility that is supposed to simply display a PDF file it is HUGE and a MASSIVE RESOURCE HOG!  Not to mention how Adobe is trying hard to make PDF their own thing by adding proprietary features that only work is you use Adobe's products, etc...  

I'm VERY happy with the alternate PDF viewer that I found and use.  PDF-Xchange Viewer from Tracker Software is the choice for me.  Not only is it a great and compatible viewer program, but the free version allows me to annotate and even alter exiting PDF documents.  That's a HUGE feature for the free version.  I can easily create a "Stamp" that is my scanned in Signature and now when someone like a bank sends me a PDF form that I need to fill out and sign, I can use the "typewriter" tool in PDF X-Change viewer to fill out the form just as I would have done in the old days on a typewriter.  And then I can "stamp" my signature on the signature line and save the file and return email it back to the bank.  

I never had to print a thing and the returned document is legible and professionally filled out and properly signed with a handwritten signature.  How awesome is that?  That takes too long?  Not at all.  It's quick, easy, and professional looking.  All thanks to PDF X-change Viewer.

I can draw boxes with text in them and arrows pointing to things on the page.  Great for critiquing someone's work or pointing out things in a large document you are sending to someone else.  I can save out a page or two from a manual and add my own comments before emailing it to whoever I'm helping with a problem. 

I've tried a lot of different PDF viewers in my days and this one beats them all hands down.  I have never needed to use Adobe Reader since finding PDF X-change viewer.  Even when company websites have told me I "must have Adobe Reader" to view their PDF file, I've been able to use PDF X-Change Viewer.  

I suppose there may be some PDF documents that are created using Adobe PDF Editing software that MAY not work correctly with PDF X-Change Viewer, but I have yet to encounter one.  And if I did, that would tell me something about the company that made that document and I might consider an alternate company just for that reason alone. ;-)

Here's a link to get your own copy of PDF  X-Change Viewer.  The download button is in the upper left area of the home page.

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Couldn't believe that there wasn't something like this already on Google communities.  So I made one myself.  ;-)
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Star Trek Trivia for Today -                
One of the most frequently quoted Trek lines – "Beam me up, Scotty!" – isn't a quote at all, it's a paraphrase.
The origination of the phrase comes from "The Gamesters of Triskelion" episode during season two of the Original Series, when Captain Kirk tells chief engineer Montgomery Scott, "Scotty, beam us up." While there have been plenty of iterations, the actual phrase that has become an intricate part of pop culture was never used, not in that episode or in any of the "Star Trek" television shows or films.
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