Split and Merge PDF Files with GiosPSM

pdf-icon I deal with PDF files almost every day at work. Unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, making changes to existing PDF files is sometimes a problem. I’ve discovered one program that helps me deal with splitting and merging PDF files. It’s name is Gios PDF Splitter and Merger‘ (GiosPSM).

GiosPSM is the result of an open source set of tools for manipulating PDF files. It is a stand-alone program and it’s all contained in a single executable file about 145kb in size. The program is small, mainly because it relies on the .NET Framework v2.0 libraries. Here’s what the main interface looks like:

GiosPSM-interface

The feature I like best about GioPSM is the fact that you can drag and drop PDF files into it’s list when you are using it. This is a big time saver when you are merging dozens of PDF files. So far, I haven’t found any other PDF split/merge tools that allowed drag and drop without some other limitations.

GiosPSM also allows you to set page ranges when you are splitting and merging so that you can specify exactly what you need to work with. There is also a command line version of GiosPSM for those who need to automate splitting and merging operations.

The one thing I don’t like about GiosPSM is the fact that it’s a little fussy and will occasionally crash on you. When it happens, no permanent harm is done and it’s only a minor problem.

Download: Gios Home Page (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 GiosPSM is easy to use, it’s small and it’s portable. This is a great free product that is actively being developed. The additional command line version is a real bonus for those needing to automate PDF operations.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Center TaskBar Icons in Windows 7 With TaskDock [Windows]

I used to be a big fan of programs like ObjectDock and RocketDock. However, I stopped using them after I upgraded to Windows 7. Windows 7’s taskbar (affectionately called the superbar) acts as a pretty good application launcher and makes these dock applications almost redundant.

TaskDock is a free portable utility, which enhances the taskbar’s dock-like feel by automatically centering all your icons. There is very little else to say about this app. It is tiny download and does just what it is supposed to do. As soon as you launch it, it will center all the icons present in your taskbar. TaskDock does not have any interface and operates silently from the system tray. It continuously monitors applications as they are opened and closed and re-aligns the taskbar buttons accordingly.

TaskDock-Center-Taskbar-Icons-Windows-7

Techie Buzz Verdict

TaskDock does not serve any real purpose other than making the taskbar a bit more pleasing to the eyes. However, folks who like to dress up their system with fancy themes and icons will appreciate this subtle taskbar enhancement. TaskDock can be a bit jumpy but worked well enough for me to give it a thumbs up.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Good)

[ Download TaskDock for Windows 7 ]

Download Portable Opera 10.5

recently released the Opera 10.5, the fastest browser on earth. If you are someone who lives out of a USB stick, you do not need to download and install the Windows version. Previously mentioned Portable Opera, have released a new standalone version of Opera 10.5 which you can run from a USB drive.

opera_10_5_portable

If you have already been using an earlier version of Opera Portable, you can also download an updater, which will update your current install to Opera 10.5.

The portable version can also be used to try out Opera 10.5 without having to actually install it on your system. Either ways, I highly recommend Opera 10.5 to users as it is definitely the fastest browser available today.

Download Opera 10.5 for USB [via Download Squad]

Tweak XP Security Settings with XP-Antispy

A few hours ago, Pallab told us how to Optimize Windows 7 Services with SMART. That made me wonder if there was a similar utility for XP. However, I found out that the SMART utility mentioned in Pallab’s article now supports Vista and XP. After a bit more research, I found a utility I’ve heard about for a long time and hadn’t tried until now.

XP-Antispy is a small application that lets you control some of the XP system services and registry settings. Disabling these services and settings can make your PC safer from outside threats and also keep it from contacting Microsoft when it doesn’t need to. These settings could be changed manually by a Windows user, however, tracking all of them down and changing them could take hours and hours of hard work. XP-Antispy makes it simple.

Here’s what XP-Antispy looks like:

xp-antispy-interface

As you can see, the interface is simple enough, and the operation is as simple as adding check-marks or removing them. Each setting is briefly explained so that you have an idea what each does. Antispy also allows you to keep a copy of your old settings so that you can always return to them if you need to.

There is a built in help file that is fairly detailed if you need it. I was also pleased to find that a portable version (in a zip file) is available for download as well as the typical installer based version.

Important Note: This program is not recommended for a new or casual Windows user. Many of these settings should only be changed by experienced users. As an additional precaution, you could also make a full back up the XP registry with ERUNT before making changes with this tool.

Home Page of XP-Antispy

http://www.xp-antispy.org/index.php/en/ueber

Alternate download at Download.com

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I like XP-Antispy’s simplicity and the help file that is provided. I’m also happy that the author updates this program quite often to keep it current with today’s changing security needs. However, I wish that there was more explanation for each setting. I was also disappointed by a re-directed to eBay on my first attempt to download the zip file. That’s why I included the alternate download location above.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Lupo Pensuite Provides 200 Important Software for your USB Drive

Working on multiple computers can be difficult at times. You have all your software applications, browser extensions and files on your PC and suddenly you face a situation where you have no other option but to work on a shared computer. The worst part is that you may not have admnistrative priviledges and thus can’t install software in the shared system.

In such situations, I rely on Portable Apps and Lupo Pensuite Рtwo awesome portable application packages which help you get the job done. After loading a portable suite on your USB stick,  you have a browser, word processor, PDF viewer, media players, image editor and possibly every piece of software installed and ready to use from the removable drive.

Download Lupo Pensuite

Installation of Lupo PenSuite

Installing the program is easy because you only need to double click the exceutable and choose a location for the files to get extracted. You can install the suite on a local folder and copy all the contents of the folder into a USB drive. Double click the Lupo Pensuite icon and you will see the following interface:

lupo-pensuite

Features of Lupo Pensuite

Lupo Pensuite comes in two packages – Full and Lite. I installed the full version to try out all the features of Lupo Pensuite.

Browser: The most important program anyone needs is a browser. Lupo Pensuite offers the portable version of Firefox 3.6 and Opera 10. Install the suite and you are all set to enjoy the Firefox extensions that you use on a daily basis.

Email client: Lupo Pensuite uses Thunderbird as a default email client and you can also choose Pop Peeper as an email notifier.

Instant Messaging: Wow! Pidgin, Meebo and PixaMsn. Did I said it all?

P2P, FTP: Portable torrent clients such as utorrent and Emule are provided so you can download all the torrents easily. Filezilla portable is included in the suite for all your FTP jobs.

Media Players: VLC media player and Smplayer are the default mediaplayer application in Lupo Pensuite.

Image Editor: Irfan view, GIMP to name a few.

Screen Capture: Pickpick and Faststone capture.

These are only a few tools included in the full suite. You can read about the entire list here.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Lupo PenSuite contains all the important programs you use everyday. I prefer this suite over Portable apps because it has so many options and features to choose from. You can install or remove specific programs and there are no drawbacks found.

Techie Buzz rating: 5/5 (perfect).

Optimize Windows 7 Services with SMART

Windows Operating System has been designed to be suitable for almost anyone and everyone. However, there are always disadvantages associated with the one-size fits all approach. Windows ships with dozens services – many of which common users do not require. Disabling these unnecessary services helps in reducing boot time and increases general system performance.

Over the years, BlackViper has earned a reputation for providing in-depth and accurate advisory on tweaking Windows System services. You can find his excellent guide on optimizing Windows 7 services over here. However, manually tweaking your system can be time consuming. In order to speed up this process TheWindowsClub has released SMART (Service Management And RealEasy Tweaking).

SMART-Tweak-Windows-7-Services-Configuration

SMART automatically optimizes your services configuration in accordance to BlackViper’s guide. You are provided three presets – Safe, Tweaked and Advanced. As the name suggests, ‘Safe’ is intended to work on most PCs and disables only the absolutely useless services. The ‘Tweaked’ configuration takes things to the next level and changes a total of 57 service settings (compared to 19 in ‘Safe’). ‘Advanced’ mode is designed for gamers who seek extreme performance, even at the expense of functionality. This configuration is not recommended unless you know what you are doing. Several features including Wireless Networking, Windows Defender and Windows Update are disabled in this mode.

Techie Buzz Verdict

SMART doesn’t do anything you can’t do manually, but it helps you in getting things done faster. The main reason why you might want to use SMART is that in case things go wrong, you can get back your default configuration with the click of a button. It is also a handy utility to carry while you visit your friends and family during the holidays.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download SMART for Windows 7 ]

Download Firefox 3.6 Portable Edition

For all you people who like to live their computing life out of a flash drive, Firefox 3.6 is now available as a portable software, courtesy PortableApps.com.

Firefox 3.6 Portable Edition

Portable Apps have released the latest version of Firefox just a day after it was officially released. The portable version of the Firefox 3.6 can be installed on any portable flash drive and allows you to take your browser, bookmarks, settings and extensions and use it on the go.

Firefox 3.6 portable is available in 15 languages including Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Russian and Spanish (Spain and International).

Download Firefox 3.6 Portable

See the Whois Information Of any Domain from Desktop

The Whois information of a domain tells us the following important things:

  • The registrar of a domain.
  • The IP address and name servers of a domain.
  • The date when the domain was created
  • The contact information of the domain owner and his address.

If you need to perform frequent Whois lookups of different domains and then it may become necessary to use a desktop tool rather than rely on any third party websites. Whoislookup is a nice little tool for Windows which can be used to find the Whois information of a domain from desktop.

Here is how the interface of the application looks:

whois-lookup-from-desktop

To see the Whois information of a domain, enter the URL in the domain name field and press “Lookup”. The entire Who is information of the domain will be available inside the application window.

detailed-whois-information-desktop-tool

As you can see, the application shows the Whois information of the domain in the left frame while the website loads in the right. All the domain names are saved in the “History” pane so that you can quickly repeat the Whois lookups at a later time. You can also use this tool to check whether a domain is available to buy or not.

The application is portable and you can use it on multiple computers from a removable drive without installation. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

The application is a small and useful tool for bloggers and webmasters.However, the ability to save the Whois information in a text file would be perfect.

Techie-Buzz rating: 3/5(average).

Create Animated Gifs with UnFREEZ

Once in a while, it’s fun to play with animated GIFs. These are the little moving images you often see at websites. Some people like them so much that they collect large numbers of them.

Bouncing_sheep_2

Other people really enjoy making them. If you’ve never created an animated (active) GIF, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is if you have the right tool.

I’ve tried a number of GIF tools over the years, but UnFREEZ is typically the one I use for simple and quick projects.

Grab a copy

The first thing to do is to go to the Whitsoftdev website and download UnFREEZ. You will first be amazed at how small this utility is. It’s less than 20K in size. It’s offered as a ZIP file, so all you need to do is extract it to a folder on your hard drive, then double click to run it.

Here’s what it looks like.

unfreez_app

How does it work?

Create or gather some GIF files, make sure that they are all the same dimensions, then drag them one at a time into the frame window on UnFREEZ.

As you can see in the screen-shot above, I dragged in 5 files and they are all 284 x 96 pixels in size. If you want your animation to keep playing over and over, be sure to place a check in the Loop animationcheck-box. The Frame delayis the amount of time each of your images is shown before the next one displays. The Frame delay is measured in hundredths of a second, so that 100cs is equal to 1 second.

Once you have your GIFs loaded, the loop set and the frame delay entered, you are ready to push the Make Animated GIFbutton to create your new file.

Don’t be too concerned about getting the frame delay set perfectly the first try. You can always change the delay and regenerate a new file.

Here’s a cute little animated sign I made just for this article. It only took me a few minutes to create.

unfreezee

Note: If you don’t like UnFREEZ, you can also create animated gifs online at GIFUP.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

UnFREEZ is a perfect little tool for people just starting to learn about animated GIFs. It’s great for small projects, however, you can also use it to make some pretty decent GIF movies.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Turn Photos into Art with FotoSketcher

You can create some very stunning pencil sketches, pen and ink drawings or paintings the old fashioned way if you have the time and materials. Since I don’t have the time, materials or the skill, I’m using version 1.95 of FotoSketcher on my Windows PC.

A few years ago, I found a nice Photo to Sketch utility that I used to make a picture for my online avatar. I also found an online tool to create sketches from photos. However. I was blown away by all of the features in FotoSketcher. It’s free, it’s not a big program, and it’s also available as a stand-alone executable file.

Even though it’s simple to open a new picture in this app, it may take a while for you to figure out the multitude of effects that you can apply to an image. Here’s an example of a picture that I found on the author’s website.

FotoSketcher - 280130_8025

This looks like a very nice oil painting, but the author started with a real photo he found on Stock.xchng.

Below you can see a video tutorial I found at the FotoSketcher website.


Download FotoSketcher:

http://www.fotosketcher.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This little freeware application takes photo tweaking to the next level. It makes it possible for an average joe to create real art with almost no training and very little time. I can easily give it a highly recommendedstamp of approval. (Note a before and after I tweaked our stamp with FotoSketcher to make it look like a colored pencil drawing).

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 FotoSketcher - techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)