Tag Archives: Utilities

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)

GodMode Creator for Windows 7 and Vista

Earlier this week, we took a look at the much hyped God Mode‘ trick and explained how it works and why it isn’t Godly after all. The God Mode trick simply uses Globally Unique Identifiers (GUID), which point to certain special folders.

Ed Bott provided the GUIDs for 39 useful Windows 7 and Vista shortcuts. Now, the folks at TheWindowsClub have created a free utility to easily create God Modes in Windows 7 and Vista. The utility contains 38 useful special folder shortcuts. Simply click on an icon and it will automatically create the respective shortcut on your desktop.

God-Mode-Creator

Techie Buzz Verdict

God Modes act as simple shortcuts to various special folders already present in your system. They don’t reveal any hidden settings and as such are only useful for providing quick access to frequently used options. The GodMode Creator is a straight-forward app, which simplifies this process by automatically creating the shortcuts for you. However, the main limitation of this app is that, the shortcuts are always created on your desktop. There is no option to specify the target directory.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2/5 (Average)

[ Download GodMode Creator for Windows 7 and Vista (32bit only) ]

Easy Full System Backup and Recovery with Easeus Todo Backup

This Christmas, Santa brought me a new HP Mini 110 netbook. It came with Windows XP pre-installed and it also came with all the normal stuff except for two things. It doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive and it doesn’t have a system recovery CD.

The first thing I wanted to do after getting all of my must haveprograms loaded, was to get the new netbook backed up on my external USB backup drive. I knew that creating the backup on my USB drive was not going to be a problem with almost any software I chose to use. However, how was I going to be able to boot my PC into a recovery mode if Windows or my hard drive failed? After some trial and error, I found that Easeus Todo Backup makes the job pretty easy once you’ve learned a trick or two. Below, I’ll share my new tricks with you, so that you won’t have to sweat for hours figuring it out on your own.

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)

Enable Aero Effect in Windows Vista and Windows 7 Home Basic

Aero was one of the most celebrated additions to Windows Vista. The snazzy new Aero effects brought Windows on par with modern GUIs. Windows 7 further refined Aero and succeeded in delivering an attractive yet intuitive interface. Unfortunately, Aero is disabled in cheaper editions of Windows Vista and 7 (Home Basic and Starter editions). Aero is also locked on lower end systems.

AeroEnabler is a simple utility which unlocks Aero in Home Basic and Starter Editions. It can also be used to disable Windows hardware check. This makes it possible for everyone to get a taste of Aero, without upgrading the hardware or software.

Enable-Aero-On-Windows-Vista-7-Home-Basic-Starter

Techie Buzz Verdict

AeroEnabler does what it promises. However, one must be careful while forcefully enabling Aero effects on lower end configurations. The hardware check was included in the first place because, running Aero on systems which aren’t powerful enough, may lead to major performance issues. If your hardware doesn’t satisfy the Windows Display Driver Model specifications, then you would probably be better off without Aero.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

[ Download AeroEnabler ]

via NirmalTV

Create Bootable Live Linux USB Drives with UNetbootin

This year for Christmas, I received a new netbook to play with. It came pre-loaded with Windows XP, so I’ve had a little vacation from Windows 7. I’ve also had to live without a CD/DVD drive, and that’s been the real challenge for me.

Once I had my netbook set up the way I wanted it, my first order of business was to create a full system backup. Since my netbook doesn’t have a CD drive, I had to figure out how to boot a recovery system from the flash drive slot, or a USB stick.

The backup software I chose came with a Live CD ISO file that you would normally burn to a CD. Once the CD was booted, you could access your backup files on the network or on an external hard drive, and then you could restore your system. I tried a variety of programs, but I finally found a perfect solution at Sourceforge.net. UNetbootin (free and open source) easily created a bootable SD flash card containing my system recovery software. Below I’ll give you some details about this fantastic utility.

Find Files Fast with UltraSearch

UltraSearch_MAINICON Last week, I told you how to Replace Windows XP Search with a faster file search utility. In the article I mentioned three very good and fast replacements.

This week, I’ve found a fourth search utility that I can recommend as well.

A company, named Jam Software, has just released a beta version of UltraSearch. It’s a relatively small and very fast file search utility for NTFS local drives. It should run well in any Windows OS that uses NTFS file systems (WinNT, Win2K, WinXP, Vista, Win7).

Features I like:

  • It’s very fast, almost as fast as indexed search tools
  • It’s small, less than 2mb download
  • It’s simple, no options other than selecting drives
  • It accepts wildcard characters ( * ? )
  • It allows the Windows context menus to show (right click on file)
  • It’s available as a zip download and installed download
  • It includes a help file (English and German)
  • It can be used from a portable drive (flash drive, floppy disk, CD)
  • It’s freeware, no strings attached

Screenshot:

ultrasearch-main

First, I want to clarify why I like search tools that don’t create indexes. Usually, an indexed search tool must run in the background, continuously watching your hard drive for changes. Often the index databases can be large, sometimes very large (gigabytes). Indexed search tools, can not be used from a portable drive, at least not easily.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

UltraSearch isn’t a new idea. There are a few other tools that take advantage of the NTFS file tables to search quickly. It also does not search inside of files for text or other data. It cannot be considered completely portable since it appears to write data to the Application Data folders and likely other areas. However, if all you need is a very fast and easy file search, it’s a big winner.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very good)

Use Function Keys to Launch Applications or Documents

Natural keyboards usually have 12 function keys which provide users with several easy to use functions. However, not every function key is actually usable without key combinations. Few of these keys include F9, F10, F11 and F12.

function_keys_utility

Function Keys is a handy , which will allow you to setup shortcuts for the above function keys, so that you can quickly launch an application or document by pressing the function keys.

Once you download the software, just run it and setup the applications you want to open when you press the function keys, save you settings and your all set.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Function keys is a , however its requirement of .Net Framework 4.0, is something which will deter users from using it. I myself was using .Net Framework 3.5 and had to upgrade the .Net framework, to test the software.

Other than that, it is a decent download and does the job it is supposed to do. I tested this app on and it worked perfectly. However, you will need to download .Net Framework 4.0 to use it.

Ratings: 2/5 (Average)

Download Function Keys

Google Password Decryptor Helps You Recover All Google Passwords

Google uses a centralized account for all its services. While this can be useful in a way, it is also equally troublesome. If you forget your Google account password, you cannot access other accounts, such as Youtube, Picasa or any other service provided by Google.

Google Password Decryptor serves the need here. This is a simple tool that helps you to recover all the Google account passwords within a fraction of a second. It can extract passwords from various Google applications. Some of them are listed below:

  • Google Talk
  • Google Picasa
  • Google Desktop Search
  • Gmail Notifier
  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome

There is no need to install this application either. Just extract the files and start running it. All you need to do is click on a button that says ” Start Recovery” and it gives you the password list of all applications.

google_password_decryptor
google_password_decryptor

It also has a feature for exporting the password list either as an HTML document or a text document for future reference.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

Nice little tool. No bad points with this. It meets expectations. It gives out the result too fast. A very needed tool for everyone. Did I mention anywhere that it is freeware? Yes, this is   freeware.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Windows Hotkey Explorer Shows You Global Shortcut Keys

Most of us know shortcut key combinations like Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V and more common ones by heart, however, in addition to those commonly used . Many different applications register global hotkeys, which can be useful to launch applications and perform different tasks.

windows_registered_hotkeys

Also read: Put the Alt, Shift and Ctrl keys to good use

Windows hotkey explorer is a decent , which displays all the globally registered hotkeys on Windows. With the help of this tool, you might come across some very useful hotkeys thanks to it.

Techie Buzz Verdict

This is a good which you can use to find out the globally registered hotkeys on any computer. However, it would be good if it could also show shortcut keys registered by different applications.

I tested this on and it worked great. However, one annoying problem with the software is that, the Alt + Tab switch will stop working while this app is open, it starts working after you close it though.

Techie Buzz Ratings: 2.5/5 (Good)

Download Windows Hotkey Explorer