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12Mar/090

Xobni Makes Life Easier. Really. It Does.

xobni_scXobni is a new plugin for Outlook 2007 users and it kicks your email capabilities ass.

Email search. Way faster than the current Outlook07 search. When I started typing in the first two or three letters in Xobni it immediately began pulling up emails with those letters used. It has been a time saver because Outlook takes forever to search through 2 years of emails. With Xobni, it's pulling them up in seconds.

Email Analytics. Fancy little graph showing you the frequency of email usage between you and your contact. Below the graph, it shows you the number of messages sent in and out and the contacts rank based on that number.

Click-to Functions. Click on their phone number, click to schedule time with person (creates a default email and pulls your availability from your calendar!), or click to email this person.

Network. Shows you all the people you and that person are associated with.

Conversations. Shows you the history of correspondence between you and that person. How easy!

Files Exchanged. Shows you all the files you and that person have exchanged. How convenient!

Fun Facts. Share fun facts with your contacts, such as who responds the fastest to your emails.

Unlike many Outlook add-ons, Xobni seems to add its functionality without dragging down Outlook's performance, or worse, crashing it. It's useful and it doesn't get in the way. There's no reason not to try it, but be warned: it's still in beta, so just because others haven't had problems doesn't mean you'll get away scot-free.

And the download link.

Enjoy

5Mar/090

Visual versioning for designers

The company, Gird Iron Sofware, calls Flow a “Visual Workflow Manager.” I call it a miracle.

Programmers had versioning tools since the begining now it's time for the designers to get theirs. And it's a really good one.

Flow follows a project’s workflow by tracking and mapping out the revisions a file has gone through during your work process. It manages your project files, how they’re related to each other, and where they’re located.

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How It Works

Say that you have a final document for a client. It’s a PDF file that includes particular fonts and several images. Drop that PDF file onto Flow, and the application maps out the assets and the iterations of those assets for you. Double-click on a previous revision of an asset, such as one of the images, and Flow finds it on your computer instantly. Flow will let you know if you are missing any of the fonts in a project file.

Flow doesn’t care what the names of the files are; it identifies them through an ID number so even if you can’t remember what you named a file, Flow will find it for you and map it.

Flow not only gives you a history of a file and its iterations but allows you to revert to any version as needed. They call this “Visual Versioning.” You can also perform a “Visual Search” to locate any file and to see a visual diagram of how it fits into the project you’re working on.

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Asset Tracking
One of my favourite features is the asset tracking across multiple programs. Without any intervention from the designer, Flow will detect copy/paste and import functions from application to application. That means it can tell that you've created a vector in Illustrator, imported it into Photoshop, and then exported it to JPG and added it to an HTML file.

Project Reports

Another nice feature is the ability to track how much time was spent working on a particular file or on a project as a whole. This actually fits quite nicely with how I used to determine how much time was spent on a project. I've often gone through my email and phone logs to see which project I was working on at any given time. Timesheets have always been a hassle and this would definitely help me get a more accurate view of where my time is being spent.

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Versioning

I like how it'll automatically version the files that you are working on and even tracks when you do Save As. You'll be able to configure how far back a file is versioned so as not to eat up your entire hard drive (although considering I barely use 20% of my drive now, I'm not overly concerned). It creates thumbnails of each version, letting you quickly eyeball changes from version to version. It'll even track files on network drives or on removable storage.

Check out their video for a quick demo and a bit more details. For full details, just go and download it

27Feb/092

Stream movies and music directly from torrents

RARPlayer is a multimedia torrent player that allows you to watch movies and listen to audio without downloading the torrent. It streams movies and music directly from the torrent file so that you can start watching it just like any streaming video without having to wait for it to complete downloading.

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So, if you have a good download speed and a torrent with enough seeders, you will like this. You can even use it at your office :P

27Feb/092

View hidden files with a keyboard shortcut

HowToGeek has come up with an absolutely marvelous solution to quickly toggle the display of hidden files on your Windows computer. Often you have to view hidden files when making changes to system files or configuration files of softwares. Enabling the "show hidden files" option in Windows is a long process. The author of HowToGeek has coded a simple application in AutoHotkey script that runs in the background and toggles the status of the "show hidden files" option with a shortcut key combination - Win+H. There is no user interface to keep memory usage at a minimum, but you can customize with by editing the script which is provided on the site.

Once the application is running, all you have to do is hit the Win+H shortcut key.

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And immediately any hidden files will become visible. Hit the same shortcut key and the folders become hidden again.

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To make this application auto start, copy it to your startup folder C:\Documents and Settings\%username\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. Since there is no GUI, the only way to close the application is by killing the process through the task manager.

This application is going to make my life a lot easier. I wish it was available earlier. Download ToggleHiddenFiles.

27Feb/090

Group your desktop icons by putting a Fence around them

Stardock Fences is a free program that allows you to draw “fences” around groups of desktop icons which then become movable and resizable containers for your desktop icons. The fenced area becomes shaded in color and can be resized and moved around easily.

To use the program, simply hold down the right mouse button and draw a box around the icons you want to group. Once you release the button you will get an option to create a Fence and label it. The label either appears at the top of the Fence, always visible, or you can make it show up as a tooltip. The colors and transparency of the shaded area can be customized.

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Additionally, when you double click on the desktop all the icons vanish. Double click again to reveal them. This “helps you finally appreciate the wallpaper you have hiding behind all that clutter.” Fences integrate with the context menu allowing you edit, rename and lock a Fence directly by right clicking on it. You can also exclude a fence and individual icons from the hide feature.

StarDock says, “We think this feature is so useful, we’re applying for a patent on it.” And it's true. You'll love this tool and it is real usefull