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Simple Windows App to Temporarily Disable Your Screen Saver

You probably use a screen saver on your PC, which kicks in every few minutes if you're not busy typing.  Screen savers are fun and useful, but occasionally then can get in the way.  If you're carefully reading something long and complex on your screen, for example, Windows isn't (yet!) smart enough to realise that, just because you're not typing, you're still using the computer.  Alternatively, perhaps you're downloading a large file, or compiling a big program, and you want to keep an eye on progress without being distracted by an LCD aquarium.

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Create Your Own Tiny Custom Linux Installation CD

Yes, this is another Linux story.  And yes, I know I did a Linux-ish posting yesterday.  But don't worry, that doesn't mean I've defected from Windows, and it certainly doesn't mean that this section of the site is going to be overrun with Linux postings.  It just so happens that I've been doing some work in this area for the last few days, and wanted to share a couple of interesting finds.

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Copy A Downloaded Linux Disk Image To a Bootable USB Stick

If you use Linux, you're probably used to downloading disk image files of new releases in .img format and burning them to a bootable DVD or CD.  There are plenty of free tools that can do this, though I've always preferred the simple DVDBURN.EXE or CDBURN.EXE command-line tools that are supplied for free with the Windows Resource Kit.  

But if your computer is capable of booting from a USB thumb drive, there's no need to use CD or DVD disks.  Instead, just burn the image to a USB device.

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An Office Suite That's Especially Designed For Kids

OpenOffice is probably the best-known of the free, open-source office software suites.  It comprises a word processor, spreadsheet, and graphics apps.  But despite the fact that it's open source, few attempts have been made to create genuinely new and useful products from that code.  Until now.

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This Online Paint Program's As Good As Any Windows App

If you need evidence that the humble web browser, and the HTML language, has finally grown up, look no further than online drawing/painting programs such as Picnik (www.picnik.com).  No longer is the browser simply a program to display text and the occasional image, but it's now a complete environment in whch to run complex programs.  Hence Google's forthcoming Chrome OS, of course, which in reality is little more than a bootable browser and a TCP/IP stack.

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DataSafe Backup - Average Backup Software with A Unique Twist

Quick Summary

  • Very basic backup software, with simple 3 step job creation.
  • Backup Types Supported, Full, Incremental, Differential, Mirror.
  • Backup Scheduler.
  • 9 levels of compression. (Zip)
  • Password protection and encryption  (AES)
  • Backup to local drive, CD, or FTP.  (No DVD support)
  • Include/Exclude Filters
  • Backup Open files (Volume Shadow Service)
  • Uses hard links with mirror style backups to help eliminate data duplication

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I Actually Like This Simple Windows Media Player

Most days, I try to add a new entry to our ever-growing collection of Hot Finds.  But some days, as you'll have noticed, nothing appears.  Does this mean that I'm having a day off?  Not usually, no.  Well, not unless we're talking about the past couple of weeks, during which I moved to a new office and was thus without easy internet access for a few days.

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A Replacement Windows Explorer. With Tabs!

If you like playing with replacements for the standard Windows Explorer, you might just love this one for a number of reasons.  First, it's a tiny download of just half a megabyte.  Second, it doesn't need installing.  Just unzip the downloaded file and click on the application to run it.  So if you don't like it, removing it from your PC requires nothing more than deleting the file. Third, it's open source and free.  Fourth, it comes in 32- and 64-bit flavours. 

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Back Up Huge Files In Seconds (But Not the First Time!)

Unix and Linux people love talking about a great utility called rsync.  In a way, it's rather like the Windows utilities "robocopy" or "xcopy".  But where rsync really wins is that it only copies as much of a file as it needs to.  So if only a few bytes in a 3 GB file have changed, rsync could copy that file almost instantly whereas robocopy or xcopy would need to shift all 3 GB across the system again.  A pain if you're backing up across your local LAN, and a massive problem if you want to back up across the intern

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