May 24, 2006

Who invented the jet plane?

Small quiz:

  • Who invented the jet plane?

  • Who invented the grandfather of baseball?

  • Who invented the pen?

  • Who invented cybernetics?

  • Who invented the insulin?

  • Where is the home of Dracula?

  • Who wrote the first history of religions?

  • What is the second spoken language in Microsoft?

  • Which nation was the first to have a happy graveyard?

  • Who got the first 10 in gymnastics (and helped computer display a perfect 10)?

  • Where are the most beautiful women, best food and wine (little bit of exageration here)?

Watch this to get the answer:

May 15, 2006

Free Calls within US and Canada with Skype

Well I just receieved an email from Skype announcing me that until the end of the year calls to all phones within US and Canada are totally free, no strings attached.

Free SkypeOut in US and Canada

"How does this work?
If you’re in the US or Canada, you can use SkypeOut to call any landline or mobile number in both the USA and Canada for free.

If you’re in the US or Canada and calling any other country, OR if you’re in any other country and calling landline or mobile numbers in the US or Canada, the standard SkypeOut rates apply."

I'm still a little bit shocked. Boy I really wouldn't want to be in the pants of Vonage or other VOIP providers. Read the original post here: Free calls to all landlines and mobile phones within the US and Canada

May 10, 2006

Batch rename tutorial

LifeHacker and Yahoo! Tech posted a tip on how to batch rename a list of files in Windows Explorer. I thought of making a small tutorial on this, mainly because they didn't mention anything about the powerful batch renaming utility in Total Commander (one of the best file managers out there).

  • Ok, first things first. Open Windows Explorer and browse to a folder where you have a bunch of files that you want to batch-rename (for instance images stored from your camera). You can open directly Windows Explorer by pressing the Windows key and E. No shame if you don't know exactly which one is the windows key, see the image below:

    Windows key

  • Now select the files that you want to rename and then press F2 (or right click and select Rename)

    Batch rename

  • Enter a name that you want to use for the files, and then press Enter. You'll see that all the files will be renamed and they will start with your entered name plus (number). If you don't like what happened or want to go back to the original names, click Ctrl+Z (or Edit->Undo). Problem is that you'll have to do this for each individual image.

    After rename

Now, this is how is done in Windows Explorer. There are also freeware tools to do this, much more powerful then the Windows XP batch renaming tool, like the Rename-It tool (open-source). But if you're a Total Commander user, you know that beside having the best file manager out there (personal opinion), you also have a powerful renaming tool.
In Total Commander just select the files you want to rename and press Ctrl+M to open the Multi-Rename-Tool.

multi-rename tool in total commander

There are a lot of options in there, so you better hit the F1 key to open the help file and read what each of those options does. An example (from Total Commander's page): "[N] means the name of the file (without the extension), [N1-5] means the first 5 characters of the file name, [C] means a counter, etc. You can use the buttons to insert common placeholders
The file list below the buttons show the rename result in real time, without actually renaming the files!
When you're satisfied with the results, click "Start!"
If you made a mistake, you can click on "Undo". This even works after closing and re-opening the rename tool!"

So here you have it. Recommended only when you have lots of files, don't follow this tutorial only to bulk rename 4-5 files.

May 8, 2006

Always on top, with DeskPins

No it's not a sexual advice. And it's not related to being the first in a competition. It's about a simple freeware program called DeskPins. You should know this feature from Winamp that has an option to stay on top of the other windows, or from Robo Form, Outlook Express and others. While this is a particullary useful feature, it is missing in some Windows programs, such as NotePad or the Calculator. This is where DeskPins helps you, "to make any application topmost, that is, to keep it above all other windows".
How to use it?

  • First of all download it from here (direct download, under 100Kb): DeskPins v1.30
  • After unzipping it, you start the installation wizard by double-clicking on the executable file. I would keep marked only the Program files & help and Create Start menu icons options. You'll notice a small bug in here, but doesn't affect its functionality. If you uncheck all the options it will let you continue installing the application but without actually installing anything. So make sure you keep at least the first option checked.
    Deskpins installation

  • Now you can start it from Start->Programs->Deskpins. You'll see a tray icon that you can right click for more options or to use the pins. To "pin" a window, from the right-click option choose "Enter pin mode" and using the mouse click on a window that you want to keep on top of others. I use this mainly with NotePad and the Calculator.
    Using Deskpins

  • That's it if you want to use it for basic things, from time to time. If you want to use it everytime, you'll find useful the feature called AutoPins. As it suggests, it will automatically pin a certain window that it recognizes. It's very simple to define which window to pin, just click on Add and using those small "targets" drag them on the window that you want pinned everytime. You can choose also how much time DeskPins should wait before it pins the window (default is 200 ms).
    Autopin feature in Deskpins

It also has some hotkey function and some language packs you can use with it if English is not your mother language. Visit Elias Fotinis' Website for more information.