Wednesday, December 31, 2003

PowerQuest Acquisition

Just browsing to the PowerQuest website to get some info on their DataKeeper product, I see this "Symantec Acquires PowerQuest". Hmmm...

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Bought a new PC!

Bought a new desktop PC today:

AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Processor
512 MB RAM
160 GB Hard Drive
DVD +/- RW Drive
CD-ROM Drive
8-in-1 Media Reader(USB 2.0, Secure Digital (SD), Smart Media, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Micro Drive, Multimedia Card)
Video: NVIDIA GeForce4 MX graphics (1 AGP 8x slot available for a Gaming graphics card)
Sound: nForce 6-channel Audio

It was the PC Magazine's Editor's choice for machines under $1000

Saturday, December 13, 2003

RSS aggregator hits and misses

A few days back I tried the freeware NewsMonster, which runs as a plugin to Mozilla, my current favorite web browser, or Netscape. It really was easy to install, use, and uninstall. I uninstalled it because I needed to read up how to stop it from starting automatically when Mozilla starts.

Then I tried the standalone "Brindys WinRSS feed reader". What crap.
Firstly, it installs onto the C: Drive without asking or giving you any choice.
It doesn't give you the choice of web browser to use.
Then, after uninstalling, it leaves a "WinRSS website" icon on the Windows Desktop,
and it also leaves the whole C:\Program Files\BRiNDYS Software\WinRSS\RSS directory behind.
Messy, messy, messy...

Monday, December 08, 2003

PC not booting

Well, I've just got acquainted with the Windows XP Recovery Console.
My PC suddenly decided not to boot for some reason. Fortunately I had a
previous encounter with the Recovery Console in Windows 2000, so my PC
is up and running....

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Aaargh reinstall!!!

It started as a simple problem. I wasn't able to uninstall or repair Visual Studio .NET 2002
from Windows XP. I did a search on Google (after finding nothing on AllTheWeb), and what I found wasn't very promising.

It seemed the only thing I could do was to delete the Visual Studio.Net directory under Program Files, and I would not be able to re-install VS.NET. Since I actually wanted to install Visual Studio .NET 2003, that was no good.

So I deleted the Windows XP partition, and restored the (Norton Ghost) backup of the Windows 2000 I had made before upgrading to Windows XP. Then I uninstalled Visual Studio .NET 2002 from the restored Windows 2000.
For good measure I also uninstalled a few other programs I did not need.
Then I upgraded to Windows XP again. Several hours later Windows XP was running, and Visual Studio .NET 2002 was no more!

Thursday, December 04, 2003


I had just seen this Dilbert Comic strip the other day.

Then one of my colleagues at work said that he refuses to buy anti-virus software from
"the same companies who also write the viruses". This is from an otherwise technically adept person.
Once again the American love of conspiracy theories triumphs over facts and logic.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Political Correctness sinks to new lows!

I just had to comment on this:

"L.A. Official: Computer Labels Offensive
Nov 26, 10:32 PM (ET)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A county official has asked computer and video equipment vendors to consider eliminating the terms "master" and "slave" from equipment because they may be considered offensive."

The full article is here.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Would Microsoft have the guts to do this?

I got the following email from the Debian Linux mailing list :

The Debian Project
November 21st, 2003

Some Debian Project machines compromised

This is a very unfortunate incident to report about. Some Debian servers were found to have been compromised in the last 24 hours. The archive is not affected by this compromise!

In particular the following machines have been affected:
. master (Bug Tracking System)
. murphy (mailing lists)
. gluck (web, cvs)
. klecker (security, non-us, web search, www-master)

Some of these services are currently not available as the machines undergo close inspection. Some services have been moved to other machines ( for example).

The security archive will be verified from trusted sources before it will become available again.

We apologise for the disruptions of some services over the next few days. We are working on restoring the services and verifying the content of our archives.

Contact Information
For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at; or contact

Would Microsoft ever send out an email like this?

Friday, November 21, 2003

Finding an old Web Browser

After setting up my old Pentium 233Mhz laptop for wireless internet, I wanted to upgrade the version of Internet Explorer. All Microsoft wanted to offer me was Internet Explorer 6.0, which from my experience does not play nice with Windows 98.

Anyway, using my favorite search engine, AllTheWeb, I found Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack 2 here. Interestingly enough, I got there via Daniel Petri's MCSEworld webpage.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Cool Palm

This weekend I got to try out the Tungsten C handheld (unfortunately not mine). It is one awesome handheld computer. The keyboard is much better thought out than the one on my Sony NX60 (how did I get from a Palm M505 to a Sony NX60 - that's another story). You can do most of the things you need to from the keyboard. I did not figure out a way to select words, but then again I haven't read the manual (yet). I did not really test out the speed, but the oodles of available memory just made me itch to load all the programs I could - hey, it would be 30Mb gone before you could blink!
What really was great was the wireless capability. It really is great to check your email, browse the web and check the weather forecast from a PDA.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Going Wireless

Well, I finally bought a wireless Router for my Cable connection, a 802.11b DI-514 Air 2.4GHz Wireless Router, as well as a wireless network card for my aging Laptop (a Taiwanese clone 233Mhz Pentium MMX). Setting it up was pretty simple, the instructions were good.

Deciding on the wireless router route (!) was helped by plenty of tips on PracticallyNetworked. Some of their articles are slightly out of date (no mention of 802.11g technology), but still good advice.

Setting it up was pretty simple, the instructions were good. An article in PC Magazine a few issues back gave some good tips.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More from the blunt edge...

My desktop computer is not what you would call leading edge. In fact, considering the workstations I use at work, it hardly even seems to qualify as blunt edge.
The specs are quite depressing actually:
Compaq Presario 5461
500 MHz AMD K-6 processor (with 3DNow! technology - I can't remember what 3DNow is except it was something extra added to the processor by AMD. (Info here if you are interested)
10.0 GB Hard Drive - I've since added a 20Gb Hard drive
64 MB 100 MHz SyncDRAM - which has been upgraded to 192Mb RAM - 8Mb is used as video memory.
CD-RW 4x2x24 Drive - a big selling point at the time - which has since been replaced by a CD-RW 48x24x48 Drive, the latest and fastest piece of hardware on the machine.

On this machine I'm currently running two Windows 98SE partitions on the second hard drive, Xandros Desktop Linux (I would highly recommend this Linux distro to anyone wanting to move from Windows to Linux), and Windows XP Professional, which gives decent performance on this machine.
To run all of these Operating Systems, I use a freeware utility called XOSL (Extended Operating System Loader). The original website ( is down, but XOSL is available at Please read the manual and the FAQ and anything else before using this excellent tool! There is also a user group on Yahoo.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Palm development tool updated

I see that version 4.1 of CASL with support for Palm OS 5.0 has finally been released. (See CASLsoft)
CASL features a Visual Development environment and a high-level programming language slightly similar to
Delphi (Object Pascal). It can create programs for both the Palm and Windows Mobile (PocketPC 2002/2003) platforms.
It was initially scheduled for release at the end of September this year.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Things change fast - it's technology! (Or me asleep at the blunt edge)

Suddenly I woke up to find EruWare has changed its name to Athena America.
Okay, to explain - Eruware was/is the maker of the first Compact Flash driver for the Sony Clie Handheld NX60/70 series of handhelds. These handhelds come with a "WiFi" slot, which is actually a CompactFlash slot, but no drivers for CF Cards (because of course Sony would want you to use Memory Sticks)

According to PDANews24 one of the original developers of the Eruware CF driver split from Eruware and started his own company called PDAscent, Inc. , and released his own product, called CF Magic. CF Magic is available at PalmGear.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Still catching up

I've sorted out my problem with HotSync after upgrading to Windows XP. I had been logging onto my PC as Administrator, and it took a while to figure out how to do that again. All I had to do was disable the "Welcome Screen", and Windows XP logon became like Windows 2000.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Catching up with technology (or lagging behind...)

(Another interruption to my exciting series "Handhelds I have owned, loved and hated")
Well, I've finally upgraded my home PC from Windows 2000 to Windows XP Professional. My excuse up until now was that I would wait until I bought a new PC, as my current one is underpowered (only a 500Mhz AMD K6!). With the impending upgrade to Windows XP (from Windows 98) at work, it seemed a good time to try Windows XP at home.

So far, SplashId seems to lost my registration information in the Desktop app, and most of my HotSync conduits have disappeared, but we shall see...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

A (real) Palm handheld

I never expected the M505 to be a perfect handheld, not after all my research.
It had its quirks, and was especially susceptible to static electricity while in the cradle. Quite often I would accidentally "zap" it (and groan), then I would have to do a soft reset before I could HotSync again. There was also the irritating little bug with the Beam Receive setting. It seemed to have a mind of its own, and would reset itself to "On", which meant that the battery charge would decrease quicker than normal. At first I used a Hack (IrOff) to overcome this problem. The problem finally got fixed when I upgraded the OS from 4.0 to 4.1 (which introduced a few minor quirks of its own).
Despite these quirks, I really liked the Palm M505. Its small size and form factor was just right. There had been a lot of complaints on newsgroups about its screen. Even after the bright screen of the iPaq, the screen of the Palm M505 was not that bad. The main thing I had to remember was that the better the external light, the easier the screen was to read. In dim light, when it became difficult to read, it was just a case of turning on the backlight. Pictures really looked good in 65000+ colors, and so did web pages in AvantGo.
The M505 was the first Palm I had bought which shipped with Documents to Go. Being able to view and edit Word Documents on a handheld was great. I did not use the Spreadsheet part much though, because I needed the memory for other programs.
One of the first accessories I bought was a SD card. I used the freeware version of BackupBuddyVFS to backup my Palm inbetween HotSyncs. Once I had put in the SD card, it stayed in the slot - it was just to small and easy to lose once it was removed.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Back and talking to computers

(Another interruption to my exciting series "Handhelds I have owned, loved and hated")

Back from my vacation I decided to chat to some computers:


And a web shrink:

Dr. Werner Wilhelm Webowitz's Office

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Takin' a break

Techno Files is taking a much-needed break from technology (specifically computers, applications and the people who use them).

Thursday, September 25, 2003

A color Palm

Then the Palm M505 went on sale at CompUSA for $219 after rebates.
Pricewise, both the Sony and the Handspring color handhelds were $400 and up.
I did some research. Although the M505 had its faults (and had been replaced by the Palm M515), for that price I couldn't get any other new color Palm.
The user groups seemed divided, but I knew someone who had bought a Palm M505 when they first came out, and he was still very happy with it.
It was cheaper than the first Palm-powered handheld I had bought (the Sony Clie S300), so I
went for it...

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Back to the exciting :) Handheld saga...

Back to the exciting :) Handheld saga...
One thing a did look at was a Palm Emulator for the PocketPC. I was hoping to be able to run DayNotez in the Palm Emulator on the PocketPC.
Unfortunately it did not support loading any applications according to
Geek News, so I did not bother loading it.

So I started thinking about (read: entered hunt mode) a color Palm...

Monday, September 22, 2003

More RSS Feed Links

From the website which had the definition of RSS syndication, an "Explanation of RSS, How You Can Use it, and Finding RSS Feeds" - Fagan Finder
Evolution of RSS and an overview of RSS, along with other technical info at WebReference

Definition of RSS syndication

Here is a definiton of RSS syndication:
All About RSS - Fagan Finder: "When a website has an RSS feed, it is said to be "syndicated""

Saturday, September 20, 2003

RSS Feeds

I have to interrupt my exciting series "Handhelds I have owned, loved and hated" to delve into some other technology I have recently got into - RSS Feeds. Don't worry, handhelds will be back!

I first read about RSS Feeds in the print edition of PC Magazine. (Yeah, that's where I keep up to date on bleeding edge technology!)

Anyway, I tried SharpReader, but was not overly impressed by it. Then in a web search I found Syndirella, another RSS Feed Reader which also runs on the MS .NET Framework. I assume the name Syndirella has something to do with RSS Feeds being syndicated - like television shows or newspaper columns? One neat thing about Syndirella is that it is quite like a Web Browser, in that hitting a "Back" button gets you out of the built-in Browser and back to the list of News feeds. Also, it can be used to get information from normal webpages, based on keywords, which seems like a really useful feature.

Friday, September 19, 2003


One of my first experiences with the Compaq iPaq 3765 was the Compaq Dashboard software, which I loaded before really becoming familiar with the default interface. As a result, I loaded a Dashboard theme which I couldn't figure out how to unload, and had to hard-reset the iPaq!

Apart from not finding a decent replacement for DayNotez, I kept finding useful freeware Palm programs, so I used the Clie as much as before.
Then on a trip overseas, I took the Clie (along with an evaluation copy of WorldMate, an excellent program). The only thing I really missed about the iPaq was the color screen.
I also dabbled in some programming. First for the PocketPC - embedded Visual Basic was a disaster (even though I've written a number of Client-Server Apps in Visual Basic for Windows). Palm development tools were much more mature, and there was much more of a choice. There was a a pattern here : limited choices on the PocketPC versus a myriad of choices on the Palm.

Eventually I got tired of carrying both the Clie and the iPaq.
It was one or the other, I had to choose...
I liked the iPaq's color screen, but the battery life sucked. Although this could be remedied, I still could not find a replacement for DayNotez. On top of that, there were (and still are) a lot less third-party apps for the PocketPC, and freeware apps were even more scarce.
On FreewarePalm there at a rough guess there are 4 times more
titles than FreewarePocketPC
After the iPaqs color screen, the Clies mono screen just did not cut it anymore.
So I started looking for handheld number four...

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Pondering things bigger than handhelds

Even without all the media hype, a hurricane can really get your attention.
I only experienced the "Tropical Storm" part of Hurricane Isabel.
These pictures show the best view - from a distance.

Click here or here.
Warning - these are > 500Kb JPG files, so they may take a while to load from a Dial-up connection.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

More Gripes

The iPaq was advertised as having Microsoft Money 2003 software on the CD. One of my mistaken assumptions was that this was the Windows version of Money. Unfortunately it was just the "Pocket" version of Money, and would not sync with the old version of Money which I had (Money 1999). So I went out and bought Money 2002 when it was on special. The two Moneys worked great (as the should) at first, but on one occasion some transactions were lost, and on another the money file on the PocketPC went missing. Well, that's why Microsoft gives away The Pocket version on MS Money with PocketPCs.

Another gripe was Pocket Streets. It supposedly came with the iPaq, but there was a lot of confusion about it. To get it, you had to buy Microsoft MapPoint or Microsoft Streets and Trips. Then there were Pocket Streets 2001 Maps which were not compatible with 2002 maps (or was that vice versa).
Now I see Microsoft says you can buy Pocket Streets from Handango
for $24.95. A bit of a cheek when it was supposed to be included with the iPaq (or was it the link which was included, not the software?)

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The iPaq in daily use

The Compaq iPaq 3765 really does have a bright screen, although I tend to run it at medium brightness or less. Compared to the Clie, it is a real power hog, needing to be recharged at least every second day. That's the price you pay for the great screen and the full multi-tasking Operating System. It's just like Windows, but on a handheld, with all the power, and futzing with settings that comes with Windows.

There was one program I just could not find a decent PocketPC equivalent for - DayNotez. The programs I tried were usually nowhere nearly as fully featured as DayNotez (or just plain sucked), and were double the cost.

So I carried both the iPaq and the Clie with me.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Moving to the iPaq

Converting my PIM Data (Addressbook, Datebook, Memos etc) was really easy, using Starfish
TrueSync which had come with the Clie: just a sync from the Clie to Outlook, then from
Outlook to the iPaq. I could write notes in either one, and beam between them with the help
of PeaceMaker Conduits which had come with the iPaq.

Then I set about replacing the programs on the Clie with equivalents on the iPaq.
Many programs, hacks and utilities did not need replacements, like JackFlash, which the
iPaq File Store effectively replaced. Pocket Word replaced the Memopad. The Dictionary that
came with Microsoft Reader was excellent.

One gripe though:
Since Windows 95, users have become used to the fact that the "X" on the top right of a
window closes that window, so which idiotic software engineer at Microsoft
decided that the "X" on the top right of windows on the PocketPC platform would minimize
a window?

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Palm defector?

Well, I finally did it. I was going to hang on until
my birthday and buy a color Sony Clie Handheld.
Instead, I've just bought a Compaq iPaq 3765 PocketPC
(with Micro$oft PocketPC 2002 OS). The DBA here at
work, who is probably on his third Palm, a M505, keeps
on saying "Defector, defector!"

In true M$ fashion, Outlook 2002 (which comes packaged
with the iPaq) crashed on install, and I had to search
the web for a fix from M$'s knowledge-base. After
playing with it for a while, I figure it may take some
time before I can consider replacing my Sony Clie S300
with the iPaq. Otherwise, there is a CD-load of
software to install on the PPC, which I need to set
aside a weekend to do.

A PocketPC!

Quest for a color handheld continued...

The newest HP Jornado was well out of my price range. Then RadioShack had a special on the
Compaq iPaq 3765, payable over 12 months interest free! I did some research. This iPaq had
the latest and greatest Windows CE Operating system "PocketPC 2002". It also was touted as
having one of the brightest color screens on the market.

The specs were incredible:
64Mb of RAM
32Mb Flash ROM
206Mhz Intel StrongArm 32-bit RISC processor
Voice recorder
Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Windows Media player for MP3 or WMA
music files, File Explorer, Picture Viewer, Microsoft Reader, Microsoft Money 2002, Pocket
Streets, Pocket Outlook, AvantGo, Outlook 2002 and many more...

I could hardly wait to get it out of the box and charged up. The design was really cool,
with the stylus cleverly stored in the unit, released by pressing a button. In so many
ways it seemed superior to the Sony Clie. The iPaq File Store is an ingenious idea - 6Mb of
ROM to store important info or programs - which would survive a hard reset. The Block
character input mode was just like graffiti, so there was hardly any learning curve there.

The one thing it didn't have was a memory card slot, but I was able to buy an "expansion
pack" which would allow me to use Compact Flash cards. Unfortunately the Expansion sleeve
turned the sleek iPaq from a handheld to a chunky computer which needed a BIG pocket.

Reviews -
And a lengthy review on Overclockedcafe

Friday, September 12, 2003

Want color!

My Sony Clie PEG-S300 never gave me any problems. It was a great little handheld, and I don't remember ever
having to do a hard reset.

Then someone put the idea of a HP Jornado 340-something in my mind. They could get hold of
one, at a good price. Problem was, it was from a friend of a friend, no questions asked,
nudge-nudge wink-wink. The dubious source put me off - I did not want anything to do with a
possibly stolen handheld. But the idea of a Windows powered device would not go away,
especially one with a color screen.

My little Clie started looking dull with its black and green screen.

At that stage you couldn't get a new Palm with a color screen for less than $500.
Since I worked on Windows everyday, a PDA with a Windows Operating system seemed to make
perfect sense.

to be continued...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My second Handheld

My second Handheld was the Sony Clie PEG-S300.

Since price was my main criteria, I was quite limited in my choices.
Someone at work had the Clie S300 (the only Sony handheld at that stage!), and allowed me to
play with it for a while. That was enough. It was miles better than the VTech Helio.

What clinched it was that they were on special at Circuit City, and around my birthday too!
The Clie came with a 8Mb Memory Stick, a very useful leather wrap-around case, which could
merely be opened for the Clie to be ready for use.

For the PDASupport review click here

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

My first PDA

My first PDA/Handheld computer was a charcoal Vtech Helio.
Anyone remember those?

I bought it on special for $50 after rebates at CompUSA.

For fifty bucks it had impressive features:
8 Mb memory
Record/Playback voice
Standard PIM apps
Serial Sync to PC

Of course it was on special because VTech had just discontinued its foray into the handheld
computer business.

Despite this, and the other problems (occasional crashes, needed screen/stylus recalibration often),
I was soon using it daily.

See Dave's Review here

However, the OS was proprietary. All that RAM and only a few 3rd party Apps available.

So I eyed the Palm platform, with thousands of 3rd party apps just waiting to be

Monday, September 08, 2003

Latest Toy

This weekend I tried out my latest toy, a Navman GPS 3450.
It's the sleeve version for the Compaq iPaq, and has a slot for a CompactFlash card -
very handy because the map I used was at least 30Mb.

Anyway, I used it to drive to a beach over 20 miles away. The turn-by-turn voice
directions are good, although you sometimes need to glance at a map for where the road
splits. The Windshield mounting bracket worked surprisingly well, and I was able to have
the PocketPC screen just under the rearview mirror, although much lower, so I could glance
at it every now and then. The re-routing worked well to, getting me back on track when I
deliberately made a wrong turn.

More information on the GPS sleeve is available from:
Navman Mobile

A good website with reviews and a lot of links is:
Pocket GPS

Friday, September 05, 2003

Thinking of buying a handheld computer?

No, this is not a sales pitch, just some hopefully useful links.

Look at Tanker Bob's Page for some good information to get you started.
I wish I had :(

There's also a free ebook "Writing On Your Palm" here

In case I may seem biased, for the latest new on both Palm and Windows powered handhelds:

Thursday, September 04, 2003

More Freeware Sites

For Palm OS based handhelds (PDAs) - FreewarePalm
Lots of freeware Palm programs (including one of my own!). Just have your pop-up blocker set when you go to this site.

Free Programmers' Resources
Free Programming Language Compilers, Source Code and Programming Libraries, Programming Tools and Utilities, Free Webmasters' Resources and Free Security Resources

Another freeware site out of the blue - As long as you don't mind a banner ad on the websote, and a massive picture.
Only Freeware

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Favorite Freeware sites.

I used to get most of my Freeware from the ZDNet/CNET/ sites, which are all affiliated now - CNET and take you to the same website.

Although they show both Shareware and Freeware, there is an easy option to filter by freeware only:
At the bottom of the list of titles select Filter by License - then choose "Free".

On CNET, software like Kazaa has a warning (from CNET) that it contains adware, and a description of what adware is.
There are usually also User Ratings, but these can be very subjective.
Another thing in favor of these sites is that you are not likely to download software containing viruses or trojans.

However, I have gone off them a bit after finding that they charge a "basic processing fee" of $79 to list a product in ", ZDNet Downloads, and MSN Downloads".
If someone pays that much to list a freeware product, have they got other software they are selling, or is this a "Lite" version?

Some better, freeware only sites are:

Although there are a few broken links on this site, they try to list the "best of breed" under various categories.

Son of Spy Freeware.
The webmaster declares that it hates spyware, and has a link for reporting any spyware found in files downloaded from the site. The webmaster also reviews the software, and indicates which software he uses. has what looks like a
well-researched categorized list of freeware. freeware - I've only downloaded one or two files from here.

Another site with a collection of DOS and Windows freeware is
Listing of useful freewares (by daonlyfreez)

The dmoz open directory project also lists freeware, but the site can be hard to reach

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Bannerware Rant/Review

While trying out some of the freeware archiving programs, I ran into a bannerware archive

The program is ZipWrangler (version 1.2). It looks like another freeware archiver program
which may be worth downloading to give it a try. Don't even bother. If the weird looking
setup program does not put you off, running ZipWrangler certainly will (an where did they
dig up that color scheme?).

When you run the program, at the top of the wacky interface is a banner which advertises the
companies other programs, presumably all bannerware. To get rid of the advertising banners,
you need to pay "under $12", and there's a link to a webpage, but when you get there, no mention of
the price of ZipWrangler, just their other high-priced products.

Just to add to it all, after uninstalling ZipWrangler it leaves a file ltwain.ini in the
Windows directory (why?), does not remove the ZipWrnagler directory, and of course leaves
the entries it added to the Windows registry. Admittedly, most programs don't delete the registry
entries they have added.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Labor Day
While technology rapidly forges ahead, this technophile is taking a break.

History of Labor Day

Saturday, August 30, 2003

More freeware archiver utilities

IZArc version 3.2.2
Freeware - Create and Extract Multiple Formats, including ZIP, ACE, RAR, CAB, RPM, 7-ZIP, BZIP2.
The program has a fancy interface (colourful in a good way), but does seem slow.
It has a feature to "Hack" zip passwords - which uses a brute force method, sounds useful, but
takes a really long time, unless you have an idea of what the password could be. The program had some problems when creating BlakHole archives (BH) - some files added did not pass integrity checking.
Performance: Tried deleting files from a 83,655Kb zip file - it took over 21 minutes, and finished as I was
about to give the program a three-fingered salute.

I tested version 2.22, and it is now at version 3.01, oops, no version 3.05.1...
I so much wanted to like this program, which seems to have so much going for it.
Features: Handles many compression formats including ZIP, 7Z, RAR, TAR/TGZ, ACE, ARJ, LHA, BGA, BZ2 and YZ1.
It can include extract, add, sfx, run, install, checkout, do virus scanning, spanning, batch zipping, export the file list to txt, htm and pdf files, plus many other features, including script support.
Like I said, I really wanted to like this program with all of these features, and its Free!
However, when I installed it, it installed a "QuickLaunch Button" without asking.
The User Interface is quite messy.
For the Performance test, I found that you can't select files the way you would in Windows
Explorer - have to individually select each file and then Reverse Selection. This is instead
of using the Shift-Down Arrow key combination to select a lot of files. After figuring this
out, I tried deleting files from a 83,655Kb zip file, and it took just over 4 minutes, not
including the time to select the files and reverse the selection...

Friday, August 29, 2003

With regard to ZipStar, before I get myself in hot water, this archiver is not freeware. To
quote from their web page:

"ZipStar may be used free of charge if you

- are a student, teacher or some other kind of member of a teaching facility
(public/private school or university);
- use the software exclusively for private and non-profit purposes.

Self-extracting archives created with ZipStar may be used for private purposes only.
ZipStar is not freeware -- this means that online service providers and similar entities
may only offer ZipStar for download on their pages with an explicit written permission from

It wouldn't do to promote the illegal, unlawful and darn right unethical use of software, would it now?

Thursday, August 28, 2003

More freeware archiving utilities

When I first tried ZipGenius, it was at version 1.4 .
I missed something in the Impressive installation, and when I ran it, ALL the program captions, menus etc. etc. were in Italian..Mama Mia!!!
Later I reinstalled ZipGenius (using the suite this time) and was able to figure out how to switch language to English.
Just after installing ZipGenius, my machine started getting Windows Explorer Invalid Page Faults...caused by ZipGenius???, when in doubt...I uninstalled it.
Several months later, I tried ZipGenius 5.1. First I tried installing the Studio Edition - 5.1 Std edition was very buggy - maybe it was a beta version.
Then I installed the Suite Edition. It features an interesting (Windows Xp-like) interface on Windows 98SE. Somehow I was able delete ALL the files from an archive when only wanting to delete selected one (I show have read the dialog box more carefully perhaps).
Performance-wise, it took just 5 seconds to delete files from the 74.1 Mb test zip file...

Next I tried ZipStar 4.0 "Free for non-commercial use"
Jawohl - looks very efficient - it installs MFC60xx.dll and other dlls though.
It looked fast, so I wanted to test its speed, but when I opened big file, it showed directory structure, and I could not figure out how to see ALL files in ALL directories...oh well.
One of the supported archive file types are SQX files, but they do not have password protection.
Version 4.2 was released on July 16, 2003 - I may give it try later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Zip Utilities - reviews

Freeware 100K_Zipper (ver 1.21) (100ziper.exe) - very small, but at the price of functionality. It's very easy to do something you're not expecting to do, like extract all of the files in a zip archive.

Freeware Ultimate Zip (ver 2.7.1)
Ultimate Zip has a batch compressor, which looks interesting, as well as numerous other features.

CAM Unzip v 3.1

Free Zip and unzip.
Very simplistic, but does not install a lot of files.
Uses Infozip's DLLs...
Warning - Associates itself with zip files without asking.
Can only zip and unzip ZIP Format archives.
NOTE - the interface is rather simplistic, but more useable than 100K_Zipper...

WinIMP ver 1.21
Installs a small program, which handles zip, rar, and other compression formats, including a proprietary .IMP format.
This archiver can only create archives in ZIP and IMP format - but uncompresses the other formats...
It is Very Fast - deletes files from a 83,655Kb file in less than 5 seconds!
One caveat - after deleting files from the above-mentioned large zip file, it could not be opened with WinZip. However, WinImp seemed to be able to work with it just fine.

Shareware PowerArchiver 2003 v8.6
This was freeware until PowerArchiver 2001 - but now is shareware with a free trial period and prompts thereafter like Winzip, of which it is virtually a clone.

Performance Tests:
On a 900 MHz Pentium with 128 Mb RAM
PowerArchiver 2001 (version 6.11) - last freeware version took 5 seconds to delete some file from a large zip file (75,912KB - 74.1 Mb)
WinZip 7.0 took 3 seconds to delete the same amount of files from this same zip file
Ultimate Zip 2.7.1 took 10 seconds on the same file.
Freeware Text Editors
I've been trying out some freeware text editors, mainly to edit source code.

Crimson Editor is quite a good one. It has some bugs though, like when saving a file to a different Drive (on the network) it saves an empty file.
Also, when using Crimson Editor to open a file from the Windows Explorer, if the Filename contains spaces, Crimson Editor makes a total mess-up.

Another freeware text editor I'm trying is jEdit, which needs a the Jave Runtime (an 8 Mb download - trying to get jEdit to work with Windows Jave machine just looked like too much of a hassle ), and once jEdit is installed, it takes up a further 12 Mb.
It is a bit slow to load, even slower than Crimson Editor, but then it has a reason to be slow - it is running in an interpreted environment
However, I'm quite impressed with jEdit. It seems very powerful, totally configurable (I would just like to be able to totaly change the toolbar in on shot, not one icon at a time.