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Create, extract and edit archive files with 7-Zip

For decades now, we have been compressing files and folders to make them smaller to attach to an e-mail or archive. I have used many archiving programs over the years, but the best one I have found is 7-Zip.

The 7-Zip File Manager

7-Zip is one of the most straightforward archiving programs I have ever used. It can work with a ton of different file types and has a high compression rate.

7-Zip can create several different archive files, including ZIP, TAR, and of course, 7z. And it can also open over thirty (30) other archive formats, including CAB, DMG, ISO, and RAR.

The 7-Zip File Manager is straightforward to use and has a ton of features. Besides being able to create and open archive files, it can also edit them, including splitting and combining archive files.

But the best feature is the right-click context menu. You can right-click on some files or folders and quickly create an archive file from them (7z or ZIP).

The 7-Zip right-click context menu

Or you can right-click on an archive file and quickly open, extract or test it. And the cool thing is you can edit the functions that the right-click menu can perform.

7-Zip is an open-source program that began over twenty years (20) ago and is still going strong. It has been translated into over ten (10) different languages, including French, Spanish, and German.

7-Zip is available in either 32 or 64-bit versions and can run on all Windows versions from Windows XP and up. And it is free to use for either personal or commercial use.

For more information on 7-Zip, follow the link below.


Create your own device or gadget with Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer

Have you ever wanted to assemble and program your own electronic device? I mean something a little more than Lego. Well, Microsoft and their partners have just released .NET Gadgeteer. It's an open-source software and hardware project aimed at making it easy to develop electronic devices.

Microsoft .NET Gageteer

The concept is simple. Using standard hardware modules (displays, storage, network, etc.) and a mainboard (motherboard) with an embedded processor, you can quickly go from concept to testing. The Gadgeteer runs on the open-source .NET Micro Framework platform and is programmed in C# using Visual Studio or Visual C# (all versions including express).

Microsoft .NET Gageteer

Here's a quote from Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer website:

A new way to make sophisticated devices

Even someone with little or no electronics background can build devices made up of components like sensors, lights, switches, displays, communications, motor controllers, and much more. Just pick your components, plug them into a mainboard, and program the way they work together. .NET Gadgeteer utilizes the .NET Micro Framework to make writing code for your device as easy as writing a desktop, Web, or Windows Phone application.

An open-source and open hardware community project

If you're building projects with .NET Gadgeteer, you'll find a wealth of inspiration on this site. If you're interested in building .NET Gadgeteer hardware, you can find hardware interface specifications and core libraries at A variety of hardware vendors are building components for .NET Gadgeteer, so you'll have a huge assortment of modules to choose from.

A creative tool with something for everybody

Educators - .NET Gadgeteer is a great way to excite students about programming, electronics, and design.
Hobbyists and Inventors - Bring your ideas to life in hours instead of days or weeks. Develop your ideas quickly and show your friends and potential investors.
Professional Prototypers - Go from concept to test in less than a day. Hardware, software, and physical design come together to enable quick assessment of sophisticated concepts.

.NET Gadgeteer Hardware
A .NET Gadgeteer system is composed of a mainboard containing an embedded processor and a variety of modules which connect to the mainboard through a simple plug-and-play interface. There are lots of .NET Gadgeteer modules available today: display, camera, networking, storage, input controls, and more modules are being designed all the time!
The .NET Gadgeteer mainboard's sockets are numbered, and each is labeled with one or more letters which indicate which modules can be plugged into it:

Each .NET Gadgeteer module contains a corresponding socket, which indicates what sort of mainboard sockets it requires. Just match the letters between mainboard and module, and you've assembled a working electronic device!

.NET Gadgeteer Software
.NET Gadgeteer devices are programmed in C# using the .NET Micro Framework. You can apply your knowledge of .NET programming on the desktop, Web, or phone to embedded devices. Plus, you get wonderful Visual Studio features like Intellisense.

You can also debug your .NET Gadgeteer programs while they are running on the device - a unique feature that makes troubleshooting your .NET Gadgeteer devices much easier.

.NET Gadgeteer Physical Design
Combine the power of rapid hardware and software prototyping with innovative physical construction tools like 3D printers and laser cutters! A variety of tools under development will make it easy to design enclosures for your .NET Gadgeteer project.

For more information on Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer, please follow the links below:

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer
Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer on Codeplex

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