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Synchronize files & folders between devices with SyncToy 2.1

I recently migrated to a Google Android and needed a program to sync files between it and my personal workstation. I had used SyncToy 2.0 from Microsoft on Windows XP (32-bit), so I decided to give SyncToy 2.1 a try on Windows 7 (64-bit).

SyncToy 2.1

Once the installation was complete, I created a new folder on my computer to synchronize the Android with. I then opened up SyncToy and created a Folder Pair between the memory card on the Android (via USB cable) and the new folder on my computer.

SyncToy 2.1

Clicking on the Preview button will show what files and folders are being sync 'd, type of operation, last modified, etc. Here's a quote from the SyncToy page:

There are files from all kinds of sources that we want to store and manage. Files are created by our digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store, manage, retrieve and view files. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to regularly get copies of files from another location to add to primary location; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping track of whether the locations are synchronized in their heads. Other users may use two or more applications to provide this functionality.

Now there is an easier way. SyncToy, a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows, is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

I have used SyncToy over the years without any issues and recommend it to anyone who needs to synchronize files between devices. SyncToy runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It can be download from Microsoft's SyncToy page.

Enjoy,
Scott

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

Windows logo key Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts (based on Windows 7)

Press To
Windows logo key Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key + Pause Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows
Windows logo key + Shift + M Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Computer
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder
Ctrl + Windows logo key + F Search for computers (if you're on a network)
Windows logo key + L Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + T Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key + number Start the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program
Shift + Windows logo key + number Start a new instance of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Ctrl + Windows logo key + number Switch to the last active window of the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Alt + Windows logo key + number Open the Jump List for the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + Tab Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D
Ctrl + Windows logo key + B Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area
Windows logo key + Spacebar Preview the desktop
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize the window
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Maximize the window to the left side of the screen
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Maximize the window to the right side of the screen
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Minimize the window
Windows logo key + Home Minimize all but the active window
Windows logo key + Shift + Up Arrow Stretch the window to the top and bottom of the screen
Windows logo key + Shift + Left Arrow or Right Arrow Move a window from one monitor to another
Windows logo key + P Choose a presentation display mode
Windows logo key + G Cycle through gadgets
Windows logo key + U Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + X Open Windows Mobility Center

Edit digital images and photos with Paint.NET

I have recently been looking for a digital photo editor that is comparable to Adobe Photoshop and can read RAW format photos from my Nikon D40. But it also needs to able be to run on the Intel Atom processor in my Acer Aspire One Netbook. I found all of this and more with Paint.NET.

Paint.NET
(Screen capture from Acer Aspire One Netbook: 1024x768 dpi)

Paint.NET was originally intended as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, the image software that comes with Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins. Here's a quote about the features from their site:

Simple, intuitive, and innovative user interface
Every feature and user interface element was designed to be immediately intuitive and quickly learnable without assistance. In order to handle multiple images easily, Paint.NET uses a tabbed document interface. The tabs display a live thumbnail of the image instead of a text description. This makes navigation very simple and fast.

The interface is also enhanced for Aero Glass if you are using Windows 7 or Vista.

Performance
Extensive work has gone into making Paint.NET the fastest image editor available. Whether you have a netbook with a power-conscious Atom CPU, or a Dual Intel Xeon workstation with 8 blazingly fast processing cores, you can expect Paint.NET to start up quickly and be responsive to every mouse click.

Layers
Usually only found on expensive or complicated professional software, layers form the basis for a rich image composition experience. You may think of them as a stack of transparency slides that, when viewed together at the same time, form one image.

Active Online Community
Paint.NET has an online forum with a friendly, passionate, and ever-expanding community. Be sure to check out the constantly growing list of tutorials and plugins!

Automatically Updated
Updates are free, and contain new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Upgrading to the latest version is very simple, requiring only two clicks of the mouse.

Special Effects
Many special effects are included for enhancing and perfecting your images. Everything from blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing are included. Also included is our unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect that makes it very easy to add perspective and tilting.

Adjustments are also included which help you tweak an image's brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, curves, and levels. You can also convert an image to black and white, or sepia-toned.

Powerful Tools
Paint.NET includes simple tools for drawing shapes, including an easy-to-use curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves. The Gradient tool, new for 3.0, has been cited as an innovative improvement over similar tools provided by other software. The facilities for creating and working with selections is powerful, yet still simple enough to be picked up quickly. Other powerful tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. There is also a simple text editor, a tool for zooming, and a Recolor tool.

Unlimited History
Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody changes their mind. To accommodate this, every action you perform on an image is recorded in the History window and may be undone. Once you've undone an action, you can also redo it. The length of the history is only limited by available disk space.

Free!
Paint.NET doesn't cost a dime.

If your looking for a digital image editor, I recommend you take a look at Paint.NET. Just click on the image below. I also have included links to the plugins I found useful.

Get Paint.NET!
Paint.NET Photoshop Plugin
Paint.NET Raw Image Plugin

Enjoy,
Scott

CodePlex - Open Source Project Community hosted by Microsoft

In this article, I would like to tell you about CodePlex, an Open Source Project Community hosted by Microsoft. Open-source software is computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software.

CodePlex allows developers to create new projects, join projects already in development, to use the applications created and provide feedback. Now, before you start thinking that this site is only for developers, let me tell you it is not (o.k., I will admit that I found this site looking for some C# code). This is a great place to find some really cool applications for the Windows platform. I have written several articles about the applications I have found here and keep finding more every time I stop by.

Here are some of the features of CodePlex:

  • Source Code Control
  • Project Discussions
  • Wiki Pages
  • Feature / Issue Tracking
  • Release Downloads
  • News Feed Aggregation

I encourage you to go over to CodePlex and take a look around. Maybe do a search or two. You might find a really cool app.

Enjoy,
Scott

Edit more types of text files with Textpad

In this article, I would like to share with you a handy application for text editing called TextPad. If you have ever used Notepad, you will love TextPad.

TextPad

Some of the features I like are spell checking, undo/redo capability and a great search/replace engine. Here's a quote from their web site:

TextPad® is designed to provide the power and functionality to satisfy the most demanding text editing requirements. It can edit files up to the limits of virtual memory, and it will work with the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows® 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Server 2003 and 2008.

TextPad has been implemented according to the Windows XP user interface guidelines, so great attention has been paid to making it easy for both beginners and experienced users. In-context help is available for all commands, and in-context menus pop-up with the right mouse button. The Windows multiple document interface allows multiple files to be edited simultaneously, with up to 2 views on each file. Text can be dragged and dropped between files.

In addition to the usual cut and paste capabilities, you can correct the most common typing errors with commands to change case, and transpose words, characters and lines. Other commands let you indent blocks of text, split or join lines, and insert whole files. Any change can be undone or redone, right back to the first one made. Visible bookmarks can be put on lines, and edit commands can be applied to lines with bookmarks.

Frequently used combinations of commands can be saved as keystroke macros, and the spelling checker has dictionaries for 10 languages.

It also has a customizable tools menu, and integral file compare and search commands, with hypertext jumps from the matched text to the corresponding line in the source file (ideal for integrating compilers).

TextPad is available on a try before you buy basis and is available for download at TextPad.com

Enjoy,
Scott

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