Posts Tagged 'program'

Charles Babbage Left A Computer Program In Turin In 1840

According to Wired –

In autumn of 1840, Charles Babbage arrived in Turin for a meeting of Italian scientists, where he gave the only public explanation of the workings of his “Analytical Engine.” This machine was the mostly-imaginary upgrade of Babbage’s failed “Difference Engine.” At the Accademia della Scienze di Torino (which was once run by Babbage’s host in Turin, Prof. Giovanni Plana), they still have all the paperwork that Babbage brought with him to Turin, which Babbage left behind as a gift for Plana and his associates. These documents includes charts, engineering plans, lecture notes, a bunch of pencil-scribbled calculations on what seems to be leaves neatly sliced out of Babbage’s own notebooks, and, well, also these punch-cards.

Continue reading HERE.

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FreeFile Review – Document.Editor

Document.Editor is a word processing program. It is an open source project which gives a very good first impression, but with closer inspection, it becomes clear that this project is far from complete. It is for Windows only.

Installation is rather unusual; an .application file is downloaded and when clicked it downloads the program and installs it (I would prefer a simple .exe). Installation is otherwise quick and painless. The program’s interface is an exceptionally well done version of Microsoft’s ribbon interface. Here’s a screenshot. It has Spell Check, Text-to-Speech, and Definitions (Bing look up). Tabs allow opening multiple documents. Unfortunately, the positive impression ended there.

The list of negatives is long. The program can open and save only the most basic formats (.txt .rtf .xdoc). Page layout functions are non existent and printing is very basic. Those two shortcomings make Document.Editor unusable for most users. The program is not stable – it crashed after about 30 minutes of inactivity and it does not remember its window size and location after being minimized to the task bar. The Translation button seems to be non functioning. Most of the links in the program are dead (WTF?). User options are limited.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

I cannot recommend Document.Editor – it is simply too incomplete at this time. I hope this project continues to improve, as I see potential in it. For a better free word processor, see my review of AbiWord.
Document.Editor can be downloaded HERE.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

FreeFile Review – Invisible Utilities

What is an invisible utility? My definition is a Windows application that is completely unobtrusive; transparent to the user, when not needed, but is quickly available via the context menu (right click) when needed. And most importantly, it must provide something that Windows does not. this review will cover three such utilities that I have used for several years –  Eraser – 7-Zip – Unlocker.

Eraser will securely delete any file on your PC. Normally when a file is deleted, it still exists on your hard drive. To truly remove a file, it must be overwritten – that is what Eraser does. Once installed, several Preferences can be set by the user. The most important setting is for the number of times a file will be overwritten – 1, 3, 7 or 35 times. I choose 3x – for speed – and I also disable Scheduled Tasks. To use Eraser, simply right-click on a file and select ‘Erase’, click ‘Yes’ and the file is permanently gone. The contents of the Recycle Bin can be erased also. Right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon gives a list of erasing options.

7-Zip is for opening archive files – about 25 different formats. Windows will open .zip files, but no other archive types. 7-Zip will open .rar, .iso and many others. To use, right-click on an archive file and select ‘7-Zip’ and then ‘Extract files’ (or ‘Extract Here’), click ‘OK’ and 7-Zip does its thing. Most users will not need this application often, but it is handy to have on your computer. 7-Zip is available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

Unlocker is a lifesaver when Windows refuses to let you do anything to a file because some program has control of the file. To use, right-click on the locked file and select ‘Unlocker’. In the Unlocker window, select the locked file and click the ‘Unlock’ button. Usually, this does the trick. If the file is still locked, try the ‘Kill Process’ button. It can be difficult to find a download link for Unlocker – here is a good one. Be aware that Unlocker is available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

All three of these utilities are simple to use and effective. They have been part of my Windows PCs for years and I appreciate them on the rare occasions when they are needed. While many similar programs exist, I find these three to be solid performers.

Download Eraser

Download 7-Zip

Download Unlocker

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FreeFile Review – PixBuilder Studio

I just recently became aware of PixBuilder Studio. This free image editor is similar to Paint.Net, which I reviewed earlier this year – both are quite capable, but with a few differences.

Installation offers the options of a full install or a portable install (very nice). I chose the portable install on Windows 7 and had no issues. PixBuilder Studio is for Windows only. The user interface is very clean and modern and it can be customized to one’s tastes.

Most of PixBuilder Studio’s image adjustments (brightness, contrast, color controls, etc.) are found under the Colors menu on the toolbar. All of these controls perform quite well as do the limited drawing tools. I was surprised to find a Healing Brush Tool, but I found its performance subpar. The Clone Stamp Tool performs much better. Text is edited in a seperate window – my preference is for inline editing – however, in this case, the text editing is well done. My favorite feature is the Zoom Panel. It offers the easiest way to zoom in and out of the workspace that I have seen. This feature should be included in all image editors. Another surprise is the icon editor that is built into the program. Finally, the program performs quickly and reliably.

The only big negative that I found was the few filters and effects included with PixBuilder Studio. It is possible to install Photoshop filters, but few users will go through the involved process to enable them. Hopefully, this will be resolved in a future version.

– – The Bottom Line – –

I was pleasantly surprised by this well done piece of software. Anyone needing a basic photo editor will be very satisfied with PixBuilder Studio. The icon editing functions really make PixBuilder Studio stand out from the crowd. Try it for yourself.

Download PixBuilder Studio HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

FreeFile Review – LibreOffice

What is LibreOffice? For years, the number one free alternative to Microsoft Office was OpenOffice.  About a year ago, the OpenOffice developers left that project and used OpenOffice source code to launch LibreOffice. If you’ve used OpenOffice in the past, LibreOffice will be quite familiar. The entire LibreOffice suite is completely free and it is a fairly large download (about 200MB). It consists of a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a database, a PowerPoint replacement, a drawing application and a math program. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. This review is primarily about the word processor and spreadsheet applications, since these are all that most people will ever use.

Installation is relatively pain free, however, Java may, or may not need to be installed. Once installed, a single icon provides access to all of the programs in the suite through a simple ‘start center’. User Interfaces are similar for all the programs. They are attractive, but quite busy, due to the incredible amount of features and options offered. It is very much like Microsoft Office before the ribbon interface.

Writer, the word processor, is a very capable, full-featured program. It can open and save Microsoft .DOC documents. The default save option is for the LibreOffice format. Most will want to change the default to .DOC through Tools > Options. Also, it can save as a PDF. I haven’t noticed any compatibility issues with documents created in Word. Writer is all the word processor that most people will need.

Calc is the spreadsheet application of the suite. It looks very much like Excel and it can open and save to various Microsoft formats. I did notice some minor formatting inconsistencies with documents that were created in Excel – not a major problem – just irritating. I think everyone, except hardcore Excel users, will be pleased with Calc.

– – The Bottom Line – –

LibreOffice is a very capable alternative to the pricey Microsoft Office. Most people will have no need for Microsoft Office after trying LibreOffice. The only negative that I could find is that the abundance of features and options can confuse some users (just as Microsoft Office will). If you need an office suite, download LibreOffice today.

Download LibreOffice HERE

Get more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

Windows Freeware – 92 Best Programs

Makeuseof.com posted a list of Windows freeware. It is a rather comprehensive list of 90 programs sorted into 20 categories. Most of my favorites are included. Two excellent utilities that were overlooked are  ; ArsClip – a clipboard extender that does everything (everything involving copy and paste) and – Unlocker – which will free up a file that is locked by an application. Overall, the list of 90 is good stuff – check it out HERE.

 


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