For software that isn't tied to one machine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Listsorter Review

Simple, simple, simple.

Users who want to take a list of text and make it easier to sort through alphabetically can use this to make their lives easier. It seems so obvious but over the life of the Kitchen Sink project, I use this program at least once a month.
  1. Type in a series of things or copy and paste from somewhere else into the Input list.
  2. Press "Sort"
  3. Copy the resulting list and paste it elsewhere.

This program highlights in some ways the reason portable software is so important: downloading hundreds of small programs like this for your own use would take forever. To take them all through an install process is even more time-consuming. Yet they save time and effort.

Download Listsorter or from portablefreeware.
Version: 1.0 beta
Size: 2.3 megs
RAM Usage: 3.2 megs
License: freeware (they take donations)
Score: 7 out of 10 - I'm torn because although I love the simplicity, I wish the program would do more. Interface isn't very elegant. A "copy to clipboard" button would make more sense.
In Kitchen Sink Collection: Yes

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cyber Shredder Review

Don't just delete it.

You need a file wipe if you have data that you want that data to stay deleted and Cyber Shredder will handle 90% of this quickly and easily. If you don't think you need wipe software, check out Recuva and see how much you've deleted over time that hasn't gone anywhere. Data from months or even years ago may still be on your computer.

Just open and then drag-and-drop a file or folder you want to wipe with CyberShredder. The program uses obvious progress bars and has clear help information.

Users will only need to use "Very Quick Shred" to make files unrecoverable. Its the fastest and easiest and overwrites the file with random data one time. Wipe programs are very fond of pointing out how completely they obliterate data by overwriting it eleventy billion times, but the vast majority of users will only need to wipe it once since the expense to recover even basic data wipes is in the thousands.

If the data you're destroying is worth this much, you probably shouldn't be using Windows, and should at the very least be using a fully encrypted operating system. Unfortunately, some of us work with systems that aren't fully secure but there's still only a few people who will need a normal shred, especially if you work for a company where that is a policy requirement.

Did you already delete something that you meant to wipe? Look into Eraser portable software.

Download CyberShredder or from portablefreeware.
Version: 1.12
Size: 0.5 megs
RAM Usage: 5.2 megs
License: freeware
Score: 8 out of 10 - wish it would integrate a freespace wipe, always prefer open-source security tools.
In Kitchen Sink Collection: Yes
Related: The BBC gives a little more detail on data shredding.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Clipboard Recorder Review

Ctrl+C on steroids

Taking one of the most common computer activities "copy" and "paste" to the next level, Clipboard Recorder is blessedly simple and effective. By taking multiple "copy" or "cut" entries to a tiny menu that can sit in your taskbar, Clipboard Recorder helps prevent confusion and save time with everyday computer use.

For users who:
  • Write repetitive emails and end up re-using bits of text frequently.
  • Have simply asked themselves: "Why is there only one ctrl+c? If I want to record several things into memory, I should be able to."
  • Use a word processor and want to rearrange multiple entries to many different places without cutting, navigating, pasting, re-navigating back, and repeating.
Animation on the web site points out just how easy this process is. Using just the keyboard, simply hold the Windows Key + V. Continue holding the Windows key, and press up and down to select from the list, and then just let go of the Windows Key. Or with your mouse, just click on an option and the information will be pasted into your current window. Just give the program a try -- you'll wonder how you went without it.

Even better, clips have symbols from the program they were taken from to help differentiate.

  • Did you copy too many things and now you can't remember which is which? There's a search function to help you keep track:

  • Want to clean up all those entries? Open the Floating window and select the "delete all" icon:

  • Want only a select amount of text to be in the Clipboard Recorder? Right click on the task bar and select the pause button to stop gathering data when you press "ctrl+c".

Standard vs. Pro: there are advanced options if you're willing to pay some money but I didn't even find a way to use them. When the trial period runs out, you won't miss it much.

Tweaks: for additional privacy, delete "cbrecord_history" file after use.

Clipboard Recorder (be sure to select portable version) ... see also: portablefreeware page
Version: 4.0.3
Size: 1.8 megs
RAM Usage: 4.7 megs while running
License: freeware
Score (out of 10): 8 - because I won't use this software all the time, its very much just an optional addition.
In Kitchen Sink Collection: Yes

Update: Freeware Genius strongly recommends ArsClip, which has some pretty amazing features and has the advantage of being fully open source and, yes, portable. It also works with many more data types than Clipboard Recorder.

My initial work with ArsClip was negative but I plan to take a second look.

Friday, April 10, 2009

CoolPlayer+ Portable Review

A not-quite-there player

A slick, lightweight music player built similar to Winamp and many other players, but without the extras. The portableapps version has a much nicer interface than the official version (which is also portable): a very sharp red/black that rivals any player I've yet tried. There's an equalizer and a "thin" format window as well users can cycle through. The program is easy to download, which was no surprise since portableapps releases are always good at this. Controls are obvious and effective and there are shortcut keys that are easy to find and understand.

Odd formats like RealMedia and Blackberry AMR are unplayable -- by default, only files ending in ".ogg" and ".mp3" have a chance. Although the vast majority of audio formats are in these two groupings, how hard is it to include Apple's AAC and Microsoft's WMA decoders? Is that against some license? Coolplayer will play a host of major formats including flac, aac, m4a, mp4, psf, speex, and wma but you must download them individually as plugins. Further, I'm not sure where you'd put them in the portableapps version. This won't be a problem for hardcore GPL folks, but for the rest of us its an unnecessary inconvenience.

Other problems:
  • The play list would not dock nicely under the player window so you could see cleanly and easily what's coming up next, although you can press "P" to toggle it easily.
  • The "About" menu's annoying cursor movement is annoying and makes looking up the keyboard controls that much harder.
  • Unable to make the song title stop scrolling. This is a personal gripe of mine as any movement on the desktop is a distraction. There's an option to disable it in the options menu but it doesn't work.
Because portable software should necessarily be lighter weight, this software still has its pluses, but doesn't match AIMP, Winamp, or XMPlay in terms of the total product. This is not software I'd recommend or use, although I definitely see some promise and look forward to future versions.

CoolPlayer+ Portable
Version: 2.19.1
License: GPL
Size: 1.58 megs

Score (out of 10): 4

Monday, April 6, 2009


Objective [this will become the "about" page]:

This project is meant to take the best from and
  • is a well written, beautiful web site that details things from a user perspective. Its intelligent, interesting, and has brought some amazing software to my computer.
  • has almost a thousand titles users can download and modify to work portably.

This project is meant to fix what's missing from freewaregenius and portablefreeware because:
  1. Freewaregenious doesn't address users who don't really want to install tons of software on their systems and use either registry cleaners later or some kind of clean system mechanism (like VMWare's system snapshot tool). Also, sometimes who would use a software most effectively isn't clear. Is this for developers? Software designers? Are there other titles that do similar things and may do it better?
  2. doesn't address that every tool has 100s of uses. It gives a brief breakdown on the software and points out some possible uses, then lets users comment on it or move the discussion into its forums section. Customization and detailed usage methods are infrequent there. Some of the tools -- especially Winamp -- require quite a bit of user work to get the software to behave portably. Average users will not go through this process.
  3. Niether site gives the user the opportunity to download every item they review in one large archive.
Despite these problems, it would be hugely difficult for my site to duplicate the marvelous user base and collaboration that portablefreeware has set up over time or the clean, beautiful interface and intelligent writing of freewaregenius.

However, having already created the Kitchen Sink Portable Freeware Collection, I've already done much of the work for users. Simplicity is my site's selling point.

I need to thank my friend Leo for giving me the idea to do this. I think there's a real need for a site like this and I hope it will take off. Its the obvious next step or the Kitchen Sink Project.