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Software Treasures

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Sometimes you come across a real great piece of software where you inevitably think "why didnt Microsoft think of that?". This thread is supposed to be for such software, particularly unknown non-mainstream progs which are still useful to every PC user.



I will go first with ShockDesktop.

No, ShockDesktop is not a picture of Shockmans desktop, (har, har), it is a great little program that rids you of one of the greatest annoyances ever, namely Windows scattering your carefully positioned desktop icons all across the screen after you changed the resolution and other occasions. But ShockDesktop lets you not only save your custom icon positions, (btw., you can create as many profiles for as many resolutions as you want), you can also use one of the inbuilt patterns to arrange your icons in various nice and accurate geometric shapes. You can choose between Twister, Star, Pentagon, Circle and many more. The Clou: Whenever you change the shape the icons will sort of float into place until the chosen shape is established. This looks very fascinating, although it is of course not really useful per se.

INFO:
-----
The latest (and probably final) version is 1.53 and attached to this post for quick download. It is a very small program (490kb) and does not need to be installed. Just put the unzipped folder on the C:\ drive (or wherever you prefer) and make a shortcut to the .exe in your startmenu or quicklaunch bar. You can also go into the options and have it autostart with windows. Usage is very simple: Just rightclick the little green 'desktop' icon that appears in the systray and youll get a nice context-like menu with all options. It includes 8 different languages and auto-uses your system language if it happens to be one of the 8 included. Works perfectly under Vista too.


Well, thats about it, this leaves posting a screenshot. Hope youll like the program, i for one could not be happier that i found it as it rids me quite elegantly of one of the greatest annoyances Windows is still able to provide.

Download and Enjoy!

shockdesktop.gif
 

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Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
ALchemy Universal

If you have Vista, you probably know by now that there is no hardware accellerated sound anymore, no matter how good and expensive your soundcard might be. Support for it had to be completely removed from the operation system in order to please Hollywood, (money talks), because otherwise somebody might have managed to catch a glimpse of any HighDefinition Content they didnt pay them for by 'circumventing' the actual Core of Vista, namely the mighty Content Protection Module.

Of course since one can do this rather effortlessly with a mere $30.- standalone player as well it will always be Redmonds secret why literally the entire OS had to be built around an ultimately useless module which is so disadvantage-ridden that listing all of it would easily fill a small book. But now the damage is done, so what we need is solutions to get our sound features back. And that is what this tip is about.


One such solution is 3DSoundBack from Realtek, which has been created to restore 3D sound with their OnBoard sound solutions. Many people have such a solution on their mainboard since Realtek is one of the major OnBoard sound chip vendors worldwide. The program is still being offered as a beta, but when it does work with a game then it works pretty well. So far i had only one game that would not work with it, the rest functioned 100% flawlessly. The downside is that it will only work with Realtek chips.

For SoundBlaster Audigy and X-Fi users there is a utility named ALchemy. This program is alledgedly generally better than Realteks 3DSoundBack, (to me they dont look much different since the options are pretty much the same), but its downside is that it too will only work with a card from the program manufacturer. But - there is light on the horizon. If you dont belong to the people that have the luxury of calling a X-Fi their own you are still not out of luck because there is ALchemy Universal. This is a specialized version of the official ALchemy which has been enhanced to work with ALL soundcards both AddOn and OnBoard no matter what manufacturer. It has already helped me to solve the problem with the one game that didnt work with 3DSoundBack and im sure it will proove useful on other occasions. In my opinion a perfect candidate for the Software Treasures,...if you have Vista and want your EAX back just download and enjoy,...
 

Practicedummy

Pinball Author Apprentice
Thank you Phoenixx for bringing to our attention ShockDesktop! Do you know how long I have been wanting a program like that to organize my desktop icons with? A dream come true! :D
 

JonPurpleHaze

Site Nudger
Staff member
I don't mess around with sound files much but I've used the highly rated and freeware Audacity in the past.
About Audacity

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more! See the complete list of features.

From:
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

:guitar:
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Speaking of defragging, I've been using defraggler, which seems to work well for me.

http://www.defraggler.com/

On to another that I've found nothing can match...

http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/

MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume. MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.
Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.

Also for the best mp3 rips, exact audio copier is the one.

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/
 

Isaac Sauvage

Meep!
Site Supporters
Consultant
@marty,
thanks for the defragger.

@steve,
does the MP3 normaliser do batch conversions?

also, what was the image-browsing program that you've mentioned several times, and why did you switch over to it from your previous favorite, irfanview?

@thread,
i don't think i can add anything that hasn't been mentioned a million times before, such as pidgin for IM services, cryptload as an upload service manager, dosbox as a dos legacy environment, etc etc.
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Yes MP3Gain does batch conversions...

The image browser/editor is xnview, it does have a few more options for the simple editing of images then irfanview and I also like it's layout better....

http://www.xnview.com/
 
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