Category Archives: tools

First Impressions on Google Chrome

Google Chome is out:

“Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.”

It looks very lightweight, though. Reminds me to the early beginnings of Netscape and Internet Explorer. It gives you the impression that it’s quite fast. However, during rendering it looks a bit like Safari.

Google Chrome

For some pages that look quite nice in Firefox and Internet Explorer, rendering also behaves a bit odd. So, is this one more browser we have to test our Web application against?

Messed Up Rendering in Google Chrome

One feature provided is the creation of application shortcuts on your desktop that will open the Web site in its own, plain window. Very nice but failed several times when I tried. not sure if it’s worth switching from Firefox or Internet Explorer.


Take-Away Tools

Dana Coffey created a list of 25 tools you might also helpful. Nice list, though.

“With traveling and use of many different computers, many geeks (and geek girls) often find a need to have a uniform set of tools handy wherever we may be. I’ve put together a list of 25 invaluable portable apps that can be installed on an Ipod or Thumb Drive. These are really cool!”

Synthing Your Photos

Since Photosynth was announced the very first time, I was keen to try out this technology. Finally, Photosynth became public and you can create your own synths.

After installing the Browser plug-in you select “Create your Synth” on the Photosynth Web site.

Microsoft Live Labs - Photosynth

To sign in you’ll need a Windows Live account – probably you have a messenger account. You’ll start a synth by selecting a set of photos.

Photosynth - Start new synth dialog

The dialog is quite self-evident. Don’t forget to select the license you want to use for the synth. That’s quite important as each and every synth is public available.

Photosynth - Create synth dialog

Select “Synth” and then just wait…

Photosynth - Generating synth dialog

You’ll probably get a good “synthy” rate.

Photosynth - Synth completed dialog

And that’s what you finally get:


Formatting Source Code in Windows Live Writer

Amer Gerzic created a great plug-in to format source code while writing a post in Windows Live Writer.

Insert Source Code...

You simply paste the code into the plug-in Window, specify the appearance of the code snippet.

Source Code Formatter

He supports a wide range of languages within this plug-in which makes it so interesting. Currently supported languages are ASPX, C, C#, C++, COBOL, Cold Fusion, CSS, Eiffel, Fortran, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, JScript, Mercury, MSIL, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, SQL, Visual Basic, Visual Basic Script, XML.

SysInternals Direct Tool Access

Simple but powerful:

What they say:

“This is a file share allowing access to all Sysinternals utilities. We have developed this to test an alternate distribution mechanism for our utilities. This will allow you to run these tools from any computer connected to the Internet without having to navigate to a webpage, download and extract the zip file.”

What you get:

Have you realized? got a new URI: Johannes Meinecke pointed out the new toolbar for Internet Explorer which is quite an improvement to the previously offered buttons.

aheil @

Since I use multiple machines for development at work and university but also at home, delicious became one of my favorite tools for managing bookmarks. The best feature coming with the new toolbar is definitely the complete integration into the browser. By selecting one of the bookmarks you can directly change it’s properties without browsing to the delicious site.


The Quartely Software II/2008

I am currently asked a lot what tools I usually use on my machine. Finally, I thought of starting making an regular inventory on my software base. I’ll try to update this list somewhat regular.


EndNote – currently I run Endnote X, however, meanwhile there is Endnote X2 available. There have been various issues getting the version working with Word 2007. Since it works I haven’t upgraded.

PersonalBrain – which is a mind mapping tool. In contrast to MindMap it provides some dynamic flow of information. Once you got used to it, you maybe don’t want to miss it again. The Core Edition I run does not provide Outlook support and multiple attachments. But I am not sure if these two functions I miss are reason enough for spending 100 more bucks. Beside the price it’s a great tool.


ReSharper – a valuable add-on providing a bunch of functionality you miss in Visual Studio. On-the-fly code analysis, extended highlighting, automated brackets and parenthesis are only a few things that come along with this plug-in.

Notepad2 – I am not sure, but I think this thing is not developed anymore. Provides highlighting for various programming languages including XML, starts rapidly and has a small footprint.

TortoiseSVN – almost perfect user interface to Subversion, providing Explorer integration and context menus for direct access to Subversion commands.


SnagIt – one of the coolest tools I have ever bought. They just upgraded to version 9 an I immediately got the update. Provides great screen capture functionality.

Microsoft Image Composer 1.5 – a long long time ago, this came with Microsoft FrontPage. I still provides me most of the imaging functionality I need during a day. Frankly spoken, it’s the only imaging tool I can really work with. Photoshop or stuff like this is way too complex for me. And for a imaging tool it starts right away. 10 years old the footprint of this app is literally nothing.

Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 – unfortunately, Microsoft has discontinued this product line as some of the features went into Windows Vista.

System Tools

Daemon Tools – somehow usually the first tool I install right away on a fresh system. Gives you everything you need when dealing with ISO images.

Acronis TrueImage Home – my weekly backup of my laptop. Furthermore this tool helped me already twice moving my current HDD to a new one. I still run version 10 that works perfectly with Windows Vista.

DU Meter – A small tool providing exhaustive network traffic overview with a great logging functionality. The new version 4.01 works even better under Windows Vista. Haven’t seen anything better for 25 bucks (or 21 €). The new version also supports e-mail notification when a certain traffic limit is exceed.


Vistumber – a free monitoring UI for wireless networks under Windows Vista – as NetStumbler is not supported under Windows Vista at all.


InkSeine – while trying out some new concepts using digital ink, this app is great if you look for something to draw a quick sketch on you TabletPC.


Windows Live Writer – what can I say: THE offline blogging tool. I think I would even pay for this one a few bucks but it’s for free.

Rss Bandit – More likely some kind of reverse blogging – reading blogs of others. I tried some tool in the beginning and stuck one day with Rss Bandit. Quite good but takes ages until it starts.

twhirl – a lightweight twitter client created with Adobe’s Air. Rich functionality and the best twitter client I’ve tried so far – and I tried a lot of them.


Xobni – I usually don’t like Outlook plug-ins, maybe because I don’t Outlook that much. Anyway, with Xobni, Outlook got a 150% productivity boos. Outlook search is indeed slow -Xobni search is great and even runs if the Windows indexer is stopped. I like the attachment list of previous conversations and was recently pointed out on the statistics when people write to you. Why this is cool? Because when the have a peak at 2 p.m. writing emails, there is a high probability you might reach them also on the phone.

SmartFTP – that’s the FTP tool you should use. I have never tried anything else. But the splash screen sucks when using the personal version that comes for free. Maybe I will spend the 37 bucks one day to get rid of this annoying dialog.


For a while now there is a new release of RSS Bandit out there. So, finally I did upgrade my installation. The nice thing about RSS Bandit is indeed its very nice integration with Windows Live Writer,, Twitter… any alternatives out there? Wondering what anybody else is using…

RSS Bandit