Picks: Reviews of Debrief Notes, DriveScrubber, AtlDesk, and Universal Document Converter.
|Published:||Sep 24, 2008|
|Author:||Michael E, Callahan|
Debrief Notes 2.3, by Idealign, LLC is a program I found when I was looking for a good way to make notes during the course of each day. I used to use a different program and it seemed like no program I found did the trick. Then I found Debrief Notes. I bought it and now I'm telling you about it. This product is all about the notes. It has this great feature called Daily Notepad where it automatically creates a new note each day. That's exactly what I was looking for, but there's more. You can work with notes from different perspectives in Notepad, Folders, or Calendar. For example, if you go into Calendar mode you can click on a date and then see your notes for that day. You can go into Folders and create different folders for different things. I have folders for SIAF, Tucows, Personal, and so on. So, if you create a note within a certain folder, that's where you view it. You can look at your notes based on date, subject, folder, and so on. Debrief Notes utilizes Rich Text Format so you can really spruce up your notes. In addition, you can indicate that certain notes "need attention" or that others are "favorites." You can also show that a note is a "Work In Progress". I find these things useful because often I'm working on multiple things at once. Debrief Notes has another cool feature called a "Reference." What this does is let you view (or reference) one note while you're typing in another note. The note that's the reference is opened in read-only mode so you can't accidentally type your new news into it. Slick.
Debrief Notes is really an impressive program with all that it can do and I realized that I couldn't adequately cover it in the scope of my Picks. So, stay tuned and I'll be doing a full article on Debrief Notes so you can see all the things it can be used for. I like it so much that it's not only a Pick, but I'm also making it a Dr. File Finder Favorite and there aren't very many of those. Take a look for yourself and be watching for an in-depth review of Debrief Notes.
System Requirements: Windows 95/NT/2000/XP/Vista
DriveScrubber, by iolo Technologies, LLC. is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to really clean off a hard drive. I actually tested the program on my old computer when I got my new one over the holidays. Many users don't realize that when you delete a file it isn't actually gone. It's just not visible any longer. A person with the right knowledge and the access could easily retrieve your data. So, while I was going to give the computer away I didn't want to do so with any of my data on it. DriveScrubber goes in and erases files so they can not be retrieved. It doesn't just erase or format them, it wipes your hard drive clean! Ahh, but it has other uses as well. For example, say you just want to keep your computer secure and remove remnants of erased files, DriveScrubber can do that too. You can set it up to wipe just the disk space that is free. That means that any traces of things you've erased are gone for good. The program has a number of configurable options and I always like that. I actually like DriveScrubber better than several similar products I've tested. It's intuitive and easy-to-use perfect for users with all levels of experience. The program really gives you control over the process of really cleaning a disk drive, be it a 300 gigabyte hard drive or a 4 gigabyte flash drive. So, take a look at DriveScrubber, I recommend it.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista
AltDesk 1.5.1, by Gladiators Software is another powerful virtual desktop tool. I happen to use this one on my main computer and it gives me lots of flexibility. It's extremely easy-to-use and perfect for users with all levels of experience. AltDesk lets you assign hot keys not only to the virtual desktops, but to other functions as well. Here again you can give each desktop a unique wallpaper, a hot key, and you can also have sticky applications. The screen shot shows AltDesk running from my computer. If you look at it you can see the icons in each desktop. If I want I can drag the icon for the Boxer Text Editor from the top left to the lower right. In the lower left pane an XP virtual machine is running on the virtual desktop. All kinds of virtual stuff at my house. AltDesk also has a wide range of skins you can use to spice it up, but I've stuck with one of the default selections. It takes up very little space on my real screen and if you want you can even configure it to take up less than mine does. AltDesk has a feature I haven't found in similar products and that's a security function. I can press a keystroke and all evidence of the program disappears. I'm not totally sure why you'd want to do that, but I tested it and it worked as advertised. AltDesk is both powerful and simple. So, if you're looking to expand your desk space perhaps this is your solution.
System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP
If you have documents that you'd like to put in a more secure format your solution may well be Universal Document Converter 4.1, by fCoder Group. This is one cool program because it lets you convert your documents into a number of other file formats. These include JPG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, GIF, and more. In testing it out I used a number of documents. Some were single pages and others consisted of multiple pages. Universal Document Converter handled all of them equally well. Converting a Word document, for example, into a JPG file makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it. For one, you don't have to worry about any of your formatting shifting or being changed. It also makes it easy to share documents with co-workers, family, and friends. The program works as a print driver so if you know how to print you can use the program quickly and easily. It has an intuitive interface and is very easy-to-use. Depending on your needs and resources you can setup the program so you get the perfect balance between file size and graphic quality. Another thing I tested out was remote usage. The company Web site said the program could be used remotely so I tested it out. I logged into my Colorado computer using GoToMyPC and ordered something online. Then I printed my receipt to a JPG file using Universal Document Converter. Slick! From my perspective the program has lots of uses for both home and business. You owe it to yourself to take a look at Universal Document Converter - I recommend it.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can ask me and I'll review some software that will give you a solution to your problem. You can email me by clicking HERE You may not receive a reply, but all requests will be considered.
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.