What's on Dan Veaner's Desktop

I'm Dan Veaner, a software developer and online publisher since 1989.
Published: May 3, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
Mozilla Firefox for Windows 20.0b6
Download This browser provides pop-up control and a tabbed navigation mode that lets you open...
Desktop Taipei 2.01
Download Play Taipei solitaire on your desktop. This game includes 50 Taipei and Mahjongg game...
Cute FTP Professional 8.0
Download This is an FTP client for Windows. It enables you to connect and transfer files...
PaintShop Pro 2021
Download Extend the creative possibilities with the ultimate collection of photo editing and design...
The Bat! 7.4.16
Download Runs on any Windows PC and Windows 8 tablets. The Bat!
Trillian Astra Beta
See Home Page
Download Since 2000, Trillian has been a powerful part of the effort to bring interoperability to...

I'm Dan Veaner, a software developer and online publisher since 1989. My first computer was a Vic-20, then a Commodore-64 and then I switched to IBM compatible PCs. I began programming for the Commodore and DOS then for Windows and in Web scripting languages like PHP and Perl.

I think Delphi is my all-time favorite program. I was a C/C++ programmer for years before some friends finally convinced me to try Delphi. It just plain makes programming fun, while producing good self-contained programs that don't rely on external DLLs unless you want them to. It is easy to use, you can write a program very quickly, and it is very flexible and expandable with a great IDE and programming editor. Back in BBS days I'd have said PCBoard was my all-time favorite. I am not a gamer, so my all-time favorite game is Spider Solitaire. Recently I've also been fond of Lena Games' Desktop Taipei.

My current working computer uses Windows XP Media Center edition on a 3GZ Intel processor, with 512 MB RAM and a 30 GB hard drive. I use an 80GB external drive for backups, and have a CD-ROM player and DVD-ROM player/burner, memory card reader and floppy drive on the front panel. There is also a panel that opens up with video, USB and audio inputs. This machine is on a network with four other computers, a print server, a wireless PDA and a wireless media player for showing pictures and playing MP3s on our TV.

I hooked my HP Media Center PC to the cable so I can watch TV on it when I want to. While you can make the TV a window, I don't really like distractions when I work. But it is swell when the kids are having their piano lessons in the TV room and I want to watch the news. I make the TV full-screen and sit in my easy chair, away from the keyboard. I wish there were a button on the remote for turning it off, though. There is a "sleep" button, but it won't put the computer into "sleep mode" because of an apparent conflict with the Media Center software.I use the default Windows color scheme, but I like to use a different wallpaper picture on each computer. This gives me a visual cue as to which computer I am working on, especially useful when more than one computer is on a KVM switch. I don't like my wallpaper to make icons hard to find, so I tend toward dark blue designs, and avoid actual pictures and photos. I keep as few icons on my desktop as possible, and keep shortcuts to my most used programs (two browsers, a text editor, Explorer links to most often used folders, and my own program that turns Apache on and off for testing web sites locally) in the Quick Launch toolbar. I also keep about a half dozen shortcuts in the permanent top section of my Start menu for programs I use frequently.

The programs I use the most are my own editor for text, HTML, PHP and so on, Darn! Passwords!, Cute FTP Pro, The Bat!, Trillian, Xnews, Delphi 7, Paint Shop Pro v6 and Microsoft Word. MSIE is my favorite browser, though I've been warming up to Mozilla Firefox (I can never remember whether it is "Firefox" or "Foxfire").

Lately I have been using Cute FTP Pro for PHP programming. I open the script on my remote web host and a browser to the same address. This way I can instantly see the results of my coding when I refresh the browser window. The editor window is designed for writing HTML, but since I prefer writing in a text editor there are few features I miss. I do wish they had bookmarks, but the Find window is quite good, so this isn't too much of a hardship. I can have multiple sites open, it is easy to mirror my sites locally, and threading makes uploading and downloading reasonably fast. The built in editor is also handy for viewing code of files on my site, especially when I want to find a little piece of code to reuse in a different page.

I use the basic version of Trillian for instant messaging. I like the way it aggregates the different services into a single interface. Most of the folks I know are on AIM, but one good friend is on MSN Messenger and a few others on ICQ. I don't have to remember the differences, because Trillian gives me one buddy list and pretty much the same IMing windows for all the services. This is a well thought out program that makes my day easier, works well and updates itself without problems. AND it was named for one of the best characters in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

When I got my PDA I finally tried MS Outlook. I had been avoiding it for years, because of its well-publicized security problems. I have to say it is a brilliant program for addresses and contact information and for keeping a calendar. I'm not so fond of it for e-mail. I prefer to keep a separate in-box for each e-mail address. But that is moot, as I am still concerned about e-mail and newsgroups security, so I don't use it as an e-mail client.

The Bat! is an amazing e-mail client with a lot of great features that is very reliable and configurable. Its documentation is miserable, but between friends, online resources and just tinkering around you can customize it to your working needs. And it is secure.

Xnews is a free newsgroup client. The interface is a bit rough, but it does what it is supposed to do for password protected newsgroups as well as public ones. The documentation is lacking, but for the price who's complaining?! You can even set up an "X-face" icon that appears in other clients to better identify your messages.

About Michael E, Callahan

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.

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