One of my favorite Windows utilities, MiniBin, has just been retired by its developer, so I’m creating a post here to make the download available after its binaries get pulled from the original website.
MiniBin is a free recycle bin for your Microsoft Windows system tray area; the area next to the clock in your taskbar.
Please note that the MiniBin project has ended. This means: no more updates and no more support. Yes, I know… but it had to end somewhere. MiniBin was first published in 2004 and enjoyed updates until 2012. As it’s bug-free and feature-complete in it’s current state, I decided it’s time to move on to new horizons.
For the time being, you can still download the final version of MiniBin, the recycle bin for your system. But this download will vanish into the void within the not so far future. So, get it while it’s still available!
This looks pretty fantastic. Do you have any suggestions for time tracking apps – for Windows, Mac, or Linux? I’ve had great luck with RescueTime, but I can definitely use something like Klok for tracking time on consulting projects manually.
The Best Time Tracking App for Windows
There are a number of different ways to track your work time, but for the majority of people, something like the free, cross-platform Klok is perfect for managing your workday, seeing how long your projects take, and tracking how you spend your time.
This sucks. I’ve been a huge fan of Xmarks (and Foxmarks, as they used to be called) since they came out. I’m using them currently to sync bookmarks between Firefox and Chrome, and now I’ll be stuck with the built-in sync. =P
As I write this, it’s a typical Sunday here at Xmarks. The synchronization service continues operating quietly, the servers chugging along syncing browser data for our 2 million users across their 5 million desktops. The day isn’t over yet, but we’re on track to add just under 3000 new accounts today.
Tomorrow, however, will hardly be anything but typical, for tomorrow one of our engineers will start a script that will email each of our users to notify them that we’ll be ceasing operations in around 90 days.
My favorite feature of VS2010 so far is the excellent extension support, which allows me to add in my favorite plugins from the Microsoft Visual Studio Gallery.
Since there are thousands of plugins in the gallery right now, I thought it might be useful to share the most useful extensions I’ve found (and currently use) so far:
In alphabetical order…
AnkhSVN AnkhSVN is a Subversion Source Control Provider for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010. AnkhSVN provides source code management support to all project types supported by Visual Studio and allows you to perform the most common version control operations directly from inside the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE.
The Pending Changes dashboard gives you a unique insight in your development process and provides easy access to the source code and issue management features. The deep source code control (SCC) integration allows you to focus on developing, while AnkhSVN keeps track of all your changes and provides you the tools to effectively handle your specific needs.
Code4Blog Code4Blog is a Visual Studio 2010 extension that allows to convert any code supported by Visual Studio IDE to HTML format with the same structure and colors. Main purpose of this extension is to prepare a code snippet to be published in rich documents, for example in blog posts, Microsoft Word documents or Help files. Some additional styling could be applied: max width and height of the code block, custom background (per code line), font family and font size, line numbering and others. Code4Blog is now published on CodePlex. You are welcome to work with the source code directly!
PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010 PowerCommands 10.0 is a set of useful extensions for the Visual Studio 2010 adding additional functionality to various areas of the IDE.
Visit the VSX Developer Center at http://msdn.com/vsx for more information about extending Visual Studio.
PowerConsole This extension provides an extensible VS command window with default PowerShell integration. You can now script Visual Studio interactively in PowerShell, and enjoy familiar VS style syntax coloring and tab-completion.
Prerequisite: Visual Studio 2010 RC (or above) + Windows PowerShell v2 (or above). After installation, open the new tool window from View->Other Windows->Power Console.
Regex Editor This sample was built to ease your pain when working with regular expressions. It rehosts the editor in a dialog box and provides a basic language service to provide colorization, brace matching, sample testing grouping and selection tracking. It shows re-hosting of the editor in a tool window, and provides a nice starting point for similar projects.
VS10x Code Map VS10x Code Map is a Visual Studio 2010 extension that displays a graphical nested representation of the current editor window code (C# and VB.NET). It helps the developer visualize type nesting, implemented interfaces, regions, member type and scope, as well as quickly navigate to their respective position in the code editor.
Incredibly useful tool for managing multiple remote desktop (RDP) connections, and allows you to view, connect, and disconnect from groups of server connections as a whole or individually. If you use RDP often, this is well worth the download. (And it’s free!)
Excellent (free) photo viewer – beats out all the others by far, IMO:
XnView is a utility for viewing and converting
It has the features :
Import about 400graphic file formats
Export about 50graphic file formats
Multipage TIFF, Animated GIF, Animated ICO support
Image IPTC, EXIF metadata support
EXIF auto rotation support
Resize, rotate, crop support
Lossless rotate & crop (jpeg) support
Adjust brightness, contrast…
Auto levels, contrast
Modify number of colors
Apply filters (blur, average, emboss, …)
Apply effects (lens, wave, …)
Slide show with effects
Batch convert, batch rename
Create WEB page easily
Create contact Sheet
Create or edit Multi-page file (TIFF, DCX, LDF)
TWAIN & WIA support (Windows only)
Print support (Windows only)
Drag & Drop support (Windows only)
Compare image side by side
44 languages support (Windows only)
And many many other things… No Adware, No Spyware
XnView is provided as FREEWARE for private non-commercial or educational use (including non-profit organization)
Windows only: LightBox is an extremely user friendly tool for editing photos when you need more than a simple crop and resize but less than a full out Photoshop massaging.
How user friendly is LightBox? When you run the program you’re presented with a sidebar of common tasks like color balancing and red-eye removal. Mousing over each of them provides not only an explanation of the tool but sample pictures showing the results and every tool within the editor itself has mouse over tips. Once you’re actually editing your image you can easily—as seen in the screenshot above—divide the image to show how the alterations are effecting it compared to the original. The divided and side by side comparison feature is great for photo enhancements where your goal is to make the picture more appealing without giving it an unrealistic appearance. If you need additional functionality, there is a Plus version available for $19.95 which adds on features like masking and auto color correction. The basic version of LightBox is freeware, Windows only.
I previously recommended PhraseExpress for similar clipboard management functionality, but I’ve since switched to Clipdiary (available free via Clipdiary.com or Download.com) for a couple of reasons – first, that PhraseExpress would randomly lock up and prevent me from using my Enter key (weird, huh?), and second, because ClipDiary is super lightweight and does exactly what I want it to do. Here’s a blurb from their website:
The contents of the standard Windows clipboard change as you use it to copy and paste various types of information. But your data isn’t stored for a long time – when you turn off the computer or just copy another piece of information, the data is lost.
In most cases, that isn’t a problem, but have you ever needed the text you copied 30 minutes or an hour ago? Maybe your computer is acting up and the program you are using hasn’t saved the data, or maybe you copied some interesting information from a web page, but got distracted and forgot to paste it where you wanted? Or you may simply want to recall what you were doing on your computer a month or a year ago. There are many cases in which you might want to review your clipboard contents.
It’s also worth noting that Safari and Chrome (well, anything rendered with Webkit, it seems) have an excellent set of development tools built-in that are very similar to the functionality of Firebug in Firefox, and even IE8 is catching up to the game with its Developer Tools window/pane.
I agree with Ian, this program is excellent. Gives you some useful information for a change (and something you can do with it) when you get the message “Cannot delete <X>: It is being used by another person or program.”
If you’ve been using Subversion for source control, I’m sure you’ve heard of this client. If not, get it immediately. It rocks, and integrates exceptionally well with Windows Explorer. (Not to mention Visual Studio, via AnkhSVN or VisualSVN)
Since Internet Explorer is the scourge of the Interwebs that will never go away, it helps to be able to test your site in multiple versions of IE, and since only one version can be installed at a time (and since IE8 Compatibility Mode doesn’t really help at all), IETester is a good solution that lets you test IE5.5, IE6, IE7, and IE8 rendering engines in the same tabbed browser. Very cool.
…But, as my coworker mentioned, Internet Explorer is pretty invasive and modifies more on your system than just the rendering DLLs, so it’s a good idea to keep a spare VM running each flavor of IE as well. VMWare Player is the free version of VMWare Workstation, which will run pre-existing virtual machines, but can’t create new ones. Since that functionality is missing from VMWare Player, you can use this site to create your own virtual machines from scratch: EasyVMX! Virtual Machine Creator.
RedGate’s description says it best: “.NET Reflector enables you to easily view, navigate, and search through, the class hierarchies of .NET assemblies, even if you don’t have the code for them. With it, you can decompile and analyze .NET assemblies in C#, Visual Basic, and IL.”
Ian Hickman’s post (6 Free Tools that every Windows Programmer should Install) suggests Process Explorer alone, which is a superior Task Manager replacement, but I’ll extend it to suggest the whole Sysinternals Suite, since it comes with so many other great utilities and includes Process Explorer along with them. One of my favorite tools besides PE is AutoRuns, which is a msconfig.exe replacement that offers a much better look at your startup apps and services.
TortoiseSVN comes with its own diff tool, but I tend to end up using WinMerge instead because it does a great job with comparing local files or differing versions of a file in source control, and integrates seamlessly with TortoiseSVN.
I’m definitely a keyboard junkie, so anything I can do to keep my hands on the keyboard is a plus. Launchy is by far my favorite application launcher for that reason. All I have to do is hit Alt+Space (you can reassign the hotkey if you like), and it brings up a prompt that allows me to launch anything on my Start Menu, and do a number of other tasks as well (launch websites, perform quick calculations, etc.). Definitely saves me a ton of time.
Of the two apps listed above, I prefer Charles, which is a paid application, but I’ve listed Fiddler as a free alternative. Both apps are proxies that log traffic between your system and the server you’re debugging (even localhost) and both provide valuable debugging information that is particularly helpful when trying to debug web services. From the Charles website: “Charles is an HTTP proxy / HTTP monitor / Reverse Proxy that enables a developer to view all of the HTTP traffic between their machine and the Internet. This includes requests, responses and the HTTP headers (which contain the cookies and caching information).”
All three of the apps listed above are excellent full-featured text editors, but I prefer the feature set of EmEditor, which is a paid application. The killer feature that EmEditor provides which I haven’t yet found in either of the other editors is the Find *and Replace* in files. Notepad++ has a Find in Files option, but I haven’t found a Replace in Files function without opening up every single document and performing a replace in all open documents (info on that approach here: How To “Find And Replace” Words In Multiple Files).
Notepad2 doesn’t offer the same tabbed document interface that both EmEditor and Notepad++ offer, but it is an incredibly lightweight, and more importantly, self-contained executable that’s a perfect drop-in replacement for Windows Notepad (info on how to do this here: Replace Notepad with Notepad2).
Any of these apps offer syntax highlighting and are a great alternative to firing up Visual Studio when you need to make a quick edit (or on one of the *many* occasions when Visual Studio slows waaaaay down or locks up your system).
Also, I neglected to mention AutoHotkey since I haven’t used it as much as I probably could, but I can say that I’ve had a lot of luck with the AutoHotkey script iTunesAnywhere, which helps since I don’t have a keyboard with multimedia keys and for whatever godforsaken reason, iTunes *still* doesn’t natively support global hotkeys like Winamp does. (I’d switch back to Winamp, but I drank the Apple kool-aid and picked up an iPhone in January.)
DotNetNuke is an open source web application framework ideal for creating, deploying and managing interactive web, intranet and extranet sites. The combination of an enterprise portal, built-in content management system, elegant skinning engine, and the ability to display static and dynamic content makes DotNetNuke an essential tool for ASP.NET developers.
The Small Business Starter Kit provides a sample of a business promotion website suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a template for customizing and creating a site for your own business out-of-the-box, with advanced features including integration with SQL and XML data sources for content and data management.
dasBlog is a blogging engine that offers elegant visual aesthetics, powerful easy to use features, and a unique application architecture. dasBlog requires no database engine, using file-based content management with an architecture that ensures excellent performance.
I started looking for free/open-source ASP.NET applications to run on my development instance of IIS (since IIS is already running on my machine), and stumbled upon this list today:
As a big ASP.NET advocate, I’m loving the recent surge in open source / free ASP.NET applications that are hitting the web – And what’s more because Microsoft have given us some great building foundations with the frameworks like the ASP.NET Membership Provider, a lot of these open source programs are very high quality! More so than some of the paid applications.
I thought it would be a good idea to create an ever growing list of all the open source ASP.NET applications I could find – Obviously I haven’t had chance to download or install every application so I can’t vouch for them