Lifehacker – LightBox Makes Simple Touch-Ups a Snap

I’m downloading this now – looks very cool. =)

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.

via Lifehacker – LightBox Makes Simple Touch-Ups a Snap – Image Editing.

Clipdiary: Clipboard Manager

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.

via Clipdiary is a clipboard manager for keeping the clipboard history.

11 Tools Every ASP.NET Programmer Should Install

I found a great list of “6 Free Tools that every Windows Programmer should Install” via a contact of mine on Twitter, which made me want to create my own list, similar to the tools listed in the link above, with a few additions and changes:

  1. Firebug

    If you have Firefox, but you haven’t tried this yet, install it now. You’ll thank me later. Firebug is currently my most essential tool (besides Visual Studio, of course) to web development since it effortlessly debugs JavaScript and shows you the ins and outs of the DOM on any page you’re inspecting. Firebug is available as an extension for Firefox, or as a bookmarklet for any other browser.

    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.

  2. Unlocker

    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.”

  3. TortoiseSVN

    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)

  4. IETester

    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.

  5. VMWare Player

    …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.

  6. .NET Reflector

    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.”

  7. Sysinternals Suite (includes Process Explorer)

    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.

  8. WinMerge

    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.

  9. Launchy

    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.

  10. Charles / Fiddler

    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).”

  11. EmEditorNotepad++ / Notepad2

    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).

Honorable mention: PhraseExpress
This program rocks. I’ve only started using it recently, and not nearly to its fullest potential, but the clipboard manager functionality alone is worth the download:

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.)

ASP.NET: Starter Kits and Community Projects

In relation to the last post, here are some starter kits and projects officially listed at Microsoft’s own ASP.NET site (http://www.asp.net/community/projects/)

Starter Kits

 

DotNetNuke® Web Application Starter Kit

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.

TheBeerHouse: CMS and E-commerce Starter Kit

TheBeerHouse starter kit enables you to implement a website with functionality typically associated with a CMS/e-commerce site. This website demonstrates key features of ASP.NET 2.0 and is the sample used in the book, “ASP.NET 2.0 Website Programming / Problem – Design – Solution.”

Small Business Starter Kit

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.

Open Source

dasBlog

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.

Visit the dasBlog Web Site

ScrewTurn Wiki

ScrewTurn Wiki is a fast, powerful and simple ASP.NET wiki engine, installs in a matter of minutes and it’s available in different packages, fitting every need. It’s even free and open source.

Visit the ScrewTurn Wiki Web Site

BlogFodder: List Of Free / Open Source ASP.NET Web Applications

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

Notable applications:

Full list available at:
http://www.blogfodder.co.uk/post/2008/07/List-Of-Free–Open-Source-ASPNET-Web-Applications.aspx)