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XP PowerToys
Thursday, March 17, 2005

I never take sides on the never ending debate of which OS is better, or which OS is more evil than evil itself. I use whatever is comfortable to me, or whatever I have at hand. To me it's all the same: U*IX, Linux, Windows XP, Mac OS X, etc, etc.

Lately, because I'm hooked on my ThinkPad T40p, I've been using Windows XP. I don't particularly like the XP bubbly look and feel, so I turn off all the useless fading effects and I ended up with something that looks like Windows 2000, which to me, is the best Windows version to date.

If you are a developer, you'll particularly like some of the extra "PowerToys" XP has to offer - They are probably not useful to the light user, but, if you are a developer and your keyboard is tethered to your hands, you may like some of them.

Picture within a picture
I remember the first time I saw a "picture within a picture" in TV screens. It was the coolest thing ever - I'm easily amused, so I found the enhanced "Taskswitch" to be quite the fun past time.

The "Taskwitch" program gets executed when you press the keyboard combination "Alt-Tab," which brings up this little set of icons that you can traverse to pick the window you want to bring up.

The old version had only small icons and you had to guess which window you wanted active. Well, with the enhanced version you get a picture of the content of the actual windows - A picture within a picture - See the little window with the blue background above?

Why is this useful? Because, if you are working with many windows at the "same" time, that have pictures or content, you can actually "view" the content of the windows while "Alt-Tab[ing]" and never be wrong about which window you wanted to activate. It's a neat trick. If you have a large pipe, you can view a more detailed version of the screen grab.

As per the rest of the "PowerToys," I have installed them all. Another favorite tool of mine: the one that allows you to right-click on an image so you can resize it to your liking, without opening any graphic manipulation program.

Find them all at Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP.

It's not like M$ needs more free PR, but the tools are actually quite useful (for a change). Enjoy!

9:40 PM | 0 comment(s) |


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