Windows software of the day [April 17, 2012]

Today’s Software

  • MapKeyboard: remap your keyboard so CapsLock doesn’t mean Caps Lock (and much more!)
  • EyeLeo: prevent undue eye strain by taking short breaks every hour

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About Windows Software of the Day

Windows has hundreds of thousands of programs. Because of this great volume and lack of a central store, software discovery (aka finding new and useful programs) is extremely difficult. With our Windows Software of the Day initiative, dotTech aims to change that. Everyday we post three programs, allowing our readers to discover new software, daily. Enjoy! [Subscribe to our Windows section to never miss an article: RSS Feed | E-mail]

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Software for April 17, 2012

MapKeyboard

No one likes Caps Lock. In fact, certain devices even omit the key entirely. However, most don’t, and most people use many other keys that are much more useful that have a much less prominent location on the keyboard. Fix that with MapKeyboard, a tool to replace one key’s functionality with another.

MapKeyboard is very simple. Simply select the key you wish to have replaced, select what its new task should be, and you’re done. Personally I recommend mapping Caps Lock to something like Shift, or perhaps a mute key.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.2

Supported OS: Windows Vista/7

Download size: 30KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/41

MapKeyboard homepage

EyeLeo

Eyestrain is common for anyone who uses their computer for a long period of time. I myself have worryingly noticed my vision diminishing, and have come to the conclusion extreme numbers of hours spent staring at a screen are at least a catalyst.

EyeLeo lets you take short breaks regularly (default of 10 minutes) and long breaks every once in a while (default of 60 minutes). During these breaks, EyeLeo will ask you to take a break to look at an object far away and various other eye-relaxing activities that make your eyes feel better. It’s nice to have if even for the thought that I may be prolonging my vision a bit.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.1

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7

Download size: 1.8MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/42

EyeLeo homepage

dotTechies: We have tested all the software listed above. However, Windows Software of the Day articles are not intended as “reviews” but rather as “heads-up” to help you discover new programs. Always use your best judgement when downloading programs, such as trying trial/free versions before purchasing shareware programs, if applicable.

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12 comments

  1. Jim-1

    Beware unintended consequences! I installed MAPKEYBOARD to eliminate the Caps Lock nuisance, and it worked so well that I forgot about it. I have had a problem the last few days with installing a Windows Update to my XPx32 computer. The update is KB2686509, and the resulting error code is 0X8007F0F4. MSFT’s cryptic description implies that the computer is infected and needs to be cleaned. A search for that error code finally pointed me to other users with the same problem who somehow related it to keyboard mapping issues. Sure enough, after I reset MAPKEYBOARD to the original configuration, the Windows Update worked properly. Hope this experience is helpful to someone.

  2. Jenny

    Just popping in to say a quick thank you Locutus, and I hope you get your computer all going and healthy again.

    I have a gadget on my windows sidebar that does the same as EyeLeo

    Hang on…

    … it’s called TakeABreak by Nemex Studios apparently, at http://www.byshynet.com/software.php

    One of the things I’m loving about computing these days is discovering all these different things to do what we want :)

  3. Rob (Down Under)

    @Emrys:
    I agree with ‘Let sleeping dogs lie”
    But I have once upgraded a bios to get the PC recognizing Sata drives properly.
    I have tweaked a couple of settings in Registry.
    From the above you would correctly judge that I am wary of mucking about.
    However regarding remapping, I have used a similar program a few times over the last few years, with no problems or side effects.
    That Free program is KeyTweak –
    http://webpages.charter.net/krumsick/
    Tutorial/review on –
    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/how-do-i-remap-my-keyboard-with-keytweak/861

    I have no qualms using KeyTweak, as it is not messing with hardware, nor drivers. All it does is tell the Registry to remap a key.
    I have not studied Locutus’s offering, so not sure if it works as simply as KeyTweak.

  4. Steve Meyer

    eye strain is an indication you need glasses for computer use. Reading distance is typically 14-20 inches, but computers are typically 22-28 inches from our eyes, which requires (in aged people like me) a different lens from my reading lens. My bifocals are for 14-20 inches reading and greater than 6 feet distance. Leaning forward to 16 inches is not comfortable. My new computer lenses allow me to read the LCD comfortably all day long without fatigue or strain. Can’t do more than 10 minutes without them.

  5. jayesstee

    @Rob (Down Under):
    I can concur with the first four of your message lines starting with “I was” through to “I figured”. I had specs. prescribed at age of 12 (couldn’t read the ‘blackboard’), but refused to wear them. Six years later, conscripted into the Royal Air Force, I was in big trouble for not recognizing and saluting an Officer at twenty paces. Bought an expensive (relative to conscript pay) pair of specs. so that having paid for them, I had to use them to get my money’s worth.
    I think it should be possible to improve your eyesight, however I have never found anyone who could provide ‘proven’ exercises for the eyes. After all, you would get physio for a weakened muscle.

  6. Rob (Down Under)

    @tejas:

    Evolution was a wonderful thing.
    Not only did it adapt our bodies to be well suited to the environment, when we are young and fit.
    It also realized that we would get failing eyesight, when we got older, and it placed the ears in the correct location, so that we would have a place to rest our glasses.

    I was prescribed and purchased (my Aunt purchased) glasses when I was 16.
    I refused to wear them.
    I figured they are like crutches. If you walk around using crutches, soon your legs will get so weak, that you need them all the time. Same with the eyes.
    I am now 70 and still do not use glasses.
    I do have some magnifying glasses (held in hand), sprinkled around the flat, for occasional use.
    I have tried the spectacle ones, that you can buy from a Chemist, but I can feel my eyes getting retrained (un trained) after a minutes use, so I do not use those.
    And now to one secret that you can use.
    Remember the shoebox ‘camera’ that we were shown at school.
    If you pierce a tiny hole in a shoebox, you can see the image quite clearly inside the box (but upside down).
    If the hole was too big, then you got a blurry image.
    There was no lens in the shoebox, and there was no need, as the tiny hole could not transmit multiple images, to cause any blurring.
    You can do the same by restricting your reading sessions to a time when you can sit in sunlight, or have very bright reading light (‘Cool’ white globe, NOT ‘Warm’).
    You should be able to read without glasses, as your eyes become pinholes in bright light..
    Also you may find that your eyes get a bit stronger over time.

    Doctor Rob

  7. tejas

    I’m always hitting the Caps Lock by mistake…….. thanks for the fix.

    EyeLeo, might help, but you may as well face it, as we get older, so do our eyes. At age 30, I had 20/10 vision…. that’s better than average. Now I wear contacts, and still need reading glasses…. :|