Windows software of the day [May 6, 2012]

Today’s Software

  • Spiffy: check Gmail/Google Apps inboxes and get regular notifications on Windows XP or newer.
  • 7CMenuEditor: add programs to the Windows 7 desktop context menu.
  • Xiph Directshow Filters: get support for open source formats like FLAC in Windows Media Player and more.

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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 May 6, 2012

Spiffy

Do you remember Gmail Notifier Plus? It’s a tiny little program to let you know when you get new emails. However, it has a few major downsides: it only works on Windows 7, and the notifications are little pop-up previews in the taskbar rather than larger, more useful previews.

Spiffy has neither of those problems: it’s fully compatible with any version of Windows since XP, and has an incredibly customizable notification alert. As soon as you set up an account (or two, or three), you can instantly start receiving notifications for new emails. Be warned, though, that by default Spiffy gives you notifications for any email that’s marked as new. If you want only emails since the last notification, you can enable that in settings.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v0.5.11

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7

Download size: 295KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/43

Portable version available? Yes

Spiffy homepage

7CMenuEditor

There’s a little-known feature for the Windows desktop: the ability to add custom programs and websites to the right-click menu. However, using these feature has traditionally meant using either Regedit or a custom registry file. No longer, however! 7CMenuEditor lets you add programs and sites to the menu with ease.

As you can see in the screenshot to the left, I’ve added a website that will use Firefox and appear in the middle of the menu. You can set any custom browser you want with any icon, and can have it appear at the top of the menu, the middle, or at the bottom below Personalize.

Although it’s a seriously simple program, 7CMenuEditor can help you a great deal if you like to have your programs readily accessible from the desktop but don’t want to have to clean it often.

Note: you will need something like 7-Zip to extract 7C. You will need to run 7C as administrator or will otherwise receive a cryptic error message.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v4.5

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7

Download size: 1.3MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/43

Portable version available? Yes

7CMenuEditor homepage

Xiph Directshow Filters

If you’re a open source fanatic like me, you probably intensely dislike Windows’ lack of support for pretty much any free codec. However, there is one thing Windows does support: 3rd party codecs. Personally, I enjoy both using Windows Media Player and having a lossless media collection, so this is actually a bit deal for me. However, it’s Xiph to the rescue: their codec pack allows WMP (and any media program using Microsoft’s codec APIs) access to various open formats.

After installing the Directshow Filters codec pack, you’ll instantly have access to all the various open source codecs: Ogg Vorbis,Theora, Speex, FLAC, and WebM. What this basically means is any format under the sun, including the excellent lossless compressed FLAC codec.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v0.85.17777

Supported OS: Windows 32/64-bit

Download size: 2.6MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/43

Portable version available? No

Xiph Directshow Filters 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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1 comment

  1. Jeanjean

    I suppose “ogg codec” (from illiminable) is similar to Xiph Directshow Filters ?
    I encountered a Net Framework problem with “7CMenuEditor” under XP sp3 and must ignore it to open the program !
    Thanks (again) Locutus !