Windows software of the day [May 21, 2012]

Today’s Software

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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 21, 2012

Blockify

Spotify is a wonderful service, providing free, unlimited music to anyone who wants it. However, it comes with a caveat: free, unlimited ads every so often. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it’s what keeps the service free—but it can detract from the listening experience if a Red Hot Chili Peppers ad comes on right after Adagio for Strings.

Blockify can fix that right up for you. It allows you to automatically mute ads whenever they start on Spotify and unmute when the music starts again. And, if you aren’t a fan of 15-45 seconds of silence, it also allows you to play a custom MP3—perhaps something from Red Hot Chili Peppers—during the mute period.

Note: if Blockify crashes due to a DLL error when you first open it, run the included vcredist_x86.exe installer.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v0.3 alpha

Supported OS: Windows XP+

Download size: 5.3MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/42

Portability: Entirely portable!

Blockify homepage

Spartan Multi Clipboard

Windows’ built-in clipboard management is pretty terrible. It lets you store only one thing, and one thing only. You also can’t see what’s in your clipboard without pasting it and potentially messing up your formatting.

Spartan fixes just about everything wrong with the Windows clipboard. It lets you store a rotating set of the latest 25 copied items, as well as as many items as you want permanently — and not just text, but graphics, unlike some clipboard managers.

It also has some features that make it uniquely designed for humans. They’re the little things: when you copy a link, you can click a button in the clipboard management screen to go to it. If you copy graphics, you can see them in a small preview window. It also lets you use basic editing features for graphical clips, though they’re not terribly useful.

The only annoying thing about Spartan is really its preview window. This window, which is forever present when your mouse is over the clipboard manager, jumps around the screen so that it’s not hiding what your mouse is over. It’s nice in theory, but in practice isn’t very nice, as it tends to do a lot of random jumping.

However, in total, Spartan is quite nice. You can tell a lot of work went into making it not just usable, but useful, and that’s a refreshing step back from a lot of software. There are rough corners, and the interface looks like it was designed in 2005, but if you’re looking for a heavily-featured clipboard manager that works well, Spartan is the one for you.

Price: $29.99 for single license, bulk sets available

Version discovered: v8.00

Supported OS: Windows 98+

Download size: 4.6-4.8 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: x/42 installer | x/42 portable | 0/40 U3 

Portability: Installer, portable, and U3 versions available

Spartan Multi Clipboard homepage

DriveShortcut

Want to have easy access to all of your drives on your Desktop? Need to quickly access your thumb drive? Use DriveShortcut to add shortcuts to your various drives as soon as you insert them into your computer.

Setting up DriveShortcut is as easy as can be. You can set it to show thumb drives, CD/DVD drives, hard drives, networked drives, RAM drives, or any combination of those. You can also set it to remember where you place icons; if you don’t, each time you remove and re-attach your thumb drive the icon will move.

All in all DriveShortcut is nice and simple?–and that’s just what it needs to be.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.1.0

Supported OS: Windows XP+

Download size: 2.0MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/41

Portability: Requires installation

DriveShortcut 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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7 comments

  1. Mike

    Spartan may be nice, with with so many freeware clip programs available (including at least 3 discussed in this column as recently as last week: Clipboard Magic, ArsClip and PhraseExpress), no need to buy a program.

    ;^)

  2. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @RobCr: Just a misunderstanding, then. No harm, no foul. And there have been a few, but not many, shareware Windows software featured in the past

    In regards to comment moderation. It is all.about the number of links and formatting. The more your comment is ‘spammy’ the morelikely it will be moderated.

  3. RobCr

    @Ashraf:
    I ignore the apple programs, and one day may peruse the backlog of the Android pages (not deleted, just not yet read).
    Thus the only ones I have read, have been the Windows programs, which I believe have all been free ?
    It is not a big issue for me, it was just my understanding/misunderstanding.

    Something that is of greater interest to me –
    Could you publish guidelines as to what triggers a moderation ?
    That way if any DotTechie wishes to ensure their post is not delayed, they can take precautions (based on those guidelines).
    The post that was delayed was not urgent, but it may have influenced some members to download the free portable Spartan, instead.
    .

  4. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @RobCr and @Debbie: If you go back and see our Discoveries of the Day articles (Windows, Android, and iOS) you will see we mix free and paid offerings. While we do prefer freeware over shareware, and will always feature at least two freeware a day, no where did we say this is for free software only. Today we featured 2 freeware and 1 shareware — i dont understand what is the big issue.

  5. RobCr

    I assumed that you only listed free software on ‘Windows software of the day’ ? ?
    There is a free version of Spartan, and also a portable one.
    In ‘Windows software of the day [May 16, 2012]‘ there is a lot of discussion on those.

    Also could you pop over and moderate approve my last post.
    I was responding to a DotTechie’s problem with Spartan getting flaky after a while.
    I imagine the reason that my post was flagged for moderation, was I was discussing that problem, and outlining solutions. And I mentioned the well known name of that problem ‘DLL H-E-L-L” which does contain a swear word.