Wednesday, April 28, 2010

FreeWare program of the month - KeyNote

I have been searching for a replacement for an old DOS (before Windows) editor that I use to keep my journal. Since I keep several kinds of information in it, and some of it is sensitive, this has been a daunting task. I need a tool which can keep multiple kinds of data, some in fairly massive amounts, can keep it private, and keep it "bookmarked" for easy access.

I think I found it in KeyNote

KeyNote is basically like having Wordpad that opens up to a complete set of files in a tree of folders. And it can stay minimized in your desktop (system) tray. Each time it opens, it can open to the last place you edited a specific file, making it useful as a log or journal.

In addition to begin able to import and export text and rich text files, you can edit rich text files from inside Keynote by using a link to that file (called a virtual node). Switching from one note to another or one file of notes to another is much faster than opening a new window (or new copy) of Wordpad, and again, they open to the last place you edited them.

Keynote provides for the (strong) Encryption of the entire file of notes, and also can do ROT13 (a quick substitution of the alphabet) on any particular text inside the file (to prevent someone from inadvertently reading it), making the word "particular look like "cnegvphyne". It can also reverse any text you highlight, making the word "particular" look like "ralucitrap." This means you can keep your notes, as a whole, safe from prying eyes, and if there is anything particularly sensitive in one or more of them, you can use ROT13 to keep it from being inadvertently read if someone walks up behind you while you are working.

I haven't found the spell check, thesaurus, or glossary yet, but there are program add-on's available (plug-in's) for those and other functions. I just haven't had time to explore those things yet. Also this tool is mainly for those of us still using WindowsXP or Win2K (it also works in Linux Wine), one of the current development projects is to port it to dotNET for Windows7, but that has not happened yet. Some people have been using it in Windows7, and some have reported problems with it in Windows7. Porting it to dotNET will fix Windows7, but it may kill it for Linux users.

This is not the ultimate fix for my search for the Perfect Journal Keeping Tool, but it looks like it is far better than any other I have looked at.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

America's Hidden History

America's Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis

288 pages, date 2009 From Harper Paperbacks

From the Amazon Review: [this is] "a collection of extraordinary stories, each detailing an overlooked episode that shaped the nation's destiny and character"

From one of the 4 star customer reviews: "High School American History is what it is, a large composition of dates and names with little dimension of cause and effect."

My review:
I often say that history is best learned by studying it a little at a time for many years. Of course, each of us needs to get a foundation that can be provided by Junior High and High School, but that is little more than a framework to build real knowledge of history. America's Hidden History helps provide some of that real knowledge.

Most of the books I have reviewed in the past are beginner's books, and I have a particular affection for the "For Dummies" and similar kinds of books. This is not a "For Dummies" kind of book, and it is not a beginner's book. It goes into a great deal of detail about the lives and times of some of those who shaped our nation, and without some fairly detailed knowledge of those times, these stories are beyond understanding.

If you already have a fairly well rounded knowledge of pre-revolutionary America, this is a delightful little book of historical stories.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FreeWare program of the month

Process Explorer

I have had some problems in the last few weeks with my PC getting choked on some kind of rogue programs. After running AntiVirus and SpyBot programs to insure it wasn't some kind of infection, I started looking for the circumstances under which it chokes.

Using task manager, I was able to determine some instances of it choking on certain web sites, but I always had to remember to start task manager each time I started working, and if I closed it for any reason (I have a habit of closing all of my windows, in rapid succession when I get a choke condition), I lost any history it had.

There is a really excellent utility to replace Task Manager (for Win2k and WinXP) that provides a lot of flexibility that Task Manager does not make convenient, such as starting up as soon as you log on, and when you hit close, it simply shrinks to a tray icon (you can actually close it from there if you wish).

Freeware program, the author does not ask for anything in return for its use. "Sysinternals," the author's website was acquired by Microsoft, but still seems to function as an independent resource, and has a lot of neat utilities.

Used with another program (Autorun) from the same sight, I found a couple of things loading at startup that I didn't know about, but in the long run, I am not enough of a whiz at computers to fix whatever is choking my PC. I did learn, from the author's blog, that I am not the only one that is having this problem, and it seems to be some poorly written programming, possibly in Java, for displaying web pages.

One caviot, Process Explorer has been "Upgraded" from the edition I am using, to work on Vista and Windows7. There may or may not be some bugs with the new release (there have been complaints). I would wait another month before trying the new edition, just in case.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Christian MUST

Support a local Church - if any exists. If you are a missionary in a hostile country, well then, there should be a Church, somewhere, supporting you. But if you are here in the U.S., you need to be supporting a local Church.

I have written, before, on how to find a good Church.

Support them financially, if you can. If you are one of the 30% of our country that is having trouble putting food on the table, hen this does not apply to you. If you can afford cable TV (other than the $15 a month "limited basic" package), then you can afford to give, at least a little. You are not required to Tithe, or give 10%. Or any other amount. Giving is voluntary, and more importantly, the amount of giving is up to you. I covered that in an earlier article.

But even if you cannot give money to the Church, you can give the pastor a word of encouragement. Did he cover a point of scripture you have been wondering about? Did he give you encouragement? Did he provide a point of view that you had not heard before? And support them by praying for them. Pray for the Pastor. Pray for the Elders. Pray for those in need. Support them by prayer and giving an encouraging word. Both to their face, and to others
in the community.

UPDATE: Here is an article on a similar subject, that might have planted the seed for this one.