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Posts Tagged ‘explorer’

Access your online storage with Gladinet

July 4, 2009 2 comments

You may have jumped on online storage bandwagon. I store things online occasionally, but I’ve never liked the fact that I have to wander off to the storage website to access and edit my documents. Therefore, some time ago I went off hunting for a way to access my online documents using Windows Explorer. I found it in the form of Gladinet. I’ve only recently rediscovered it tucked away in my Start Menu. Having brushed off the layers of dust, I decided I would babble about it here since you might find it of use.

Copying a file to my online storage using explorer.

Copying a file to my online storage.

After downloading and installing, a little icon should appear in the notification area which provides various options for mounting your online storage. I’m still using a beta version of software since I installed it quite a while ago, and it’s working just fine for my purposes. However, the release version is now up to version 1.1, and it brings along new features and a better interface which makes it easier to add your online services to Gladinet. You’ll need to have the software running in order to be able to access your online storge from Explorer; which is why it’s set to start with your PC by default. You can change this by alterting the options. If you don’t use your online storage very often, you may not want it starting automatically.

Online storage locations are mounted as drives. This means that there will be a new item added to your ‘Computer’ window which represents your online storage. Within that you’ll then have listed the different resources that you’ve added. For instance, I currently only have one online storage location set up within mine. I could add others using Gladinet if I wished to. The best feature of this software is that it allows you to interact with the files as if they were stored locally on your hard-drive. This means that you can copy, move, delete, rename, and other such jazz in the same way you would with an ordinary file that’s saved on your PC.

If you use online storage hopefully you’ll find this useful. It cuts out the necessity of visiting the storage website. It also allows you to quickly edit documents, especially in such activities as copying and deleting. You can download it from www.gladinet.com and give it a spin.

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Create custom web-slices with LiveSlices

July 2, 2009 3 comments

The LiveSlice website has been down for a number of weeks. It appears that it might not be returning.

During my brief stint with IE8 I’ve been making the most of the features that it has to offer. One of these is web-slices. You can also grab an addon for Firefox which replicates this feature, but doesn’t seem to work quite so well. However, the number of webslices provided by site admins is a bit limited. I therefore went on the hunt for a way to create my own. Low and behold, the Internet has an answer in the form of LiveSlices.

The Twitter WebSlice

The Twitter WebSlice

The site’s aim is pretty simple – create new webslices and enable users to create their own. The site doesn’t yet have many of their own creation, however, the ones it does have are quite useful. I especially like the Twitter slice, which allows you to keep track of your updates from Twitter without visiting the website or using one of the bajillions of third-party Twitter applications vying for your use. As with all other WebSlices, the text changes to bold if there’s new updates, then clicking the item in the favourites toolbar pops a little box down which lets you see your updates without leaving the webpage you’re currently on.

Aside from the rather spiffing Twitter slice, another great feature of the website is the ability to create your own slice from an RSS feed. I’ve never particularly liked RSS feeds because I’ve never seen the reason behind having updates to websites hidden away in your bookmarks. Therefore having an RSS feed in a web-slice makes more sense to me. It will add a drop-down item onto your favourites toolbar which can be clicked to see the latest updates to the feed. I’ve got three news sources – one of which was custom-made with LiveSlices, and a few from other sources. In order to create your own RSS  WebSlice you simply need to go to website you want to keep track of, find the RSS feed and copy/paste the URL into LiveSlice’s webpage for creating your own custom RSS slice. You will also need to provide a name and a couple of other settings when doing this. You can then click ‘Install’ to have the slice added to your favourites bar. I had trouble a couple of times when the slice didn’t work correctly when clicked and would refer me to a webpage instead of appearing in a box. I found that deleting it and trying again fixed this.

LiveSlices is a spiffing little website. They’re also working on creating a slice to allow you to add Facebook to your favourites bar. You might be concerned that you’ll end up spending your whole time looking at your social updates from Twitter, but you can counter-balance that by creating your own unsociable feeds for news sources and other such jazzy locations. You can get the feeds and create your own at www.liveslices.com.

Improve Explorer with QT TabBar and Toolbar

March 4, 2009 3 comments

It’s still a fairly short while since Microsoft added tabs to their Internet Explorer browser, but since then tabs have become an integral part of just about everyone’s browsing experience, even the least techy of users. The easy process of being able to quickly and simply open up new pages and links whilst browsing the Internet has become standard. However, the program we use to browse our files in Windows is still lacking in this feature. Indeed, it’s a good, simple way of viewing, organising and searching for files, but it could be improved. This is where QT’s TabBar and toolbar come in.

This small, easy-to-install application allows you to add two new toolbars to Windows Explorer. Once installed (please see here for install instructions – note that you will need to right click and run as administrator in Vista), log off and on again to restart Explorer. You can then enable either one or both of the toolbars. The first of which is a tab-bar. Simply enable this by right-clicking on an empty area of your current toolbars and clicking ‘QT TabBar’. You should then see a new tab-bar pop up. You can then unlock your toolbars and drag them around to gain a comfortable layout. This is really quite a snazzy product. Rather than opening up a separate window for different

folders, you can have multiple locations open within the same window, and just like in a web browser, middle-clicking on a folder will open it in a new tab. You can drag files around between these tabs, as well as customising various options – just right-click an empty area of the tab-bar and have a wander through the plethora of choices to make it work in the best way possible for you.

The second of the provided toolbars is slightly less exciting, but no less useful. You’ll notice the change more in Vista, where Microsoft made Windows Explorer much simpler, removing all but the backwards and forwards buttons. This is fine if the only need is simplicity, but if you’re anything like me, you may miss a few of the old functions from XP. Enabling the ‘QT Tab Standard Buttons’ toolbar will pop up some familar buttons from XP. You can right click on this toolbar to add or remove buttons, or even change the image on each if you’re not happy with the provided icons.

Showcasing a few of QT's features

Showcasing a few of QT's features

Other small but nifty and time-saving features are also added. Hovering over a folder will show a small arrow to the right, clicking this pops up a drop-down list which allows you to quickly navigate to other folders or files, without having to poddle through the directories. You can also hover over an image file to see a thumbnail appear, also containing basic informaiton about the image. Another feature of the toolbar is the small search-box. Whilst you’ll already have Microsoft’s version of this if you use Vista, QT Tab’s works differently: it searches in a different way: only searching the currently open directory of folders and files. This is often helpful if you just want to quickly find a file or folder out of the current list, rather than searching your whole computer in a strange, somewhat cumbersome manner. In addition, you can also add lists of your favourite applications or files which can then be accessed quickly and easily from the ‘Applications’ drop-down, saving you a trip to the Start Menu.

I did seem to notice a slight performance decrease when browsing files after the install, but this was temporary; Explorer now appears to perform the same as it did prior to the install. I would also suggest that the productivity increase you are likely to see will outweigh any minor speed decrease you may experience. Either way, it’s easy to remove the toolbars if you encounter any issues.

If you decide that neither of these features are for you, simple disable the toolbars again. You can also fully remove it by running the quick install wizard again, this time opting to remove it. Unfortunately the next version of Windows, Windows 7, isn’t set to include tabbed file browsing, so it looks like we’ll need this again if upgrading! I hope you’ll agree that these tools save a lot of time, making simple tasks easier and simpler. Give it a whirl and see what you think by downloading from www.qttabbar.com, and for help with installing, please see this article.