Friday, October 29, 2010


Do you use notepad everyday for your simple text editing and note taking?  Have you ever thought it could use a few more features?  Have you tried notepad replacements like notepad++ and found them bloated and too complicated for what you need?  NFOPad to the rescue!

NFOPad is a clone of notepad with a few added features.  A few of the more useful features are:

  • Unicode support (international character support)
  • Previous file list
  • NFO file support
  • Hyperlink and email link detection
  • Highly customizable

The image above shows just a bit of the nice little additions you never knew you needed for notepad.

As always, drop a comment if you find my software suggestions useful and/or if you have any suggestions of your own.  Happy hacking!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Truecrypt - Protect your data

Most people have data they don't necessarily want others to see.  Some examples of this kind of data are:

  • Financial data (Tax returns, bank account info, credit card numbers, etc)
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Diary or Journal
  • E-mail
  • Pornography
If your computer is lost or stolen this data is easily available to anyone who picks it up.  A windows password will not keep anyone from your data if they possess the machine.

What can you do to protect yourself in a situation like this?  One option would be to not keep sensitive data on a computer, especially a portable one.  This is definitely a good idea, but not always practical.  This is where encryption comes in.  There are many different options for encryption, but the best one I have come across is TrueCrypt.

TrueCrypt can encrypt your files in 2 main ways.

  • Encrypted containers
  • Encrypted partitions/drives
An encrypted container is a large encrypted virtual hard drive that you can mount as a drive in windows (or linux) and store files on.  When this file is not mounted the files are encrypted by a password and can't be retrieved.

Instead of using an encrypted container you can encrypt the entire hard drive.  This option will keep everything secure and require a password when you start your computer.

7zip - File compression/decompression

Everyone who has used a computer for more than a minute knows what a zip file is.  For those who need a refresher, a zip file is an archive of one or more files compressed into one file.  This one file is usually smaller and easier to transport than the original file or files.  This is where 7Zip comes in.  7zip not only lets you easily create and open compressed files such as zip files, it also supports many other compression formats.  Two of the more popular formats, behind zip of course, are RAR and 7z.

To the left you can see an example of the 7-zip file manager that will open and create your compressed files.

Best reason to use 7-zip over other programs?  It's Free!!

  • Don't use the Windows built-in zip file viewer.  It only works for zip and makes people think they can work with the contents of the file as if it were a folder.  It's not!!!
  • Don't pay money for other well known programs like winzip or winrar when you can get better functionality for free.