Thursday, September 11, 2008

Various utilities and useful links

I was in the US for more than a month and personal as well as business engagements took away time for this blog. I'm back again and hope to record convenient tools and tips during my forays into the World Wide Web. I have put through a smorgasbord  of offerings this time. 'Nuff said - here they are:

1. Launch bar

I wrote about SlickRun many months ago, and I still use this great utility. For a second line of applications that I wish to run, here is a simple method (for Windows that is, and I use XP) that does not involve installing any application. Here's what you do:

a. Right click your desktop and create a new folder;  call it “Launch Bar”.

b. Drag the Launch Bar folder to the extreme top of the desktop screen and drop it.

c. That's it - you have a toolbar.

d. Now drag the applications you need to launch and drop them in  this launch bar.

You can also right click this toolbar at the top and click on the feature to automatically hide it so that it pops up only when you bring the cursor to the top of the Desktop Screen. Here's what mine looks like:

launch bar

2. New patent search site

For all ye patent buffs - here's a new site ( that gives you patents in clean PDFs and as late as last month too. I searched with keywords "planing boat" and found a patent dated Aug. 26, and another with the keyword "semiconductor" and found one dated Aug. 28.

3. Auto-complete at command prompt

I'm sure some of you must be using the command prompt especially when you want to print a list of files (see Quickly print a list of files to a file) but here's a neat trick where you can use Auto-complete to display directories or files using the tab key at the command prompt. I came across this trick in another blog by another techie. The procedure involves making a small change in the Windows Registry, so make sure you make a backup of the Registry before you make changes! The instructions for changing the just one value in the Registry are clearly given here.

This gives you the ability to hit TAB to type out long Japanese file names at the command prompt - see example below.

Auto complete at command prompt

Until next week, here's wishing you a great day!


Ryan Ginstrom said...

Good to see you back and blogging! I like the launch-bar idea; I created one and I love it. It really helps keep the desktop uncluttered.

Gururaj Rao said...

Glad you liked it. I'm going back to the basics - use as little resources as possible, use features that already exist in the OS instead of adding more and more applications. Feel like going back to DOS and writing batch files :)