Meebone – Meebo On Your Desktop – Adobe Air

2008-07-06_204459 Meebone Version Tested : 0.23 beta 4
Compatibility : Adobe Air

Description : Meebone is an Adobe Air render of the much loved web based multiprotocol (multi client) messaging website. Handy if your using the Meebo me widget on your site.

Meebo is rapidly becoming the webs most popular web based messaging client. To be honest, I cant say I’m surprised either! Its freakin brilliant. It supports Yahoo Messenger, MSN / WLM (.net messenger), Google Talk, AIM, ICQ and Jabber. That’s quite an extensive list for a web based client. Bringing that to your desktop, with a smarter design, and having the same function from any browser, is just nice. Very Nice.

True, pidgin supports more messaging protocols, but it isn’t as beautiful, or has as many easy to use skins as meebo, and there is no web version either. Pidgen has a portable version, but with meebo, all you need is a browser. Both Pidgin and Meebo both have an open API , so plugin are simple to develop (relatively speaking if you can do those sort of things. Meebo has file transfer built in, along with web cams. How’s about that.


DM2 – Make windows work how YOU want them to.

2008-07-02_141457 DM2 Version Tested : 1.23
Compatibility : Windows 2000, XP, Vista *

Description : DM2 is a very configurable window manipulation tool which incorporates itself into your every day use of computers. Extremely useful for any and every user. Also includes an assortment of plugins which aim to make your computing life easier, and succeed. Desktop Mate. It sure is, both yours and mine.

This is one of those bits of freeware which after a while, you forget you even installed DM2. Its only when your using another computer, get confused, and ask the owner why the middle click on the minimize button isn’t rolling up the window. After they get confused, you are reminded that its that wonderful DM2 program you have on your machine, and whip out your USB with it on. (oh yeh, DM2 portable too, hooray!).

Incase you haven’t guessed yet, I’m quite fond of this little app. Its rare that software this good is free, but hey, I guess its our lucky day. The image for this one was a tad hard, as it does so many different things. The about window is a safe bet I thought. As you can see from the left hand menu, it doesn’t appear to have many settings. I can assure you, that each section is cram packed with useful options and settings to make handling windows easier.

Before I continue on to explain the features in detail, I think I should give you an overview of the different features it contains. There is a function called Minimize to floating icon, which is very handy, and a unique feature of DM2! Also minimize to tray, which is rather neat. Two more are hiding the window and aligning and resizing to set sizes of percentage’s of the screen size. Another big feature for me is the enhanced system menu (also known as title menu). Right clicking on the title bar will show extra items on the drop down menu. These items are, to floating icon, minimize to tray and always on top. There are also two sub menus of opacity and process priority.

Normally, the beginning would be the best place to start. I wouldn’t agree with DM2 though, as its trade mark feature (minimize to floating icon) isn’t my favourite.


Transparent TaskBar – So Simple, My Cat Could Use It

2008-06-29_191428 Transparent TaskBar Version Tested : 1.0.29
Compatibility : Win All

Description : A simple small lightweight freeware app to make your taskbar transparent. One slider. Couldn’t be easier.

Since StyleXP bit the dust as far as my computer is concerned, one feature I missed, as I’m sure many other do, is making the taskbar transparent. Well no need to worry any longer, no need to fret. Transparent TaskBar can solve this problem.

One of the most light weight software I have found to date, while still doing everything I expect. In the image, you can see the a funny little rectangle above the about box. This is the essence of what Transparent TaskBar is.

In the grey area, your mouse can drag the little box, just incase you want to change it. The little black line in the white area is your slider. Simply click anywhere in the white area and you can move the slider up and down by dragging. Your taskbar will change its level of transparency. I’m not sure why I even want the taskbar to be transparent, but I just feel it should, even though I have it set to auto hide. I guess I just like my background a lot.


Uxtheme Patches – Enable ANY theme for XP and Vista

2008-06-25_153052 UXTheme MP6 Version Tested : XP SP3
Compatibility : Win XP, Vista (inc 64), Server 2003, Server 2008, Windows 7 (apparently)

Description : Windows does the the ability to change your theme to something more exciting, however, Microsoft limited the themes to MS signed themes only. These Patches undo this, enabling any theme to be used.

Since the kind people at StyleXP stopped responding to my free key requests for my readers, (You), I decided to search for a freeware alternative. Luckily I remembered something I had seen in development around the time I first discovered StyleXP. My StyleXP Key came to rest, and so when I finally decided it was time to get Uxtheme Patcher, I also set up an auto response email for those still trying to get a free key.

If your a bit bored of your standard windows theme, chances are that you wouldn’t mind a bit of a change. Personally, after using a mac, I like the Mac GUI more than Windows, so why not just change my windows theme to a mac theme? If you look at the screen shot, you will see. I use the Panther theme.

The patches work better than something like windows blinds or StyleXP, as they use very little resources in compassion. Where StyleXP used to use as little as 20MB, the patch uses none that I’m aware of. It also enables you to use any theme easily.


AppAholic is 1 YEAR old! (Hiatus till late June)

birthday_cupcake-WEB AppAholic is officially one year old tomorrow! Rather exciting. Something that started off as another wild project that would have been expected never to last, actually turned out to be fun, exciting, and interesting. Since AppAholic started in April last year, over 100,000 hits, featured on 30+ blogs and websites (including LifeHacker and Donation Coder), and gained over 1,000 subscribers. I never thought I would get anywhere near figures like that!

Its at times like this where we thank websites for links, especially our top referral THE Freeware Genius, Samer. He’s been more than helpful with many things to do with wordpress and blogging. The is also an interview with him found HERE. Also thanks goes to the editors for their good will to help me out with my atrocious spelling. Thanks goes to LukeJ, for the logo design! But MOST of all, thank you for reading! If you didn’t, then there would be no AppAholic.

As some of you more regular readers may have noticed, there has been a lack of content being posted recently. I’m completely bogged down with all this coursework and revision in the lead up to the end of my A Levels at college.

I think its important that you know I won’t have the time to post regally again until late June when my exams end. In the mean time, check out the random posts on the sidebar and the categories.


Hamachi – Play Network Games Across The Internet, Skip That Server Lag

2008-03-30_130358 Himachi Version Tested :
Compatibility : Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Linux and OS X

Description : Lan over the Internet. Create a virtual private network across the internet allowing you to act like a network and even play network games across the internet directly. You can password your networks so that only people you allow can join. The connection is direct after initial set up, so no server lag! Instant, Zero Configuration VPN!

This is a real gem from the makers of the earlier reviewed LogMeIn system, allowing users to access their home computer screen via a web browser. Hamachi does much more that just enabling you to play network games over the net, but it’s a really good use for it. Its widely used for gaming, so much so that people have even developed tools for enabling easy connection with games like Age of Empires 3, making direct network games across the Internet (although it wouldn’t work for me).

I confess, I tested this with a 1995 game of Yu-Gi-Oh, which makes me more retro than cool, but hey. It worked like a charm, especially because you could only play multiplayer over a network. There are websites devoted to the cataloging of Hamachi networks, from C&C 3 to Call of Duty 4. An increasing number of people are starting to use Hamachi to play their cracked downloaded games which can’t connect to the online servers, although downloading cracked games isn’t recommended at all!

To connect to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) using Hamachi, both ends must have the client installed. The host creates a network name, and the guest simply types in that name to connect to the network. Access can be restricted with a password if needs be, just to keep it truly private.


Mmm – Make those right click menus more appetising

2008-03-13_112906 mmm Version Tested : 2.02
Compatibility : XP

Description : Enables you to edit right click (context) menus with real ease. Drag and drop items into a "rarely used" sub menu. Simply clicking on the special context menus.

Every time you install a new app (lets face it, every other day if your an AppAholic), they add items to your right click context menu, without even asking you for permission! (How Rude). Or, when you install A FireFox Addons (Even though we call them Plugins), you may get as many as 5 extra items placed on your right click menu.

Several weeks ago, after uninstalling some app, it failed to remove its right click menu item. Mmm solved this by letting me delete the entry. Also when I was trying out AVG Anti Spyware, I kept clicking on the scan for that rather than AVG free! How annoying! It got removed very fast.

Using Mmm couldn’t be more simple.


Site Updates and New Computer

Hey everyone. Its been a while since I’ve made a post. New review is on its way before the end of this week!

I’ve been building my new computer recently with a friend, and it works! didn’t take that long, but the problem was I had to install everything again. Being an AppAholic, that’s a bit of a daunting task! Anyway, I’m here now, and almost back to my configuration. I’ve also been bogged down with a stack of coursework and exams and work and events and… Really really busy.

I have quite a few plans for AppAholic in the near future. I think you will be rather surprised.

I’ve had the odd 15mins to add new items to the sidebar. The most noticeable is the Meebo Me widget. For those of you who don’t know, Meebo is a free online browser based cross platform cross network messaging client. Phew that was a mouthful, but I felt it necessary to explain what it’s about. You can use it to chat with me any time I’m online with Meebo!


Apple Live Messenger.., sort of. Only On Windows

2008-02-10_131712 Apple Live Messenger Version Tested : 0.1.0
Compatibility : Windows that are running msn v 8.5 or above

Description : Windows Apple Live Messenger. Love Apple but currently using Windows Live Messenger? Change nothing bur the style and look of WLM to look like its running on an Mac! Add some style to your dull MSN WLM!

If you haven’t already worked it out so far, I like mac style on windows machines! I’ve been using StyleXP to skin my OS since I knew how, and haven’t looked back. The only thing that was refusing to adjust, was my MSN WLM window. This problem is now solved!

Recently, msnPLUS has added custom skins to its list of enhancements, and Apple Live Messenger (ALM) is one of the most popular skins. Its racked up over 200,000 downloads since its launch in December 07, and is the third most popular WLM skin! The other two are a Vista Ultimate theme, and one called Ev0.


ZAMZAR – Convert Files And Download Them In One Go!

2008-01-28_131439 ZamZar Version Tested : Jan 25th 2008
Compatibility : Browser

Description : Free file conversion website that supports a very wide range of file types including the majority of Documents, Images, Music, Video, and compression formats. Free version offers maximum file size of 100MB. Even transcode direct from the URL before you download.

First of all, I think its important to point out that the Conversion-Process of ZamZar is not always instant. Sometimes it can take upto an hour before you can download your transcoded 100MB video file. But when it comes to the point where you don’t want to install another application to transcode files (and yes, you may eventually find that you don’t want to!) then I think ZamZar is the solution that will work for you, whilst leaving your computer resources alone to carry on doing other things!

I noted that probably the most useful feature is being able to change the file type BEFORE downloading the file, just by knowing the URL. This can be extremely useful with music and videos! The file types supported are as follows;

Documents – .cvs; .doc; .docx; .odp; .ods; .odt; .pdf; .ppt; .pptx; .ps; .pub; .rtf; .wpd; .wps; .xls and .xlsx.

Images – .bmp; .gif; .jpg; .pcx; .png; .tga; .tiff and .wbmp.

Audio – .aac; .ac3; .flac; .m4a; .mp3; .ra; .ram; .wav and .wma.

Video – .ra; .ram; .3gg; .avi; .flv; .gvi; .m4v; .mov; .mp4; .mpg; .rm; .rmvb; .vob and .wmv.

Compression Formats – .7z; .cab; .lzh; .rar; .tar; .tar.ghz; .tar.bz2; .yz1; and .zip.

That’s quite an extensive list!

Of course, when I referred to something as the most useful feature, I wasn’t counting the number of different file types and the browser button feature. Both of which are really really neat. The Zamzar web browser button is a very interesting and potentially massive time saving feature that I cant say I have seen anywhere else before.