Tag Archives: drag and drop interface

Supercharge Windows Start Menu With Microsoft Labs Free Speed Launch

imageWindows “Start” menu is pretty cool – it acts much like a one stop shop for application launch, and it allows access to additional functions and computer locations.

Overall, the start menu suits me well, but I’m always curious about tools that claim to make my Windows experience a little faster or, a little easier. So, when I came across a small free application from Microsoft Office Labs – Speed Launch, I took it for a spin.

Speed Launch, at its core, is an application launcher with a bit of a twist – it’s easy for an average, or less experienced user, to get their head around. The drag and drop interface is uncomplicated, and easy to grasp.

Or, as Microsoft puts it –

“Using the application is definitely no rocket science, since it can actually be managed quite easily. The basic principle relies on dragging and dropping the shortcut into the bull’s eye, and typing in the name for the newly created shortcut. Absolutely any file stored on your hard disk will be appended to Speed Launch’s shortcut list.”

Shortcuts can include an application, a Web site or a document,  triggered by a  word, or a phrase of your choice. Once you have set up Speed Launch with your shortcuts, accessing the launcher is east – just hit Windows (key), plus C (key).

Following installation, you’ll notice you now have a small bull’s eye on screen. I attempted to capture this bull’s eye in the following screen shot, but on a 24 inch screen it’s very small. The bull’s eye is in the center of the screen in this case, but it is movable, or it can be hidden.

image

The right click context menu allows full control over the application, as the following screen capture indicates.

image

Here’s an example in which I set up CDBurnerXP to run from the launcher.

View Slide Show

Or…

image

image

image

The following example shows the effect of using the application’s Megasearch function which will open the pages of the three search engines in separate tabs in your default web browser, based on your query.

image

The result is illustrated in this very small screen capture. Sorry about the size, but I think it helps to get the idea across. I really liked this feature.

image

View Slide Show

Watch the video and slide show for the step by step  process by which Speed Launch allows you to identify and quickly  retrieve what you use most.Play Video

Watch the slide show for the step by step process by which Speed Launch allows you to identify and quickly retrieve what you use most.

Watch Video

Matt created this video to show how to create functions.  Watch it and learn to create your own.Play Video

This video shows you how to create functions. Watch it and learn to create your own.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP SP2 with .Net Framework 3.0.

Download at: Microsoft (Go to “Try It”, on the right hand side of the page).

Note: Microsoft has a number of Lab sites all of which offer a range of free tools.

This is a rather cool little application, well worth a look.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under Application Launchers, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Microsoft, Productivity Software, Software, System Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Speed Launch From Microsoft Labs Is Worth A Look

Windows “Start” menu is pretty cool – it acts much like a one stop shop for application launch, and it allows access to additional functions and computer locations.

Overall, the start menu suits me well, but I’m always curious about tools that claim to make my Windows experience a little faster or, a little easier. So, when I came across a small free application from Microsoft Office Labs – Speed Launch, I took it for a spin.

Speed Launch, at its core, is an application launcher with a bit of a twist – it’s easy for an average, or less experienced user, to get their head around. The drag and drop interface is uncomplicated, and easy to grasp.

Or, as Microsoft puts it –

“Using the application is definitely no rocket science, since it can actually be managed quite easily. The basic principle relies on dragging and dropping the shortcut into the bull’s eye, and typing in the name for the newly created shortcut. Absolutely any file stored on your hard disk will be appended to Speed Launch’s shortcut list.”

Shortcuts can include an application, a Web site or a document,  triggered by a  word, or a phrase of your choice. Once you have set up Speed Launch with your shortcuts, accessing the launcher is east – just hit Windows (key), plus C (key).

Following installation, you’ll notice you now have a small bull’s eye on screen. I attempted to capture this bull’s eye in the following screen shot, but on a 24 inch screen it’s very small. The bull’s eye is in the center of the screen in this case, but it is movable, or it can be hidden.

image

The right click context menu allows full control over the application, as the following screen capture indicates.

image

Here’s an example in which I set up CDBurnerXP to run from the launcher.

View Slide Show

Or…

image

image

image

The following example shows the effect of using the application’s Megasearch function which will open the pages of the three search engines in separate tabs in your default web browser, based on your query.

image

The result is illustrated in this very small screen capture. Sorry about the size, but I think it helps to get the idea across. I really liked this feature.

image

View Slide Show

Watch the video and slide show for the step by step  process by which Speed Launch allows you to identify and quickly  retrieve what you use most.Play Video

Watch the slide show for the step by step process by which Speed Launch allows you to identify and quickly retrieve what you use most.

Watch Video

Matt created this video to show how to create functions.  Watch it and learn to create your own.Play Video

This video shows you how to create functions. Watch it and learn to create your own.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP SP2 with .Net Framework 3.0.

Download at: Microsoft (Go to “Try It”, on the right hand side of the page).

Note: Microsoft has a number of Lab sites all of which offer a range of free tools.

This is a rather cool little application, well worth a look.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

5 Comments

Filed under Application Launchers, downloads, Freeware, Microsoft, New Computer User Software Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

The Winners in the WinAutomation Contest Are….

I’m happy to announce that the winners of a free license for WinAutomation, a Windows application that has been designed so that the user can automate both uncomplicated and, more intricate tasks, using a straightforward, simple, and intuitive drag and drop interface, are:

Jake

Chris W

Rick

You can of course, download a a fully functional 30 day trial of WinAutomation. Read the following review and you might find this superior application pretty tempting.

Macros to the Max with WinAutomation

image

We’ve come to believe that computers were designed, amongst other things, to help make us more efficient. Arguable, computers have done just that.

Unfortunately, one of the issues many of us have ended up having to deal with are those repetitive tasks; the sort of mundane “gotta do” computer tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. The type of repetitive tasks we would like to automate, but many of us don’t have the programming skills to do so effectively.

Back in the days of dinosaur computing, 20 + years ago, one of the computing skills I had to learn early on, was writing elementary macros. This was an absolute necessity in order to increase efficiency – even for home computing tasks.

Computing today is far more complex; so elementary macro writing, or running basic Windows scripts for more complex tasks, just doesn’t cut it.

Recently, I was asked to review WinAutomation, a Windows application that has been designed so that the user can automate both uncomplicated and, more intricate tasks, using a straightforward, simple, and intuitive drag and drop interface.

Let me cut to the chase – this application does exactly what it says it will do. My programming skills are pretty rusty, so it was a welcome surprise to see that no programming skills are needed to get the best out of this application.

I quickly opened the examples set out in the WinAutomation console, and that coupled with the extensive help file, made the learning curve for the program extremely quick and easy.

WinAutomation 2

WinAutomation 1

Fast facts:

Visual Job Editor that lets you build automation Jobs using Drag & Drop.

130+ predefined actions to combine for easy Job-building.

Task Scheduler that lets you schedule and execute Jobs while you are away.

Triggers that let you monitor your system, and respond to events (e.g., when a file is created or modified, when a Hotkey is pressed, when system is idle and more).

Integrated Debugger to inspect and debug your tasks while running.

Support for Variables and Data Types.

Advanced Flow Control capabilities, Conditionals, Loops, nested Loops.

Advanced Error Handling to create Jobs that compensate for and handle errors gracefully.

Image Recognition technology that literally “sees the screen” to help you automate non-standard interfaces or applications over remote sessions.

Macro Recorder that lets you record mouse and keyboard action to automate tasks easily.

Exe Compiler (Pro Edition only) for compiling your tasks into autonomous exe files that you can distribute and run without having WinAutomation installed.

WinAutomation deserves kudos for the way it effectively takes the grind out of those repetitive mundane computing tasks that drive us all slightly batty, and measurably reduce our efficiency.

To see how effective this application really is, I recommend that you watch the primer on how you can automate your repetitive computer tasks at WinAutomation.

Give this great application a test drive and you might be very surprised at how quickly you can increase your efficiency.

Download a fully functional 30 day trial at: WinAutomation

Purchase:

WinAutomation 3.0 Professional Edition US$ 199

WinAutomation 3.0 Standard Edition US$ 129

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Computer Automation Applications, Geek Software and Tools, Software, Software Trial Versions, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Free License Giveaways Continue for SUPERAntiSpyware and WinAutomation

We still have 2 contests running on Tech Thoughts, with 20 free lifetime licenses for SUPERAntiSpyware, and 3 free licenses for WinAutomation to be won.

SUPERAntiSpyware is a recognized leader in the fight against the ever increasing threats we are exposed to, each time we connect to the Internet. This application is definitely a worthwhile addition to your security toolbox.

From the article:

“Since I had test driven the free version of SUPERAntiSpyware earlier this year, and found it to be equal to its excellent reputation, I decided to go for a run with the professional version.

image

No surprise then, when I found that the professional version, which includes real time protection against infection, lived up to its reputation as a premier anti-malware tool. In a world of hyperbole, exaggeration, overstatement, and embellishment, the SUPER, in this case, means just that.

It would be hard to argue with the 15 million + worldwide users who have chosen to protect their computers with this straightforward application with its simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface – and I won’t. SUPERAntiSpyware deserves the kudos it regularly receives from both computer security gurus and users”.

Read the rest of the article here and then leave a comment which will act as your entry to win a free lifetime license for SUPERAntiSpyware.

The second contest is for a free copy of WinAutomation, a superior Windows application designed to help you deal with the repetitive tasks that negatively influence productivity.

From the article:

“Computing today is far more complex; so elementary macro writing, or running basic Windows scripts for more complex tasks, just doesn’t cut it.

Recently, I was asked to review WinAutomation, a Windows application that has been designed so that the user can automate both uncomplicated and, more intricate tasks, using a straightforward, simple, and intuitive drag and drop interface.

image

Let me cut to the chase – this application does exactly what it says it will do. My programming skills are pretty rusty, so it was a welcome surprise to see that no programming skills are needed to get the best out of this application”.

Read the rest of the article here and then leave a comment which will act as your entry to win a free copy of WinAutomation.

Good luck!

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Internet Safety, Productivity Software, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Timesaving Tips, Windows Tips and Tools

Macros to the Max with WinAutomation

image We’ve come to believe that computers were designed, amongst other things, to help make us more efficient. Arguable, computers have done just that.

Unfortunately, one of the issues many of us have ended up having to deal with are those repetitive tasks; the sort of mundane “gotta do” computer tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. The type of repetitive tasks we would like to automate, but many of us don’t have the programming skills to do so effectively.

Back in the days of dinosaur computing, 20 + years ago, one of the computing skills I had to learn early on, was writing elementary macros. This was an absolute necessity in order to increase efficiency – even for home computing tasks.

Computing today is far more complex; so elementary macro writing, or running basic Windows scripts for more complex tasks, just doesn’t cut it.

Recently, I was asked to review WinAutomation, a Windows application that has been designed so that the user can automate both uncomplicated and, more intricate tasks, using a straightforward, simple, and intuitive drag and drop interface.

Let me cut to the chase – this application does exactly what it says it will do. My programming skills are pretty rusty, so it was a welcome surprise to see that no programming skills are needed to get the best out of this application.

I quickly opened the examples set out in the WinAutomation console, and that coupled with the extensive help file, made the learning curve for the program extremely quick and easy.

WinAutomation 2

WinAutomation 1

Fast facts:

Visual Job Editor that lets you build automation Jobs using Drag & Drop.

130+ predefined actions to combine for easy Job-building.

Task Scheduler that lets you schedule and execute Jobs while you are away.

Triggers that let you monitor your system, and respond to events (e.g., when a file is created or modified, when a Hotkey is pressed, when system is idle and more).

Integrated Debugger to inspect and debug your tasks while running.

Support for Variables and Data Types.

Advanced Flow Control capabilities, Conditionals, Loops, nested Loops.

Advanced Error Handling to create Jobs that compensate for and handle errors gracefully.

Image Recognition technology that literally “sees the screen” to help you automate non-standard interfaces or applications over remote sessions.

Macro Recorder that lets you record mouse and keyboard action to automate tasks easily.

Exe Compiler (Pro Edition only) for compiling your tasks into autonomous exe files that you can distribute and run without having WinAutomation installed.

WinAutomation deserves kudos for the way it effectively takes the grind out of those repetitive mundane computing tasks that drive us all slightly batty, and measurably reduce our efficiency.

To see how effective this application really is, I recommend that you watch the primer on how you can automate your repetitive computer tasks at WinAutomation.

Give this great application a test drive and you might be very surprised at how quickly you can increase your efficiency.

By the way: WinAutomation has made a number of complimentary copies available to readers of this Blog, which I will select randomly from the comments section of this article in the next 30 days. Be sure to comment, so that you have an opportunity to obtain a free copy of this terrific application.

Download a fully functional 30 day trial at: WinAutomation

Purchase:

WinAutomation 3.0 Professional Edition US$ 199

WinAutomation 3.0 Standard Edition US$ 129

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

23 Comments

Filed under Computer Automation Applications, Productivity Software, Software, Software Trial Versions, Timesaving Tips, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools