AppFresh, keeping OS X apps up-to-date

Feb 25th, 2008 by Jared Schwager , , ,

One of the great features of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions is the ability to include third party application updates alongside regular operating system level software updates. Both Windows and Mac OS X are somewhat lacking in this area, with Windows as the higher-lacking of the two.

AppFresh logo Fortunately on the OS X side, software developer metaquark has released an application by the name of AppFresh which aims to fill the gap of the need for a central application updater.

Currently, AppFresh is available as a Development Preview, so it is recommended that you back up all of your applications before using AppFresh if you intend to use the built-in update installer. If you’d rather stay on the safe side, AppFresh can still be used to check for and download updates excluding the automatic update installer process.

AppFresh also includes integration of This allows AppFresh to also check for updates to applications that are not natively supported but are listed in the iusethis database. It also allows you to easily add new apps to your iusethis profile without having to search for each app beforehand.

Another interesting feature is the ability to take a “snapshot” of an application, which captures the current version of the application along with the application data and preferences. It’s basically Time Machine for your apps.

More information can be found at the AppFresh website.

Web development freeware

Aug 5th, 2007 by Jared Schwager

In many cases, web development can be quite costly between purchasing image editing software to FTP software. You may not know it, but there is a plethora of great free web development software. I’ve put together a list of a few of the best webdev freeware applications I could find.

Bluefish Bluefish Editor (Windows/Linux/Mac)

If you’re looking for a great HTML editor, Bluefish is what to get. It is not only for editing HTML though. This application is capable of editing everything from PHP to Python and Javascript and even adds syntax highlighting.

Paint.NET Paint.NET (Windows only)

Good and free image editors are hard to come by, but Paint.NET is an exception. This image editor can be classified as somewhat of a Paint Shop Pro replacement as it doesn’t have as many features as Photoshop does.

FileZilla FileZilla (Windows/Linux/Mac)

If there’s one essential web development tool, it’s the FTP client. Unfortunately, good free FTP clients aren’t very common. FileZilla is both free and very easy to use. The beta version is available for all platforms, whereas the stable version is only available on Windows.

Know of any other good web development freeware? Post your favorites!

Free Windows Defragmenter alternative

Jul 11th, 2007 by Jared Schwager ,

Defragmenter One of the tasks a Windows user looks forward to the least is likely to be defragmenting the hard disk. The defragmenter that ships with Windows, otherwise known as Windows Defragmenter (how original), does a horrible job at defragmenting when it comes to speed and resource usage.

I recently found a great freeware defragmenter called JkDefrag which does a very good job at defragmenting. The application is very quick and extremely lightweight, so it has minimal impact on resources. If you’ve downloaded the program, you will notice that there is more than one “version” of JkDefrag. These versions include the GUI version (most people will use this), command line version, and two screensaver programs.

The GUI version is what most people will use. You can also schedule it to defragment by using the Windows Task Scheduler. The command line version is pretty obvious. It allows you to defragment using command line. The screensaver programs allow you to set your Windows screensaver to the JkDefrag screensaver program so your computer will be defragmented every time your screensaver initiates.

Let me know if you know of any other good freeware defragmenters.

Remove arrow overlay from Windows shortcuts

Jul 4th, 2007 by Jared Schwager , ,

Ever notice those little arrow overlays over every shortcut in Windows? Do they bother you as much they they bother me? Glad we’re on the same track. Thankfully I recently discovered a great little application which will get rid of those little arrows. The program I’m talking about is called FxVisor.

Remove arrow overlay After you’ve downloaded and installed FxVisor, launch it and you will immediately be given the choice of removing any arrow overlay from shortcuts or replacing the overlay with a different style which isn’t as much of an eye sore.

If you have removed the arrow overlay, FxVisor will also allow you to re-enable the default overlay. All in all, FxVisor is a great little application which will be of much help to any users who use desktop shortcuts to launch their applications, though I still recommend using differents methods for application launching.

Apparently this will only work on Windows Vista. For those of you using Windows XP, the TweakXP Tweaking Utility will allow you to remove the arrow overlays, supposedly.

Launching applications in Windows

Jun 16th, 2007 by Jared Schwager ,

People who use Windows daily know that launching applications isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Instead of filling up half of your taskbar with Quick Launch icons, why not try something else? In this article I’m going to focus on a couple of my favorite freeware application launchers, which include Launchy and RocketDock.

Launchy is my personal favorite application launcher out of the bunch. The basic idea behind Launchy is to use your keyboard to access your applications instead of your mouse. Using Launchy is as easy as typing the first few letters of the application you’d like to launch and pressing Enter. Launchy is not just limited to applications either. It is capable of finding files and even performing search queries on Google for you.

RocketDock is an application launcher which is very reminiscent of the dock in Mac OS X. Instead of using keyboard access, RocketDock allows you to launch applications in just a single click and in a visually appealing manner at that. Surprisingly, you can also choose to minimize your programs to RocketDock, eliminating the need to manage your open applications using the Windows taskbar.

There are many other application launchers available for Windows besides the two I’ve mentioned. A couple others I’d recommend are Enso Launcher($19.95) and ObjectDock(free).

Are you already using an application launcher? If so, which one are you using and why?