OK, not everybody is a data geek like I am. But chances are, if you are truly a power user, then a real difficult database problem comes along once in a while. A spreadsheet program like Excel won’t cut it on everything, and sometimes screws up importing a file more than it helps, or doesn’t have enough rows to handle the entire file. And sorting that big file sends your computer into a deep sleep. You need a good way to convert one type of database file to another. Simply and easily. That program is DBMS copy.
You wont find it at your local COMPUSA, it’s really an industrial-strength database converter and copier. It is dead-on simple to use: the interface is not flashy, but extremely efficient. Load a file, and it creates the database in its own format. You can select or delete records, create new fields, control output, even print out some data analysis statistics. But it is magical in two ways. 1) You can save the resulting file in almost any reasonable file format, from Quattro Pro to FoxPro. ASCII Files with any delimiter and spacing. Convert your Lotus 1-2-3 files to an Oracle database. 2) It sorts files. Very, very well. Millions of records aren’t a problem for DBMS Copy (although they might take a long time – in the old days we had to wait a few days for the old 66Mhz machine to crank it all out) and it is stable under Windows.
It has a simple batch language, one that makes some particularly hairy database projects much easier, like taking a database, and splitting it to individual client files, so you can distribute individual databases for each client with ease. DBMS Copy is an elegant piece of software to convert databases from one type to another. It has only the best features to manipulate, sort, and augment a database, without any other so-called ‘functionality’. It is a swiss-army-knife piece of software that every database geek should have in their pocket.
For those with years of web design experience, HTML coding is a breeze. These people don’t even have to check HTML cheat sheets or resort to web page editors such as Frontpage to do the job. However, for people who are just beginning to explore their web design talents, writing HTML might seem torture — the code in the final HTML file seems convoluted and readable only to you. While the site itself may look nice, anyone who views the web page source — be it your client or a web design colleague — will make fun of your efforts.
Fortunately, there is a tool called HTML Tidy that fixes invalid HTML code and makes the file appear more organized. It adds indentation to your code and transforms it to the stricter XHTML standard.
Windows Vista RTM was recently released in November by Microsoft, but what kind of protection against viruses and spyware does it provide? According to research institutes, the main reason why most businesses and corporations won’t switch to Vista immediately is because of the lack of protection it offers. Out of the main security programs: Norton, McAfee, ZoneAlarm, etc. only McAfee has created a Windows Vista compatible release of its software, “McAfee AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.5”
Another security problem that has been seen with Vista is its brand new programming. Unlike XP, Windows Vista was programmed from scratch, so it doesn’t have all of the same bug fixes that have been added to XP over the years. This leaves Vista vulnerable to spyware. So, you may want to reconsider updating to Windows Vista just yet. But not all hope is lost. Symantec has said that they will release a version of their software compatible with Vista in late December. And Microsoft has said that they hope the new programming of Vista and its included security features will actually make it more difficult for spyware to penetrate the brand new OS. Microsoft still backs its new product 100%, saying, “We wouldn’t release it if it wasn’t ready.”
Notepad2 is a nifty little open source text editor with a small memory footprint. It is licensed under the GNU GPL and is intended as a replacement to the Notepad included with Microsoft Windows.
MP3 Trimer is a neat little tool for quickly editing MP3 files.
Do you have a song with annoying clapping at the beginning or end? Is there a hidden track that makes your player go through a few minutes of silence? MP3 Trimmer is a great help for this. It is a Mac OS X application that comes with a Carbon installation for PPC or a Universal Binary for the Intel-based processors. Installation is quick and easy. It’s shareware, so you have to wait through a countdown timer when starting and saving. Registration is $10.95. Once it’s running, open an MP3. You can see it in the timeline and set a start and end point. You also have options to fade in or fade out. Once those points are set you can test the trimmed file to see how it sounds and adjust as necessary. After it’s perfect, save and you’re done. The new MP3 is ready to play. MP3 Trimmer also has features for joining, splitting, and repairing songs. I have used it to successfully repair a song before. I don’t know how it did it, but it worked. This is one of the few shareware programs I’ve gladly paid to register. It’s saved me lots of frustration caused by annoying song bits, and it was not at all frustrating to use.