Run Windows apps in a new OS with ReactOS

reactosIconI’ve always been big on trying new computer operating systems and such. Heck,  I have beta tested every Windows beta since Windows 95 as part of Microsoft’s Technical Beta Team.  I’ve got the golf shirt to prove it.  However, the recent months have produced a lot of uncertainty, and finding a suitable replacement for Windows has crossed a number of people’s minds. That’s where ReactOS comes it. It’s a Windows compatible, alternative operating system that you might want to keep your eyes on.

ReactOS is a free open source operating system based on the architecture found in Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012. Written completely from scratch, ReactOS is not a Linux variant and does not share any of UNIX’s architecture. ReactOS is its own animal entirely.

The main goal of the project is to provide an operating system that is binary compatible with Windows, allowing you to run Windows applications and drivers. It also has a similar look and feel so that familiar with Windows will find familiar and easy to use. With ReactOS, you get to use all of your Windows apps and device drivers without having to actually run the Microsoft operating system they were intended for.

ReactOS is a free open source operating system based on the best design principles found in the Windows NT architecture (Windows versions such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 are built on Windows NT architecture). Written completely from scratch, ReactOS is not a Linux based system, and shares none of the UNIX architecture.

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ReactOS comes just at the right time. With all of the uncertainty that is oozing out of Redmond right now, having a Windows compatible alternative operating system is a GREAT idea.  There’s a lot that is going to be good here, however, by the dev team’s own admission, the OS is not ready for everyday use yet.  There is a live CD image, but I couldn’t even get that to run, and I tried booting it on 3 different machines.

There’s a bit of information out there about the OS, and it looks like it will REALLY be cool…someday; but not yet. I couldn’t even get the OS to start so I could take screen shots.

ReactOS is still in an Alpha stage, meaning it’s new, very buggy, much of the hardware that you might install on it won’t work right, and don’t even think about installing things like Microsoft Office on it.  It likely WON’T work…or even install.

HOWEVER, this is something that most everyone here should keep an eye on. Depending on how things go for Microsoft, having an updated, current alternative to Windows that will allow you to install and run all of the software you want and need to get your job done, is going to be important.  This is a good first effort, but it needs time to cook…

download ReactOS

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Compress and secure your data with PKZip

566705Putting it in the cloud is all the rage today.  Hundreds of thousands of people are storing data remotely so that they can access their data However, not everyone has a lot of or wants to pay for cloud storage. This is one of the reasons why I like apps like PKZip. It’s a file compression tool for Windows.

PKZip is a file compression tool that can compress files by up to 98%, saving valuable storage space and making file transfer easier.  You can compress and encrypt files directly from Microsoft Office using SecureZIP. Its really very easy. When using Microsoft Office, simply select “Save Copy as ZIP File” or “Save Copy as Secure ZIP File” to compress or encrypt directly from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

Protecting your data is easy with PKZip.  It has support of AES or 3DES strong encryption. Files encrypted with PKZIP may be decrypted and extracted on all major computing platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, Unix and Linux.  You can rest assured that important data can be sent to and used by those that need it, regardless of where they are and what computing platform they use.

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Getting your information where you need it is easy with PKZip, too.  PKZip also integrates with Microsoft Outlook, allowing automatic encryption of any email and/or attachment. Encrypted emails can be forwarded without the need to download and resave files. PKZIP can compress files that are over 9 exabytes in size (1EB = 1,000,000 terabytes); and allows users to combine up to two billion files into a single archive.

PKZip is pretty decent software, and its comparably priced to other, popular file compression tools. While its compression ratios are good, its been my experience that other tools may be able to provide better compression algorithms and rates, but your mileage may vary. If you’re looking for a decent file compression, archiving and compression tool, PKZip is a great choice and one that you should give serious consideration to.

download PKZip

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TED Notepad is the advanced replacement for the basic Notepad

Notepad has always been a useful tool in manipulating texts, but its reliability was always over-passed by its lack of features. In case you need a free replacement for this basic text editor, TED Notepad is the one. With almost 312 text-processing functions, innovative features and timesaving tools all wrapped in a simple light-weight interface this app is nothing else but the Swiss knife for any casual user or even programmer.

Every feature can be activated by hotkeys; all designed for quick advanced editing. Features like Line numbers, Multi-level undo, Regular expressions, Unicode, UTF-8, Unix and Mac file types support,  two advanced searches, indentation, word auto-complete, enhanced clipboarding (supports up to 9 clipboards at the same time), extensive statistics, optional favourites menu, case conversions, characters translating, quoting and enclosing lines, reversing (words, lines), unique lines and duplicates counting, have their own hotkey for instant access.

The filters architecture for user plugins and console applications brings TED Notepad to a new level of customization compared to the basic Notepad. For experienced users, the command-line is a necessary tool for advanced control and manipulation. The application can be set to stay on top or go to system tray, save window placement or change to customizable dual font.

TED Notepad is extremely light-weight and portable. It fits on any USB flash disk and loads instantly with no installation required.

download TED Notepad

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