rotating db logo made with Xara 3D

Recommended Software

Descriptions of some of my favorite
software and where to find it



A database of thumbnail images for managing fonts and multimedia

This is an extremely useful program that I use to manage clip art, icons, and fonts. It makes thumbnail sketches that are viewable even when the disk containing them is off-line. Many graphic formats are supported, including animated GIFs and AVIs. A right-click on the mouse over a TrueType font thumbnail allows you to quickly install or uninstall the font. You can quickly view graphics in an entire directory, using the space bar to advance to the next image, or activating an automatic slide show. ThumbsPlus lets you make thumbnails within ZIP compressed files, and view or drag objects into or out of the ZIP file, a very useful feature for managing formats that are not already compressed, such as bitmaps. There are many customizable options, allowing you to specify which editor to use for various formats, for example. The author, Phillip Crews, is continually improving the program and adding new formats; he notifies registered users by e-mail when new versions are ready. The version I am using, 4.10, costs $74.95 for registration. A trial version is available at the Cerius Software web site.


A database with hierarchical tree structure for free format notes

Vault is a great little program for storing and retrieving those unstructured notes and bits of information you want to track. It has an expandible tree structure in the left pane and a text editing structure in the right pane. You can have multiple Vault files for different subject areas, and they are easy to change. It can dial phone numbers that you highlight in the text area, and has search and sort functions. The help file even contains detailed instructions for programmers on preparing data files for Vault as output from other programs. This is one of the first shareware programs I registered. I use it to track programming tips, personal information, serial numbers on software, etc. It is the perfect tool for information that falls between a structured data base format and post-it notes. It has no nag screens, but it can be registered for just $20. Check it out at Eric Terrell's web site: Pocket-Sized Software

Xara 3D

A graphical tool to convert TrueType fonts to beautiful 3D images and animations

This shareware program imports any TrueType font from a system and extrudes it into a three dimensional object using your customized text. It is extremely easy to use, enabling you to change bevels, position, depth, color, and lighting. It can then export GIFs or animated GIFs with transparent or opaque backgrounds. Several examples are to be seen here on the pages of Eclecticana, such as the rotating db logo at the top of pages - an amazing product for $39 (version 4). You can get a free trial version at the
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