Sort your music folders.

I noticed with some interest, if not a slight annoyance, that the MP3 player in my car lists the music folders not in alphabetical order, but in the order which they were copied. To make matters worse, this list is further scrambled by my frequently removing and copying new folders as my music tastes change. This led me to wonder if there’s a quick way to sort them without copying them to a temporary folder and then back again. It turns out there is. The free DriveSort utility got everything sorted in seconds, allowing me to find my favorite music with relative ease. So there.

Silver linings in the software cloud.

My short-lived return to Newgrounds wasn’t a total waste of time. I came across some useful freeware tools that will continue serving me long after the nightmare of getting blammed fades away.

JPEXS Free Flash Decompiler is one tool I found. I had long lost the source files for my Flash movies and only had the SWF files to work with, but the Decompiler makes it easy for me to extract the images and sounds I used when making my animations.

As part of the movie submission process, Newgrounds now requires that a thumbnail image of the movie be uploaded. I used the Decompiler to extract one of the movie frames to a PNG file, but I now needed to crop a small section of the frame file and save it as the thumbnail image for uploading. The Crop Board feature of FastStone Image Viewer makes this step very easy. I can specify the exact size of the cropped image I want and from there I just need to position the selection box over the section of the image to be cropped.

I’ve heard of FastStone’s Image Viewer before but this is the first time I’m really using it. I like its familiar Explorer-like interface for browsing the folder tree and being able to see thumbnails of my image files along the way. The image resizer feature came in handy for enlarging my Flash movie frames to make it easier to create the cropped image. I now like it so much that I’m dumping IrfanView and will use FastStone for my image viewing needs from now on.

Bulk Rename Utility.

Recently I was surfing for animated smilies when I came across a page that had a nice gallery of smilies for later use. Instead of downloading each smiley individually, I went to my Temporary Internet Files folder where I easily located the files in the browser cache and just copied them to another folder. But I ran into another problem. The file names now had [1] embedded in them, as in Zombie[1].gif. I could have renamed each file individually but I thought there must be an easier and faster way to do this.

Enter the free Bulk Rename Utility. At first glance the program looks confusing and intimidating with all the various options and rename modes but I was able to figure out how to get it to rename the files to my satisfaction. I used its search and replace function to get rid of the [1] from the file names in less than a second. I’d never seen a file renamer with a search and replace function but this one does and it works really well. I’ll have to play with this some more and see what other file renaming magic it can do.

Meanwhile, the zombies freely roam with nothing in their way.