Before I dive into Power Toys, I wanted to point out that we have changed our CyberNotes Monday feature to “Microsoft Monday.” It was about time for a change from the previous “Million Dollar Monday.” A rather large majority of our readers (94%) use some form of Windows, and I’m sure many of those that don’t still use software from Microsoft. For those reasons alone (and the fact that we’ve been Windows users forever), we thought it was a fitting topic. We’ll cover a variety of different things raging from Windows to Xbox to Microsoft Office, and everything in between. And as always, if you come across something that would fit in well with our “Microsoft Monday” feature, let us know! Now on to Power Toys…
First things first, the Power Toys that I am mentioning today work only with Windows XP. Yes, I know that XP is out and Vista is in, but there are still more people that use XP than Vista. So with that, what are Power Toys? Essentially, they are extra add-ons that have been released by developers after XP launched. They’re supposed to add functionality to your Windows Experience, and with my experience they work well.
Microsoft doesn’t offer technical support for them, and they’re unable to answer your questions because they’re not actually part of Windows. Over time, I’ve downloaded and used a few of them without problems, so chances are, you won’t have problems either. Here are some of the more useful tools that I’ve used that might be helpful for you too.
There are are plethora of options for resizing images, but this one is by far the simplest one I’ve come across. It does exactly what it says it does and nothing more. By right clicking on an image, or a group of images you’re given a few options for resizing. They include:
Small (fits a 640×480 screen)
Medium (fits a 800×480 screen)
Large (fits a 1024×768 screen)
Handheld PC (fits a 240 x 320 screen)
You’re also able to select a custom size, and resize the original picture. By default, it will create a second copy of the image. This will be especially useful when you’re wanting to email pictures, or when there are image size restrictions (i.e. MySpace).
If you’re using the calculator on your computer, you probably aren’t needing any advanced functions. However, just in case you need more than the simple add, subtract, multiply, and divide, this Power Calculator gives you the ability to graph, evaluate functions, and perform conversions.
Entering Input is very similar to what you’d do with a standard graphing calculator, and the image below shows what the Power Calculator looks like:
—HTML Slide Show Wizard—
This Power Toy will make it simple to create an HTML slide show because it does most of the work for you! After installing it, you can select to add single images, or an entire folder, and then drag them into the order you prefer for the slide show. Once you have your images in order, you’re give a few options like selecting a name for your show, what size you’d like it to be, and whether you want the simple, or advanced slide show type.
From there, your slide show is created and you’re ready to share it with friends or publish it to the web. It’s a really simple process that anyone can do.
Each of these add-ons are really small downloads (around 550KB) and take no time to get set-up. I tend to use the Image Resizer most often just because I tend to email pictures frequently, and I know people don’t like to receive huge images.
You can find the entire list of Power Toys here, and remember, they’re only for Windows XP.