Files to Help You Tread Lightly on Your PC's Resources

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If you live lightly on the land, shouldn't your software do the same on your PC? These three discoveries help your programs tread gently on your system's available resources. One download transforms a common USB thumb drive, enabling you to use your files and apps at any PC without overtaxing it. An intuitive utility represents disk-space hogs visually. And finally, a skinny iTunes player delivers appealing features from within a slender, barlike physical profile. All are free, so they're light on the wallet as well.


Why use a USB flash drive just to shuttle files? The free CodySafe provides a clever way to turn a USB flash drive into what the developer calls a "computer on a stick." Install CodySafe on a USB stick, and it lets you take applications along with you, managing them along with your documents and the drive itself. The beauty of this approach is that you can plug your USB drive into any computer, and never actually have to store data on the computer or use the computer's resources. With CodySafe, you can work with files that remain on the USB drive itself. Once you have your USB drive set up the way you want, carry it with you, plug it into any computer, and you'll have your apps and data within easy reach at all times.

--Preston Gralla


"Where did all my space go?" Every computer user since the days of the 5.25-inch floppy disk has asked this question, and now SpaceSniffer gives you a fast, easy way to answer it. Though Space­Sniffer in itself does nothing to reclaim lost space, it does provide you with a very good overview of what's occupying the nether reaches of your hard disk. SpaceSniffer performs a quick scan of files and shows you an outline of your data in a series of nested boxes, each one representing a folder or file. The utility displays size relationships graphically, so it's easy to see that your Games folder dwarfs your Work folder the way Godzilla dwarfs a Tokyo noodle shop. Zoom in on any folder to see its deeper composition. In addition, I have discovered that this tool does an excellent job of quickly finding large chunks of data I don't need, often in folders buried deeply enough that I wouldn't stumble upon them casually.

--Ian Harac


SkiniTunes is a free miniplayer that operates alongside iTunes. It consists of the Mini Player, a small rectangular app that has standard me­­dia player controls on it; and the Skini Player, a very slim horizontal bar that sits at the top of the screen. SkiniTunes can switch back and forth between the two players in the middle of a track. iTunes already has a built-in miniplayer, but this program is a nice alternative: It shows the album artwork, produces an optional short-lived pop-up box when a new song starts, and has optional skins that change its appearance to any of several variations. SkiniTunes 1.0.5 works flawlessly with the most recent version of iTunes, and it uses between 4MB and 6MB of RAM--about 10 percent of what iTunes typically consumes at any given moment.

--Steve Horton

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