January 27, 2005

Magellan, Vasco Da Gama and Dr. Livingston

A long, long time ago (but not very far away ….) – almost at the dawn of time in fact – when Windows ’95 first came out, I hated it! I wouldn’t install it on any machines at work and if a machine came pre-installed with Windows ’95, I would format the hard drive, installd DOS and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and I’d be as happy as can be afterwards :p One of the reasons that I didn’t like Windows ’95 was the fact that I could do things via the command line much faster – I had everything in three-letter-named directories and everything was off the root, this was of course before we all became slaves of folders within folders within folders :p The other reason was that I hated Windows Explorer.

Eventually I came to at least tolerate Windows ’95 and even allow it to be installed on machines at work but I still hated Windows Explorer. It was at this time that I learnt of an application named PowerDesk ExplorerPlus from a company named Mijenix. It gave you a split window view so that you could have two explorer instances side by side and move and copy stuff to your heart’s content from one pane to the other. I loved the app and continued to use it through various iterations. I remember PowerDesk Utilities 98 – that was probably the first time I used the app. Then I remember PowerDesk 3.0 – so I don’t know if there was ever a PowerDesk 2.0 or not and if there was, I probably used it. The thing is, the feature set didn’t seem to change much even when it hit PowerDesk 4.0. I think somewhere along the way they added FTP support but that was about it.

Then came PowerDesk 5.0 and the app actually seemed to take a step backwards because it lost long filename support for a bit – not really lost it but it wouldn’t show the full long filename in list view – and that’s my favourite view 😛 But they got that sorted out. In the meantime, Mijenix had disappeared and the application suite bought over by a variety of different companies. I think 5.0 was with Ontrack and when it came time for 6.0, the new owners were VCOM. I didn’t much like PowerDesk 6.0 since it had these really ugly, huge toolbar buttons and didn’t seem to have much more in the way of added features than that. However, me being the software junkie that I am, I continued to use it. That is, I did till I learnt of Novatix.

It turns out that the original developer of PowerDesk ExplorerPlus had either joined a new company or set up a new company (not sure which) called Novatix and he had wanted to continue development on his creation – PowerDesk. So he’d bought the rights to the source code to the original app to start development on a new app which was named ExplorerPlus :) So now you have PowerDesk and ExplorerPlus developed by two different companies. When I heard all this, I just had to try ExplorerPlus and unlike the stagnating PowerDesk, it turns out that they’d actually done work on ExplorerPlus! There was a tabbed browser interface so that you could have multiple Explorer sessions going on from the same interface, various UI changes and enhancements. I didn’t initially like the feel of the app much but I still gave it a try and it has won me over since then. So, I’m going with ExplorerPlus for the time being … let’s see how it goes …

Oh yeah, the title? They were all explorers (in case you didn’t get the reference :p) There is even a file manager named Magellan – I’ve given that a try too but didn’t really like it :p

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Tags: Software, Technology
Posted by Fahim at 3:35 pm   Comments (3)