Doctor Frog's Pontification Pad

things to do, people to avoid.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

“As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth’s final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last loose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”

Commissioner Pravin Lal, “Librarian’s Preface”

(a fictional character of ~2100 AD from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, 1998)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Wanted: Folder Art Collector Software (Free, of course)

I wasted some time late last week picking custom icons for some folders on my Windows XP box:

Custom Icons

Avoiding actual work, I headed over to my games folder and started doing the same:

Icons that can be automatically selected

And I noticed something. Mostly, to pick an icon, you go to the only .exe in the folder, or the only .exe with an embedded icon, or the only .ico in the folder, and select it as your folder icon. It is a repeated, mechanical process, something that can be handled with a fairly simple program.

Such a program can be sent to crawl among a top-layer collection of folders, crib the most likely icons to be used for the folders, and present them to the user for approval, similar to Album Cover Art Downloader. If no appropriate icons are found, the program can offer a standard selection of icons from a specified .icl or folder full of icons (I'm partial to foood's delicious icons, as shown above).

All of the icons in the second image above exist in their respective folders, and are, in most cases, the only icons in the folder. They'd be ideal for this program, since they can be automatically assigned. If there are other icons in the folders, the program can just pick one and present it, along with alternate icons, for approaval, similar to Album Cover Art Downloader. I keep a bunch of general-purpose icons in a folder, and Windows of course has its Shell32.dll. If no icons are found to autopimp the folder (
hey, hey! great software name!), these resources can be presented to the user to hand-pick an icon.

The following logic can be applied to automatically pick the 'correct' icon:
  1. If there is only one icon available (.ico, .icl, .exe), use it. Otherwise:
  2. Use the icon with the highest resolution, most colors, etc. (This avoids picking an icon from a .exe that isn't the main program in the folder, since icons designed to represent a program usually contain multiple resolution and color depth versions, and 'helper'programs are often given a more generic icon.)
Does something like this exist? And, am I the only one who thinks it should?