Sunday, June 6, 2010
CFS Weekly Newsletter #539
Web Site: http://www.completelyFREEsoftware.com
E-mail 1: editor@completelyFREEsoftware.com
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Welcome to the 'Completely FREE Software' Weekly Newsletter.
This is an "opt in" only newsletter. If you didn't subscribe, or wish to unsubscribe, please use the personalized address at the end of this newsletter.
Great to be back with you for another week of fabulously fresh freeware.
We have a great line-up for you below with the reviews of some excellent free programs. My personal favorites are BBox Player, a deluxe audio player, JetPhoto Studio, a feature-rich photo album creator, and Snippet Manager, a portable utility for managing code snippets. However yours may be different so make sure you check them all out.
To other matters.
During the past week I was suckered into paying for a download that turned out not to be what I expected. The site advertised $1.95 for 3 day's access but, when I looked at what was actually charged to my credit card, it was for $41.90! As well, the download that they assured me they had, I could not find.
I believed that paying $1.95 for that particular file was acceptable, but not over $40 for a file that, apparently, did not exist in their system! To me, this was extortion, specially as it was for a peer-to-peer transfer (P2P) and not just a "normal" download from their server. As a rule, I do not use P2P file transfers as it could leave my computer open to outside invasion.
After complaining, I was notified that I would receive a full refund. That refund has since been received, but I wonder how many would have complained so loudly over what appeared to be such a small amount of money (ie $1.95). It wasn't until I checked our credit card statement on-line I realized that we were not just being charged $1.95.
The site is Download Gate, aka File Express (download-gate.com, file-express.com and myfile-express.com).
I should have done my homework and I would have found the following page:
Complaints Board (complaintsboard.com) lists some very nasty comments about File Express and I am warning you to become involved with them at your financial peril. I understand that the company is based in Croatia.
You have been warned.
Enough doom and gloom. In this newsletter we also have our regular columns -- Dr T's excellent Computer Tip of the Week, and our ever popular Smile of the Week.
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Have a great week, and...
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COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Falco Fire v1.0 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Falco Fire is a top-down tank battle set in Siberia in 2105. It features 2 modes of play (Campaign & Battle), 28 missions, 3 levels of difficulty, the abilty to purchase upgrades & repairs, it has on-screen information & map, fully customizable controls, there is a manual in HTML format, and more. This is a much better top-down shooter than most similar games. In Falco Fire you must battle enemy tanks, etc, collecting the destroyed equipment to help fund your campaign. You can purchase everything from repairs to improved ordnance (bullets, rockets, mines, etc). Generally we are not very enthusiastic about top-down games but Falco Fire stands out above ther crowd because of the depth of its gameplay. Unfortunately it offers so many keyboard and mouse controls, over 35 of them, it takes a long time to learn them. A simplified interface would an advantage. Of course, once you have mastered all the controls you have a decided advantage and it becomes easier to win. It also lacks
multiplayer modes, specially over a LAN, so you can only play against the computer. Finally, it offers to install Relevant Knowledge advertising on your computer, but you can decline to receive it and the game itself will still install and play. We were most impressed with Falco Fire. It is one of the better shooters and is lots of fun to play -- specially after you master those controls! We loved. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 10.5MB download from:
FixWin v1.1 -- Vista/7 (5 doves)
FixWin is a small utility that fixes 50 common System annoyances which may be caused by virus infection, human error, etc. It features 5 categories (Windows Explorer, Internet & Connectivity, Windows Media, System Tools & Additional Fixes), it offers easy access to Microsoft's System File Checker utility, there is a button to create a System Restore Point, and more. This is a great tool for anyone experiencing problems with Windows caused by an external influence. It helps restore your System files to their default settings when you have been locked out from doing so manually. Instructions with the program encourage the user to create a Restore Point before making any changes, and to make only one change before re-booting to ensure that you aren't making the problem worse. This is excellent advice, and one that 99% of the users will fail to do... We really liked the button link to the little known Microsoft utility, System File Checker, which checks all your System files to e
nsure that they have not been corrupted or changed. If any are found this utility will replace them and then request a re-boot. Most of the fixes made by FixWin are basic, things like fixing the problem of the Recycle Bin going missing from your desktop, or if you are unable to change the homepage in Internet Explorer (usually thanks to a program you have installed). There are a couple of items which improve Windows, like an option to have more than one download at a time in Internet Explorer, or to increase your icon cache limit to 5,000, but generally the fixes are to restore items to their default state. While FixWin may not be the tweaker that some might like, never-the-less it is a very valuable addition to any computer's toolbox. We consider this to be a "must have" for all Windows' users. Note: we have been advised that this program is suitable for Windows Vista and 7 (both 32- & 64-bit versions). Access this 173kB download from:
JetPhoto Studio v4.7.2 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
JetPhoto Studio is a feature-rich photo album creator that supports geo-tagging & XML Web album creation. It creates Flash movies, slideshows, wallpaper, screensavers, organizes your photos (photo calendars, notes, tags, EXIF info, etc), and more. This is a superb photo album creator with many, many features. These include GPS geo-tagging (requires a GPS enabled camera) or manual geo-tagging using Google maps (requires an Internet connection), the ability to publish Web albums using one of the 5 preinstalled templates (requires at least PHP v4.2 on the server), and Flash galleries. With geo-tagging you can not only pinpoint the exact location of your photos but you can also set the direction in which the photo was taken! Albums are created using drag 'n drop from Windows Explorer, or by using the "Open Folder as Album" command in the File menu. JetPhoto Studio is surprisingly easy to use, even with all its high end features, but there is good on-line assistance (including tut
orial videos) on the author's Website for those who want to squeeze every possible function from this tool. We found it hard to fault JetPhoto Studio. It carried out every task we set for it, and did them easily. We did not have to resort to the on-line assistance. Every aspect of JetPhoto Studio impressed us and we consider that this is one photo album creator that should be high on your list. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 14.6MB download from:
Snippet Manager -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Snippet Manager is a portable utility for managing code snippets. It supports 37 programming languages (VB, C++, C#, Java, SQL, ASP, PHP, COBOL, Assembler, Fortran, Python, etc) & ASCII text, it has up to 6 categories for each language (Generics, Collections, Serialize, Reflection, General & Object Oriented), it has syntax coloring, a powerful search engine, you can upload snippets via the built-in FTP client, you can print snippets, it is fully portable (no installation is required), and more. This is a great little tool for programmers, or for anyone who wants to save boilerplate text for copying and pasting into documents. You can keep your snippets of code (or text), in any of the categories, under the programming language it was created for. This hierarchial layout makes controlling and finding snippets much easier. Alas, Snippet Manager had a couple of problems. First, while it is reported to support HTML, and it does support PHP, there is no listing for HTML in the pro
gramming languages so you cannot save HTML snippets under that language heading. Second, it comes with some C# snippets already included -- great for seeing what it can do, and handy if you are using C# and want to use these snippets yourself. However, if you aren't using C# then you cannot quickly bulk delete them from within the program (though each one can be individually deleted). These annoyances aside, Snippet Manager is a superb way of keeping track of your snippets of code, and one that is easy to use. If you are a programmer, or just want to save some boilerplate text, grab a copy of Snippet Manager. Like us, we think you will be impressed. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 370kB download from:
GreenBrowser v5.3.0203 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
GreenBrowser is an IE-based tabbed & skinnable Web browser. It features mouse gesture, mouse drag, auto scroll, auto refresh, auto save, identity, auto submit form, send key to page, external toolbar, collector, URL alias, quick key, link list, speed dial, Boss key, minimizes to an icon in the tray, and more. When GreenBrowser was first released it provided an excellent face-lift to a very tired Internet Explorer 6, but since then Microsoft has updated IE and many of the wonderful features which were available in this browser have been incorporated into IE (tabbed interface, ad filtering, etc). However, GreenBrowser still offers enough features to make it worth grabbing if you are an IE user. For example, it has a drop box so that you can easily drag a link into that box and it will either download a file or open that page link in a new tab (depending on the type of link). GreenBrowser has lots of other clever features, like mouse drag and mouse gestures. Its appearance is si
milar to the old IE 6. As we liked the basic IE 6 interface, we prefer the look of GreenBrowser to the latest versions of IE. Of course, you still need IE to be installed on your computer for this program to work because it uses the IE engine to power it. Maybe one day Microsoft will catch up and make IE as good as this browser but, until then, we prefer the look, feel and all those extra features of GreenBrowser. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 1.12MB download from:
BBox Player v18.104.22.1680 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
BBox Player is a deluxe audio player that can play almost any sound format from any source. It features a built-in CD player & ripper, Internet radio (PLS & ASX), a music organizer, an ID3 tag editor, Smart-Volume (based on ReplayGain), backwards & variable playback speed, equalizer & compressor, it supports Sonique visualization plug-ins, integrates with the Windows' shell, has an optional Deskband toolbar, it minimizes to a tray icon, and more. It plays MP3, WMA, Wave, MP1, MP2, MP4, AIFF, OGG, M4A, M4V, M4P, AAC, AC3, APE, TTA, OFR, SPX, FLAC & CDA audio formats. BBox Player rocks! Not only does it play virtually every popular audio format but it looks cool too. You can bring up the visualizations screen with 13 different visualization formats. There are also lots of other tools and functions -- more than most people would ever want -- but one of its best features is its ability to hide in the tray next to the clock and not be always in your face, perfect for when you wan
t to listen to music while you work. If you like you can activate the Deskband toolbar and have controls and visualizations right there in the system tray. Cool. The built-in Internet radio has nearly 70 radio stations you can log into, or use BBox Player to play your M3U playlist songs or audio CDs. One of the best audio players we have seen, BBox Player is worth getting even if you only have one MP3 file on your computer. Sensational! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 5.70MB download from:
Folder Size v22.214.171.124 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (4 doves)
Folder Size is a tool that scans & displays all the file and folder sizes on a drive, and the total space used for each drive. It finds & displays all file/folder sizes, gives detailed information for all files/folders, optional information sorting, deletes folders or files, supports all types of storage devices (hard drives, CD-ROM, USB drives, floppy disks, etc), gives a detailed drive size information list, and more. This is a handy utility to give you all the information you need about file, folder and drive sizes. It has a couple of neat tricks, like being about to remove a file or folder from the list (without deleting it from the computer) to see what difference that would make to disk space. The problem is that you can not add it back to the list without closing and re-opening the program. As Windows Explorer is developed, more and more of the functions unique to Folder Size are being added and this program has slightly less value with each new release of Windows Expl
orer. That said, Folder Size does offer some interesting statistics and information, and can be handy if you are running out of disk space or are wondering what program(s) or data are "eating" your free space. Worth checking out. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 1.54MB download from:
Kakuro Dream v4.0 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Kakuro Dream is a time-based fun logic puzzle (aka Cross Sums or Kakro) in the same genre as Sudoku. It features 3 levels of difficulty, 5 grid sizes (from 6x6 to 14x14), you can create your own puzzle, it has a hint function, it will optionally show markup (the choices for each cell), it can print puzzles, save puzzles, and more. If you like mathematical puzzles, like Sudoku, you will love Kakuro Dream. You are given what each row and column should add up to and then you insert the correct numbers until the puzzle is completed. The puzzle can be saved (including as an image) and even printed out. With three levels of difficulty, five grid sizes, and the ability to create your own puzzles, Kakuro Dream should keep any Sudoku lover extremely happy. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 5.70MB download from:
AllMyNotes Organizer -- an hierarchical information manager -- has been updated to version 1.23 with a download size of 1.87MB. The author has advised that changes in this version are mainly bugfixes. Access this latest version from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
=: Recover from sudden spyware problems :=
I recently installed LimeWire for music downloading. Now my computer runs slower and has a lot of pop-ups. I called LimewWire and they assured me that their program has no spyware attached. When I run my anti-spyware, it identifies several programs. I delete them all, but the next time I run anti-spyware it detects the same things again!
Like other file sharing programs, LimeWire was notorious for including adware or spyware. But in 2004, Lime Wire LLC decided against bundling other programs. So LimeWire says its latest version is spyware-free. But old versions may still be offered by some download sites.
I suspect that the spyware has placed entries into your Windows Registry. That explains why it returns after a restart. To stop your spyware problem from reappearing, you should first use a custom HOSTS file. A custom HOSTS file can block the request that the spyware be downloaded again and re-installed. You'll find a file, along with thorough instructions, on the Internet at http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm.
Next, attack the spyware through multiple programs. Check out http://www.komando.com/bestshareware.asp for some good anti-spyware programs.
One of the best environments for anti-spyware programs is Safe Mode. Safe Mode runs Windows without any unnecessary programs. That could render spyware inactive and defenseless. You can find more information about scanning your computer in Safe Mode at http://www.komando.com/tips_show.asp?showID=9161.
Your troubles may have stemmed from Internet surfing rather than LimeWire. So once you have things under control, take some preventative measures. Make sure questionable sites aren't slipping through Internet Explorer's security.
In Internet Explorer, click Tools>>Internet Options. Select the Security tab. From the list of security zones, select "Trusted sites." Then click the Sites button. Make sure there aren't any unfamiliar sites listed as trusted sites. You can clear any site from the list by selecting it and clicking the Remove button.
Also consider adjusting the security level of the Trusted zone. First select the zone. Under "Security level for this zone," click the Custom Level button. Under "Reset custom settings," select Medium. Click Reset. You'll be prompted to confirm your choice. Click OK. Then click OK on the next windows as well.
A Medium setting will prompt you to authorize downloads through Internet Explorer. This is the same setting given by default to non-trusted sites.
Finally, don't forget about System Restore. System Restore makes periodic restore points (backups) of important system files including the Registry. To find System Restore, click Start>>All Programs>>Accessories>>System Tools>> System Restore.
On the System Restore welcome screen, select "Restore my computer to an earlier time." You'll be prompted to choose an earlier time from a calendar. In this case, be sure to select a date that precedes your installation of LimeWire. After you choose, you'll have to restart the computer. Ideally, LimeWire and any bundled programs should disappear.
For future reference, some programs block spyware from your computer. Two good ones are Spy Sweeper and Spybot.
[Source: The Kim Komando Show]
Copyright © 2010, The Kim Komando Show. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of The Kim Komando Show is prohibited and strictly enforced. Newsletters may contain links to sites on the Internet owned and operated by third parties. The Kim Komando Show is not responsible for the availability of, or the content located on or through, any such third-party site. Information in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. We will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this information, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Yet More Words Of Wisdon :=
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection... again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes -- to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this thing I have -- ever.
15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the heck do I respond to that?
19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet, on any given Friday or Saturday night, more kisses begin with Bud Light than with a Kay jewelry product.
21. Everything will be ok in the end... If it's not ok, it's not the end.
22. Never argue with an idiot, they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
We would like to thank the regular visitors to the CFS site who have told us their favorite freeware. If you have a favorite program which isn't listed on the CFS pages we invite you to share that information with everyone through this site and this newsletter.
If you are an author of a freeware application and you would like it listed on these pages please fill in the form at:
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Daves Computer Tips
FREE COURSES, TUTORIALS & Help with Education?
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