Sunday, June 6, 2010

CFS Weekly Newsletter #541

Critical Damage -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Critical Damage is an alien shooter set in an International Space Station. It features 3 levels of difficulty, over 90 enemy types, 10 unique locations, 5 robots to control, 12 types of weapons with upgrades, lots of powerups, sensational rendered graphics, excellent storyline, and more. This is one of the best space based shooters we have seen that is not spaceship-firing-on-spaceship. The storyline is: "A probe that returned from another planet with samples of its atmosphere brought alien creatures onboard. Dangerous, ruthless and voracious monsters, they will swallow and digest anything they touch! Crew members are in grave danger. Use a robot and the onboard armory to keep the enemies at bay and protect people until reinforcements arrive!" Critical Damage is an easy-to-play but challenging shooter, with awesome graphics, that will draw you back for more and more. Control the robot(s) which can remotely attack the invading aliens while you cower safely in a bunker (you wim
p!). There are lots of powerups to collect and also lots of weapon upgrades to purchase at the end of each level. Animated graphics, sound effects, and even the background music, are all excellent, and the only black mark against Critical Damage is that it has an advertising screen that appears at the start of the game. That aside, Critical Damage is a shooter that you will play again and again. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 43.2MB download from:
Listary v1.00.61 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Listary is an enhancement for the default list control (used everywhere -- Windows Explorer, Task Manager, Registry Editor, etc) to quickly find a listed item. It supports Masks & Regular expressions (wildcards), hotkeys, autocomplete, fast access (hotkey) to the CMD window, and more. This is a great way of finding an elusive name in a list from many programs, including Windows Explorer, WinZip, WinRAR, FileZilla, CCleaner, Task Manager, uTorrent, PowerISO, eMule, Windows Desktop, 7-Zip, Control Panel, Registry Editor, and all file Open/Save dialog boxes. All you need do is to open the window for the program (ie Windows Explorer) and start typing. Listary will popup a window giving all instances of the letters and characters typed within the list (or folder when used with Windows Explorer). Apart from the icon in the tray, you don't see this background-running utility until you start to type something in a list control window. While there are often a number of matches for you
r search, you can move down the list using the Tab key and, when your item is highlighted, you can carry out normal actions (for example, by pressing the Enter key when a program file is highlighted that program will open). Listary sounds complicated and awkward but in practice it is really easy to use and makes it effortless to find a particular item in a long list. This is one of those programs you will have to try for yourself. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 860kB download from:
GeoSetter v3.3.43 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
GeoSetter is a geo-tagger that adds/edits GPS co-ordinates to the metadata of camera files. It features built-in Google Maps interface, shows image directions & tracks, reads & writes all major image formats including RAW files (JPG, TIF, DNG, CRW, CR2, THM, NEF, NRW, MRW, PEF, ORF, ARW, SR2, RAF, RW2, RAW & RWL), it makes the IPTC data editable, makes image date & time editable, exports images to Google Earth, and more. GeoSetter is inherently easy to use with its three windows: the browser, the image preview and the map. In the browser window, point the application to the folder containing those photos you want geo-tagged, change to thumbnail view (important if you were continually moving on a given job), and highlight the photo or series of photos you want geo-tagged for a particular location. In the Google maps window change to satellite view (you can see where you were standing), navigate to where that series of photos were taken, drop the flag where you want it and clic
k the button "assign position marker to selected images". Save. It's that easy. It will also do that in reverse, by showing where you photo was taken (once geo-tagged). For photographers who want to add geo-tagging to their workflow, GeoSetter is a must. All you need to know is where you took the photo, or series of photos, so you can zoom in to that location on the Google map. Because Geosetter manages the metadata, you can amend the capture to a correct time if you are merging photos from two cameras into one folder so they appear in the correct order. It manages geo-tagging your photos, and does it well. You do not need any special hardware (such as add-ons to the camera). Nor do you need to understand the major standards in GPS data formats (KML, OSM, PTH magic maps, TKK, NMEA 0813, GPX, etc) to use this application. GeoSetter has all the hallmarks of professional level software. It is highly recommended for professional and semi-professional photographers who want a quick, inexpensive and easy way to geo-ag their photos. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 17.6MB download from:
MP3 Workshop v1.0 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (4 doves)
MP3 Workshop is an audio converter, CD ripper & audio recorder. It features support for major audio formats (WAV, SND, AU, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, WMA, AVI, WMV, MPG, MPEG, VOB, etc), converts to the popular MP3 format, offers customizable MP3 output (bitrate, etc), it is simple to use, and more. This should be a great little tool for converting various audio formats, including audio CD (CDA) to MP3, and for recording streaming audio, or audio from a microphone. Alas, it never quite lives up to its expectations. The CD ripper does not use the on-line FreeDB database to obtain the track names and recording artist information so your saved tracks are just numbered. It also does not have a tag editor so you cannot embed data about the track within the MP3. The non-adjustable recording level is so low that to successfully record audio using MP3 Workshop you must run the soundcard volume at relatively high levels. Finally, the dialog boxes look hideous. A little tweaking, the addition of
an ID3 tag editor, and a link to the FreeDB on-line database to get track information would help convert this into a top rate program. MP3 Workshop has lots of potential, but this version fails to live up to its promise. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 572kMB download from:
T3Desk v10.03 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
T3Desk is a 3D desktop enhancement where minimized windows are displayed as 3D windows. It features full control over the look of the 3D screens (window animation, transparency effect, initial angle & distance, transition effects, etc), and more. If you want to put a little style, some panache, into your Windows desktop when T3Desk could be for you. It displays your minimized desktop as a series of 3D windows (depending on the number of open programs) each of which can be "flipped, zoomed, moved, swiveled in almost anyway you want". Click on a 3D screen image and the normal 2D window will open. In Windows 7 T3Desk was using some 24MB of our RAM when idle and over 62MB when eight windows were minimized, which is not quite as "lightweight" as the author states. However, if you have lots of resources available this may not be a major drain on your System. The author states that T3Desk "keeps you organized, makes you more productive and improves the way you work with Windows and
the Web" but all we could see was another unnecessary drain on resources for little practical gain. If you want to give your desktop the "wow factor" then T3Desk could be for you. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 789kB download from:
Moyea YouTube FLV Downloader v3.1.2.9 -- WinXP/VIsta/7 (5 doves)
Moyea YouTube FLV Downloader is a program to download & arrange Web videos (FLV, F4V) from YouTube, Google Video, Fox and other video-sharing Websites. It features a drop-box, supports multi-thread downloading, has a built-in FLV player, a built-in library, you can create your own playlists, it supports HTTP & RTMP protocols, supports multiple Web browsers (IE, Firefox, Maxthon, Safari & 360SE), and more. This is one of the best Web video downloaders we have seen. It rocks! Cruise around the YouTube Website looking at video clips and it will optionally offer a list of those clips so you can download any that you want. It has a drop-box so you can drag 'n drop video clips straight into the program, or you can copy and paste the clip's address. While it does include a panel with house ads, this can be hidden away so you don't even have to look at them. There is really nothing negative we can say about Moyea YouTube FLV Downloader -- it works efficiently, looks sensational, and
does exactly what you expect it should do. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 11.3MB download from:
Sumstuff Wri v1.1 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Sumstuff Wri is an ASCII text editor that supports RTF (rich text formatting) and HTM pages. It features print preview, full RTF attributes (font, color, size, bullets, etc), text find & replace, image insertion (BMP, JPG or GIF), includes 35 text-style icons, and more. This is a lightweight, mini word processor that supports RTF and ASCII text. It natively supports HTM pages, but not HTML (can be opened using the *.* wildcard). It does not support syntax coloring or Web tags so it is like using Notepad to write Web pages. Sumstuff Wri isn't an exciting program but it does include some nice 16x16 icons suitable for use with a text-based program. If you are looking for a small word processor and ASCII text editor then check out Sumstuff Wri. It could be exactly what you need. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Get this 8.39MB download at:
Bella Breakout v1.0 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Bella Breakout is an Arkanoid/Breakout clone. It features 50 levels, 12 powerups, 5 types of paddles, 5 types of bricks, cool graphics, great soundtrack, suitable for the whole family, high scores, and more. This is a very colorful game where you use the bat to direct the ball and destroy the bricks. While it follows the classic gameplay, the intense background images can be very distracting but there is no way of removing them so they become part of the gameplay, adding a layer of difficulty. The graphics in Bella Breakout lack the crispness found in similar games, but overall it plays well and, like most good Arkanoid/Breakout games, is highly addictive. If you want to kill anything from a few minutes to a few hours, Bella Breakout is worth grabbing. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Get this 24.9MB download at:

from Dr T --
=: Scratched CD-R/CD-RWs and their uses :=
Remember the old days of 45s? You'd put the record on the turntable and if any scratches were present you'd be greeted with a horrible noise accompanied by a "skip-trip-skip" that would make the music nigh unlistenable. Thank goodness we've moved on to CD media where -- wait a second, we're no better off, are we? CDs skip too, and when they do it's even worse! So, let me pose this to all of you: if we couldn't listen to our music back then on vinyl, then why should we be able to write data or music to a CD-R or CD-RW and expect it to work any better?
We can't, unfortunately. So check your media before you even use it! Writing music to a CD-R, making a data disc for a back-up and just about any other process in which you "burn" something onto a CD requires a nice, clean CD-R or CD-RW before you even put it into your drive. Why go through all the hassle of backing up your system or making a music mix to listen to in your car if it's just going to give you skips and read-errors?
Before you start, check the bottom of the media you're using. If there are any scratches at all then congratulations, you have a new coaster for your coffee cup! :)
Note: Actually, all may not be lost. There are several products out there in the marketplace that will remove any scratches and a large percentage of the time, make the CD-R or DVD readable again. I use Skip Doctor by Digital Innovations, LLC ( to repair and eliminate scratches, and it works very well most of the time.
See? It's not all wasted!

(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Girl's Night Out :=
A group of 40-year-old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.
10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.
10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.
10 years later at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and they even had an elevator.
10 years later at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.
[author unknown]

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.
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