Sunday, June 6, 2010

CFS Weekly Newsletter #542

CFS Weekly Newsletter #542
[ISSN 1441-6840]
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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 such a great line-up for you this week I won't give you my preferences (it would be easier just to tell you the ones I didn't like as much!) so I will just let you check them all out for yourself. I know you won't be disappointed...
We also have our regular columns -- Dr T's excellent Computer Tip of the Week, and our ever popular Smile of the Week.
To get access to the best downloads, why not take a minute and become a member of arguably the best freeware-only site in the world. More details from our members' page:
What are you waiting for -- become a CFS "lifer" now, or try out the site with a 1-month, 1-year or 2-year membership. We are still half the price of most other sites and I think we offer the best value for your hard earned dollar.
One small point. If you sign up for a Lifetime membership through you might be surprised to see that, according to them, a "lifetime" is only 12 years. That is because the number 12 is the highest number option they have -- 12 weeks, 12 months, 12 years. Don't worry, at the end of 12 years you will NOT be cut off if you are a CFS 'lifer' -- your membership will continue indefinitely...
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Have a great week and...
Keep smilin'
Graham Pockett
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Yo Frankie! v1.1 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Yo Frankie! is a 3D platformer where you control a squirrel (Frankie) with attitude who takes on a number of different animals. It features 1- & 2-person gameplay, multiple levels, items to collect, awesome 3D graphics, very challenging, excellent sound effects & background music, and more. This is an excellent platformer that is a showcase for the Blender Engine. Your bully-boy squirrel, Frankie, has the ability to throw things (like acorns, or sheep) plus a fighting mode and a jumping mode (includes double jumping and gliding). The fighting mode spins him around quickly and uses his tail as a weapon. Frankie can collect a sort of wooden springboard platform which he can use to jump up much higher, and he can also throw it at the sheep or rats that inhabit his world which mean to do him some harm if he doesn't beat them up first. There is also a lava pit which should be avoided. When you first start you find yourself in a 3D world and, if you look around, you will see a numb
er of wooden signs. Select one for the level you want and walk Frankie into the sign to go there, picking up any acorns you can find along the way. We felt that this is an awkward entry into the game, specially as there is little real help. Yo Frankie! has some awesome 3D graphics, though the control is through the keyboard (or a gamepad/joystick) rather than through the mouse. In a 3D environment, the mouse is usually the best form of control and we found the keyboard cumbersome. If played in 2-person mode, both players share the same keyboard and there is a split screen (somewhat like the Wii and other games' computers). This is not successful and we do not recommend this game in 2-person mode. Maybe an LAN or Internet option will be added, and that would help improve the 2-person gameplay enormously. The download for this game is in ZIP format and, when unpacked, you might wonder what to do next. Contrary to what the author's Website says, you do not have to download the Blender Engine, it is part of the download. When you have unpacked the massive ZIP file, you will find the Windows executionable file to run the game at "\yofrankie_1_1b_bge\yofrankie-win32\yofrankie_player.exe". As there is no installation required, there are also no shortcuts so you will have to go to the EXE file in the games' "yofrankie-win32" folder to launch the game. Yo Frankie! is a fantastic 3D platform experience that everyone should enjoy. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 120MB download from:
Disk Space Fan v1.4.4.1 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Disk Space Fan is a disk space analysis tool that helps free up by quickly finding and deleting big, useless files. It features a fan-type chart display of each drive, it integrates with Windows Explorer to open/delete/browse files & folders, and more. If you are worried by a continuing loss of your precious hard disk space then Disk Space Fan is for you. It visually displays all the folders on a drive in a fan-type chart display, and then gives you the tools to examine any files or folders to see what is wasting your space. Disk Space Fan is a small utility that should find a place in all computer toolkits. Grab a copy now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.01MB download from:
PicPick v2.2.6 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
PicPick is an all-in-one graphics suite. It provides a full-featured screen capture tool, an image editor, a color picker, a color palette, a pixel ruler, a protractor, crosshair (for aligning objects), and a whiteboard. Each of the eight tools has been integrated into a single program that really is easy to use. Individually, the tools have their own special features and functions. The only one that really did not stand out as being exceptional was the image editor, which offered a few basic filters and effects but lacked the depth of a good stand-alone editor. The other tools were very good, and we specially liked the protractor which gave us various angles on the screen. This is very helpful for graphics work and desktop publishing. With its tight integration, the eight tools that comprise PicPick come together as a single suite of tools that most PC users will find invaluable. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access th
is 2.59MB download from:
Context Menu Enhancer v2.0 -- WinXP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Context Menu Enhancer is a tool that makes available context menu add-ons for Windows Explorer. Its eight functions are: copy to folder; move to folder; flip 3D switch between Windows; create file listing text; add "Administrator Command Prompt"; encrypt/decrypt, "God Mode" folder (Windows 7 only); and Open in Notepad. Hidden behind a very bland window, Context Menu Enhancer adds some functionality to the right-click context menu in Windows Explorer. Some items are only added to the right-click file menu, some only to the right-click folder menu, and some to both. While most are self explanatory, the one we really liked was adding the God Mode folder, which only works in Windows 7. The God Mode folder (not a name we really liked but it is descriptive of its function) gives over 220 links to Windows tools in about 45 categories. Some of the categories are: Action Center; Administrative Tools; AutoPlay; Backup and Restore; Color Management; Credential Manager; Date and Time; De
fault Programs; and Desktop Gadgets. Most of those categories have multiple items associated with them. For example, the Default Programs category has two items, "Make a file always open in a specific program" and "Set your default programs". The biggest problem with the God Mode folder is that there are just so many categories, and so many items from which to choose. This could have had its own Explorer-like program window with, say, categories on the left and linked items on the right. As it is, this is simply a huge folder that is not so easy to navigate and find what you want. That minor criticism aside, Context Menu Enhancer does offer some worthwhile right-click enhancements, but it is the God Mode in Windows 7 which really makes it worthwhile. Worth grabbing! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.78MB download from:
Extra Screen Capture Free v6.9 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Extra Screen Capture Free is a screen recorder that can capture screen activities & sounds to a standard AVI video file or EXE file. It features hotkey support, it can capture part or full window, capture in any screen color depth, frame rate & video compressor choices, optional mouse cursor recording, add audio from a microphone or other external source, and more. This is a tool to make software demonstrations, and develop videos for training and tutoring. It will record all the keystrokes, mouse movements, program launches, and any other activity on the screen. The results are either saved to an AVI video file, or to an EXE file. The EXE file is much smaller than the AVI file and includes a built-in player, though you cannot edit the EXE file like you can the AVI file (using video editing software). Extra Screen Capture Free was easy to use and quite intuitive in its operation, though hotkeys are our recommendation for activating and stopping recordings because, if you use
the program itself to do this, the program (normally hidden when recording starts) becomes part of the video. We did have some issues with Extra Screen Capture Free. First, the cursor was always displayed as an hourglass, even when we specified another cursor shape. Even though the program said that the standard cursor would be displayed, it always ended up with the hourglass cursor. Most disconcerting. However, the main problem we had was that this program does not seem to know if it is a free program or a shareware program. The author's site calls it the "Pro" version but the download is for the free version. Likewise, there is a provision in the program to "Get Free License Code" but that link takes you to the author's homepage with no provision (we could see) to get a code. However, there seems to be no actual requirement to register it as it does not time-out and you can keep on using it indefinitely. It seems to us that the program was once shareware but is now free and the Webpage changes have not been made to reflect this. All of this is a diversion because, apart from the cursor problem we experienced, Extra Screen Capture Free really is a good program. If you are looking for a program to capture screen activity, check out Extra Screen Capture Free. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 736kB download from:
Text Master v1.50 -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Text Master is an ASCII text editor & Notepad replacement. It features statistical analysis (character & word frequency), converts text to lowercase or uppercase, a key press simulator, find & replace, generates word list, randomizes lines, e-mail extraction, adds the date, text extraction, inserts line numbers, no filesize limits, optional wordwrap, and more. This is a great little Notepad replacement that loaded our 10MB test file, with 470,000 lines of text, in under 3 seconds. Text Master is much more than just a text editor and offers numerous "extras", like e-mail extraction (will extract all the e-mail addresses from a document), it will delete blank or repeated lines of text, and much more. Unfortunately, it is not all sweetness and light. There is no spell checker, only one level of undo, no recently opened file list, and no tabbed interface (only one document open at a time). It also has only one level of undo. For some people, these would be considered essential fe
atures, but most users will put up with this to get access to the "extras" list which really does add some excellent enhancements to this otherwise lightweight text editor. Text Master is a terrific little Notepad replacement and one most PC users would find handy to keep around (even if just for those extras!). We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 561kB download from:
CoffeeCup Free FTP v4.3.1721 -- WinXP/VIsta/7 (5 doves)
CoffeeCup Free FTP is a drag 'n drop FTP (file transfer) client. It supports secure file transfers (including SFTP over SSH, FTPS over TSL, & HTTPS), "remembers" last locations (local & remote), powerful bookmark manager (local, remote or combo), supports multiple server profiles, resumes broken uploads & downloads, can transfer files in binary/ASCII/auto-mode, sets server permissions for files & folders (CHMOD in Linux), optional passive mode, and more. This is a fabulous FTP client for posting files on-line, or downloading files from a server. It uses the traditional Explorer-style twin pane window where the local files are in the left-hand pane and the remote files are in the right-hand pane. Transferring is as simple as highlighting the file(s) in either pane and clicking on the upload or download button. CoffeeCup Free FTP lacks some of the high-end features, like remote file editing, but for basic FTP file transfers it is simple to use and virtually bullet-proof. In a w
ord, impressive! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 6.51MB download from:
Kill Deal -- Win98/ME/XP/Vista/7 (5 doves)
Kill Deal is an RPG/action sci fi shooter where you must defeat a horde of attacking monsters. It features single player & network (LAN) multiplayer modes, a great number of enemy types, lots of powerups to collect, realistic object physics, and more. This is a top-down, kill-fest game where you are under constant attack from extraterrestrial monsters. The blood flows thick and fast as you blast your way through the attackers, grabbing powerups as you can. We suggest that you use the largest possible screen resolution, which scales up the characters and makes them easier to see. Unfortunately there are no widescreen video options. Kill Deal features lots of gratuitous violence and blood splatter, but you can turn the level of blood splatter down in the Options (we found that Level 1 was sufficient, 5 is the default). We would have liked to have seen more closeups and maybe a few less alien monsters so you don't just end up swinging in a circle with the finger on the firing bu
tton. Kill Deal includes advertising from MyPlayCity, which only appears at the start of the game while it is loading. Therefore it is not very intrusive. If blasting away at everything that moves floats your boat then grab a copy of Kill Deal. You will be sure to love it. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 34.2MB download from:

Lost Dutchman Mine 3D -- an RPG/adventure/action game where the goal is to get rich prospecting in the desert -- has been updated to version 2.0 with a much larger download size of 42.3MB. The author has advised that changes in this version include: a newer game engine, better graphics, models and gameplay. Access this excellent game from:
AllMyNotes Organizer -- an hierarchical information manager -- has been updated to version 1.25 with a new download size of 1.91MB. The author has advised that changes in this version include: improved copy/paste from MS-Word & other applications that support RTF clipboard exchange; improved import/export from/to RTF files; improved import from TXT files; updated the French & German language translation; and fixed a minor issue. Get this updated version from:

from Dr T --
=: Ransomware :=
I'm sure all of you have heard of worms, Trojans, adware, spyware and viruses, right? Those nasty little bugs are the reason for troublesome computer problems throughout the world. Well, today, I have a new type of attack to add to the list. This type of bug is called ransomware. Ransomware has been around for awhile in the computer world, but it hasn't really taken off until recently.
So, what is ransomware, you ask?
Well, ransomware is technically a program. It basically takes over your computer and then requires you to pay to get your system back to normal. Usually, it will infect your system through a bad Web site or via a pop up window, but it can also come in through an e-mail attachment or a download. Once your system is infected with the bad software, it will let you know right away. More than likely, you'll see a screen come up that tells you what damage will be done to your computer if you don't pay in time. It will require you to pay in a certain way and in turn, you'll be given a code to turn off the software and stop the damage from continuing.
There are a couple well known ransomware programs currently in use around the Web. One is called Ransom.A. That program will tell you it will destroy one file every 30 minutes until the ransom is paid. That program seems very bad, but in reality, it does no damage to your system. It's simply a scare tactic to get you to pay the fee. While that specific ransomware causes no damage to your system, there are several others that truly do what they say. Those programs can cause serious harm to your computer or they simply just embarrass the infected user by popping up pornographic material on their screen.
No matter what the damage, it's important to protect your computer against these growing threats. The good news is you don't need to have any additional protection on your system to shield you from ransomware. If you keep your antivirus software up to date and have a good pop up blocker, you'll remain safe from the threats. If your system should end up infected with one of these programs, do not panic and do not pay the ransom! It's best to run a full system scan with your antivirus software instead. The program can then be found and removed. If it's not removed, your antivirus company should give you a link to a Web site with removal steps.
There is still another type of what I consider ransomeware. How many times have you encountered this situation:
You come across a website or an email that entices you to do a Free Scan of your computer? You go ahead and run the scan and lo & behold, it finds hundreds of "errors that will ruin your computer", unless removed! All you have to do is buy their program and all will be well once again!
Chances are, in most cases like this, there isn't anything wrong with your computer... perhaps a few minor things, but there are a lot of freeware programs out on the Net that will do the job and not bite into your budget.
Perhaps a better name for this kind of program is Scareware...:)
Dr T (Dick)

(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Nerds In Season :=
This truck driver hauling a tractor-trailer load of computers stops for a beer. As he approaches the bar he sees a big sign on the door saying "Nerds Not Allowed - Enter At Your Own Risk!" He goes in and sits down.
The bartender comes over to him, sniffs, says, "You smell kind of nerdy. What do you do for a living?"
The truck driver says, "I drive a truck, and the smell is just from the computers I am hauling."
The bartender says, "Okay, truck drivers are not nerds." and serves him a beer.
As he is sipping his beer, a skinny guy walks in with tape around his glasses, a pocket protector with twelve kinds of pens and pencils, and a belt at least a foot too long. The bartender, without saying a word, pulls out a shotgun and blows the guy away.
The truck driver said, totally shocked, "Why did you do that?"
The bartender said, "Not to worry, the nerds are overpopulating Silicon Valley and are in season now. You don't even need a license."
The truck driver finishes his beer, gets back in his truck, and heads back onto the freeway.
Suddenly he veers to avoid an accident, and the load shifts. The back door breaks open and computers spill out all over the freeway.
He jumps out and sees a crowd already forming, grabbing up the computers. They are all engineers, accountants and programmers wearing the nerdiest clothes he has ever seen.
He can't let them steal his whole load. So, remembering what happened in the bar, he pulls out his gun and starts blasting away, felling several of them instantly.
A highway patrol officer comes zooming up and jumps out of the car screaming at him to stop.
The truck driver said, "What's wrong? I thought nerds were in season."
"Well, sure," said the patrolman. "But you can't bait 'em."
[author unknown]

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