Sunday, June 6, 2010
CFS Weekly Newsletter #543
COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Warzone 2100 v2.2.4 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Warzone 2100 is a 3D realtime strategy game set on a future Earth. It features single & multiplayer modes, 3 levels of difficulty, over 400 technologies to research, over 2,000 different units to design, 3 large campaign maps to conquer, several challenge maps for extra action, cross-platform Internet/Intranet multiplayer with up to 8 players, interactive message system, and more. This is a post-apocalyptic RTS (realtime strategy) game where a computer glitch launched nuclear missiles at Beijing, Moscow and Washington, triggering an all-out global confrontation. In its aftermath, there are barely a million people left behind and you must re-build New York. With its strong emphasis on action and combat at the expense of both strategy and base management, Warzone 2100 steps out of the normal RTS genre by not using money as the main form of currency, but oil. It also has some other quirks that make it stand out from the crowd. One is the ability to create your own vehicles by se
lecting the chassis, running gear, weaponry, etc so that a vehicle is designed for a specific task. Once that task is over, the vehicle can be returned to become parts for another vehicle. The 3D graphics are excellent, and the whole game has a professional feel about it. When you start to install Warzone 2100 you will be presented with an installation options box. If you just click OK you will find that the installer will start to download a 545MB high quality video library. You can choose a low resolution version (about 162MB), or none at all. These two library files can also be downloaded separately from the author's download page, generally at a much faster rate than through the installer. Warzone 2100 can be played by up to eight players over a network, or as a single-player game on your home PC. Either way, be prepared for a long game! We loved Warzone 2100. It is just different enough from the regular run of RTS games to be refreshing. If you like this genre then Warzone 2100 is a "must have". Grab a copy now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 47.8MB (plus video library) download from:
SE-TrayMenu v188.8.131.52 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
SE-TrayMenu is a tray-based program launcher that gives quick access to applications and system commands. It features a fully customizable popup menu, 11 built-in color schemes (or create your own), it supports drag 'n drop, there is a portable version available (114kB download), has an easy-to-use multilingual interface, and more. This is a fantastic little program launcher that resides in the tray (next to the clock) and has a popup menu with an assortment of programs and Windows commands. You can add a another item to the menu using drag 'n drop, or by using the Settings dialog box. Shortcuts can be added through the edit box within the Settings dialog box so you can launch any program by simply using the shortcut keys. Cool. SE-TrayMenu is not the most feature-rich program launcher we have seen, but it is undoubtedly one of the best. Control commands are kept simple so you can use it easily and quickly. If you prefer hotkey launching you can even add a shortcut to launch
a program (for example, Win+1 to launch Notepad). There is also a portable version (114kB download) that can be run from a USB stick. Even though SE-TrayMenu lacks the fancy bells and whistles of some program launchers, what it offers is extremely practical and very, very usable. SE-TrayMenu can be launched with Windows (our recommendation) so you always have it available. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 404kB download from:
Miro v3.0.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Miro is a HD (high definition) video player that can play virtually any video file. It features access to over 6,000 free internet TV shows & video podcasts, it offers video playlists, fast torrent downloads, video RSS feeds, it plays streaming video, and more. This is an amazing video player that equally streams/downloads video from the Internet as well as creates a playlist of your existing video files. You have the choice of playing each video in the playlist, one after the other, or playing them one-at-a-time. It can play Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID, and much more. But the best part of Miro is its ability to render video clips fullscreen in outstanding quality, even on large monitors. We were a little disappointed that Miro uses an installer, a 449kB file that then installs the main file. Why we cannot just download the main file without adding an unnecessary further 449kB download seems strange to us, specially as it isn't hard to learn that the files are stored at h
ttp://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/Miro/win/ and you can easily identify the latest version and directly download it. That aside, Miro is a superb video player with lots of download and streaming functions. It also supports audio podcasts so you aren't just tied to video clips. If you enjoy watching on-line video clips, if you have a large collection of video clips on your computer, if you enjoy watching good quality fullscreen video on a large, widescreen monitor, then grab a copy of Miro. We know you won't be disappointed. Grab a copy now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 29.7MB download (plus the 449kB downloader) from:
Eusing Free Registry Defrag v1.6 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Eusing Free Registry Defrag is a Registry defragger that compacts the Windows' Registry and speeds up the computer. It features very fast defrag & compaction, an option to backup the Registry before defragging, it displays the compaction percentage (after a scan), it is easy to use, and more. This is a nice little tool to help keep your computer running at full speed by keeping the Registry compact. The author describes it like this: "Over time the registry becomes larger and larger as new programs are installed, used and removed. Even if this data is deleted from it when applications are uninstalled, the size of the Registry will not decrease. This is because the data will be marked as blank but remains in place. In this way the registry becomes more and more fragmented over time. Registry fragmentation causes overall system performance to decrease. Systems with a fragmented registry will take longer to boot and will use more memory just for processing the registry, resultin
g in decreased overall performance as other programs are forced to use much slower virtual memory." Eusing Free Registry Defrag compacted our Registry by 4.6%, which doesn't sound much but should have helped speedup our computer. More importantly, it should help make the computer run more efficiently. The author also offers Eusing Free Registry Cleaner (also listed with CFS) which does more than this tool. Two items we were not so happy with. First, there is a nag screen when the program first opens asking for a registration "donation" of $15. There doesn't seem to be any way of turning off this nag so each time you load it you must click on the "Skip" button, or register the program to remove it. The second problem relates to a completed defrag. While we accept that you must re-boot your computer to get the benefit of the defrag, there are no options to delay this and your computer will be automatically re-booted as soon as you close the screen. An option to re-boot later would be nice... Overall, Eusing Free Registry Defrag is a great little tool and one that all PC users should use occasionally. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.09MB download from:
Mapyx Quo v2.1.7 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Mapyx Quo is a digital mapper, with free UK digital maps. It supports over 100 filetypes (Google Earth, Tracklogs, etc), user map import, real-time GPS, export to GPS, multi-page print, magnifier, search by place name, picture-in-picture, route planner, and more. Unfortunately CFS was unable to review this program. The author says: "Mapyx Quo is an intuitive, easy to learn and, surprisingly simple-to-use digital mapping program which enables you to connect your GPS to your PC and manage all your waypoints, routes and tracks. View information such as elevation, distance, speed, ETA and many more. Quo supports numerous formats: Google Earth KML (*.kml), GPS Exchange format (*.gpx), ESRI Shape File (*.shp), Geocaching (*.loc), various Garmin formats, various Magellan formats, OziExplorer files and many more. Features also include importing your own scanned maps, multipage print, route card generator, Quo Mobile windows mobile application, and 3D View." It should be noted that so
me maps offered are trial only, and that maps can take some considerable time to download (even with a fast broadband connection). Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 44.9MB download (plus maps) from:
Internet Download Accelerator v5.8 -- Win9x/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Internet Download Accelerator is an easy-to-use download manager that can increase download speeds by up to 500%. It features multi-threaded downloading, resumes broken downloads, supports FTP/HTTP/HTTPS protocols, drop box, saves domain access details, Web browser integration (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla, Opera, etc), integrated FTP Explorer, downloads & saves video from popular video sharing services (YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, etc), supports plug-ins, skins, scheduler, site manager, downloads history, and more. This is an excellent program to manage your downloads from the Internet. It includes all the usual tools (broken download resume, multi-thread downloading, browser integration, drop box, etc) but also a few extras, like saving the password/username of a site (eg the member's area of CFS) so you can access downloads without worrying about always having to add your user details. Internet Download Accelerator is one of the bes
t all round download managers we have seen. It does carry some house ads for the Pro version, and links to the "file of the day" downloads (generally shareware) but overall it is a well constructed, full-featured program that will assist you in your downloads. We loved! Access this 8.16MB download from:
Pos Text Effects v1.10 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Pos Text Effects is an intuitive tool for creating text effects. It features over 40 text styles in 4 categories, offers full control of font & attribute (size, bold, italics, strike-through, etc), variable fill style & color, outputs to most popular graphics formats (TIF, GIF, JPG, PCX, BMP, PNG, etc), supports multiple lines of text, and more. This program rocks! It can turn your mundane text into thing of beauty, with 3D effects, glowing text, fancy color fills, and lots more. Simply type in your text, select the font, size and attribute, select the category of text effect, and then select the style. In most cases the color fill looks great, but you can play around and change it to anything you want. When you have the text looking like you want, just click on the "Save Image" button and you will be prompted to save your image. PNG is one of the best formats because it allows for transparent backgrounds, but you can save it in any of seven image formats. You can use your sp
ecial effect text in Websites, slideshows, presentations, video menus, and more. We were most impressed with the variety of effects offered, and the ease at which they can be modified to suit the occasion. If you need some fancy text then try Pos Text Effects. Like us, we think you will love it. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 16.2MB download from:
Gold Bullion v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Gold Bullion is a Boulder Dash style game where you must collect gold bullion bars & nuggets from the abandoned vaults while avoiding the giant rats. It features 4 "abandoned vault" levels, has fullscreen & windowed modes, excellent animated graphics, there is no installation required, and more. This is a fun little game where you must direct your "little gent" around the screen, collecting the gold and also the key to enter the locked vaults. The giant rats are, of course, deadly so you must avoid them at all times. There is little sensational about Gold Bullion, and there is nothing wrong with it either -- this is simply a Boulder Dash style game using gold bullion bars and nuggets (it is a promotional game from a UK-based gold bullion buying company). If you are a Boulder dash fan then you will have to have a copy of Gold Bullion to add to your collection and, if you have never played this style of game before, this is an excellent starting point. There is just enough chal
lenge in Gold Bullion to make the game interesting, but it is far from impossible to win. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 4.83MB download from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
Q. What can be done if the mouse goes kaput right in the middle of something you need to save?
A. You might find this hard to believe. But there was a time when computers didn't have mice. You used the keyboard.
Nearly everything you need can be accomplished from the keyboard. I've known older secretaries who didn't use a mouse. They fly with the keyboard.
Keyboard commands are similar in most programs. I'll use Microsoft Word as an example.
If the mouse should die, you could save the document with Ctrl + S. If the document has not previously been saved, you'll get Save As. Otherwise, it will just save it.
If you want to save and close the document, use Ctrl + W. You'll get a small window, asking if you want to save. "Yes" is highlighted. Press Enter. The document will be saved and closed.
If the mouse dies, you may just need batteries. That's assuming it's an optical mouse. Otherwise, your computer may be going with the mouse. If so, you may not be able to save anything. But you could still retrieve most of your document.
That's because Word can save documents automatically as you work. Assuming that feature is activated, the document will be available when you next boot up. To activate it in Word 2007, click the Office button at top left. Select Word Options. Select Save. Check "Save Autorecover information every [blank] minutes."
I have this feature set to save every minute. Saving a document takes some resources. So it could slow you as you work. But it's worth the trouble. Besides, most computers today have an abundance of power. You probably won't notice when a document is saved.
In Word 2003, click Tools/Options. Select the Save tab. Click "Save AutoRecover info every:" Make the setting one minute.
Other Microsoft Office programs have similar settings. You may find them in offerings from other companies, too.
Using the keyboard is really a lost art. But the commands are still around. Microsoft has long lists on its site for Vista at http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/2503b91d-d780-4c80-8f08-2f48878dc5661033.mspx and XP at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301583. Check 'em out.
Internet browsers have their own shortcuts. I have a bunch at http://www.komando.com/columns/index.aspx?id=2312.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Poverbs, from 6-year-olds :=
A teacher presented each child in her classroom the first half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!
1. Don't change horses... until they stop running.
2. Strike while the... bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before... Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of... termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but... how?
6. Don't bite the hand that... looks dirty.
7. No news is... impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a... Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new... math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll... stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust... me.
12. The pen is mightier than the... pigs.
13. An idle mind is... the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's... pollution.
15. Happy the bride who... gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is... not much.
17. Two's company, three's... the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what... you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and... you have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as... Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not... spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed... get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you... see in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind... get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand is... going to poop on you.
26.. Better late than... pregnant.
Daves Computer Tips
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