Sunday, June 6, 2010
CFS Weekly Newsletter #548
Web Site: http://www.completelyFREEsoftware.com
E-mail 1: editor@completelyFREEsoftware.com
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COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Neva v1.00 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Neva is a futuristic hybrid between an action platformer and an action puzzler. It features 3 levels of difficulty, 5 characters, 6 enemies, superb 2D graphics, challenging gameplay, interactive Helpfile, bilingual (English & Turkish), and more. This is a somewhat unusual concept game where, at the completion a platforming stage (in which you jump, fly, fight and run), you go to the puzzle segment where you must hit the correct key at the correct time. Graphics are excellent, though somewhat unusual (as is the entire game!), and the gameplay experience is addictive. Controls are relatively simple, the arrow keys for movement plus the Z, X, C and V keys for everything else. There is also an Amiga-like HUD. To get the game started, you use the Z key to activate the menus (like hitting the Enter key in most other games). We should also mention that while it has an interactive Helpfile (almost a tutorial), where it looks like you should use the H key it really means the X key (po
or choice of font). Don't expect to progress through this game quickly, it takes a while to learn properly and it is worthwhile checking out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiC77GrJtks, which shows the first 10 minutes of the game. Most of the cutscenes can be skipped by repeatedly pressing the Z key. Impressive from all viewpoints, Neva has a "back to the future" feel about it with futuristic graphics and retro gameplay. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 184MB download from:
MiniTool Partition Recovery v5.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
MiniTool Partition Recovery is a partition recovery tool to recover lost & deleted partitions from IDE, SATA, SCSI & removable disks. It supports all major file formats (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, VFAT, NTFS & NTFS5), has a Wizard interface, can scan selected parts of a disk or the entire disk, performs either quick or full scans, and more. Unfortunately, CFS was unable to review this program. The author says: "The partition recovery function can retrieve the lost partitions quickly & easily. MiniTool Partition Recovery [is] a must-have partition recovery software and free for home users." The author also says that it is free for private, noncommercial, home computer use only -- use in organizations or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 4.95MB download from:
Songr v1.8.6 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Songr is a multi-engine MP3 search tool. It features results from up to 16 MP3 search engines, it grays out low bitrate & preview-only MP3s, has intelligent sorting of results, it downloads or plays the selected title, and more. If you like to grab MP3 songs from the Internet, then Songr is a tool you may find useful. Type in an artist's name, or the name of a song, and it will search all 16 MP3 search engines and give you the results. You can then listen to any selection using your default multimedia player, listen to a preview, or download your selection. It also links to YouTube, and will open YouTube pages in your Web browser, but its claim to be able to download YouTube videos, or extract audio from them, is not correct at the time of this review (we believe that YouTube regularly changes the way it works to prevent this from happening). Songr can also take a small portion of the lyrics of a song and, in most cases, offer you a selection of songs that use those lyrics. W
e were somewhat disappointed in Songr because during installation it did not ask us where we wanted it installed. This is extremely bad manners as many users, ourselves included, make a point of not installing any programs in the C:\ drive. While we are unsure of the legality of some MP3 tracks available through the search engines used by Songr, we urge caution before simply downloading any track you want without considering its legality. That disclaimer aside, Songr is an easy way to find a selection of great MP3 music tracks. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 4.22MB download from:
Photo Magician v126.96.36.199 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Photo Magician is a batch image/photo converter that resizes & converts images to different formats. It supports the conversion to 5 popular image formats (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG & TIF), it also inputs other formats (DDS, PCX, PSD, TGA, WBMP, WMF & RAW), it resizes images based on either pixel size or percentage, and more. This is a relatively fast batch conversion tool for images. Simple to use, you just aim it at a folder that contains the images you want converted, set the output folder (always best not to overwrite the originals), decide if you want it to also convert images in any sub-folders, and click on the "Process Images" button at the bottom. We were a little disappointed in how Photo Magician handled converting images to the TIF format as we found the resultant image a little grainy, but the rest were well converted. We were most impressed that it could handle RAW images (we converted some using the Canon RAW format but apparently it works on all RAW images) and also
the PSD format. Photo Magician is a reasonably good batch converter for your images -- specially for your photos. Worth checking out! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.48MB download from:
Registry Life v1.20 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Registry Life is a tool that improves System performance by fixing errors, defragmenting, and compressing the Registry. It features an automatic backup of the Registry (with restore option), selectable Registry sections for cleanup, an editable ignore list, and more. This is an excellent Registry scanner that works in two parts -- a logical structure scanner that can clean up errors by removing invalid entries, and a physical structure tool that defragments the Registry and then compresses it. This two-part approach is the ideal way of improving System performance as it covers both major areas of Registry problems and the speed in which Windows can access this vital component. Best of all, it saves a snapshot of what it does so that, if you are not happy with the result, you can reverse it. At the completion of the defragmentation stage, it automatically reboots Windows. Did Registry Life find all the errors in our Registry? Probably not, but it certainly found a significant
number and, combined with the defragmentation and compression tool, we consider it is a "must have" for all Windows users. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.74MB download from:
Splash Lite v1.4.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Splash Lite is a multimedia player that plays High Definition (HD) movies, camcorder clips, digital television (DVB-T) & music. It supports most popular multimedia formats, includes a playlist, offers1080i to 1080p conversion, has an EcoMode (for laptops), and more. The supported video formats are MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, DivX (with DivX codec installed), AVI, M2T, M2TS, MOV, MP4, MPG, MTS, TS and MKV. Supported audio formats are AC-3, MPEG Layer I/II, AAC LC, HE-AAC and LPCM. It also plays VOB DVD video files, but it is not a "real" DVD player as it does not offer interactive menus, continuous play, etc. Splash Lite is a video player with some good, and some not-so-good features. It looks fabulous, and renders video clips in high quality, but it does not play FLV, SWF or, more importantly, WMV videos formats. It also did not play some of our AVI videos, though it did play others. Most strange. On the videos it did play, the picture quality was superb, as was the quali
ty of the MP3 audio. However, it is the lack of support for some popular video formats, and that it would not play some of our AVI files, that caused us most concern. We could not test the TV support but assume it should work OK. You will need a TV capture card to use Splash Lite to watch TV. Overall we had mixed feelings about Splash Lite. Potentially, it is one of the best video players we have seen, but the current version left us wanting more. We are eagerly looking forward to version 2.0! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 9.68MB download from:
Alert Calendar v1.1 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Alert Calendar is a calendar with a blinking alert to advise you that an event has been scheduled for that day. It features a choice of once-only or monthly events, it is an easy to read monthly calendar, it can optionally start with Windows, Helpfile, and more. This is a neat little calendar with the provision to add once-only and/or monthly alerts. On the date of the event, the program's tray icon will blink so you know that there was an event scheduled that day. The blinking is extremely annoying after a short period, but it can be turned off from within the main window. However, Alert Calendar would have carried out its function by then, which is what is important. If you use it at an event reminder you will have to have it load automatically with Windows, but if you are just looking for a calendar, then you could place an icon on the desktop to launch the program. Alert Calendar requires no installation so is easy to remove should you decide it was not for you. We found
Alert Calendar to be a useful little tool, though were disappointed that there wasn't more control over when an event could be scheduled -- there is no provision for weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, annual, etc events -- just a once only-event or a repeated monthly event. This limits its value. Whether you are looking for just a desktop calendar, or if you require the alert facility, Alert Calendar could be exactly what you want. Check it out now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 794kB download from:
2 Ball Pool v1.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
2 Ball Pool is an unusual pool-based table game where you score points by hitting the black ball with the blue ball. It features excellent animated graphics, autoplay mode, time-based gameplay, and more. This is a simple little game where the idea is not to sink balls but to see how many times you can hit the black ball with the blue ball, within the specified time, using the white cue ball. It isn't always easy to get a very high score but it is quite challenging and the physics in the game is reasonably good. The autoplay is, at best, pathetic and is, in our opinion, a waste of time. 2 Ball Pool is advertiser supported but it seems to be relatively benign -- it does draw ads from the Internet but we could detect no suspicious activity. If your favorite game is pool, and you enjoy variations, give 2 Ball Pool a try. Could be a fun little game for you. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 2.52MB download from:
HDClone (Free Edition) -- a tool for moving contents of entire hard disk drives onto bigger ones -- has been updated to version 3.9.2 with a new, larger download size of 10.8MB. The author has advised that changes in this version include: adding 4k alignment for modern drives, extending EXT4 volumes, and fixing compatibility bugs with Vista and Windows 7. Get this latest version from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
I run WindowsXP. My anti-virus and anti- spyware is CA. Have been using this for several years, recently renewing my subscription.
About two weeks after I renewed, on booting up one AM, my system was completely locked down. A small window stated my system was infected with a virus.. In the meantime, a page was running in the background that was advertising Antivirus Soft. No matter what I did, Nothing could be opened! Therefore I could not reach my CA Antivirus to scan my system.
After exhausting all options, and 3 days of working with it, I finally relented and opened the "Soft" program and subscribed to it!! Immediately, everything opened up, aftr installing, and ran perfectly! I tried to send a message to CA to inform this of this problem and my e-mails have been sent to "undeliverable". At the cost of $48 for CA (two-yrs.) And $68 for "Soft" (lifetime), I feel as though I have been snookered!! Can you solve this problem for me, and any others who may get entangled in this trap?
You have indeed been snookered! The program you are referring to, Antivirus Soft, is just one in a long list of malware programs that have been infecting computers.
Antivirus Soft is not really an antivirus program. It has taken your computer captive and held it for ransom. Unfortunately, you paid that ransom with your credit card, and now the thieves who created and distributed this program have your credit card information. Your first step in recovering from this malware is to contact your credit card company, dispute the charges, and get a new credit card number!
The next step is to get all traces of this program off your computer. You can search google for directions on removing Antivirus Soft, and try following them, or you can bring the computer to your local repair shop and have them remove all traces of the program for you.
Some of these ransom programs are very hard to get rid of, and the only option to be completely sure it is gone is to erase your hard drive and reinstall Windows.
Once you have a clean computer, I would suggest a more robust antivirus, and anti-malware program like AVG Internet Security. In addition, it helps to install Spybot Search & Destroy at http://www.safer-networking.org/ and Spyware Blaster at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/.
Both programs are free, and if you keep them updated, they will protect your computer from many of these malware programs.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Tool Chips :=
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted part which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ''What the...??''
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.
SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ou*ja board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.
TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.
BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
COMMON SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while wearing them.
D*MMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling ''D*MMIT'' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.
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:
If you enjoy the Completely FREE Software site -- and this newsletter -- please don't feel shy about letting others know.
Daves Computer Tips
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