Sunday, June 27, 2010
CFS Weekly Newsletter #551
CFS Weekly Newsletter #551
Web Site: http://www.completelyFREEsoftware.com
E-mail 1: editor@completelyFREEsoftware.com
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Welcome to the 'Completely FREE Software' Weekly Newsletter.
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Great to be back with you for another week of fabulously fresh freeware.
We have an excellent line-up of quality free programs reviewed for you below. I really liked IObit Security 360, a malware & spyware removal utility, VersionUpdate, an online software version checker, and Cosmetic Guide Lite, a virtual cosmetic bag for touching up and correcting digital photos. However, you may find that others blow your hair back more than these.
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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COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Traum v3.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Traum is a vertically scrolling helicopter shooter where you collect falling "powerups" for points. It features fast-action shooting, two firing modes, simple gameplay, no installation required (just unzip and play), and more. This is not a sophisticated game but a simple shoot-em-up (SHMUP) where you blast away at incoming ships of various types. When some ships are destroyed a "powerup" in with the letter "E" falls, and you get points for collecting them (one point for the small ones, 10 points for the large). If you enjoy Japanese-style shooters, then Traum is for you. Give it a try. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Get this 22.1MB download from:
VersionUpdate v1.02 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
VersionUpdate is an online software version checker to ensure that you have up-to-date versions of your installed software. It directly connects to a software publisher's Website to check for newer versions, it checks what versions other users are using (you may find a version newer than yours), and more. This is a fabulous way of ensuring that your software is always up-to-date. However, it has a couple of built-in problems. First, it checks up to 200 programs so, if like us, you have more, then the additional ones are not checked (you cannot specify which ones to check and which ones to ignore). Secondly, it is not always up-to-date with the latest version from the software publishers. In a few cases, we had later versions than the ones reported. With programs like VersionUpdate you must be careful not to update a program if it will cost you money (unless you are happy to pay). For example, some of the CFS-listed program are free only for the their early, superseded version
s, but later versions are not free. If you update those programs, you could find out that you were now on a trial period (often 15 or 30 days) and have to pay to continue to use the program after the trial period has expired. That aside, VersionUpdate is still a fabulous little program, and one that most PC users will find of value. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 642kB download from:
IObit Security 360 v1.45 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
IObit Security 360 is a malware & spyware removal utility that detects & removes the deepest infections. It features real-time protection, works with existing anti-virus programs, offers a 1-click solution, it is easy to use, uses DOG (Digital Original Gene) which is a novel heuristic malware detection method, uses a "Dual-Core" anti-malware engine, and more. This is a fantastic tool which works with existing anti-virus programs to ensure the best possible detection and removal of malicious software (malware). Because no program can possibly detect all possible threats, it is valuable to run programs like IObit Security 360 in conjunction with more mainstream anti-virus programs -- they compliment each other rather than cause conflict. IObit Security 360 detected 83 "threats" on our test computer, though most were simply cookies you pick up from sites with advertising (like Google ads) to track if you make a purchase or visit the advertiser's site. They are not malicious and
cause no particular harm. However, three of the threats were more real and we were pleased to see them detected and removed. We were very impressed with IObit Security 360. While we are not as frightened of cookies as some (and you can always turn them off in your Web browser) we appreciated being given the opportunity to delete them. The free version of IObit Security 360 does not include automatic updates (you must manually get them), and it lacks automatic scanning, however it does provide real-time protection. We really liked IObit Security 360. It is functional, effective, and very fast. A "must have" for PC users. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 8.77MB download from:
SE-Explorer v1.31.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (4 doves)
SE-Explorer is a portable file manager. It features tabbed interface, dual-panel file browser, built-in tools (compare files & folders, media player, Web browser, viewers for pictures, archives, resources, documents, PDF, DjVu, fonts, hex), and more. This is a simple dual panel file manager, with a tabbed interface and many built-in viewers. It offers some relatively unlikely features, like an Internet Explorer based Web browser, but the interface is awkward in places, and we had some compatibility issues between it and our test computer -- we kept on getting an "Unhandled exception". The portable version was able to continue after closing this message, but the install version locked up completely and we had to use the Windows Task Manager to close it. Not good. Maybe it was simply a problem with our configuration, or with a program we were running at the time, but we are a little cautious in recommending it without reservation. It was interesting that while SE-Explorer was r
unning our regular Alt-PrintScreen function to capture screenshots was changed so it captured the full screen instead of just the active window. Based off our experience we do not recommend the install version, just the portable version, but others may experience a different result if the problem was simply a conflict with an existing program opened on our desktop. Even with these problems, we really did like the portable version of SE-Explorer. It is a nice little file manager with lots of interesting functions. Best to try it for yourself and see if it is what you are looking for in a file manager. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 2.24MB download from:
Audio Extractor For Free v2.6.1 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Audio Extractor For Free is a tool that extracts audio from video files without loss of sound quality. It supports most popular audio formats (MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, WAV, RA, MP2, OGG, M4A, AC3 & AU), supports most popular video formats (AVI, DivX, XviD, MPEG, MPG, WMV, ASF, MOV, QT, FLV, SWF, MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, RM, RMVB, MKV, VOB, FLV, OGM, AMV, etc), carries out batch conversions, and more. If you wish to extract audio from video files (a person singing, etc) then Audio Extractor For Free is what you need. It can also convert between the supported audio formats. According to the author's Website, it supports a huge number video formats, though it does not seem to support as many audio formats as claimed. Likewise, the Helpfile supplied with the program indicates that can convert between video formats (video to video). We could see no evidence of it being able to carry out this function. That aside, Audio Extractor For Free does an excellent job of ripping audio from video fi
les, and for converting between audio formats. In most cases you can control the audio quality, though you cannot improve the quality from that of the original. If you are looking for a program to rip audio from videos, then grab a copy of Audio Extractor For Free. Like us, we think you will be impressed. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 4.95MB download from:
Cosmetic Guide Lite v1.2.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Cosmetic Guide Lite is a virtual cosmetic bag for touching up and correcting digital photos. It offers two main tools: Smart Patch (can be used to remove skin moles & other skin imperfections) and Bleach Teeth (whitens teeth, can also be used for the whites of the eyes). It also offers a slurry of minor tools, like image rotation and flip, contrast control, image lighten and darken, smudge brush, undo brush, resize and crop. Images can be saved as JPG, PNG, TIF or BMP files, or printed. This is a limited correction tool designed as a teaser for the full version which offers a further three main functions (five in total). The free, Lite version, just offers two of those functions. Included with the program is an excellent animated guide to correcting photos using these tools. While the Lite version has limited functionality compared to the full version, it is still a great little tool. Simple to use, Cosmetic Guide Lite can help improve your digital photos. We loved! Note: we
have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 2.96MB download from:
MP3 Rocket Download v126.96.36.199 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
MP3 Rocket Download allows the user to listen on-line and/or download MP3 songs for free. It features a Hot Songs category, you can search over 100 million on-line MP3 tracks, preview as many songs as you want before downloading the ones you want, it is simple to use, and more. If you enjoy downloading music from the Internet then MP3 Rocket Download is worth checking out. The free version has some limitations -- like you can only download one track at a time, and there is no Advanced Search function -- but generally it provides an excellent service for music lovers. The author claims that you can download the MP3 legally free but, while the program might be legal, the sites providing the downloads may infringe some copyrights on commercial music. In this program, the site that supplies the music is hidden from the user so you cannot select specific download sites or check to see the legality of the downloaded music. We urge caution when downloading any commercial track. Tha
t said, MP3 Rocket Download is an easy way to access some of the best music tracks freely available on the Internet. The preview function means you are only downloading those tracks you really want. We liked. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 6.72MB download from:
BonusBall v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
BonusBall is a Color Lines puzzle where you line up 5 balls of the same color to make them disappear. It features 3 skins, 5 levels of difficulty, next color indicator, timed gameplay, excellent animated graphics, good sound effects, it is easy to play (though not easy to win), and more. Color Lines is an excellent puzzle where you must line up, horizontally, vertically or diagonally, five balls of the same color. Every time a ball is moved, three new balls are added to the playing field. BonusBall comes with three skins (Flowers, Gear Power & Rocky) and an adjustable level of game difficulty. The choice of skins is interesting because they suit different age groups so that even though it is the same game, it appears different which each skin. BonusBall is an excellent version of the classic Color Lines game, and a great way to wile away an hour or three. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 2.22MB download from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
Q. What is the difference between hibernate and standby?
A. Hibernate saves an image of your desktop with all open files and documents, and then it powers down your computer. When you turn on power, your files and documents are open on your desktop exactly as you left them.
Standby reduces the power consumption of your computer by cutting power to hardware components you are not using. Standby can cut power to peripheral devices, your monitor, even your hard drive, but maintains power to your computer's memory so you don't lose your work.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: Chicken Man :=
Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal was and I said "Fried chicken".
She said I wasn't funny. But she couldn't have been right -- everyone else in the class laughed.
My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.
I told my dad what happened and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Specially chicken -- and pork and beef and fish too.
Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again.
The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken.
She asked me why, just like she'd asked the other children. So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.
She sent me back to the principal's office again. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.
I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.
Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most.
I told her "Colonel Sanders".
Guess where I am now...
[from Mikey's Funnies -- www.mikeysfunnies.com]
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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Daves Computer Tips
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