CFS Weekly Newsletter #567
Web Site: http://www.completelyFREEsoftware.com
My favorites are Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder, a program that turns digital photos into movie-style slideshows, Chameleon Window Manager which adds up to six customizable buttons to the titlebars of all program windows, Steel Storm: Episode I, a frenetic, top down arcade shooter, Word Artist, a small tool that creates excellent 2D & 3D text effects, and... Well, check them all out because what floats my boat may not float yours.
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:
COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Steel Storm: Episode I v1.00.01723 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Steel Storm: Episode I is a frenetic, top down arcade shooter with score oriented competitive gameplay. It features single & multiplayer modes, deathmatch & coop game modes, 6 missions of various difficulty, mission editor, hordes of enemies to destroy, vast numbers of destroyable structures & obstacles, huge territories to reclaim, quick games, highly configurable, and more. This is a game for people who have limited time and want fast-action shooter. You control an advanced hovertank, packed with the most advanced and sophisticated weapons (of course) which is set in an alternative universe. You are fighting with, as the author says, "presumed extraterrestrial invaders". The action is fast and furious, and you must expect to lose many battles before you can hope to win this war. If you don't have a gamepad you can play using mouse and keyboard, but the default movement keys are WASD. These can be changed to, say, the arrow keys if, like us, you find the arrow keys easier to use. Graphics are excellent, animation very good, and the game has a high addictive index -- you'll find yourself coming back to Steel Storm: Episode I regularly as you master the strategies required to overcome the enemy. If you enjoy fast-action games that are over in a few minutes (one way or the other) then Steel Storm: Episode I is for you. We do, and we loved this not-so-little shooter. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 258MB download from:
Chameleon Window Manager v22.214.171.124 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Chameleon Window Manager is a small utility that allows the user to add up to six customizable buttons to the titlebars of all program windows. These allow the user to minimize a window to the tray, minimize a window to the title bar, keep a window always-on-top, it offers variable window transparency, and it will position a window at the left or right of screen (with an optional half screen window so you can run two program windows side-by-side). It adds a group of buttons next to the normal titlebar buttons on the top right hand side of a program's window. These allow the user to better control the window. The buttons are customizable, you can change the order of the buttons, and Chameleon Window Manager will auto-start with Windows. This is an extremely handy tool that, once used, you will wonder how you lived without. Simple to use, Chameleon Window Manager puts more power back in the hands of the user by allowing better control over program windows. We loved! Note: we ha
ve been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.77MB download from:
Yadis! Backup v1.9.17 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Yadis! Backup is a simple file/folder backup. It features a Wizard-style interface, it copies files or folders anywhere on the computer, marked folders are backed-up real-time (no scheduling needed!), and more. This is a neat little backup program that copies selected files or folders to a specified location (often a USB drive). Backed up files do not need Yadis! Backup to access them as they are simply copied to the new location. If that location is not currently available, the backup will occur when the location next becomes available (ie a USB pen drive is inserted). While Yadis! Backup lacks many of the bells and whistles of many other backup tools, its appeal is in its simplicity -- you don't need to hold a PH.d in Computer Science to use it. If you are looking for a basic backup tool that does not archive or compress files (ie copies them without change) then Yadis! Backup could be exactly what you are looking for. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program
is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 1.07MB download from:
Driver Identifier v3.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Driver Identifier is a small tool that scans a PC for outdated drivers. It features automated driver installation, driver update capability, updates previously installed drivers to their latest versions, simplifies downloading new drivers from the Internet, and more. Updating drivers on a computer can be a laborious task, but Driver Identifier helps to take the pain out of it by scanning your computer, comparing your existing drivers with its database on the Internet, and giving you a list of all drivers with links to updated versions if any exist. Simple. Of course, like most products of its type, you get a few false readings and, when you download those driver sets (often more than 50MB each) you may find they are not for your computer. However, generally the driver list is accurate and you can update your computer's drivers with the minimum of fuss. Driver Identifier requires an active Internet connection so it can access the updated database. One of the easiest to use dri
ver updaters, Driver Identifier is worth checking out. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 411kB download from:
Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder v6.0.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is a program that turns digital photos into movie-style slideshows for DVDs, YouTube and mobile devices. It features over 130 Hollywood-like movie styles, more than 60 DVD menu templates, includes a timeline to organize & edit content, text effects create animated titles, an image editor, you can add music with or without voice-over, it offers a full-screen preview, supports 4:3 & 16:9 aspect ratios, captures photos from cameras or other connected devices, and more. It isn't often we see a program that makes us simply say "Wow!" Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is one such program. It creates professional slideshows of still images, with full fade-in and fade-out effects (select from a list or use the random option), full control over DVD menus, and much more. Images can be edited within Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder and there is even an automated image "repairer". You can add pre-audio (a sound clip at the very start), clip art, and lots of other effects. It includes a large number of clip art and pre-audio clips. The final slideshow can be burnt directly to a DVD, saved as an ISO file (great for making multiple DVDs to share with your friends), or as a video file. It supports FLV, F4V and SWF Flash video formats suitable for YouTube, FaceBook and most mobile devices (PSP, Android & Nokia phones, etc) and it also supports common AVI, WMV. MPG, etc video formats, including HD versions of them. There are some limitations which are lifted in the Pro version, but we found little that wasn't available in this free version. There is so many features and functions included with the free version of Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder that we could not list them all. Let it be suffice to say that this is a superb program and one that anyone with a digital camera will love. Grab a copy now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 41.8MB download from:
CodeLobster PHP Edition v3.6.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
rupal plug-in, Facebook plug-in, JQuery plug-in, Joomla plug-in, Smarty plug-in, and WordPress plug-in. CodeLobster PHP Edition requires free on-line registration before it can be used. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 13.7MB download from:
Word Artist v1.2 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Word Artist is a small tool that creates excellent 2D & 3D text effects. It features over 170 editable effects' templates, an effects' editor to create your own effects, the effects can be varied by changing font/color/attribute, it saves effects to any of 5 popular image formats (BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG & TIF), text effects can be printed, and more. This is a cool little program that creates amazing text effects. You can use any of the preset templates (all of which can be edited) or you can create your own effect with the effects' editor. Even using the preset templates, your text can be altered dramatically by changing the font, font size, font attribute, or any of the three basic text colors plus the background color. The angle of the text (and its background) can be altered, and even the background canvas size can be changed. We were most impressed with Word Artist. For such a simple little tool, that anyone could use, we found the effects amazing. If you are looking to creat
e text effects then Word Artist should be high on your list. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 526kB download from:
Babobab Solitaire v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Babobab Solitaire is an unusual solitaire cardgame where you must get a score of 21 either vertically or horizontally. It features timed gameplay, it is easy to play but challenging, good instructions, has excellent graphics, good background music & sound effects, and more. This is a great way to kill an hour or two. In this game you are faced with a 4 x 4 grid and a stack of cards. Click on any of the 16 squares and the top card will be moved there. Get exactly 21 points (Aces are 1 or 11, court or picture cards are 10, and all others are their numeric value) either vertically or horizontally. If you go over 21 points in either direction (column or row) you lose those cards, and some points. With its good graphics and pleasant background music (which can be muted if you like), Babobab Solitaire is one of the better solitaire card games we have played. Simple in its gameplay, but challenging to gain high scores, Babobab Solitaire makes a good change from the perennial Freecel
l, or Klondike. Grab a copy and see what everybody's talking about. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 3.27MB download from:
TranslateMe -- a translation & dictionary utility - has been updated to version 0.1.0.3 with a slightly smaller download size of 1.94MB. The author advises that changes in this version include: adding a settings option in the tray icon context menu, and some bug fixes. Get this excellent little program from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
Q: I lost my icon in bottom right hand corner that shows I'm connected to the Internet. How do I get it back?
A: Sometimes your Internet connectivity icon (located in the bottom right hand corner of your screen) can seem to disappear as if by magic. This is annoying when you want to find out information about your Internet connection like speed, packets sent and received or even just which provider you are connected too.
It's solved quite simply, though. It's different depending on which version of Windows you are currently running.
- Click Start icon
- Scroll up to Settings
- Then click on Control Panel
- When the screen has loaded, click on the Globe icon called Network Connections
Now this part might be a little tricky if you use several Internet providers, but should not be a problem for most users.
- Right click on your preferred network then click Properties (It will be the one which has "Connected" status)
- When the new screen loads, make sure you are in the General tab.
- At the bottom, make sure the box is ticked which says "Show icon in notification area when connected". While you are here, you can also choose to get your computer to start or stop informing you about limited Internet connectivity by ticking the other box.
- Click OK and the icon should now appear.
If you are using Windows Vista or 7, then it is a completely different set of instructions, but just as simple.
- Click the right mouse button on the Windows task-bar
- Click Properties
- Change the tab over to Notification area
- Now, you have several options here. You can choose to show or hide Clock, Volume, Network and
Power by ticking or removing the tick from the boxes. (Note: Windows 7 has drop-down boxes)
- Put a tick in the Network box and make any other changes you wish
- Whilst here, you may also want to change the option where icons are removed from the task-bar if they are not clicked often. This should not be a problem if you click the Internet icon regularly though but is worth consideration.
- Click Apply
- Click OK and the icon should now appear
Just because the Internet Icon has disappeared does not necessarily mean the Internet is not connected. I always find it easier to open a Web Browser, search something and see if it loads to check connection. If you were looking to check connection speed then there are plenty of free tests available online with a Google search for "Free Internet Speed Test".
Your computer also might be set up with a setting that hides icons that are inactive. This is helpful if you have a lot of icons at once but can be an annoyance when you are trying to find one. This is easily solved by right clicking the task-bar, going to properties and looking for a ticked box which says something along the lines of "Hide Inactive Icons" and removing the tick.
If none of the above techniques work there are a few things you can do. If you have the settings of your system saved then you can revert back to those. This is likely for those of you with programs like Norton Anti-virus. Also, as a very last resort, you can save your files to an external hard-drive and reinstall your Windows system as the original settings include the icon on the task-bar.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
=: 14 Signs You're Drinking Too Much Coffee :=
~ Starbucks is accepting bids for a franchise located in your house.
~ The National Bank of Columbia has offered you a Platinum Visa card with zero percent interest.
~ Folgers has offered you a "distributors" franchise for your block.
~ Your co-workers are getting rich buying stock in companies that manufacture foam coffee cups.
~ You just went to the store and bought ten cases of non-diary creamer "to get you through the week".
~ Those strange footprints in the ceiling of your office.
~ You haven't slept in a week and no one notices, not even you.
~ You find yourself sneezing Folger's Crystals.
~ Juan Valdez starts sending you hand-written Thank You notes.
~ You eat garlic to overcome coffee breath.
~ Your dentist upgrades to a belt sander.
~ Alvin & the Chipmunks start to sound like Barry White.
~ Auctioneers begin to make sense.
And the number 1 Sign You've Had Too Much Coffee...
~ YYoouu ssttaarrtt ttyyppiinng lliikkee tthhiiss..
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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