BOOT CAMP 131
SHAREWARE TOP TEN
You really can get something for nothing, well almost
nothing… Freeware and shareware is without doubt one of the most valuable
resources available to PC users with tens of thousands of programs and
utilities, many absolutely free or available for a fraction of the cost of
commercial software. Following on from last week’s introduction to freeware and
shareware we present the Boot Camp Top Ten, a collection of essential programs
that can make your PC quicker, more efficient and enjoyable to use. I
We have tried these programs and they all worked on our PCs
but please note that you use them entirely at your own risk; we can accept no
responsibility if something goes wrong, nor can we provide any support or
information other than what you see here. If you like what you find, and intend
to go on using any of them please remember to register or pay the licence fee.
By the way, if you have a favourite shareware or freeware program please let us
ACDsee Classic, 30-day trial shareware, 1.48Mb, Windows
95/98/NT (Mac version also available), www.acdsystems.com/products/download.htm
ACDsee is a powerful image file viewer, it can display
almost 30 different file types including the contents of your Internet cache
(C:/Windows/Temporary Internet Files), and you’ll be amazed what’s lurking in
there... It’s very well presented, easy to use with familiar Windows directory
tree conventions, there’s a thumbnail viewer and some useful tools, including a
file format converter.
AVG AntiVirus, freeware, 4.84Mb, Windows 95/98, www.grisoft.com
One of our regular readers brought AVG AntiVirus to our
attention -- thanks to Vivian Dunn -- and we have to say it’s one of the best
virus scanner programs we’ve seen recently. Not only is it free, so too are the
regular updates that are needed to keep your PC safe and free of destructive
nasties and irritating hoaxes.
iTweakU Limited Edition, shareware, 952kB, Windows 95/95,
iTweakU lets you change over 150 Windows settings,
governing how it looks and works, without you having to set foot near the
Registry. It’s a worthy rival to our old friend Tweak UI and even though this
version has some functions disabled (full functionality when you pay the
licence fee), it is an extremely powerful tool.
LogTime 6.0, freeware, 428kB, Windows 95/98, www.thefreecountry.com
Using the Internet has become a lot cheaper but for a lot
of people, especially those sharing a phone, it’s important to keep track of
the time users spend on-line. LogTime is a simple phone line monitor that
automatically keeps track of call times and duration, you can also program it
to display the cost of each call, and keep a running total.
Performance, 30-day trial shareware, 1.04Mb, Windows
you ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes when you are using your PC?
Performance shows you, listing all running applications and the amount of
resources they are using, identifying the programs that are slowing down your
PC and it includes a set of ‘meters’ revealing what the CPU is up to.
POP 2.1, freeware, 320kB, Windows 95/98, www.lester.co.uk/pop
While away a few idle minutes pitting your wits against
your computer or an on-line opponent with this compelling and deceptively
simple little game. The object is to spell the word POP, by clicking Ps into a
grid, it sounds easy but…
Poster-Printery, 30-day trial shareware, 430kB, Windows
Organising an event? Create your own giant posters using
any standard PC printer. Poster-Printery automatically divides a colour or
black and white image across as many sheets of A4 paper as you require, all you
have to do is join them together.
Pretty Good Privacy International, freeware, 8.1Mb,
Windows 95/98, www.pgpi.org
PGP is still one of the best and most powerful encryption
programs. It can be used to send sensitive or private information over the
Internet, or prevent others from reading files stored on your PC. It’s
virtually uncrackable, in fact it’s so secure that the US Government once
classified it as a ‘munition’ and tried to prevent its distribution.
WinAmp 2.64, freeware, 2.1Mb, Windows 95/98, http://software.mp3.com/software/
The Internet is awash with music, and controversy. If you
want to find out what all the fuss surrounding MP3 is all about you’ll need a
‘player’ and WinAmp is generally reckoned to be one of the best. Download and
play MP3 files, create your own play lists, you can even customise its
appearance with a set of interchangeable ‘skins’.
X-Files/Area 51 Desktop Theme, shareware, 1.9Mb, Windows
Customise your PC desktop with this collection of
wallpaper, icons and sound files. If you’re not an X-Files fan there’s plenty
of other desktop themes at Jumbo.com, including the Vicar of Dibley, The Good
Life and The Prisoner plus dozens of other TV and movie-related decorations.
Next week – Paranoia!
Central Processor Unit – the main microprocessor chip in
Encryption or scrambling renders files unreadable by any
conventional means without the correct decryption software and a unique 'key'
code, which is needed to unlock the data.
A data compression system implemented by the Moving Pictures
Experts Group (MPEG) that allows sound files to be reduced in size, with only a
relatively modest impact on quality, so they can be more easily transported
around the Internet