BOOT CAMP 176 (24/05//01)
SHAREWARE AND FREEWARE
TOP TEN DOWNLOADS – part 2
Following on from last week's introduction to shareware and
freeware we'll be devoting the next two editions of Boot Camp to our top ten
favourite downloads. It's a somewhat eclectic collection of applications,
utilities, games and oddities that I hope you'll find useful or amusing. Some of
these programs are 'zipped' so you will need a decompression utility like WinZip
on your PC in order to install them, (see last week's Boot Camp for details),
also make sure your virus scanner is up to date, or make AVG Antvirus your first
port of call!
In the case of the shareware programs, if you continue to use
them beyond the trial period please pay the license fee, it's only fair.
Finally, by way of a disclaimer, you download these entirely programs at your
own risk and we cannot provide any advice or support. Here's the first five
programs, the remaining five next week.
ACDSEE, Windows 9x, ME & Mac
ACDSee doesn't sound terribly exciting but it is widely
acknowledged to be one of the fastest and most powerful image viewers on the
market and your PC is incomplete without it. This sophisticated program can
handle more than 40 image formats and it can peer into programs and folders,
revealing pictures and graphics you never knew existed. You only have to see
what's lurking in your Internet Temporary Files folder to realise how useful it
can be. The program is based on an easy to use Windows Explorer type interface
with a large thumbnail window, or it can preview the entire contents of a folder
and display an image full size with a single click. Various enhancement tools
are included making it ideal for owners of digital still cameras and it can
convert files singly, or in batches, from one format to another. The download is
a fair size but don't let that put you off, it's well worth the time and effort.
However if you find that a bit too large for comfort or you have a slow Internet
connection look out for ACDSee on PC magazine cover mount CD-ROMS.
AVG ANTIVIRUS 6.0, Windows 9x, ME & 2000
If you haven't got any anti virus software on your PC you
really are playing with fire! At any one time several hundred viruses are doing
the rounds, infecting Internet downloads and emails. Fortunately most of them
are relatively harmless but there are plenty of really destructive ones on the
loose that can destroy all of the data on your machine and render it useless.
AVG Antivirus works as well as most of the commercial programs and its extensive
library of virus 'signatures' is regularly updated to include the latest
threats. In fact the only real
difference is that it's free, all you have to do is fill in a simple
questionnaire download the program and an unlock key will be sent to you a few
minutes later in a confirmation email. The program is simple to configure and
once set up operates in the background, keeping a constant check on your PCs and
if the worst happens it will automatically quarantine and repair infected files.
If you've put off getting a virus scanner because of the cost, you no longer
have an excuse!
Windows 9x, ME & 2000
'client' programs, like Outlook Express and Netscape Messenger are all very
efficient and businesslike, but when it comes down to it, they're not much fun.
Of course you can always jazz up your messages with a coloured or patterned
background or add some multi-colour text, but that's about as interesting as it
gets. Incredimail brings a bit of glitz and yes, dare we even say, some sparkle
and glamour to your emailing. You can set it to notify you of incoming messages
with a butler walking onto your desktop and announcing that you have mail, or
choose from a wide selection of comic characters animals and graphics, most with
accompanying sound effects. Make your correspondents sit up and take notice of
your messages (give them a good laugh or irritate them…) with scores of
downloadable backgrounds, 3D graphics, templates, animations and sounds from
large and growing galleries on the Incredimail home page. The program is quite
large but it is very easy to use and has almost all of the functionality of more
'serious' email programs.
RJH EXTENSIONS 1.3, Windows 9x, NT, 2000
The oddly named RJH Extensions is one of those small but
incredibly useful little programs that you will wonder how you ever managed to
live without. Most of the time you will never see it, but open Windows Explorer
and right-click on a file or folder and you'll see just what it can do. It's a
long list but the highlights include a file shredder – click the option and the
file will be completely destroyed – it can quickly rename single or multiple
files, you can protect files from prying eyes with a powerful encryption
facility and create copies with the click of a mouse. Other options include an
Organiser, for sorting files according to their extensions, it can create a text
file detailing all of the items in a file or folder, and it provides a solution
to one of the longest running problems, and main annoyances with Windows
Explorer, namely a Print Directory facility whereby you can print out a complete
list of the contents of folders, sub-folders and files.
SOLITAIRE WIZARD, Windows 9x, NT & ME
The Solitaire game in Windows is an all time classic and it
can still prove highly addictive and diverting, especially on long journeys or
in boring meetings. However, sooner or later you will want to try your hand at
something a bit more challenging, which is where Solitaire Wizard comes in. This
is a compilation of no less than 16 variants of your favourite one-player card
game including some old favourites like Carlton and King Albert. It also
features a version of Klondike, which lets you set your own rules. There's lots
of extra features too, like 'undo', which lets you take back multiple unwise
moves, you can choose card backs and backgrounds, the program keeps a detailed
log of every game you have played and if the boss walks in you can save a game
in progress, and pick it up later when the coast is clear! The program is
shareware but registration only costs around £9.
Next week – Top Ten Downloads, part 2
Utility that permanently deletes files that have been
'erased' by Windows, but which still remain on the disc drive
Reduced sized image, quicker to load and display and cuts
down on memory resources
Unique segment of code or pattern of behaviour that helps a
virus scanner to identify a virus or email worm
If you have a scanner here’s a quick, simple and very cheap
trick that might help to improve picture quality, especially if it's a budget
model with only rudimentary scan controls. Try this, place a sheet of black
paper or card behind the picture or image that you are scanning. The card will
cut down reflections and glare from the normally white backing pad, which can
result in better contrast, crisper colours and more accurate mid-tones.