BOOT CAMP 290 (28/08/03)


Shareware and Freeware, Part 4, Multimedia


Everyone loves a bargain and you can’t get much cheaper than Shareware and Freeware. That’s computer software that you can download from the Internet for nothing, or next to nothing.


The theme this week is multimedia applications. For more information about how to download and install programs from the Internet refer to Boot Camp 287. As usual we’re not aware of any nasties lurking in these programs and you use them entirely at your own risk.



WINAMP, freeware, 3.1Mb, Windows 98/SE/ME/NT4/2k/XP

Arguably the best multimedia player there is, and it’s entirely free! Winamp plays audio CDs, MP3 tracks, videos and much more besides. I’ll also help you to manage your media library and create playlists of all of your favourite tunes and videos. Winamp is very easy to use with ‘skinnable’ components that let you change their appearance to suit your mood. It has a full set of playback controls, a ten-band graphic equaliser, oscilloscope and bargraph displays, downloadable ‘visualisations’ and a built in ‘mini browser’. 



IRFANVIEW, freeware, 825kb, Windows 98/SE/ME/NT4/2k/XP

Irfanview is basically an image viewer program but that doesn’t even begin to describe what it can do. It supports around 70 file formats, images can be view singly or as thumbnails. Irfanview has a slideshow function with a burn to CD option, it can batch-convert files, extract icons, adjust colour depth, cut/crop plus there’s a range of effects (sharpen blur, filter), it can rotate JPEGs, print and capture images from a variety of sources. In fact it does almost everything the large heavyweight image editing programs can do and in some cases, it does it faster and better.



PRINTKEY 2000, freeware, 560kb, Windows 98/SE/ME/XP


Have you ever wondered why the PrintScreen button on your keyboard doesn’t work? In fact it does, but only in DOS and if you want to print what’s ashowing on your PC screen you have to use the PrtScrn button to save the image to a picture editing program and print it from there. Printkey 2000 makes your PrtScn button do what it says, press it and whatever is showing on the screen is displayed on a simple editing window from where you can adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, change colours, rotate and resize and of course print the image, with one click of the mouse.



DVD PHOTO SLIDESHOW, shareware, 3.8Mb, Windows 98/SE/ME/XP

If you have or are about to buy a digital still camera then sooner or later you will want to share you photographs with family and friends. Of course you can print them out, but there’s a better way. With this program you can ‘burn’ your images onto a recordable CD – each disc can hold several hundred pictures -- that can be read by most DVD players to give a still picture slideshow on any TV.  DVD Photo Slideshow lets you edit your pictures (crop, resize, rotate etc) on your PC; you can add captions, background music and it’s a simple way to archive and preserve your pictures. You can download a trial version that’s limited to storing 30 images; the full licensed version costs £18.50.



NJAM, freeware, 2.1Mb, Windows 98/SE/ME/2k/XP

Remember Pac-Man? Njam is a modern rendition of the classic and highly addictive arcade game with many of the original features and characters, plus a few unexpected extras, including multi-player and network ‘duel’ games, downloadable skins and musical effects (which you can turn off…). The only point to watch out for is the download site, which is not very well laid out, and when you click the Download button make sure you select the correct file (njam-0.96-win32-setup.exe).


Next week – more shareware and freeware





The process of recording a CD-R or CD-RW disc in a CD writer drive



Motion Picture Experts Group audio layer 3 -- digital audio compression system commonly used to send files containing audio and music over the Internet



Animated graphical representation of the relative amplitude and frequency of a signal (usually sound or music in the case of a PC application)




Spacemonger, freeware, 103k, Windows 98/SE/ME/NT4/2k/XP


If you are starting to run short of hard disc space it’s about time that you took stock of what’s stored on it. Spacemonger is a brilliant little utility that shows you exactly what’s on your disc using a simple to understand graphical display. You can expand the view to look deep inside folders and directories to find out exactly what’s hogging the room, and delete any files that you no longer need, but be careful, it’s a powerful tool and you should always double check to make sure that you’re not deleting anything important!

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