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Archive for Freeware

Trouble saving pdf form data

Saturday, 31st July 2010 11:05pm
There are writable pdf forms that I have to fill up from time to time and save them before sending them and recently after upgrading to Adobe Reader 9.1 I found that I could not save them anymore.

I found the following message at the top: "..You cannot save the data typed into this form. Please print your completed form if you would like to a copy for your records".

On another I still had Adobe Reader 7 still installed and I managed to open the same form and save it with data typed.

I tried using an alternative pdf reader like Foxit Reader and I could also save the document although I lost some functionality like the calendar.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Monitoring bandwidth usage

Tuesday, 30th June 2009 10:37pm
There are times when I need to monitor the bandwidth that I have used for the month and I have found that of the available free software that I have found AnalogX NetStat Live seems to do a fairly reasonable job.

It monitors the bandwidth on one machine only and if you have more than one machines on the network then you need to add up the bandwidth.

Another problem is that when you have a file server it will also record the bandwidth between transfers to the local file server which makes it a bit inaccurate.

Another bandwidth monitoring software that I have used at one stage is ShaPlus Bandwidth Meter .

This one doesn't show as much information as the NetStat Live but you also get a fairly good idea of how much broadband bandwidth you have used.

Lastly another application worth a look is Netmeter. This hasn't been updated for a while.

I am sure there are other free bandwidth monitoring tools but I have found that one of these three is basically adequate at times when I need to monitor bandwidth usage.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Free Explorer alternatives

Saturday, 31st January 2009 10:46pm
I have been looking around for some free alternatives to Windows Explorer and that also work on Vista and I managed to get a few.

The ones I looked at included free commander, unreal commander and cubic explorer.

I quite liked free commander because of its features and also compared to unreal commander you can right click and refresh the files.

Another positive thing for free commander is that I can still use it with subversion which I cannot do without.

Whilst features like FTP client are good I wasn't particularly looking for that because I have applications that do that for me already.

I find it handy to use a file manager application that has a two panel interface. It helps make some tasks faster especially tasks like copying and moving files.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Getting rid of unnecessary applications

Thursday, 15th January 2009 9:52pm
Once in a while I have to get rid of all the unnecessary applications that I install on my machine either as trialware or demo software and I find PC Decrapifier to be very useful for that.

Decrapifier is an exe and so there is no need to install it and you just click the executable file and run it.

It creates a restore point first but I wouldn't trust that too much and so I usually uninstall a bit at a time and check to see if the machine is still booting and running properly.

There is a commercial version that can also automate itself but I find the free version enough for my needs at the moment>

I am sure there must be other products out there that do a similar job and if I come across one I will try and update this post.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Goggles on mail

Sunday, 12th October 2008 7:55pm
Its interesting to see that Gmail launched a new feature this week called Mail Goggles.

The basic idea behind the feature is to make sure that people are in the right state of mind before sending an email at set times.

Its hard for me to tell whether its a good feature or not because I don't think I need such a feature but by Gmail adding the new feature it seems like they see a need for such a feature.

I wonder whether what will stop people sending the email is the mail contents or just the math problems that act as a filter.

The math problems I think are good but I am not sure how the difficulty is determined to actually say that this is the right level or not.

I am also wondering whether Yahoo! and Microsoft a similar feature in the near future. I actually don't use Gmail at the moment and I so I am unable to test this interesting new feature.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Discovering disk space usage

Sunday, 31st August 2008 11:48pm
Sometimes one of the mysteries of disk space is knowing exactly what is taking what space and these days I have found JDiskReport to be very handy and understanding disk space usage.

JDiskReport is a free tool that visually breaks down your disk space usage by folder or by type and this can help to easily find which files are taking the most space or which folders need are getting very big.

I find it easier to make decisions based on the charts the tool presents and another thing it saves quite a lot of time.

Although the download is very small you need to have Java installed for the tool to because it is Java based.

A good alternative to JDiskReport is TreeSize Free. One advantage of TreeSize Free is that it doesn't have any dependencies and you don't have to install it but you just click on the executable. That means you can carry it around on your USB key and run it whenever needed.

TreeSize Free enables you to print a report which you can then analyse at your own time.

Other free tools worth looking at to do the same job include WinDirStat and SequoiaView.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Free Alternatives to GoToMeeting

Tuesday, 12th February 2008 7:41am
A few days ago I set out to look for a free alternative to GoToMeeting after trying to evaluate it and finding out that I needed to enter my credit card to get the 30 day trial and I wasn't prepared to do that.

I managed to sign up with Yugma and within a few short minutes I was already set up and able to share my desktop with a colleague. The free Yugma service allows me to invite up to 10 attendees and thats more than enough for me and I think its a pretty decent web collaboration tool.

I had a quick look at two other tools that give free desktop sharing. The first one is Yakkle which competes very well with instant messaging tools and remote meeting and web conferencing tools. It would be interesting to hear from other people who use the tool more often.

The other free tool that I came across is Vyew. No installation is required for this one and therefore you are able to use it from any computer with a browser. I didn't get around to test it but I hope to find some time to give it a go.

There are probably a few other tools and if I come across them I will add them to the list.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 57

A good archive solution

Friday, 31st August 2007 11:17pm
One of the best archive tools that I have come across is IZArc and it supports almost every archive format available at the moment.

What I find most useful is the fact that you can you can use the tool to open CD image files like ISO, BIN, CDI and NRG and the tool can also be used as a converter for those files, say convert from BIN to ISO.

However, this tool is only available for the Windows platform including Windows Vista and on Ubuntu File Roller might be the option for a tool with a graphical user interface.

Another file archiver that I also use is 7-Zip which is also open source and the developers say that there is a port of the command line version to Linux.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Replacing text in multiple files

Saturday, 5th May 2007 11:39pm
There are some things that I have to perform a number of times and they require simple and quick solutions and searching and replacing text in a number of files normally constituting a project is one of them.

Sometimes there is the temptation to just code your own small application to do the task but this is unnecessary because there are a number of free utilities that do the job very well. For standalone applications I use very simple applications like TurboSR Search and Replace and Replace In files. Both are simple search and replace utilities that make changes to a whole range of text, HTML, XML or other text-based files including php.

The best scenario I think it to use an IDE that has an in-built function to replace text in a whole project if the files are source code files and one such example is PSPad . With PSPad you can specify whether you want to change and replace text in a project, open files or you can specify a folder as you would do with a stand-alone utility. I normally prefer project because I would be working in a project and at the end of the search I get a report specifying which files have been changed.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Recovering deleted files

Saturday, 7th April 2007 6:56pm
One of the things that I hope I don't have to do often is to try and recover accidentally deleted files because sometimes you just fail to recover them and that may not be so good if they are important files.

I have always carried around two tools on my USB key to recover accidentally deleted files but fortunately don't always have to use them until this morning when I was trying to recover a file.

To recover deleted files on Windows I use Restoration and also FreeUndelete. I make sure I have two just in case the other one fails but they work nearly exactly the same in the end for me its a case of preference that determine which tool to use.

With Restoration you don't have to install the tool on your computer but you can run the executable from a USB key or still from a floppy disk. FreeUndelete has an install program which you can install onto the USB key.

These tools are quite useful especially when you have just emptied the Recycle Bin or if you have deleted using shift-delete thus by-passing the Recycle bin. Better still you can also recover files deleted from a USB key. My experience has shown me though that it's faster to recover files deleted from a USB key using Restoration than FreeUndelete.

I have both NTFS and FAT32 partitions on my system and the tools can recover from both these file systems. A few times I have failed to recover some files especially just after emptying the Recycle bin and so its if possible I try to make sure I am pretty sure I know what I am deleting and will not need to run around trying to do the recovery process.

There are some commercial applications that do the same thing but I cannot comment on them because I have never used them.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0

Monitoring PC temperatures

Thursday, 15th March 2007 9:59pm
For a little while now I have been monitoring the temperature inside my PC using a simple utility called SpeedFan.

I decided to start monitoring the temperatures inside my PC one day when I heard some unusual noise from the fan and I just thought that it was good to have an idea of what is happening rather than for the PC to just stop functioning or start giving problems and I saw that SpeedFan could easily do the job for me.

Basically what SpeedFan does is monitor the data collected by the system and then make it available for the user to peruse and take action if necessary. The action I took last time was to simply clean out the dust and since then everything seems to be fine.

I also quite like the fact with SpeedFan I am able to run my PC as quietly as possible and depending on your computer hardware you can also change the fan speed which is a handy function.

It would be interested to hear what other similar applications others use to achieve the same thing.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 1

Getting around graphics

Saturday, 20th January 2007 12:36am
Once in a while I have to do some graphics work and without a doubt I believe that Photoshop is one of the best graphics software around for Windows but most people cannot afford it and have to look around for alternatives.

In the Ubuntu space, I found that the combination of GIMP Image editor and gThumb image viewer works very well for me and I can achieve all I need with those two pieces of software. I use GIMP for most stuff including layering and filtering but gThumb is good for light weight changes as it also has functions like desaturation and colour reduction. Its also good, as its name suggests, for image viewing.

I think its a question of drawing the strength of software applications but it takes some time to get a real good grip especially if graphics is a minor component of your work like it is to me.

With this idea of using more than one software application from Ubuntu, I have now realised that in Windows I can also use a combination of IrfanView and Paint.Net.

Whilst IrfanView has been around for some time now, Paint.Net is still in beta form. Despite still being beta I think its a very good light weight piece of graphics software that most people doing casual graphics will find handy. One word of caution though is that when you install it choose custom installation and then select not to get automatic updates because last time there was a newer version and I could not open the version that I had and I could not update as well from the site and so in the end I had to uninstall it and then manually download the latest version.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 1

Checking hard disk health status

Sunday, 26th November 2006 7:49am
Once in a while I check the health status of my two hard disk drives and for some time now I have been using HD Tune .

For a quick check of the hard disk HD Tune seems to do well although I should admit that I am not so concerned about all the other numbers it pulls through. HD Tune checks hard disk performance and shows you information and in the early days I had to rely on the HD Tune website to check on some of the terminology.

You have an option of a quick scan or the standard scan which takes a bit of time but its good to see if there are any errors then you probably need to keep a closer check on the hard disk.

My dissapointed though lately is that whilst HD Tune can give you the status of NTFS and FAT32 partitions it gives you nothing but the size for ext3 or swap partitions. This is what is now causing me to think that I should possibly get another utility that will give me information for all partitions.

I should also add that you can also check the status of memory cards and flash drives.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 2

Keeping download limit in check

Friday, 17th November 2006 1:01pm
My friend who is a Mac user e-mailed me to tell me about the widgets that help you keep track your monthly broadband usage from Phoenixonline.

Unfortunately I can't use them because they are for Mac OS X users only. Also please note these widgets are only for users in Australia.

I think they are quite useful if you don't have an unlimited broadband account with your provider but meanwhile I have to hunt for the Windows/Ubuntu ones if they are available somewhere.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 4

Detecting rootkit with Sophos

Thursday, 24th August 2006 9:31pm
Its been some time since I last came across a Sophos product until today. I have downloaded the free Sophos Anti-Rootkit and I was keen to see what rootkit if any it would find on my system.

Basically rootkits are a set of programs used to hack into a system and gain administrative-level access and once access is gained it can be used to monitor traffic and keystrokes and capture passwords and also create a backdoor into the system or the hacker's use. Anti-virus software don't normally detect rootkits which is why the Sophos tool came in handy for me.

I like the fact you get the option to scan running processes, Windows registry or local hard drives either independently or together. If you select all the three options then be sure to allow a bit of time if you have a lot of applications and files on your system. After the scan is complete the tool informs you of the suspect files and you either choose to keep them or remove them altogether. If are not so sure about the detected files and would like to know more about them then you can try and check with the Sophos website.

For the record the rootkit detection tool found nothing on my system which is good.

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Category: Freeware | Comments : 0