Oberon's Favorite Downloads

 

These are some of my favorite programs of all time; the ones I really use regularly.

I do not get paid to advertise software. These programs are here only because I like them. You, the user, are responsible for registering any shareware that is used beyond the trial period as expressed in the software documentation.

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Privacy & Security

Email is an inherently non-secure form of communication.

Kremlin - this is the best, most powerful, and easiest to use file encryption suite you'll find. Whether it's keeping your little sister out of your private files or protecting your free speech from Big Brother, Kremlin is the perfect tool for the job. Not only does Kremlin feature secure encryption with such algorithms as DES, IDEA, and Blowfish, Kremlin helps to erase all traces of your sensitive data from your computer. And Kremlin includes powerful built-in predictive compression to produce secure, compressed archives.

 Zone Alarm is the only firewall you'll ever need. It's powerful and easy to use! Best of all, it's free for personal and non-profit use. You set access privileges for each program that uses the internet in a simple "yes, no, ask me" format. You can deny all internet access when your screen saver is running. There is even a panic button to slam the doors anytime you wish. If you use a cable modem, DSL, or other constant connection, you need a firewall. This is the one! I wouldn't boot up my computer without it. Read the review at http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/pipreviews/0,9836,371562,00.html

 Zfee's Privacy Browser is a good thing to have on your work computer. We all browse web pages that we shouldn't. It's human nature. This program just makes sure that your activity isn't logged. All cookies, forms, etc are stored on the Zfee server, NOT yours. Even the address of the page you're visiting is stored there. If any web access records are kept by your employer, they'll simply see Zfee listed over and over. They'll know you were looking at something but they won't know what it was.

PGP® or Pretty Good Privacy® is a powerful cryptographic product family that enables people to securely exchange messages and to secure files, disk volumes and network connections with both privacy and strong authentication. This link will take you to the freeware distribution page. For more PGP products, visit http://www.pgp.com

Web Apps

Netscape - Whatever the current version number is, it's better than IE. Go download it.

This is your new information tool. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you see a word anywhere - email, a word document, on a web page (it doesn't matter if it's a hyperlink or not) just hold down Alt and click on it. You'll soon be given a dictionary definition, encyclopedia entry, other spellings, traslations, web links, etc. If it's a city, you can check the weather, find local links, city websites, and a short history. If you wish to do a search but don't have the word in front of you for an Alt-click you can always pull out the Answer Bar which hides in the corner of your screen when not in use. Every school should put this on every computer; I can't think of anyone anywhere who wouldn't benefit from installing Atomica. Don't believe me? You can try out the Knowledge Warehouse on the Atomica site before you install.

mIRC - Chatting on IRC? This is the best chat client I've tested. I liked some things about Pirch but not enough to make me give up old faithful here. Check the site often for new versions. mIRC keeps getting better and better.

ICQ - Don't know what it is? You should. It lets you know when your friends are online, lets cool people random chat you, will transfer files, sends URLs as clickable messages, etc. You can even find people who share your interests on the ICQ web site.

Napster - You've heard all about it in the news, but what you may not know is that Napster still works quite well. The only change is that songs and artists that were part of the copyright lawsuit are banned from the servers based on a keyword list. Plenty of good music is still available. If you haven't tried Napster yet, download it and have some fun.

Napigator - It's a real shame what the greed of a few record labels have done to a great marketing tool for new artists. Hearing a great song will make people MORE likely to go buy the CD so why would a record company fight it? If you'd like to see Napster work the way it did in the days of freedom, use Napigator. What it does is supply you with a huge list of servers that are not part of the Napster network and so not under the copyright bans. Choose your server from the list on Napigator and use Napster as usual. What could be better?

Cute FTP - Probably the best FTP client out there. If you don't know what FTP is, don't bother downloading. If you need FTP to update your web site or for file transfer, this is the one.

I kinda like this web browser. Because it's not one of the two giants competing for our web business. Instead of having 5 or 6 different browsers running like I usually do, how about having ONE browser open with multiple windows inside it, like any other multiple-file application? It doesn’t have all the multimedia features we're so hooked on, but if you're surfing for research purposes to find information (not for entertainment) this is a good tool.

- very similar to Opera. It's nice just to have some options that aren't N or IE. Try them both and choose what you like best.

Alexa - This is a cross between a search engine and a "best of" directory. It keeps a database of related websites, where people most frequently go AFTER visiting the page you're on, etc. It even keeps reviews and tabulates votes from other users about how good the page is. It's a side toolbar that you can minimize or turn off easily. It's incredibly useful for web research . It was recently bought by Amazon, so you know it has to be good. The only drawback is that there isn't currently a version for Netscape so if you want all this coolness you have to use Intercrap Exploder.

Utilities

WinZip - You simply need a program to open zip files. Everyone uses them, most of the stuff you download is in zipped format. There's just no way to avoid it. So download it. AOL users: if someone sends you more than one attachment in a mail message, your shitty-ass AOL mail server will do you the "service" of putting the files into a zip archive. Then you whine to the person who sent you the message when it isn't their problem. If you install this, you CAN open zip files and we'll all be a little happier.

 Adobe Acrobat Reader- Many documents are available in Acrobat format, such as the complete works of Shakespeare. But to view them you need the Acrobat reader, which is free to download from Adobe. It's an absolute must for sharing documents in any serious way.

 Chimp - Are you always looking for a place to jot down an idea, phone number, grocery list or a note? Never search for paper and pen again. It auto-saves so you don't have to worry about losing anything. You can keep a whole stack of notes all together and flip through them by clicking on their tabs. Chimp has an icon that sits in your system tray so when you're not using it the program is out of your way but easy to click when you need it. It opens fast and closes fast so you won't have lag time waiting for it to load. I use it for phone messages, notes to my roommate, to-do lists, grocery lists - you name it. I also never hunt for a scrap of paper for little notes anymore. You CAN print your notes out if you like (just one or your whole stack), which you cannot do with the MS Office sticky note program. You can, of course, set color and font as well as a few other options.

This program works just like the sticky notes you have stuck to your monitor right now. They are individual loose squares. They are better because they never fall off. You can set a timer on each note to remind you of important things to do. You can hide them, see them all or start a new note, all with a couple of keystrokes. If you have some information in a note to share, you can send it to another TurboNote user on your network or even email it! Yes, your notes can mail themselves if you fill in the settings for your POP account. You can choose colors and fonts for your notes. Very versatile program that will stop working when the trial period runs out. For a free version that has a few functions missing (no email) search for TurboNote on http://www.zdnet.com/

Associate - A very easy way to manage your file associations. (You know. View/ Options/ File Types) This handy tool manages what program is used to open what type of file, what icon is used for what file type, etc. For Windows novices, it'll save a lot of headaches and/or asking your 8 year-old to change a file association for you. It only covers the basics. If you're advanced enough to have more than the basic open, edit, print, import and view on your right click menu, then you're also advanced enough to associate your own files. Good tool for newbies. :)

Text/HTML Editors and Printing Tools

 The best reason to love Sweden's shareware developers. For everyday purposes, this is my text editor of choice. It won't open gigantic files, but it will open multiple files at the same time (click on tabs to switch files), will automatically make backup files if you want. Has options to auto-save every # minutes, change colors and fonts. It will also do a nifty outline.otl format that organizes information really well. (Once it's installed, you can download my joke collection or my personal recipe file. Only Note Tab can open these files.) I especially love all the scripts that it has: Convert English and Metric, lists of pre-written HTML tags, etc. More scripts available to download too. If you use Notepad a lot, replace it with this. Now! Warning: after giving you enough time to get totally addicted to its functionality, this program will lose some of its best features until you register it. I was quite happy to pay $9.95 for the STD version, as Note Tab is worth many times that amount. There is also a more programmer-oriented version that costs a little more.

 Text Print - Print Preview for text! This program is freeware, also from Sweden (English and Swedish versions are available) and it's the best text printing utility (but it's not an editor). The most notable feature is the Print-Preview, which very few text editors have. You can print .txt files in newspaper columns, landscaped (sideways), number the pages, label them with the date/time printed or last edited or both, change the font, label the pages with the path and/or filename… in short you can make .txt files easier to read and more professional. Also great for programmers printing source code. Does not alter the original text file.

 Fine Print - A lot like Text Print, but it installs as a printer driver so it'll work for any printable file. You can put 2, 4 or 8 pages on a sheet, turn them sideways, use a watermark, etc.

 Arachnophelia - If you know HTML, this is a freeware editor that KICKS. Lots of great functions, color coding of command elements, paste-in tags, choose a color from a menu box and get your FFF0000 color code - the list goes on. This program is CareWare, and I especially like what the author asks in payment for his program: stop whining and be nice to each other.

 Ultra Edit - If you need to edit COLUMNS in a text file, such as the text output of a database, this is it. It works a lot like Notepad or Note Tab, but has that extra feature for columns. You can also tell it a starting number and an increment and it will fill in a column with a number or any replacement text you wish. It will stop working if you don't register it. It's worth $30 if you try it out and like it as much as I do.

 Another great text editor. This one can open any size file. I mean ANY size - without limit. That just blows me away. I was surfing for a program that would open almost a gig of text (a large text database). Lots of programs said they could open large files, but they had to stop when the file filled the available memory. This one really can open large files because it uses a buffer to only open the portion of the file that you're currently editing.

 Trek Text - Would you like to replace Notepad with a groovy little Star Trek app? It has no special features, really. But it looks like a control panel on the Enterprise D, lets you know your text is open with "Interface Complete" and closes with "Auto-shutdown sequence in progress" and other authentic Star Trek blips when you move about in the menus. It will let you set a font and with the right Trek font, the illusion is complete. A must for any Trekker who isn't annoyed by lots of sound FX.

Graphics

ACDSee - Do you use IE or Netscape to view graphics that are on your hard drive? Sick of waiting for it to load every time? Maybe Microslop Photo Editor pops up when all you want to do is LOOK at a picture, not edit it. This program will speed up your life tremendously. Double click on a file and view it, pronto. No need to mess with File Open dialogues or waiting for a memory hogging editor to load. Hit space bar to see the next picture in the directory. Zoom and scroll using arrow keys or the mouse. The program also sets wallpaper and has a slide show feature. A viewer, not an editor. Register it to clear away the nag dialog every time you open or close it.

 Thumbs Plus - Great for organizing graphics. See a thumbnail preview of your graphic file, drag files out, drop files in, view, slide show and zoom. Lots more functions than ACDSee, but it also eats up a lot of your memory and resources. It also takes a while to load.

Unique Filer - If you collect files of any type (images, video, music orsound), you have duplicates. They are wasting your space and your TIME! Unique Filer will stop the waste. You can Scan Single Folders, Multiple Folders or even Multiple Drives for duplicate files quickly and easily. If you collect Images, you're in luck because Unique Filer now has the Fuzz Factor! A unique way to actually "LOOK" at images, and find duplicates by appearance, even if the image has been ReSized, ReScaled, ReSampled, and Color Corrected!

 

Paint Shop Pro - Excellent Graphics Editor. Personally I like version 4 better than newer versions. You can download the newest one from their site, but it'll stop working after the trial period is over. (Version 4 won't.) *wink*

X-Desktop - Wallpaper manager. Change your wallpaper at startup, or every x number of minutes. Pretty cool. Lots of useful settings so your wallpaper comes out just the way you like it. Especially if you have attention deficit disorder. The homepage for this program is unavailable so I've put it on my server. If you use it, please read the help file for registration information. 

MultiMedia

Get Real - Real Player and Real Jukebox are just plain cool. Real Jukebox plays CDs, copies them to your drive if you want, and gets a song listing from the net so you don't have to wonder what "track 6" is… Real Player is good for all sorts of movies and sounds and video and web radio broadcasts.

Quicktime - Chances are you'll need it too. More movie and sound formats, etc…

 

Communications

Mighty Fax - Installs as an additional printer driver. You can send a fax from Word, Excel, or any other application and it will look just as it does on your screen. If you can print, you can fax. (Requires a fax modem and phone line) If you think WinFax is irritating, difficult to use, unfriendly and non-intuitive, give Mighty Fax a try. You can also leave it running all the time to catch incoming faxes. It will stop working when the trial period is over.

 

More Cool Shareware yet to come!

 

 

 

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