DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - JUL 2016
©2016 Donald R. Snow -- This page was last updated 2016-10-25.
SOURCES AND REVIEWS OF FREEWARE - PART 2
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah
Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.
They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html
where the links are active and there may be corrections, updates, and
additional information about the topic in other class notes
WEBSITES ABOUT FREEWARE
Where do you find freeware on the Internet? How do you know if
it is any good? Are there any websites with reviews and
recommendations to see if it really does what you want? There
are many sources of freeware, shareware, and open-source software on
the Internet and last month in this column, Part 1, I discussed the
programs or websites Glary Utilites, dotTech, Give Away of the Day,
and AlternativeTo. We also discussed some definitions that
relate to freeware and shareware. This month I will discuss
three more websites with and about freeware.
This website has tabs for lists of freeware for Windows, Max, Linux,
Android, etc., and then several categories in each of those.
Also under each they have New, Currently Popular, and Freeware
lists. When you click on a format, they have categories for that
format. For Windows, there are 22 categories including Audio
& Video, Cleanup & Tuning, Desktop & GUI, Education, Home
& Office, and Photos & Graphics. There are also
categories such as Best Free Windows Desktop Software - Editors Choice
Selection. Many of the categories have articles titled,
"The Best..." and "How To...", so you can really get lots of good
information from this website. An easy way to get particular
information from their site is to use a Google site search. For
example, if you want information about the audio/video player VLC, do
a Google search for "site:http://www.techsupportalert.com/ vlc"
(without the quotes). (Remember that caps are ignored in Google
searches.) This limits the search results to just those on the
website and you will find many pages of Google results about VLC
there. If you want information about VLC for Windows only,
include "windows" as an additional search term. Another example
is "site:http://www.techsupportalert.com/ best windows media player"
(without the quotes). This will give you what they think is the
best windows media player freeware and why. This is a good
website for information about freeware programs and their descriptions
and recommendations are usually clear, to the point, and
helpful. There are also comments from users about the programs,
so you get "crowd sourcing" about them, as well, and can see what
others think about them.
This is another good website for freeware and recommendations.
Clicking on the Home button gives you all their comments in
chronological order, presently more than 800 pages. The earliest
page contains comments made on 16 Jan 2002, 14 years ago, so that must
have been the day they started. There are 25 or more comments
every day about freeware and shareware programs, so it is a good
annotated list. The whole website is easy to search with the
search box at the top right. Entering "vlc windows" there gives
10 pages of about 10 comments each with information and versions of
VLC and Windows. On the left side of the screen is a menu with
sections such as Files, Site Info, and Latest Files. The Files
section lists 15-20 categories of freeware. The Site Info
section has buttons for things like New? Start Here; Top Freeware
Picks; and How To's. The Top Freeware Picks are listed in
categories, so it makes it easy to find programs of the type you are
looking for and you see why they think those are the best. The How
To's section includes many articles about computers, software, and
problems, even things like How To Buy A Laptop on a Budget.
The Latest Files section shows the programs they have reviewed
or mentioned in the last day or two. This is a very helpful site
for computer and software information, not just for freeware.
Kim Komando is a computer guru woman in Phoenix, AZ, married to a man
surnamed Komando, which is a Hungarian name, if I remember correctly.
She writes columns in USA Today and other newspapers, and has a
3-hour weekly radio show answering questions about computers and
software, and has free newsletters. She has a staff of people
that help her review and write articles and she also has a commercial
computer club that gives you discounts and other helps and allows you
to listen to podcasts of all previous shows. When she is doing a
radio show, anyone can phone in with computer and software questions.
To subscribe to any of her newsletter you set up a free account
with your email address. I have subscribed to several of her
daily newsletters for many years and have found them helpful, but have
never joined her commercial club, due to the cost. I have only
listened to her 3-hour radio show a couple of times and that was when
I was driving somewhere.
The link above is directly to her download webpage where she lists
articles and freeware which anyone can read or download. The
programs and articles are listed in 10-12 categories such as Office
and School, Desktop Tools, E-books and reading, Utilities, and Web and
Internet. The Office and School section has 6 pages of about 20
articles each about freeware and how to's about office and school
tasks. The Desktop Tools section has 11 pages of articles.
You see only the title and a couple of lines and have to click
on that to see the full article.
There is a search box in the upper right corner of her webpage and
searching for vlc yielded 17 articles. When I added the search
term Windows, I got 1459 articles, many having nothing to do with VLC,
just about Windows. I tried "vlc AND Windows" (no quotes) and
got just 11 articles, so her search engine seems to need AND to give
results containing both terms, unlike Google searches where AND is
assumed by just including a space. When I tried OR I got the
same number of results as with just a space, so a space in Komando's
search box seems to mean OR. I couldn't find anything explaining
her search syntax, but there probably is an explanation somewhere on
her site. There are buttons to sort the resulting articles by
Relevance, Newest first, or Oldest first and also filters to show only
Videos, Columns, Downloads, Apps, Tips, Buying Guides, and more.
Those help a lot in finding what you are looking for.
Under the Read button she has some Comparison Charts that are
helpful to compare properties of programs, websites, etc., for example
comparing smart phones, tablets, computers, and online storage sites.
One complaint I have about the way she and her staff write their
articles is that they just put teasers in the first few lines and you
don't even know what program they will be discussing until you click
on the link. I'm sure they do that to get you to click, but I
frequently don't take time and just ignore that article, so I'm sure I
miss many things that would be helpful. Doing a site search for
my interests, as I explained above for other websites, would probably
help, but I don't usually take the time. Other websites put the
crucial information near the start of the article so you know if you
want to take time to read it or not. For that reason, when I do
find a Kim Komando article I might want to use later, I clip and save
a copy in my EVERNOTE file, along with the URL. Then I have the
full article and it is completely searchable on my own computers.
To save copies in my EVERNOTE account I sometimes use a
readability program first such as Clearly or Read or Pocket.
There is much more that could be said about the Kim Komando
website and I may write a further review and recommendations in a
future Freeware Corner note.
There is a wealth of freeware available on the Internet and many
places to look for it. The problem is getting a vision of what
you want to do; then you can find programs that will do it. I
will probably write more articles of such sources.