All posts by Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Freeware Fridays | Top Tools Of the Week #19

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In case you haven’t seen them, here are the most recent posts in our Freeware category. We hope you enjoy reading about these freebies, and maybe you’ll find a keeper in the mix.


Collect Complete PC System Information with WinAudit

win

WinAudit is a small, stand-alone executable and it’s free for personal or business use. When it comes to collecting useful system information, it does far more than you’d expect from such a compact program.

 

Opera 10.62 for Desktop Released

Opera-Logo

Opera 10.62 is a recommended update that fixes numerous stability and security issues.

 

Firefox 4 Beta 5 Adds Hardware Graphics Acceleration, Audio Capabilities and HSTS

Firefox 4 Beta 5 Download Released. Firefox 4 Beta 5 adds new API for HTML5 Audio and Video tags, hardware graphics acceleration and also implements a new Security protocol called HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).

 

Slim Down and Speed Up Your Computer with SlimComputer

win

SlimComputer offers nearly every utility you need to speed up a computer. It’s still in beta, but it seems to be better than most of the junk that’s offered on TV commercials.

 

Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

win

If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from RoyalFool.de.

 

Instant Weather Reports with ForecastFox

weather

The ForecastFox addon/extension is excellent for keeping me up to date on weather. It stays out of the way and does it’s job with no visible hit to my system performance.


Be sure to let us know if you have a favorite freebie you’d like to see posted here. Our comments (below) are always open to you.


Collect Complete PC System Information with WinAudit

[Windows only] There are dozens of utilities around that will give you details about the guts of your PC. If you’re looking for a free and easy to use system information tool, WinAudit is one of the best. Here’s what the authors of WinAudit say in their description of this program.

PC audit and inventory of software, licenses, security configuration, hardware, network settings…

  • Easy to use
  • No setup
  • Csv/html/pdf/xml
  • E-mail
  • Database export
  • Command line
  • Fully documented
  • Free for any use!
  • WinAudit can be used to collect information on home PCs or work PCs on a network. Since WinAudit can be run from the command line, it’s easy to set up business PCs to automatically run a WinAudit report and file the reports on a central server.

    The program is offered for download as a ZIP file. After downloading, you should unpack the single program file to a safe place. To launch the program, simply double click the WinAudit.exe file.

    winaudit-file

    When running in normal mode, this is what you’ll see:

    winaudit-home-screen

    The first things you should do are to set your default language under the Language menu and then click the Options button to set the types of information you want to collect. As you can see next, there are plenty of categories of information to be seen.

    winaudit-settings

    The report interface is easy to navigate and search.

    winaudit-reports

    Once you are done looking things over, you’ll be asked if you want to save the report. The reports generated can be saved in several formats, such as PDF, CHM, CSV, TXT, HTML or XML.

    The information you file away should probably be saved someplace safe, either online or on another PC. That way you’ll have it if you ever need to replace broken hardware or software.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download WinAudit

    See also: Know Your System’s Details With Speccy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    WinAudit is a small, stand-alone executable and it’s free for personal or business use. When it comes to collecting useful system information, it does far more than you’d expect from such a compact program. In addition, this program is fully explained and documented in the help menu. WinAudit deserves to be highly recommended.

    techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

    Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

    Slim Down and Speed Up Your Computer with SlimComputer

    win [Windows Only]

    Even new computers have too much junk on them. Many PC manufacturers include special software packages and trial offers that you’ll probably never need. The common term for this stuff is crapware. As time goes on, your computer may also get slower because many different programs add themselves as startup programs. This means that every time you boot your PC, you’ll have to wait while lots of hidden programs automatically start.

    In the past, I’ve used a program called PC Decrapifier to get rid of crapware. I also use WinPatrol to keep a close eye on the startup programs. A new program called SlimComputer now offers to do all of this and more.

    On first run, you’ll be offered a chance to scan your computer for pre-installed software that you don’t want. All you have to do is to hit the big orange Run Scanbutton to get started.

    slimcomputer-first-run

    When it’s done scanning, you’ll get the chance to uninstall the programs that it believes are crapware. Be sure to un-check any apps you want to keep, then click the Removebutton to continue.

    slimcomputer-remove-apps

    After that, the Optimize section (button on left sidebar) allows you to view your startups and services. You’ll find that many of the items listed have a color rating that will tell you if the item is good to keep or needs to be removed.

    slimcomputer-optimizer

    If you remove things from Startup, you can always restore them later by using the Restoresection, which can be accessed on the left sidebar. There’s not much danger to removing startup applications. However, the next tab, Services, is a little easier to deal with.

    image

    There are only two choices when you are optimizing the Services. You can use Original Settingsor you can choose what they call SuperCharged.

    Next, you can visit the Uninstaller page to remove programs from your PC. It’s not much different from the Add/Remove applet in your Windows Control Panel, except that they give you a colored rating on each app.

    slimcomputer-uninstaller

    Finally, there’s an interface called Windows Tools. There you’ll find most of the common tools that you can usually find in your Accessories System menu on the PC.

    slimcomputer-windows-tool

    arrow-down-double-3 Download SlimComputer

    Techie Buzz Verdict

    SlimComputer offers nearly every utility you need to speed up a computer. The only thing missing is a registry cleaner and optimizer. I might hesitate adopting this suite since it’s still a beta version, and there may still be hidden bugs. They might also decide to sell this application once it gets out of beta. It’s certainly better than most of the junk that’s offered on TV commercials.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 Good

    Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

    win[Windows Only]

    If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from RoyalFool.de. Below are some screenshots and a brief description of how it works.

    To use it, you’ll have to download and extract it to a folder somewhere on your PC or on a flash drive. It’s offered as a RAR file download, so if you aren’t familiar with RAR archives, you we’ll show you how to open a RAR file.

    Once you have it unpacked, all you have to do is double click the file ServicesSuite.exe to start the program.

    services-suite-file

    When it’s first started, you may have to select your language in order to read the menus. Right now, it’s only available in German and English.

    The program interface will list all of the registered services on a PC in a three column format. The three columns are automatic, manual and deactivated, as shown next.

    portable-services-manager

    In order to change the status of any service, you can click on it and drag it from one list to another. When you are finished making changes, you’ll have to write these changes to the registry by clicking on the check mark icon in the top right of the application window.

    portable-services-write-changes

    That’s all there is to it. The only problem you might have is if you aren’t a system administrator on the PC you are using. Some services can only be changed if you are the administrator.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download Services Suite (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

    [via WebDomination]

    Other ways to work with Windows Services:

    How To Delete/Remove Services In Windows XP and Vista

    Tweak Windows 7 Services With SMART | Windows 7 Services Optimiser

    Advanced Windows Service Manager Plus

    ServicesEditor Makes Tweaking and Restoring Windows Services Easy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    For experienced users, this may not be a huge help. After all, you can easily access the system services using the services.msc applet. However, it’s nice for quick changes and it’s so simple to use. The fact that this app is very small, portable and free, makes it a win on my score card.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    Instant Weather Reports with ForecastFox

    weather A few months ago, I told you about the fresh looking Google Chrome extension called Aniweather. It gives you a quick weather report and five day forecast, simply by clicking an icon in your web browser.

    After reading a post from the Madras Geek, I decided to try out another instant weather tool called ForecastFox. It gives me the same types of weather info, but it offers just a little bit more. You can use ForecastFox in both the Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

    In Firefox, you’ll get a new toolbar in the status section at the bottom of the browser. When you hover over each icon, you’ll get different reports.

    forecastfox-statusbar

    In the Chrome browser, the ForecastFox icon is at top right of the browser.

    forecastfox-icon

    Here’s what the weather reports look like in Chrome:

    forecastfox-report

    When you click on the map, you will be directed to the AccuWeather website to see the maps there.

    To see the details of each day’s forecast, you can click on the day in the left sidebar.

    forecastfox-day-report

    ForecastFox offers the forecast for more days than Aniweather (shown below), however the Aniweather pop-up is much nicer looking, and it’s information comes from weather.com.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download ForecastFox for Chrome

    arrow-down-double-3Download ForecastFox for Firefox

    arrow-down-double-3Internet Explorer? Here’s an Accuweather Toolbar.

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    The ForecastFox addon/extension is excellent for keeping me up to date on weather. It stays out of the way and does it’s job with no visible hit to my system performance. It deserves a thumbs up.

    techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

    Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

    Online Business Cards – Card.ly to Merge with BusinessCard2

    business-handshake Yesterday, users of the virtual business card service Card.ly, received an email telling them about a big change to their service. Here’s a bit from that email.

    Dear card.ly User,

    Card.ly is now part of BusinessCard2.com!

    Over the months to come, we plan to integrate card.ly into BusinessCard2. The result will be the largest and most capable network of web-enabled business cards on the planet. Before any changes occur, we wanted to alert you to the integration plan.

    The current Card.ly users will be have their accounts migrated to Businesscard2 by October 1st. That’s a rather fast transition, but they promise that it will be fairly trouble-free. Like most mergers in online services, there will be things that the new Businesscard2 users might miss from their old Card.ly accounts. If you are one of these users, you can contact them here for help.

    I noticed that the Businesscard2 service didn’t have as many card theme options as the Card.ly service has. Just for fun, I signed up for an account at Businesscard2, to see what it’s like. The sign-up is free, and I had no complaints about the registration process.

    Here’s my card:

    biz-card-clif

    As you can see, they provide a great free service. If you need an online business card, be sure to check them out at businesscard2.com.

    There’s one or two things that a real business card has as an advantage over a virtual business card. I have a whole stack of cards at the office. Some day I’ll scan them all into my contact manager, then I’ll try to figure out what to do with them. The video below has given me one good idea already.


    Master Of Business Card Throwing – Watch more Funny Videos


    Freeware Fridays | Top Tools Of the Week #18

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    In case you haven’t seen them, here are the most recent posts in our Freeware category. We hope you enjoy reading about these freebies, and maybe you’ll find a keeper in the mix.


    JumpControl Adds ShutDown, Restart, Logoff and Hibernate Options in Windows7 Taskbar

    JumpControl is a free utility for Windows7 which adds Shutdown, restart, hibernate, sleep, Logoff, lock options in Windows7 Taskbar.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    HTC Home: HTC Weather and Clock Widget for Windows

    HTC-Home-Weather-Widget

    HTC Home is a beautiful weather widget for Windows that emulates HTC Sense UI’s combines weather and clock widget.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Labs Crazy Experimental Stuff Now in Google Chrome Canary

    canary

    If you like trying out crazy experimental stuff in Google’s Chrome web browser, you might be happy to hear that Chrome Canary now has a Labs feature.

    Read More | 1 Comment | Tweet This | Share

    10 New Animated Screensavers Yellow, Green and Blue Themes

    screensaver-ico

    10 new screensavers that offer a you a nicely animated yellow, green and blue themes. Here you’ll find one of the few places that you can trust for getting safe freescreensavers.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Voice Translation Now Available in Chrome 7

    english-to-french

    The newest version of Google Chrome supports speech recognition. Check out this website that translates spoken English to French.

    Read More | 3 Comments | Tweet This | Share

    Hardware Accelerated Browsing Experience: Chrome 7 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Internet Explorer 9

    A comparison of rendering capabilities of hardware accelerated builds of Chrome 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Initiate Alt-Tab Command Using A Simple Mouse Gesture

    altedge-alt-tab-with-mouse-gesture

    Learn how you can use a simple mouse gesture to switch / rotate between opened Windows.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    10 New Animated Screensavers Bugs, Birds, Fish and Flowers

    screensaver-ico

    10 new screensavers that offer a you a nicely animated view of bugs, birds, fish, flowers and much more. This is one of the few sites that you can trust for getting safe free screensavers.

    Read More | 4 Comments | Tweet This | Share

    DriveSMART : Know Your Hard Disk Health

    DriveSmart is a free tool that check on the health of your hard drive. In case your drive health is deteriorating the application will alert you about the damage so that you get a chance to backup valuable data on the disk before the disk crashes.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Aero Flip Task Switching for XP with WinFlip

    aero-flip-win7

    There are plenty of ways to make XP look more modern, but sometimes these tweaks make XP run slower. WinFlip is an easy way to gain a cool looking feature without paying a big price in performance.

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    What are Chrome Web Apps?

    chrome

    I can tell you a little about the new Google Chrome web apps and the upcoming Chrome Web Store. So far, I’m not impressed with what I’ve seen. Do you want to know why?

    Read More | 2 Comments | Tweet This | Share


    Be sure to let us know if you have a favorite freebie you’d like to see posted here. Our comments (below) are always open to you.

    Labs – Crazy Experimental Stuff Now in Google Chrome Canary

    canary I enjoy using Google’s Chrome Canary build so that I can try out the latest features of Google Chrome. Today, Canary’s update included the Chrome Labs page. This feature has been available for a few days, but only in the Chromium code base. To bring up the Labs page, you have to open a new tab and type: about:labs(without the quotes).

    Google may say that it’s Some crazy experimental stuff, but so far, it’s not that crazy. The only experiment available right now is Side Tabs. Once enabled, you can right click on any tab to enable or disable it. Here are two screenshots below to show you what it looks like.

    chrome-labs

    chrome-labs-sidetabs

    As you can see, the Side Tabs really change the look of the browser. I miss the rounded tabs and I’m guessing that I won’t use this new feature often. The reduction in screen width isn’t worth the ease of navigation unless you have lots and lots of tabs open.

    While I’m not excited about the Side Tabs lab experiment, I am happy to see the Labs page in Chrome Canary. At least I can hope they’ll stop using those stupid command line switches now.

    Labs Extension: If you don’t like having to type about:labsin a new tab, there’s a Labs Chrome Extension that let’s   you click on a Labs icon to bring up the Labs page.

    More New Features: Be sure to check out three other new features in Chrome 7, Chrome Web Apps, Voice Recognition and Hardware Video Acceleration.


    If you have tips on using Chrome or need help fixing Chrome headaches, be sure to comment below or email me.


    10 New Animated Screensavers – Yellow, Green and Blue Themes

    screensaver-ico[Windows Only]
    As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.com. Here are the most recent additions to the site.

    nfsBoobleFlower nfsClockPointer nfsColorAbstractLine nfsColorDotsYellow nfsDigitalClockClouds01_2 nfsGreen nfsGreenAbstractionBlur nfsMicrobe nfsRandomBlue nfsStarsBlue

    Just a few days ago, I told you about the Bugs, Birds, Fish and Flowers screensavers. Now a new set of ten brings you some colorful themes and a unique time clock made from clouds. Another addition to the site lets you snag the top ten most popular screensavers in one easy download. It’s so tempting to try out all of these new ones, but I’m going to have to be careful that I don’t fill up my hard drive.

    Over the last few months, I’ve installed twenty or thirty of the screensavers at this site, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. All of these screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

    • Download Page

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    Most of these screensavers are silent, but the ones that aren’t may not have a setting to turn off the sound. Some of these might include a tiny message at the bottom of the screen that displays the website address. It’s not very noticeable and other than that, these are all very well done.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    Voice Translation Now Available in Chrome 7

    Pack the bags … I’m heading up to Quebec for summer vacation. Now that there’s a web browser that can translate my English to French, I’m ready to ask for directions, locate the nearest restroom or order food at a restaurant. All it takes is my netbook, the developer’s version of Google Chrome web browser and a trip to this website.

    english-to-french

    Click on the little microphone icon. When it turns red, you can start talking to it. Click the microphone once again and it interprets your speech, then it speaks the same sentence in French. Amazing!

    I found out about this today at the ChromeSource blog. Last week, I remember asking people what was new in Chrome 7, because I didn’t see much difference. Now I know that in addition to the support for Chrome Web Apps, Google coders have added the ability to talk to the web browser. Although that’s not really new, since   Opera’s had voice abilities for quite some time now, it’s new to me, and I’m excited about the possible new uses for something like this. Maybe in a few months, I’ll be able to talk to Gmail and have it type the email for me?


    If you have your own tips on using Chrome, or it’s problems, be sure to comment below or email me.