Tag Archives: Freeware

Freeware Fridays | Top Tools of the Week #31

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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.


Flock Browser Official End of Support

flock-icon-250x250

Zynga bought the Flock web browser in January. Their recent decision to kill the Flock browser has not made them any friends in that social browser community.

 

uTorrent 3.0 Beta Introduces Streaming, Comments, and Ratings

uTorrent-3-Beta

uTorrent 3.0 adds a bunch of new features including comments, ratings, streaming, and extensions.

 

Unlock Ribbon UI for Windows Explorer, and Other Hidden Features in Windows 8 with Windows 8 Tweaker

Windows-8-Tweaker

Unlock hidden Windows 8 features like Advanced Task Manager, Ribbon UI for Windows Explorer, native PDF viewer, and native webcam application with Windows 8 Tweaker.

 

Google Toolbar 7 Adds Instant Search To Internet Explorer 9

google-toolbar7-internet-explorer

Some good news for Internet Explorer users. Google has recently released a new version of Google toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Google Toolbar 7 making your web browsing faster, simpler and instant.

 

Digsby Acquired By Tagged; Will Offer Standalone Client

digsby_logo

Digsby, the popular multi-protocol IM and social networking client has been acquired by Tagged; a social discovery engine for finding new people.

 

Microsoft Safety Scanner Scans Your PC For Virus, Spyware and Malicious Software

Microsoft Safety Scanner

Over the past couple of years or so, I have used Microsoft Security Essentials as my only virus and malware protection tool. The Free Antivirus tool from Microsoft is definitely worth installing on your PC.

 

Encrypt and Password Protect Your Notes in Evernote

Evernote

I have come to love Evernote as a note-taking and idea collecting software. I have used it extensively for the past couple of years or more to store bits and pieces of information that has come in handy all through these years.

 

More New Easter Screensavers

easter-screensavers

NewFreeScreensavers has released 9 more Easter screensavers. Don’t be afraid of the eggs and cute animals. They’re safe to use and promise not to bite.

 

Opera 11.10 Released; Features Faster Turbo, Prettier Speed Dials, and More

Opera-Barracuda-Speed-Dial

Opera 11.10 includes a host of new features including enhanced speed dials, faster Turbo mode, seamless plugin install, and a power saver mode.

 

Splashtop OS New Version for Laptops and Netbooks

splashtop-download

If you ever need to get on the internet quickly, you might want to give this operating system a try. Their motto is "Splashtop – the fastest way to the web". It’s free and it installs inside of Windows.

 


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.

Flock Browser – Official End of Support

flock-icon-250x250The original Kingof social browsers is as good as dead. The Flock web browser will dieon April 26th. Back in January, we told you that Zynga Acquires Flock; May Take Social Gaming To A New Level. As you probably know, Zynga is the social gaming power-house behind Farmville, Mafia Wars and a dozen other popular social games.

What wasn’t expected by many Flock users, was that they’d be abandoned so quickly, without anything to take Flock’s place. I just received my End of Supportletter today. Apparently they made the announcement on April 13th.

Flock said the following it their FAQ:

Flock will no longer be actively maintained, which means you can keep using the product, but key features will stop working after 4/26/11 and over time the browser will no longer be secure as software updates and upgrades will no longer be provided.

Here was one of the immediate responses from the Flock faithful.

David S: This sucks big time! Zynga’s decision to shut down this fabulous browser is an outrage and should be condemned. I have officially boycotted all other Zynga products and encourage others to do so as well. … I curse the day they purchased the property …

Since Zynga has decided to kill the Flock browser, what do they recommend that their users do now? Here’s what they said:

There are many browser choices. We recommend either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

I think most people expected that Zynga/Flock would work on a new browser that is designed to work with social gaming. All bets are off now, but if you still want to use a good social web browser, I’d recommend Rockmelt, which gives you built-in access to Facebook and Twitter.

uTorrent 3.0 Beta Introduces Streaming, Comments, and Ratings

After a pretty long alpha phase, uTorrent 3.0 has finally moved onto the beta stage. In what is possibly the biggest update since the popular torrent client was released, BitTorrent Inc. has tried to make the process of downloading a torrent as simple as possible for novice users, while satisfying the needs of an advanced user.

uTorrent 3.0 features a host of new features. The most significant changes are:

uTorrent-3-Beta

i) Streaming: Unlike standard http files, torrents aren’t downloaded sequentially, which makes it pretty much impossible to start watching a movie while it is being downloaded. However, when streaming mode is enabled, uTorrent will prioritize downloading of chunks towards the beginning of the file to enable the user to view the content as it is being downloaded. This is quite similar to BitComet’s “Preview Download Mode”.

ii) Comments and Ratings: Now, it is possible to rate and comment on torrent files you have downloaded. The idea is that this will help users in avoiding fake and malicious torrents.

iii) uTorrent Remote: uTorrent remote makes it possible to add, delete, and control your downloads from anywhere using the Android app. uTorrent had earlier released an iPhone app too; however, it was banned from the app store by Apple.

iv) Send: With this new feature, you can send a torrent to your friend directly from uTorrent. uTorrent will create a web link for the torrent, and also package the uTorrent client, so that your friend can download the file even if he isn’t familiar with torrents. You can also send files in a similar fashion.

v) Extensions: The new version allows the installation of third-party uTorrent apps, which are nothing but extensions. These apps can do anything from providing access to content like lectures from the Khan Academy, to plotting peers on an interactive map.

uTorrent 3.0 beta boasts of several other improvements including a portable mode, and speed, performance, and stability improvements. You can download the beta from here. However, keep in mind that beta software can be prone to problems. BitTorrent Inc. warns that the 64bit version is a lot more unstable than the 32 bit version.

Unlock Ribbon UI for Windows Explorer, and Other Hidden Features in Windows 8 with Windows 8 Tweaker

After a long wait, a Windows 8 build was finally leaked a few days back. The leaked build was a pretty old M1 build, but that didn’t stop thousands of Windows enthusiasts from taking it for a spin. At first glance, it appeared to be, by and large, identical to Windows 7.However, NaiveUser from MyDigitalLife forums managed to unlock quite a few interesting features including Ribbon UI (user interface) for Windows Explorer.

NaiveUser succeeded in enabling several locked features through simple registry tweaks. However, if registry editing is not your cup of tea, then fear not, as the folks at Windows8Beta have released the first Windows 8 tweaking utility.

Windows-8-Tweaker

Windows 8 Tweaker is a straightforward application that enables the following hidden Windows 8 features:

1. Ribbon UI for Windows Explorer: Windows 7 saw Microsoft adding the popular Ribbon UI, which was first seen in Office 2007, to applications like Paint and WordPad. With Windows 8, Microsoft is going a step further, and incorporating the Ribbon interface in the Windows Explorer itself.

2. PDF Reader: PDF (Portable Document Format) is now an open standard, and a virtually universal file format. Microsoft has finally decided to stop messing around with its own document formats, and has added a native PDF reader to Windows 8. However, like the Ribbon UI, this feature is also locked down in Windows 8 build 7850.

3. Advanced Task Manager: Windows 8 will feature a significantly improved and touch-screen friendly task manager. The advanced task manager, seen in the screenshot below, sports a new “dashboard” that will provide a quick overview of various resource usages (CPU, memory, disk, and network). Also present in the new task manager is a new section for startup processes, and a revamped process and application manager.

Windows-8-Task-Manager

4. Webcam Application: The final feature that the Windows8 Tweaker unlocks is a native webcam app. The app itself is pretty bare bones, but it gets the job done.

If you have installed the leaked Windows 8 build, then go ahead and grab the Windows 8 Tweaker from here. Don’t forget to chime in with your opinion about the new Windows 8 features in the comments section.

Google Toolbar 7 Adds Instant Search To Internet Explorer 9

Some good news for Internet Explorer users.

Google has recently released a new version of Google toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Google Toolbar 7 making your web browsing faster, simpler and instant.

The newer UI of Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer and Firefox is sleek and hides all the options under a drop down menu, as shown in the following screenshot

google-toolbar7-internet-explorer

 

Enabling Instant Search In Google Toolbar 7

After you have downloaded and installed Google Toolbar 7, you will be first asked to choose your default search provider. You may either choose Bing or Google as your default search engine, hit OKand restart the browser for the changes to take effect.

search-provider

To enable Instant search in Internet Explorer 9, go to the toolbar options panel by clicking the tiny wrench icon at the top right of Google Toolbar and choose Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing

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Once you have turned on Instant search for Internet Explorer 9, you can preview search results on Google.com by typing the keywords on the Google search box of Google Toolbar.

Since I am a regular Google Chrome user, I confused this with the address bar of Internet Explorer only to find out that I have to type the same words in the Google search box of Google toolbar (and not in the address bar of Internet Explorer 9). You can also type Alt+G to get to the Toolbar search box more quickly.

Here is how the Instant search interface of Google toolbar looks like

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To clear your search terms, hit the Escapekey on your keyboard and the search box will be highlighted, waiting for you to type the new keywords you want to search for.

With this new update, Google wants to push their instant search features deeper and let IE users get the feel of “Instant” search without having to use Google Chrome at all.

Privacy Options

Many features in Google Toolbar send anonymous usage information to Google, in order to improve your browsing experience.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your system and don’t want to share anonymous usage data with Google, you can turn off specific privacy features from the preferences panel

google-toolbar-privacy

Other features are quite the same as before, it’s just that Google has revamped the overall look and feel of Google toolbar by removing unnecessary UI clutter of buttons and icons from the toolbar panel. To customize which buttons and options appear in the toolbar panel, click the wrenchicon, go to Custom buttonsand choose the buttons you want to see in the toolbar area.

Overall, the new Google Toolbar adds a hint of Google Chrome in Internet Explorer 9. While I continue to use Google Chrome as my default browser, those who want Google’s Instant search feature on Internet explorer, can try the improved Google toolbar 7 here. The following video gives a short introduction of what Google toolbar 7 is all about:

You might want to check our ultimate list on Internet Explorer 9 tips and tricks

Digsby Acquired By Tagged; Will Offer Standalone Client

Digsby, the popular multi-protocol IM and social networking client has been acquired by Tagged; a social discovery engine for finding new people.

digsby_logo

The Digsby buyout is more of a talent acquisition than a client acquisition as the Digsby team will now work as part of the Tagged team on their product. The Digsby will continue to support Digsby as a standalone product, however, they don’t have any long-term plans for Digsby right now. Digsby currently has over 3 million users.

They have also updated the Digsby installation to remove all bundled offers, so users will have to skip a lot less crapware installations while installing Digsby. It is not clear as to how much Tagged paid for Digsby.

Digsby has been improving the user experience of late, allowing users to disable ads in Digsby and improving their Twitter support. However, it looks like it is the end of road for future updates.

You can head over to the official Digsby blog to learn more about the acquisition.

Microsoft Safety Scanner Scans Your PC For Virus, Spyware and Malicious Software

Over the past couple of years or so, I have used Microsoft Security Essentials as my only virus and malware protection tool. The Free Antivirus tool from Microsoft is definitely worth installing on your PC.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

If you are someone who does not like to install Antivirus on your PC or just want to check whether your current Antivirus is really working well, a new tool from Microsoft will come in handy.

Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free security software from Microsoft which provides users with on-demand scanning while allowing users to remove viruses, spywares, Trojans and another malicious software from their PC. Safety Scanner works along with your current Antivirus software, so you don’t have to uninstall your current AV protection to use it.

One of the bad things about Microsoft Safety Scanner is that it expires every 10 days. Users will have to download a new version to scan your system every ten days which could be annoying considering that it is around 70MB in size. A simple definition update should be added so that users don’t have to download new versions every 10 days.

Users must also note that unlike traditional Antivirus systems the Safety Scanner does not provide continuous protection and should not be used as a replacement for traditional Antivirus software. Microsoft Security Scanner should only be used to additionally scan your PC. If you intend to replace your current Antivirus you might check out our Free Antivirus section to find a suitable alternative.

Additionally, you may also want to read the following articles related to :

Download Microsoft Safety Scanner

Encrypt and Password Protect Your Notes in Evernote

I have come to love Evernote as a note-taking and idea collecting software. I have used it extensively for the past couple of years or more to store bits and pieces of information that has come in handy all through these years.

Evernote

I always had a problem with storing sensitive information in Evernote, because of the lack of security/password protection in the app. For example, if you login to the Evernote app and leave it open, anyone who has access to your PC or mobile device can view the notes and get access to your sensitive information.

Also Read:

In fact, anyone who has access to the local database storage file on your PC will be able to view those notes on another PC or installation. This is a scary proposition considering how much losing sensitive information could affect you.

Luckily, Evernote provides users with a very handy feature that allows them to encrypt part of their notes. Users can use it to encrypt sensitive text in their notes (It only works with text). To encrypt your notes in Evernote, follow the steps given below.

More New Easter Screensavers

[Windows Only]

Last week, I announced the addition of 4 new Easter screensavers at NewFreeScreensavers, and I thought I might be posting too early. I was right, because they’ve added 9 more Easter themed screensavers. Take a look for yourself. Don’t be afraid to grab one or two. The screensavers there are always safe to install.

easter-screensavers

Warning!

There are plenty of free screensavers and wallpapers on the net, but you have to be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them. 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.

arrow-down-double-3 Screensaver Download Page

W i n d o w s 7 t h e m e s?

easter-themeSpring is here. If you have Windows 7, be sure to check out the Easter Desktop theme. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still snag the wallpapers by using this trick.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Opera 11.10 Released; Features Faster Turbo, Prettier Speed Dials, and More

Opera Software has just released the final build of Opera 11.10, codenamed as Barracuda. For a point update, Barracuda features a pretty impressive change log.

Opera-Barracuda-Speed-Dial

Visually, the biggest change is the new “flow layout” for speed dials. Opera has given a facelift to one of its most popular features. No longer are you limited to a pre-defined number of speed dials, which are nothing but visual bookmarks embedded in the “New Tab” page. Now, you can (theoretically) add as many shortcuts as you want. The layout is automatically adjusted depending upon your screen resolution and the number of speed dial entries. There is also a zoom slider, which can be used to manually configure the speed dial layout. The thumbnails are now generated using a smart algorithm, and are a lot prettier.

Internally, Barracuda features a new version of Presto, Opera’s rendering engine. New developer oriented features include support for CSS3 multi-column layouts and gradients, the Web Open Font Format (WOFF), and Google’s WebP image protocol. After Chrome, Opera is the first browser to support WebP, Google’s new lossy image format, which provides 39% (on an average) better compression than standard JPEG images.

One of the best ways to speed up your surfing experience when you are on a slow internet connection is to use Opera Turbo. Now, with a little help from WebP, Opera is taking Turbo to the next level.

By reducing the size of the webpage, the Opera Turbo feature boosts browsing speeds by four times or more. In previous versions, this meant reducing the quality of images. Now, overall image quality is greatly improved thanks to our engineering brains and the use of Google’s new WebP image format. In our lab tests, the new Opera Turbo produces 35 percent smaller pages and was 15 percent faster than Opera 11.

Opera-Turbo
Opera Turbo with Enhanced Image Compression

Another handy improvement is the introduction of seamless plugin installation. Unlike some of its competitors, Opera has decided against including popular plugins like Flash in the installer itself. Instead it will automatically download the required plugin in the background, when it is required.

There are numerous other minor improvements like discoverability and a power saving mode (for Windows Vista and Windows 7). Go ahead and take Opera 11.10 for a spin on your Windows, UNIX or Mac machine by downloading it from www.opera.com.