2006年01月10日

Colorize Black and White photos

只要三步

Click on the images for larger versions.

Step 1: Load the black and white photo

Step 2: Add markings

Step 3: Let the software colorize the image

http://www.recolored.com/

1  Best Free Web Browser  Updated October 20, 2005
Internet Explorer is a good browser but it has become such a target for malicious exploits that it is now a major security risk. Quite separately, the browser itself is now looking dated with most alternative products offering tabbed browsing and other productivity enhancements. There are several excellent alternatives but Mozilla Firefox is the stand-out pick. It’s safer than Internet Explorer, so safe in fact that many users have reported no spyware infections since they started using the product. It’s also browses faster than Internet Explorer and is stable and reliable as well. It loads a little slower than IE but once running, it zips along at lightning speed. With tabbed browsing and more free extensions than you could ever want, it offers a major upgrade in your browsing experience.  Unlike IE, it’s also standards compliant. The 600+ free extensions available are a huge plus, allowing you to totally customize your browsing experience. Firefox is now my everyday browser though occasionally I have to fire up IE to browse a site designed around IE’s non-standard features. If you don’t like Firefox then you should check out Opera. It’s always been a great browser but until recently was only available as shareware or in advertising-supported versions. Now though, it’s free. There’s much to like about Opera but I do miss all those Firefox extensions.
http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/
  (4.7MB)
http://www.techsupportalert.com/firefox.htm
<= Free Firefox migration guide

http://www.opera.com/
(3.7MB)

Best Free Anti-Virus Software  
There are two equal recommendations in this category. First there is AVG Antivirus 7.0 Free Edition. This product [1] has been continuously refined since it was first released in 1991 and now offers very impressive protection capabilities. Additionally, it’s relatively small, light on resources, has regular automatic updates and handles email scanning. There is a free and a pro version, the only difference being that the free version has a few non-critical features disabled and has no direct technical support. Even so, it’s an impressive package and offers the financially challenged a real alternative to the major anti-virus suites. Equally impressive is the free Avast! scanner [2] though its funky media player style interface is not to everyone’s taste. Avast! also required periodic re-registration while AVG does not. A possible third option is AntiVir [3]. It offers slightly better detection rates than either AVG or Avast! but the lack of email scanning  precludes general recommendation. However it’s the perfect choice as a second on-demand scanner. If you use it in this role, make sure you disable its resident virus guard during installation to prevent it interfering with your main AV scanner.
[1] http://free.grisoft.com  

[2] http://www.avast.com  (5MB)
[3] http://www.free-av.com  (6.8MB)
[4] http://www.techsupportalert.com/free-vs-paid-av.htm <= review of the effectiveness of free security software

3  Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover
My top recommendation is Microsoft’s Antispyware program [1] which is currently available as a free beta to users of Windows 2000 and later. The Microsoft program is based on the Giant Antispyware product that Microsoft purchased late in 2004. I used Giant for some time and found it to offer outstanding detection and real time protection against the current plague of scumware products. The only minus being that it uses a fair slab of processing power and that could can slow down older PCs. The free Microsoft version is very similar to the previous commercial Giant version. I just hope Microsoft doesn’t mess around too much with this excellent product however Microsoft’s track record in this area has not been good. It’s something I’ll be keeping a close eye on; so far, so good. Microsoft has announced that the product will remain free even when out of beta so, subject to my previous reservations, it’s a good long term choice. For Windows 9x and ME users I suggest two free products: Ad-Aware SE V1.6 [2] and SpyBot Search and Destroy V1.4 [3]. Both work well together and between them you’ll get excellent protection. If you have a relatively fast PC, I suggest you turn on the TeaTimer option when you install SpyBot. It will give you reasonable active protection but at the cost of eating up some of your processing power. The active protection offered by TeaTimer is not as comprehensive as the Microsoft product but Internet Explorer users can augment it by using SpywareBlaster (see next item) 
[1] http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx ( 6.4MB)
[2] http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/  (1.7MB)
[3] http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html (4.6MB)

4  Best Free Browser Protection Utility  Updated October 20, 2005
There’s a scumware  plague at the moment. All it takes is a visit to a pushy web site or a loaded shareware install and next minute your Internet Explorer homepage has been changed, your default search setting altered, unwanted ads pop up on your screen and worse.  You can help protect Internet Explorer against these attacks by using SpywareBlaster [1].  It’s is not a system scanner rather it is monitor that’s designed to prevent an initial infection. It provides active protection for Internet Explorer users against thousands of malevolent products that use ActiveX based exploits and offers defenses against hostile sites and unwanted cookies as well. SpywareBlaster can be used with Firefox but there’s not much point as Firefox doesn’t need to be protected against ActiveX exploits. SpywareBlaster is free but the automatic update service costs $9.95 annually. A companion program to SpywareBlaster is SpywareGuard [2]. It is also a protective program that checks programs before they are run for malware behavior and also does some signature checking as well. However of late SpywareGuard seems to have been rather neglected with no new updates for more than a year so I can only give it a qualified recommendation. SpywareBlaster though, is a terrific product and a must-have for Internet Explorer users who also use the free version of Ad-Aware. If you are using Microsoft Antispyware, Ad-Aware Pro or other anti-spyware utility with a real-time monitor, you don’t really need it.
[1] http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html (2.2MB)
[2] http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html  (1.96MB)

5  Best Free Firewall  Updated November 18, 2005
No other single product class seems to cause as much angst to average users in their installation and day-to-day use as Firewalls. That’s why my choice for "best" goes to Kerio Personal Firewall [1], the product that seems to cause the fewest problems for users yet manages first rate protection as well. However it looks like Kerio will be discontinuing this product by the end of 2005 so hop in and get a copy while it is still available. The latest free version (V6) of the ZoneAlarm firewall [2] comes in a a good second choice though there have been considerable teething problems with the new version. Also the current free ZoneAlarm has become a true bare bones version of that company’s class-leading commercial firewall. Such is life. More adventurous users and the technically inclined may however wish to consider Sygate [3]. It offers more control and more information but is not the easiest to setup and use. You had better grab it by the 30th of November as Symantec, the new owner of Sygate,  has announced the product will be discontinued by that date. Even more difficult to install than Sygate is the NetVeda Safety.Net firewall [4]. However its performance is quite outstanding and it offers application control and content filtering as well. This highly capable product deserves to be better known and experienced users should definitely put it on their short list. Note: The free and paid versions of Kerio and Sygate are the same. If you don’t buy the product some advanced features are automatically turned off after 30 days.
[1] http://www.kerio.com/kpf_home.html (7.3MB)
[2] http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp  (9.0MB)
[3] http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf/summary_spf.htm (8.8MB)
[4] http://www.netveda.com/consumer/safetynet.htm (6.3MB)

6  Best Free Trojan Scanner/Trojan Remover 
Ewido is the best of a new crop of anti-Trojan programs. On my recent tests over at www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com it emerged as was one of the few products that could reliably detect polymorphic and process injecting Trojans that were totally missed by anti-virus products like Norton and AVG. Unfortunately the free version of Ewido doesn’t have a memory monitor and this omission significantly  reduces the level of active protection provided. However the on-demand scanner is excellent. I recommend that all average PC users who don’t have an anti-trojan scanner download Ewido and scan their PCs weekly. I suspect you may be surprised at what you will find. Ewido is also pretty good at removing some spyware infections so bear that in mind next time you encounter a spyware product you can’t remove with normal anti-spyware products like Ad-Aware. Note that Ewido only works with Windows 2000 and later so Win 9X users should consider the free version of a2 (a-squared) anti-trojan as an alternative. It’s not quite as effective as Ewido but is still an excellent product.  High risk PC users such as P2P file sharers and frequenters of hack sites, should however consider the industrial strength protection of Trojan Hunter or the full version of Ewido both of which offer the active protection they need. Note: The free version of Ewido is actually the same as the paid version but after 14 days the active protection (i.e. memory monitor) becomes non-functional.
http://www.ewido.net/en/  (2.2MB)
http://www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com/review-ewido.htm <= review of Ewido

7  Best Free Rootkit Scanner/Remover Updated November 18, 2005
Rootkits are a special kind of software tool used to hide trojans, viruses and other malware from your anti-virus scanner and other security products. Unfortunately, they are extremely effective which means that some of you reading this will be infected even though you believe your PC to be totally clean. Thankfully there is a new class of  security product now available called rootkit detectors that use specialized techniques to detect these dangerous intruders.  Most of these detectors require quite a bit of technical skill to interpret the results but one of the simplest to use and most effective is also free. It’s called BlackLight [1] and is currently available as a free beta from F-Secure until the 1st of January 2006. I suggest everyone download this product and scan their PC. The chances of you being infected are small but for five minutes work it’s not worth taking the risk. 
BlackLight will detect most rootkits missed by AV scanners but can still be fooled by state-of-the-art rootkits like some of the custom versions of Hacker Defender. To detect this and a few other insidious rootkits, you need heavier artillery. Currently the biggest gun in the rootkit detection war is a free Chinese product called IceSword. It will reveal just about everything running on your PC. Usage, however, requires considerable technical skill together with the patience to work out the program. It was originally only documented in Chinese but an English version [2] has now appeared. In the hands of an skilled user, its an amazing tool.  The reality is that at the present time full protection against rootkits requires the use of multiple products. For details see my article on rootkits below [3].
[1] http://www.f-secure.com/blacklight/cure.shtml Windows 2000 and later, 911KB.
[2] http://www.xfocus.net/tools/200509/IceSword_en1.12.rar
<= slow Chinese site, 565KB
[3] http://www.techsupportalert.com/rootkits.htm <= How to deal with the threat of rootkits

8  Best Free Intrusion Prevention and Detection Utility for Home Use
These days all users face a real risk of malicious programs secretly installing themselves on your computer. Anti-virus and anti-spyware products dramatically reduce the chance of infection but you can enhance your protection further by installing an additional layer of defense with an intrusion detection program. For advanced users Prevx is a stand out recommendation. It’s so good I made it my Free Product of the Year for 2004. However it’s talkative nature and sometimes cryptic messages make it only suitable for experienced users. For other users (but not beginners) I recommend the free version of WinPatrol. Like Prevx it provides a vital "last ditch" defense layer by telling you when a product is trying to change any of the critical settings on your PC such as the registry and auto-start areas. WinPatrol simply throws up a dialog asking whether you want to allow the change or not. Of course being warned is useless unless you have some idea how to respond to the warning. That’s why neither Prevx nor WinPatrol is suited to inexperienced users. If you are a beginner you should seriously consider the $29.95 Plus version of WinPatrol which provides lots of guidance to help you make sense of any warning messages. As a bonus it offers better protection as well.
http://www.prevx.com/prevxhome.asp (7.5MB)
http://www.winpatrol.com/
(880KB)
http://www.techsupportalert.com/intrusion-detection.htm
<= Brief survey of IDS software

9 Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service
There are lots of reasons folks have for wanting to surf anonymously, ranging from simple paranoia to possibly being murdered by a malevolent foreign government. Whatever the reasons, commercial services that offer anonymity are doing real well. However one of the best services JAP, is totally free. In fact JAP is perhaps a little too good. That’s why the German Police insisted in 2004 that a backdoor be put into the product to allow interception of child pornographers. This was done but subsequently removed as a result of court action by JAP. An alternative to JAP is another system called Tor. It not only allows anonymous browsing but anonymous email, IM, and IRC chat as well. Given the US Navy origin of Tor, the suspicion arises that this system may indeed have a permanent backdoor. However the source code is now publicly available so that suspicion can be set aside. Whatever, both JAP and Tor offer a level of secrecy that is better than many commercial systems. However expect your surfing to slow down as you’ll be relayed through a chain of servers. You’ll also need to change your browser settings to work through a proxy. Note: the latest V5 release of JAP now allows Tor users to use JAP as a software access point.
http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/index_en.html
http://tor.eff.org/

10  Best Free Software Suite Updated November 18, 2005
The Open CD site [1] offers for free a wonderful collection of just about every application software product you need to run a PC including the latest version of OpenOffice. Many of these freebies substitute admirably for expensive commercial products. There is Abi Word as an alternative for MS Word, OpenOffice for MS Office XP, Thunderbird for Outlook, The Gimp for Adobe Photoshop, 7-zip for WinZip and many more. If you then add to this collection some of the other utilities from my "46 Best-ever Utilities" collection you will have all the software you’ll ever need without spending a cent. Note: All of the Open CD utilities can be downloaded for free as a CD ISO image. If you have a slow connection you can purchase the CD for a as little as $1.99. In addition to the Windows versions,  the CD also contains the same collection of programs implemented under a  version of Linux called Ubuntu that can be booted and run directly from the CD. That way you not only get to try all these great programs you can try Linux as well, without interfering in any way with your current Windows installation. Update: the folks at Ubuntu [2] are now giving away free CDs containing the latest version of Ubuntu Linux together with most of the programs on the Open CD. They will send you the full Ubuntu installation CDs plus a live CD where you can run Ubuntu directly from the CD. You can order as many CDs as you want and you don’t even have to pay the mailing costs! When you get your CDs read this this simple introduction to Linux [3] before starting.
[1] http://theopencd.org
[2] http://www.ubuntu.com/download/support/documentation/faq/shipit/
[3] http://www.paulstamatiou.com/2005/10/24/how-to-ubuntu-linux-for-novices/

 


(Sponsored Links)

The Best Windows Backup Software
We are in the process of updating all the backup reviews at our site but I can tell you right now that the top product has blitzed the field for a second year in row. In fact, it’s improved so much that it’s now a one horse race for our "editor’s choice." The updated review of the top product is now online. If you have been looking for a backup program, this is the one.
http://www.backup-software-reviews.com/

The Best Spyware Detector
If you use Ad-Aware or SpyBot you will be surprised just how more effectively SpySweeper detects and protects your PC from Adware, Spyware, Trojans and other malicious products. That’s why it yet again won the prized "Editor’s Choice" award from PC Magazine. "Webroot’s Spy Sweeper 4.5 is the most powerful antispyware tool we’ve seen yet". – PC Magazine, October 31, 2005.  Try the free evaluation copy and see for yourself, you may be surprsied what it finds on your PC.
http://www.webroot.com/wb/products/spysweeper/index.php?rc=1132

The Best Remote Access Software
Our reviewer had given this product category away as "too slow, tool clumsy and too unreliable" but after reviewing this product he’s changed his mind; "… at long last a remote access solution that actually works!  Quite frankly we agree with him, it’s an impressive product.  Read the full review here:
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com/best_remote_access_software.htm

The Best Spam Blocker for Dummies
Most spam filters require you to be a computer expert. Our Editor has found two spam filters for average users that will remove the spam from your email and yet are simple to use.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-antispam.htm

The Best Anti-trojan Scanner
Most users are not aware that their anti-virus scanner can only provide a moderate level of protection against trojan programs that try and take control of your PC. To really protect your computer, you need a dedicated anti-trojan program. Our editor’s have reviewed every major product on the market and have concluded that two scanners stand head and shoulders above the other contenders.
http://www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com

11  Best Free File Manager
Windows Explorer is fine for simple file management activities but when you have some serious work to do, you need a two pane file manager. I use Directory Opus which is without doubt the best product in this class but costs $59.  Recently I discovered xplorer².  It offers a good part of the functionality of Directory Opus and is totally free. As a bonus, its user interface is very similar to Windows Explorer, so most users will find this tool easy to learn and use.(575KB)
http://www.netez.com/xplorer2/x2lite.htm

12 Best Free Email Client Updated October 20, 2005
Thunderbird is a free open source POP and IMAP email client developed by Mozilla.org, the same folks who brought you Firefox. Feature-wise it sits somewhere between Outlook Express and Outlook which means that it offers an upgrade to Express users and a downgrade to those who use the more advanced PIM features of Outlook. All Outlook Express users should seriously consider switching. You’ll be rewarded with a more advanced product including built- in spam filtering, built-in RSS reader, better security, message color coding, fast email search and the ability to view your mail in conversational threads. On top of that, the product is more secure than OE and unlike the latter, is still being actively developed.  The transition is made easier by the fact that Thunderbird looks and works similar to OE.  Tools within Thunderbird also allow you to easily import OE account settings and stored email. Outlook users who aren’t reliant on calendaring, Microsoft Exchange or Outlook plug-ins should also consider switching. Thunderbird email files can be indexed by the Google, Yahoo!  and Copernic desktop search programs.
http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird
http://www.nidelven-it.no/articles/introduction_to_thunderbird

13 Best Free Web Mail Accessory
Two suggestions: the first is a nifty free product called YPOPs! (formerly YahooPops!) that allows you to collect your Yahoo webmail from within your POP email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird or Eudora. I use it on multiple Yahoo accounts and it works wonderfully. The second suggestion is an Open Source utility called MrPostman. It’s a much more flexible product than YPOPs! and will download HotMail, Lycos, Yahoo and several other webmail services into your POP email client. It can also give you access to email accounts on MS Exchange 5.5. If you only use Yahoo webmail, go with YPOPs! as MrPostman is a more complex program
and can need a bit of fiddling to work correctly. You’ll find a couple of links below that will help you. Note that  MrPostman requires the Java Runtime Environment to be installed on your PC.
http://yahoopops.sourceforge.net/   (1.3MB)
http://mrpostman.sourceforge.net/
  (1.5MB)
http://2mod2.com/mohot/   <= Installing Mr Postman
http://sourceforge.net/forum/?group_id=68124   <= MrPostman forum

14 Best Free Clipboard Replacement Utility 
The regular clipboard in Windows has limitations – one item at a time and no retention after logging off. Clipboard replacement utilities provide the ability to hold multiple items and store them for future use, even after logging off. There are many free clipboard replacement utilities available, including CLCL,
Clipboard Magic, Clipboard Recorder, Clippy 2001, Ditto, DzSoft Paste & Save, and Yankee Clipper III. While none of these have the very extensive set of features of the class-leading shareware product ClipMate 6 ($29.95), they all offer the basic clipboard replacement features that 95% of us really want and
need. If you just need a basic clipboard replacement utility, look no further than Clipboard Recorder [1]. It will store up to 99 items that can be easily selected and pasted from the popup history list by pressing the shortcut key (Ctrl-Alt-V by default). It supports a variety of formats (text, RTF, HTML, CSV, Bitmap, etc.) and has the ability to transfer copied items between computers. In addition, it is a very small program and uses very little resources. Clipboard Recorder is what the regular clipboard in Windows should have been! However, if you need advanced features such as the ability to support additional item types, create groups of items, search previous items, and synchronize clipboards across multiple computers, then I would recommend trying Ditto [2]. In addition to its extended feature set, its user interface is very clean, easy to use, and has many configurable options that you can configure to meet your needs. Note that Ditto requires DAO to be installed [3].
[1] http://www.lw-works.com/  Windows 98 and later, 382 KB
[2] http://ditto-cp.sourceforge.net/  Windows 95 and later, 422KB
[3] http://ditto-cp.sourceforge.net/dao_setup.exe  .3MB

15  Best Free HTML Editor
This is one of my most requested items but up until now I’ve not been able to give any product my hearty endorsement. There have been any number of contenders: Amaya for example, impressed with its standards compliance but was incomplete while Selida looked slick but had too many bugs. Finally a worthy contender has arrived on the scene in the form of the Open Source Nvu. In reality Nvu is nothing new but rather a reworking of the old Netscape Composer. Composer was always a solid product and the revamp has lifted the product into another class. Here is an HTML editor and site manager that’s easy enough for beginners to use but powerful enough to build large sites. It’s closer in concept to Microsoft’s FrontPage more than any other product but unlike FrontPage it, thankfully, produces standards compliant code. Its easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor will delight HTML newbies while HTML honchos can simply click a tab to switch to code view. Multiple tabs can be kept open to allow simultaneous editing and there is excellent support for forms, tables and templates. An internal spell-checker is included. CSS is handled through the CaScadeS editor from Mozilla Composer. Nvu also has the handy ability to call W3C’s HTML validator from within the product. It’s also extensible via XUL. Nvu can upload files to your site via FTP and has some basic site management features but this is not its strength. Overall it’s an impressive product; no, it’s not a replacement for DreamWeaver but those looking for a competent, free HTML editor that’s easy to use need look no further. Free Open Source, Windows 98 and later plus Linux, 6.57MB
http://www.nvu.com/

16 Best Free Spam Filter for the Average User
This is a difficult category as ordinary users need products that are easy to use and frankly, most free spam filters are way too complex to set up and use. The best products in this class are in fact, shareware not free. That said, MailWasher is for most folks, the best free option. MailWasher is an email preview utility that allows you to check your email on your mail server before you download it to your PC. The advantage of this approach is that you can kill unwanted messages including spam, viruses and large attachments before they get anywhere near your computer. MailWasher flags for you any messages containing possible spam and viruses for you to quickly check.  It’s a simple idea but quite effective and one which average users find easy to understand. The last free version of MailWasher [2] before it went commercial is still floating around the web. It lacks many of the advanced spam detection features of the current commercial version but is still quite effective.  Alternatively, try XTerminator [3] which works much the same way as MailWasher and is totally free. I must say though, I prefer MailWasher’s user interface 
[1] http://www.mailwasher.net ( 3.05MB)
[2] http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/page2.html#Mailwasher (1.57MB)
[3] http://www.artplus.hr/adapps/eng/xterminator.htm  (1.87MB)
[4] http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-antispam.htm
  <=brief review of the best spam blockers         

17 Best Free Spam Filter for Experienced Users  
There are many different spam filters available employing lots of different techniques. In my experience "learning" spam filters that use the Bayesian statistical approach out-perform most other types of filters I’ve tried. Not only are they better at detecting spam they are also less liable to classify your real mail as spam. This effectiveness takes a little time to develop as the filter has to be trained to recognize your spam from your normal mail.  It takes a week or so before results start becoming accurate and best results may take a month or more.  POPFile, a free, open source spam filter,  was one of the first Bayesian filters and is still one of the best. It works as a proxy mail server so that means that it can be used with any POP email client. Setup is reasonably straightforward for experienced users but beginners may be better off with Mailwasher. If you use Outlook there are several excellent free Bayesian spam filters available including SpamBayes and K9. Both are simple to install though, like all statistical filters, they need to go through a training phase before they reach full effectiveness.
http://popfile.sourceforge.net/old_index.html (4.3MB)

http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/  (3.6MB)
http://www.keir.net/k9.html (113KB)

18 Best Free Popup Stopper
The need for popup stopper utilities has fallen away in recent months as many browsers such as Firefox now have this function built in. If you need a separate popup stopper and have good PC skills I suggest you try The Proxomitron. It operates by filtering and transforming all your Web pages on the fly. As a result you can not only stop pop-ups but pop-unders, ads, flash animations, status bar scrollers and just about anything else. Besides, next time you are asked what pop-up stopper you use, you can answer; "why, I use The Proxomitron" and how cool is that. The first link below is to version 4.5, the last and final version of this superb utility. The following two links offer useful setup and usage tips. Note:  For Novice PC users I suggest you try the Google toolbar rather than The Proxomitron. It’s free as well and has  an excellent popup filter built in. It’s nowhere near as flexible as as The Proxomitron,  but it requires no setup. As a bonus it also makes Google searches easier.
http://computercops.biz/files/ProxN45.exe
http://accs-net.com/smallfish/prox.htm
http://www.sankey.ws/proxomitron.html
http://toolbar.google.com/

19 Best Free Desktop Search Utility  Updated October 20, 2005
In early 2004 there were no contenders for this title. Today we have a wealth of choices. In a close race I would have to say the Free Desktop Search from Yahoo! comes out in front because of the clear way it presents search results. It’s powered by the well established X1 local search engine and can index the contents of 300 different file types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Outlook, Outlook Express, HTML, text, ZIP and Adobe PhotoShop though at the moment it will only handle email files from Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird. It will index html files but can’t index your web browsing history. If the  later is important to you, you may want to look at Version 2 of Google desktop search. It not only will search your web history but offers an Outlook toolbar, integrated Gmail search and a novel desktop sidebar that allows personalized search, news, weather, photos and more. The Sidebar also includes a quite effective application launcher.  Some folks love the Sidebar others, me included,  find it intrusive. Unfortunately though, to run either the Yahoo! or Google DTS you’ll need Windows 2000 or later. If you are stuck with earlier version of Windows then try the free Copernic Desktop Search. It offers many of the key features as the others though the presentation of search results is not quite as elegant as Yahoo! DTS.
http://desktop.yahoo.com
http://desktop.google.com
(1.4MB)
http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/download.html
(2.3MB)

20 Best Free Digital Image Viewer Updated November 18, 2005
Three good choices here. First there’s the classic IrfanView. Irfan [1] is a first class product but one for which I have mixed feelings. That’s why it’s been in and out of my "46 Best Freeware" list several times. It’s an amazingly capable product but it just doesn’t work the way I want it to. Other users though, just love it. A product I feel more comfortable with is XNView [2]. Like Irfan it is very versatile; it can read and display nearly 400 types of graphic files and convert any of these to over 50 formats. It displays pictures very quickly and these may be viewed full screen, as slideshows or thumbnails. It’s quite capable at processing images, too; you can adjust brightness, color, apply filters or effects, crop photos, re-size, convert format and more. These operations can also be carried out from a batch file, which makes it ideal for converting large digital photos to smaller sizes for the web or emailing. It supports drop and drag, has many plug-ins, is available in 44 languages and has full cross-platform support including Mac. XNView has a lot of similarities with IrfanView, so many in fact,  that it comes perilously close to plagiarism. Put positively, one may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery however the developer of IrfanView must feel more than a little miffed. XNView is free for non-commercial use, all Windows versions plus many other platforms. The standard version for Windows is 3.3MB but I suggest you download the complete version with all plug-ins which weighs in at 6.8MB. My third choice and personal favorite is FastStone Image Viewer [3]. This is a speed demon with a zippiness in displaying images that’s reminiscent of the old ACDSee before it suffered feature bloat. It supports all major graphic formats and popular digital camera RAW formats as well. It’s also got good basic image editing facilities, a great slide show and a very cute interface. Much to like here. Free for personal use, Windows 98 and later.
[1] http://www.irfanview.com/ (874KB)
[2] http://perso.wanadoo.fr/pierre.g/xnview/endownloadwin32.html (3.3MB)
[3] http://www.faststone.org (3.0MB)

21 Best Free Digital Image Editor  Updated October, 2005
I use to recommend The Gimp but after dozens of letters from newbies who couldn’t manage to install it or work out the idiosyncratic user interface, I’ve decided to confine that recommendation to more experienced users. If that’s you and you patient enough to learn the product’s sometimes quaint ways then you have no need to consider anything else. If you are used to Photoshop you might like to look at GIMPShop, which changes the user interface of GIMP to something more familiar though frankly, I prefer the original.  For other less experienced users I have two recommendations: First there is Paint.net, an amazingly sophisticated piece of work from computer science students at Washington State University. It’s not quite as powerful as The Gimp but a lot easier to use and install. It’s also getting better; the new V2.5 continues this product’s impressive development record. It is however only for Windows 2000 and later and you’ll need Microsoft’s bulky .NET framework installed on your PC. My second choice is PhotoPlus 6.0 from a company called Serif. It’s an impressive piece of work; again it installs easily and it’s loaded with features including layer support. In fact, it looks and feels like a "lite" version of Adobe PhotoShop except that it is relatively easy to use. I say "relatively" because graphics editing is by its nature, not simple.  Both Paint.net and PhotoPlus are outstanding free products. Which is the best?  Easy, the answer  is …  your call ;>)
http://www.gimp.org/windows/ (7.07MB)
http://www.gimpshop.net/  (7.4MB)
http://www.eecs.wsu.edu/paint.net/ (1.1MB)
http://www.freeserifsoftware.com/software/PhotoPlus/default.asp (19.4MB)

22 Best Free Digital Photo Organizer
It’s rare for me to be utterly wowed by a product but this one certainly did it. When you first run Picasa it offers to scan your whole hard drive (or designated locations) for photos and videos. Scanning is surprisingly quick and when finished you’ll have all your shots neatly organized into folders on a time line basis. Now you can view you shots one at a time, in slideshow or traversing the time line. The editing features are limited compared to professional image editors yet they provide you with every function amateur photographers need including one click red eye reduction. Similarly adding labels to photos is a cinch while a simple but effective star rating system allows you to flag favorite snaps. Individual folders can also be password protected. Facilities are provided to import your images from your camera in multiple formats including RAW. You can send photos to your choice of web printing service, cut a CD, print to a local printer or share with others via your own blog or instant messaging. Simply sensational. Windows 98 or later, 300MHz Pentium with 128MB memory or better, 3.2MB.
http://www.picasa.com/

23 Best Free Notepad Replacement  Updated 20th October, 2005
There are lots of text editors and Notepad replacements. Some of these aspire to be programming editors while others try to be word processors.  What I love about EditPad is that, unlike the others, it concentrates on simply being a better plain text editor and in that role, it succeeds brilliantly.  It has a Notepad-like interface combined with tabbed document windows, the ability to open as many documents as you like, no file size limitations and unlimited un-do capability. If however you are looking for something that will also serve as a programming editor you might like to check out Notepad++. It’s not only great for programming but can be used as a Notepad replacement as well. It also supports plug-ins, themes and has multi-language support. Note that I’m not saying that Notepad++ is the best programming editor available, that’s too controversial a category even for me ;>)
http://www.editpadlite.com/editpadlite.html
(973KB)
http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm
(807KB)

24 The Best File Archiver/Zip Utility  Updated October 20, 2005
I checked out six utilities: QuickZip, ICEOWS, IZArc, TUGZip, ZipGenius and 7-Zip. The product that impressed me the most was the Open Source program 7-Zip. It was the only product in the group that could unpack a multi-part RAR volume embedded in a ZIP archive and the only product to give a meaningful error message when an attempt was made to unpack a 256bit encrypted WinZip archive. My only reservation is that it handles fewer archive types than some of the other products; it only supports 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB . If that’s really important to you than I’d recommend IZArc. It can read nearly 50 archive types including media formats like ISO, BIN and IMG and can write (and convert) to 12. You couldn’t go wrong with either product. 7-Zip is a little more robust while IZArc is a little more flexible. If you already use WinZip you’ll find either 7-Zip or IZArc make excellent companion products. They can can read just about all the major archive formats WinZip can’t, including the widely used RAR.
http://www.izarc.org/download.html Windows 9x and later, 3.1MB
http://www.7-zip.org/ Windows 9x and later, 1.05MB

25 Best Free Hotkey Utility  Updated November 18, 2005
PS Hot Launch VVL [1] is a free utility that allows you to define your own hotkeys so that a single key press can launch an application, insert commonly used text, change your volume, or just about anything else.  Hotkeycontrol works on all versions of Windows and is an excellent performer even on slow machines.  A second alternative is the qliner’s free Open Source "hotkeys" utility [2]. It’s strength is its wide support for international keyboard layouts plus a handy reminder key that flashes up your current hotkey assignments. On the minus side, it’s not quite as flexible as PS Hot Launch and it’s only available for Windows XP. A final option is not really a hotkey utility at all but achieves the same result by using "magic words." SlickRun [3] places a tiny text box on your screen and when you type specially assigned words into the box, it will launch a program, go to a web site or whatever. For example if you type "mail" it can launch your mail reader. Type in "46" and it can take you to the web page of the "46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities." Of course, it’s up to you to define these magic words and you can have as many as you want. It all works very neatly with some really nice touches like auto-complete for your magic words which means you only have to type in two or three letters and SlickRun will complete the rest. Nice too, is an eyedropper tool that allows you to identify a program you want to "hotkey" just by clicking in its application window. There’s also a built-in note jotter and a calendar date display. It requires Win 98 or later.
[1] http://www.pssoftlab.com/pshl_info.phtml (743KB)
[2] http://qliner.com/hotkeys/
(804KB
[3] http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun/ (168KB)

26 Best Free Registry Cleaner Updated November 18, 2005
To keep the registries on my PCs in top running order I use the the registry cleaner "SystemRegistry" in the  Fix-It Utilities though many folks swear by the Registry Cleaner in jv16 PowerTools. Both of these are commercial products though you can still find the last free version of jv16 [1] on the web. In my mind the best registry cleaner is one which reliably fixes problem entries but doesn’t itself cause problems in the process. The products most likely to possess these qualities are those that are conservative in operation and confine their cleaning to removing definite and unambiguous errors. I say this because I have seen as many problems created by registry cleaners as problems solved. This view flies in the face of many who consider, for whatever reason, that the best registry cleaner is the one that finds the most problems. To me such products can be dangerous and not worth owning. That said, my recommendation is Toni Helenius’  free EasyCleaner. It’s a good reliable, conservative performer that will fix all major problem without creating problems of its own  As a bonus, it will also detect duplicate files and help you clean up temp files to make more disk space.  Remember though, as with every Registry cleaner,  to back up your Windows Registry before use. (2.64MB)
[1] http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/
[2]
http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm                                                                               

27 Best Free BitTorrent Client  Updated November 18, 2005
It’s amazing how quickly BitTorrent has become one of the major download formats. With good reason, too: it’s fast, equitable and efficient. If you haven’t yet installed a BitTorrent client on your PC, you should as there are some great free clients available. I recommend the Open Source program Azureus. It’s beautifully implemented, well supported and, being Java based, is available for multiple platforms. It also features an embedded tracker so you can host your own torrents and DHT (Distributed Hash Table) which distributes indexing responsibility across multiple clients rather than relying on a single web-based tracker. With BitTorrent sites coming and going regularly DHT is definitely a plus.  One downside with Azureus is that the Java code will eat up your CPU cycles so you need a reasonably fast PC. Those with older machines should check out BitTornado. It’s also cross platform and is fast and highly configurable as well. Both products are adware and spyware free. An interesting new contender is μTorrent which comes in at a tiny 105KB. It’s fast, lean on resources, easy to use and requires no installation. It support trackerless downloads, , multiple simultaneous downloads and UPnP. An impressive achievement for such a tiny package.
http://azureus.sourceforge.net/ (6.4MB)
http://bittornado.com/ (3.3MB)
http://www.utorrent.com/ (105KB)

28 The Best Free FTP Client
I used WS_FTP Pro as my principal FTP client for years. What started out as simple and effective product gradually with each new version became more feature-bloated and less effective for routine tasks. With the release of Version 9 it was clear to me that the product had totally lost its way so I started looking for an alternative. After trying seven different FTP clients I decided that the best for me was the Open Source utility FileZilla. It uses a simple layout based on a two pane interface that looks a bit like the early versions of WS_FTP. But this simplicity is deceptive, it is actually a quite powerful product There’s a full featured site manager, firewall and proxy support, SSL and Kerberos GSS security, restart, drop and drag and a lot more. The only significant feature that’s missing is site-to-site transfer but that’s of no importance to me. What is of importance is that FileZilla is fast, totally reliable, secure and and very easy to use. There’s also a free FileZilla FTP server which I haven’t used but I hear that it’s just as good as the client. (4.5MB)
http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/

29 Best Free Bookmark Cleaner
AM-DeadLink scans your bookmark file for dead links or duplicate links. When I tried it on my huge favorites file I discovered 17% of my links were dead. I’ve now got a much leaner set of favorites and the comfort of knowing that the links actually work. (546KB)                                                   
http://aignes.com/press/deadlink140.htm

30 Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility New! Added October 20, 2005
This is getting scary. First I recommend Microsoft Antispyware as the best free spyware scanner and now I’m going to recommend another Microsoft product as the best in this category. Well, equal best. It’s called SyncToy v1.0 for Windows XP [1]  and, as the name implies, is only for XP – SP2. This program is more than a syncing program; it can copy, move, rename, and delete files between any number of folders and even computers. The program operates on the principal of pre-defined folder pairs. You define and name these pairs and then when you want to perform a sync or other task, you recall one of these pairs and carry out the operation. Syncing can be in either direction and covers all options from complete sync to updating newer files only. The handling of files with changed file names is exceptional as is the backup of overwritten files. Overall, pretty well everything you ever wanted in a sync utility. Also highly recommended is 2brightspark’s SyncBack. It works for Windows 98 and later and has a number of  features that SyncToy lacks such as the ability to back up using FTP.  It’s now a shareware product but the last freeware version is still available from a number of sites including the second link below.
[1] http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=E0FC1154-C975-4814-9649-
CCE41AF06EB7&displaylang=en  (844KB)
[2] http://www.snapfiles.com/get/SyncBack.html (1.9MB)

31 Best Free Screen Capture Utility 
Two recommendations here: The first is PrintScreen. It does exactly what I want, in the way I want and furthermore avoids the trap of providing lots of useless and confusing features. It’s the little things that count like making the hot key PrtSc so I don’t have to remember it, and automatically sequentially naming the output files for multiple screen shots. A second recommendation is Screen Hunter. It’s a commercial product but the "lite" free version is excellent, offering more features than Gadwin at the cost of a little added complexity. Both products work with Win 98 and later.
http://www.gadwin.com/printscreen/?prnscr   (976KB)
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/products/screenhunter.htm
  (381KB)

32 Best Free Search Toolbar
Search toolbars allow users to do web searches without having to go first to the home page of a search engine. This really saves a lot of time. In the last year search toolbars have become a hotly competed product class and as result, users now have an excellent choice. The "best" in terms of features is probably Yahoo’s Toolbar whose features include anti-spyware capabilities as well as popup blocking. It’s for Internet Explorer but they are currently offering a beta version for Firefox. My only beef with the Yahoo product is that I prefer to use Google for my web searches rather than Yahoo and that’s why I use the Google Toolbar which also offers popup blocking though no anti-spyware features. On the other hand it includes a useful web form spell-checker and a few other goodies not found in the Yahoo product. Google also offers a full Firefox version as well as the standard IE version. Some folks still like Dave’s Quick Search Bar because it gives access to multiple search engines. Another advantage is that it resides in your task bar rather than your browser so it’s easily accessible from any application. Other Dave’s features include a dictionary, thesaurus, calculator and a lot of customizability.
http://toolbar.yahoo.com/ie
(3MB)
http://www.dqsd.net/  (327KB)
http://toolbar.google.com/deskbar/ (447KB)

33 Best Free Download Manager Updated November 18, 2005
For some time I’ve been recommending Star Downloader but the freeware version has been effectively frozen at version 1.44 with future enhancements restricted to the shareware version. It is however, still a fine choice. After trying half a dozen other products, I’ve settled on "Free Downloader" as my new selection. It’s fast, stable and integrates well into both Internet Explorer and Firefox though the later will require the installation of the free FlashGot extension. With "Free Downloader" there is no embedded adware or nag screen and after using it for a couple of weeks, I’ve decided that it’s actually just as good as Star Downloader with the advantage that it’s still being actively developed. (1.31MB).
http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/download.htm

34 Best Free Web Site Ripper
HTTrack is one impressive product: it’s easy to use, has an excellent user interface, offers every feature you could want, is blindingly fast and free of any adware as well.  If you like to download web sites so that you can "browse them offline", this is the product to get. ( 3.23MB)
http://www.httrack.com/

35 Best Free Download/Upload Meter Updated November 18, 2005
NetMeter [1] shows upload and download speeds, along with cumulative weekly and monthly volumes and projected values. The program reminds me in many ways of Hagel’s excellent $20 shareware product "DU Meter."
 It’s freeware and works with all Windows versions. In essence, everything you really need for nix. A good second choice if you have the Microsoft .NET package already installed on your PC is BitMeter II from Codebox Software [2] . It’s a little more feature rich than NetMeter but uses a tad more of your PCs resources to deliver those features.
[1] http://readerror.gmxhome.de/ (601KB)

[2] http://codebox.no-ip.net/controller?page=bitmeter2  (806KB)

36 Best Free TCP Settings Tweaker
Whether you use a modem or broadband, you’ll get a faster connection if you tweak your connection’s TCP parameters. Among the most important of these is MaxMTU which, in simple terms, needs to be set to the largest value possible without your data being broken up into smaller chunks en-route. Most techies determine MaxMTU by trial and error pinging using different packet sizes but it’s a tedious procedure and definitely not for beginners. TCPOptimizer from SpeedGuide.net is a free utility that will do the job for you automatically. Furthermore, it will use this value to advise you on your other TCP settings and then apply these values at the press of the button. There are commercial programs that will do much the same thing but TCPOptimizer does it just as well and is totally free. The only minus is the lack of in-program help. However you’ll find a useful FAQ at the SpeedGuide site. (225KB)
http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php
http://www.speedguide.net/faq_in.php?category=100

37 Best Free File Cleaner
I’ve tried quite a few commercial products designed to clean unused, temporary and unnecessary files off your hard disk but must say that the free utility "Empty Temp Folders" [1] ranks with the best. It takes a few minutes to set up but after that, just press a button to recover many megabytes of disk space. An equally attractive alternative is CCleaner [2]. It’s a tad easier to use though not quite as effective in removing temporary files. Its default settings are also quite aggressive so check the options carefully before running for the first time. Both products may be used together for maximum cleaning. Between them you may be surprise how much disk space you will free up.
[1] http://www.danish-shareware.dk/soft/emptemp (667KB)
[2] http://www.ccleaner.com/ (403KB)

38 Best Free Resource Meter Updated November 18 2005
This is cute. TinyResMeter is an itsy-bitsy system monitor. Unlike many other monitors, it doesn’t consume a lot of CPU utilization in order to tell you your CPU utilization. In addition to CPU usage, you can optionally monitor cache, RAM, page file and swap file usage, running processes and threads, disk space utilization and a number of other parameters as well. Also built-in, is a screen grabber that saves the current screen to disk when you press PrintScreen. How the author fits all this into 92KB beats me. A new version is on the way offering even more functionality. If you are like something a little fancier than TinyResMeter then check out StatBar. It’s got more features than you could ever want though but at the cost of a higher resource overhead needed to run the program. Nice product though and easy to try out as the program doesn’t require installation.
http://perso.accelance.net/~pesoft/trm/us_trm.html  (92KB)
http://www.statbar.nl/
(1.65MB)

39 Best Free Sticky Notes Utility   Updated November 18 2005
Some people hate these programs others swear they can’t work effectively without them. I used to be in the first category but with so many things on my plate these days, I’m slowly being converted.  The function that I find really useful is the reminder that pops up at a designated time and date. I use it for simple things like "put up the latest issue on the web site." ATnotes is a neat implementation that features configurable alarms, resizable windows, variable fonts and a host of other useful features. The product is remarkably similar to the class-leading commercial sticky notes utility called, TurboNotes, a case perhaps of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. NOTE: As of the 30th of May 2005, development work has ceased and the author’s site pulled down. However someone has built a mirror of the author’s site [1] where you can read about ATnotes and download the final version. You can also download ATNotes from the a number of other sites including the second link below. If you want an alternative that is still being developed try StickyPad.  Some folks actually prefer it to ATnotes and I must admit the interface is very slick but I find the alarm function to be rather inflexible. It cannot for example handle recurring events such as birthdays. If you want that functionality you are better of with another sticky note program called "Stickies" from Zhorn Software. It’s not quite as svelte as the other two programs I’ve mentioned but it’s very effective in operation
[1] http://atnotes.free.fr/news.html (723KB)
[2] http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,17660,00.asp
[3] http://www.greeneclipsesoftware.com/stickypad.html (550KB)
[4] http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/stickies/ (596KB)

40 Best Free Secure Erase Utility  Updated November 18 2005
Eraser [1] is a free, GNU license utility that will securely erase files, folders or even whole disks from any Windows or DOS PC. Eraser overwrites data area with selectable random data patterns and also wipes data in the paging file, Internet cache, temporary files, Internet cookies, unused disk space and a number of other places where data can secretly lurk.  It handles FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS partitions as well.  Erasing files with high security will always be a difficult and time consuming task and can never offer absolute 100% safety. However Eraser makes the task about as easy as it be, with a security level beyond most conceivable requirements. Another rather different alternative is Darik’s Boot and Nuke  [2]. Its an Open Source program that’s used to construct a floppy disk or CD that will automatically wipe the all hard drives of any PC booted from the disk.  It’s great for bulk disk cleaning of PCs and is useful too as an emergency tool for quickly removing sensitive information.  However this power makes it a dangerous tool in the hands of beginners.
[1] http://sourceforge.net/projects/eraser  (2.8MB)
[2] http://dban.sourceforge.net/ (1.6MB)

41 Best Free Registry Editor
I’ve used the full version of Resplendent Registry Editor for years and have never had any reason to look for an alternative. Recently a subscriber asked me what was the best free registry editor and that made me realize I’ve never looked at that particular product category. The first product I checked out was Registrar Lite, the free version of Resplendent Registry Editor and I’d have to say it’s an impressive freebie. To start with, it works totally reliably – an essential feature for any registry editor. On top of that, the user interface is simple, the functionality excellent and, perhaps most importantly, it has a really fast search. I did, however, miss a "search and delete" option – that’s unfortunately only available on the full product. That said, it leaves Regedit for dead. If you know a better free registry editor, drop me an email. (2.0MB).
http://www.resplendence.com/reglite

42 Best Free Process Viewer
PrcView has long been my personal choice but Process Explorer has pushed it aside. The reason? A better display setup coupled with more features and even more information. Process Explorer uses two vertical panes. The top contains all active processes while the second shows either all the handles opened by a selected process or, optimally, a list of DLLs and memory mapped files. A very handy search feature allows you to work backwards from named DLLs or handles to the owning process. A gem. Freeware, 230KB. 
http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/procexp.shtml

43 Best Free PC Inventory Tool Updated November 18, 2005
The freeware utility AIDA32 was the best system inventorying tool ever, regardless of price.  It documented just about every aspect of your hardware and software configuration as well as checking networks and providing memory benchmarks. However the developer announced in March 2004 that the free product had been frozen. Development work shifted to a commercial organization called Lavalys and AIDA32 was re-launched as Everest. Lavalys now provides a commercial "professional" version of Everest as well as a free home version [1]. The free version is not as full featured as the old AIDA32 but it is still impressive. You can however still find the old AIDA32 at the second link below[2]. If you  only need to inventory a single PC then you should also check out Belarc Advisor [3]. It’s free for non commercial use and while not quite as thorough as AIDA32, it has the advantage of being actively developed.
[1] http://www.lavalys.com/products.php?lang=en (4.0MB)
[2] http://www.soft32.com/download_9181.html (5MB)
[3] http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html  (830KB)

44 Best Free Search and Replace Utility 
There are several contenders for this title but HandyFile’s excellent Find and Replace program is my favorite. It’s fast, has a simple but effective user interface and some nice features including support for regular expressions. It started life as a free product before going commercial however the free version is still floating around and can be downloaded from a number of sites including the one below. (361KB)
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com/downloads/HFFRSetup.exe

45 Best Free Outliner Updated November 18, 2005
I’m not a great fan of outliners – my brain doesn’t work that way. Some folks however, swear by them and if that includes you, then you should check out Keynote, an Open Source freeware program that has a dedicated band of followers.  Its major design attribute is its ease of use. Words like "natural" and "seamless" come close to the mark but really don’t capture the essence of what is really a great design. What do you do with it? Well to quote the web site “KeyNote is used by screenwriters to draft screenplays, by medical doctors to keep patient databases, by developers to store source code snippets – and to everyone it serves as a place to put all the random pieces of information that have no particular structure of relationship to other data, and do not fit easily in task-specific applications such as word-processors, databases or spreadsheets.”  Unfortunately the program is no longer being developed but is totally usable in its current form. If you find that a turn-off you might like to consider NeoMem as an alternative. It’s another Open Source program but is not really a dedicated outliner rather more of a general purpose program that can be used as an outliner. It’s a kind of hybrid of a database and word processor that’s designed to allow you to organize, store, hyperlink and search information. That bland description totally under-sells the product.  It’s one of those programs that you really need to use in order to understand the potential. It works with all Windows versions so try it.
[1] http://www.tranglos.com/free/index.html (1.7MB)
[2] http://www.neomem.org/neomem.htm (640KB)

46 Best Free Rename Utility
If you want industrial strength file renaming there are two great choices: First there’s  Lupas Rename 2000. This is a small utility for Win 98 and later that globally renames all the files in a directory and its subdirectories. It can convert names to upper/lower case, change the case of the first letter, add text, left crop, right crop and just about anything else you can think of. And unlike DOS based utilities, it will work on hidden files as well. Add in a nice GUI interface, an undo feature, full preview of changes, MP3 tag renaming, support for regular expressions and the fact that it’s free and you have an outstanding product. The second and equally attractive option is Flexible Renamer. It’s quite similar to Lupas and choosing between them is not easy.  Lupas seems to me to be easier to use for simply renaming files while Flexible Renamer has the edge with tags. Flexible Renamer can also can bulk change file attributes while Lupas can’t. It also runs without installation, a definite plus. However if you only need a re-namer for re-labeling digital photos and MP3 files you might like instead to looked at a program called "THE Rename" (sic)." that’s better suited to these tasks. It’s freeware and works on all versions of Windows though usage is not very intuitive.   
[1] http://www.azheavymetal.com/~lupasrename/download.php   (742KB)
[2] http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA014830/english/FlexRena/    (648KB)
[3] http://www.herve-thouzard.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=1 (2.8MB)

 

2005年12月30日

 在线演示主要使用科大讯飞当前最新版本的InterPhonic 4.0语音合成系统,提供实时的效果演示您可以在下侧的文本框中输入想要合成的文本(可以是普通文本,也可以是规范的CSSML标记文本),设置需要的合成参数,点击“提交”将合成语音文件,点击播放 按钮将播放语音文件。

地址:

http://www.iflytek.com/speech%20shows.asp

觉得有意思的话,可以让它来给你读一段。不过在我这效果不怎么好。

2005年12月29日

看看这个吧,我不能侃侃而谈,为什么?我太年轻,但我会苍老。一个男人的容颜,一个女人的容颜,以及三个孩子男人的容颜。他们随着岁月的流逝、男、女人成熟,那是自然的现象。结婚,生子。孩子从幼年慢慢长大,那是多么可爱的脸庞,充满的希望,曾经,他们的父母也是这样。生命的周轮,得到这个后果年代。
互联网也是如是,现在真是青年时代。谁也不知道他们的命运,但我们相信是美好的,我们一直在呵护。到此打住,再也写不下去了。
图片地址:
http://zonezero.com/magazine/essays/diegotime/time.html

最近中国的“妇”联网没有什么新闻,当然,猫扑收购donews事件除外,打开donews.com,一片片的文字都是关于donews.com的报道,如下:
猫扑欲收购donews是真是假???
当猫扑向DONEWS以及其他
没有人比刘韧更爱donews
不看好陈一舟收购donews
据说“猫”、“牛”要换股
当猫扑向Donews的时候
听刘韧讲述donews嬗变的一分钟
DoNews价值观
等等,当然,还有我这样没有列举出来的小看点,谁知道有多少?
一会儿说收购了,一会儿又说么有呢。你以为这是玩的吗?当然,事出SINA。donews.的老大们无不感到意外,钱拿到手了是好事,价钱也不少了的说(谁能真正估计到donews.的价值,刘怕还在考虑中了)。
我不明白这里面的玄机,或许,是牛是猫的操作,或许是什么其它的事,好像,与我无关。

         最近以来,我的IE总只被林林总总的“东东”所劫持,这些“东东”就是最近有抬头趋势的间谍、广告软件。虽然杀毒软件保持在每3个小时的频率更新,还是赶不上这些“东东”所带来的惊喜。我是一介网络平民,不是一个专业的杀毒专家,没有时间总是停留在研究病毒是怎么来到电脑里面的——尽管我尽量保持着良好的上网习惯,走浏览知名网站的路线,不去不健康的站点浏览,不到非正规的站点下载软件,不收阅陌生人发送的邮件。可是我不能保证去的地方都是不能去的地方,网络之大,海洋之深,“东东”随时都可以出现的可能性。但我发现,我所中的“东东”利益出自于广告,可恶的广告!

         某个网站的广告杀入了我的电脑,因为站长很缺钱来维持它的网站,所以当我打开SINA的时候,它会依据我输入的网址内容,弹出相应广告。这个我很理解,没有哪个网站是真正的公益网站,那它也可能终究活不长。可是那个站长还叫嚣,可以供应任何网站的地址广告,多么有创意的经营者。刚装完系统,可恶的这个网站终于离我远去。我的漂亮女友跑来上网,她让可怜的我在装完系统不到2小时内中招,让伟大的Microsoft把自己的搜索页面转到某个知名的网址导航上,感觉就是一场惊心动魄的钓鱼。即使我想时光倒流回到2小时前的系统也无济于事。查!伟大的程序员让我享受到了网络的快乐,也让我们感受到无尽的痛苦,痛苦在于,我花钱买的东西我无法按照我的哪怕一点点想法去操纵它。

        谁在操纵着网卡的利益?最大的利益驱动便是广告!用户花时间、金钱才好不容易来到这个浩瀚的网络上,在欣喜之余,等待的却是无穷无尽的广告杀手。但却不知道它们在我的系统里面干了些什么?它会不会把我漂亮女友的照片上传到它的数据库中,会不会将我写得稍微肉麻的情书做数据分析等等?它还没有打个招呼就进驻我的系统时,我不得不花大量的时间来清理这个小可爱,装上反病毒、反广告、反间谍的程序,拖得我的系统半天不能启动,宝马变成拖拉机的时候,我在思考它的存在价值。我不知道谁干了这样的好事,但我知道一个人最清楚,那就是广告商。狼与狈的游戏,抓住了狼,狈还很遥远吗?在我的电脑跳出非意愿的广告时,当然要向主子报告,看,又一台电脑上弹出了你交给的广告,钱,多少还是会有点的吧?要不,让用户的IE自然导入你的网站,流量变大,功劳不可小看。流量大,广告多,还不渗漏,你好我也好。

       我的思想又在天空中无限的缥缈,你控制了我的电脑,总不能也进入了我的思想吧?在未有关于间谍软件方面的法律条文出来之前,广告商也应该建立一种责任,这种责任是对自己投放广告的监督。同时,我们也应该呼吁,间谍软件的界定及相关法律的制定急需完善,有法才可依,打击那些侵犯他人合法利益的活动,还给网民们一个美好的网络环境。谁会是状告广告商的第一人,反正不是我我。我重新装系统的时间只要半个小时,广告商专门的律师有的是时间,打完官司后我可能牺牲在最前线上。我是惧怕者,我可爱的女朋友在等着我,大不了,OK,走,关掉电脑,咱们逛街去?如何?

2005年12月18日

Google has just released a set of components called Libjingle that allow third party applications to interact with Google Talk. The components, which include some source code, are being released under a very liberal license allowing for free incorporation into commercial and non-commercial software.

We are releasing this source code as part of our ongoing commitment to promoting consumer choice and interoperability in Internet-based real-time-communications. The Google source code is made available under a Berkeley-style license, which means you are free to incorporate it into commercial and non-commercial software and distribute it.

In addition to enabling interoperability with Google Talk, there are several general purpose components in the library such as the P2P stack which can be used to build a variety of communication and collaboration applications. We are eager to see the many innovative applications the community will build with this technology.

Below is a summary of the individual components of the library. You can use any or all of these components.

* base – Low-level portable utility functions.
* p2p – The p2p stack, including base p2p functionality and client hooks into XMPP.
* session – Phone call signaling.
* third_party – Non-Google components required for some functionality.
* xmllite – XML parser.
* xmpp – XMPP engine.

Google has done a great job with spurring Google Maps mashups – some people claim hundreds of thousands of third party applications. This code release is even more important and is a huge end around Skype. In fact, Google has basically put a gun to Skype’s head and demanded they now release their API as well.

Skype allows integration with the Skype client. What Google has done goes far beyond this, allowing integration with the Google Talk’s VOIP network.

Here’s an example of a potential mashup – putting google map location information in the same application as google talk, allowing mapping of everyone in the conversation (Gizmo does this). See local businesses and people and add them to the conversation.

2005年12月17日

不翻译了,因为不会翻译

It certainly isn’t the much anticipated Google Music Store, but today Google started to incorporate music information into normal google search results in the same way they incorporate movie and stock information. If Google recognizes the band, album or song, they will put results at the top of search.

Now you can search for a popular artist name, like the Beatles or the Pixies, and often Google will show some information about that artist, like cover art, reviews, and links to stores where you can download the track or buy a CD via a link at the top of your web search results page.

Om says he found lots of obscure music, but my favorite band from college isn’t included.

Google is currently linking to iTunes, Rhapsody and others to purchase music as well as reviews from select sites on the web. This is, of course, a good first step in putting together a music store. Let’s see where they go with this.

2005年12月16日

雅虎中国换脸已经很久了,虽然笔者不常访问它。因为现在的门户,只要看一个就可以看全部了,所以没有必要到处找消息。雅虎中国的首页变了,变得简洁,这个到是可喜可贺,门户的长、繁华,内容却不被用户看,只是用户访问其它页面的跳板。虽然说雅虎中国说要专心搞搜索,但笔者认为,它的其它内容是绝对不会缩水的,只是将搜索的页面放在最前面,就这么一点,不是么?但它又什么宣传的效应,表明Yahoo的某种决心,只有以后看到了~~~~

2005年12月11日

刚才看电视,说老方将在凤凰上露小脸,引起了我的兴趣,想看下去。但没有时间了,听他款什么,这不是主要的,重要的是,有没有新的东西,不要总是宣扬自己的WEB年代,这值得怀疑的~~~~