Tag Archives: freeware
They said it couldn’t be done. They said no man could pull it off. But Opera did it anyway.
Of course, I have no idea what they were talking about. But for the fine folks at Opera software it clearly was possible to achieve at least one important goal: dropping yet another Big O in the laps of consumers everywhere. Today they’ve dropped the new 11.64 update–notably skipping 11.63 (how are they! It’s unprecedented in the world of software, right? Wait, you mean 11.63 appeared on OSX? Oh, okay then)–which addresses a number of minor security fixes, crashes.
If you’ve never given Opera a try, now’s as good a time as any. The browser’s always been extremely fast, stable and secure, making it a complete mystery as to why it isn’t as popular as Firefox or Chrome (perhaps Opera just lacks the marketing dollars–I’d have to look it up but I’m too lazy), but hey, whatever–it’s free.
Go try it already!
We all know by now that these are tough times, and when tough times come along what do nerds do? We troll the internet for Freeware, of course! Probably the most successful of our (more or less) ongoing series’ here on ATNS has been our reviews of excellent free applications that anyone can use at no charge to do the kinds of things that the big boys pay big bucks for. While we’ve recently been, shall we say, a bit lax concerning our reviewing responsibilities–things are about to kick up in a serious way. We’ve been gathering the latest and greatest freeware apps to our sides, glued our butts to our chairs (well, OK, so it isn’t actual glue…) and have begun sifting through more free goodies than even Lord Voldemort could shake his rather deadly stick at.
In anticipation of the forthcoming explosion of Freeware reviews, we’ve decided that a monthly newsletter, to serve as a digest of sorts, would probably be a darn good idea. With that in mind, I bid you look to the sidebar for the simple and easy sign up form. You’ll have to check your email for the confirmation letter and click that sucker, but beyond that you should be in relatively good shape. We’ll promise not to sell your email to spammers (well, unless they offer us a really big bag of money) and in return we ask that you promise not to do terrible things to our pets. Which, let me tell you, if you harm one hair on my Nintendog’s head, you’re in for a butt kickin’!
So today we’re checking out something especially geeky, the VisualSVN SubVersion Control Server. Yeah, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? For most folks, this is something you’ll never, ever use. However, if you’re a person who develops, say, software-or artwork-or games, then this will be of interest to you. There’s a lot of Version Control software out there, and believe me I’ve looked at a lot of it lately. But most of it has a problem that prevents it from being accessible to the average user: most of it runs on Linux. Now, Linux software is all well and good, and there’s very little negative I’d ever say about Linux overall. However, the reality remains that for the average user-who by this point has used Windows of one flavor or another for most of their computing life-Linux just isn’t very friendly. As a rule this won’t matter because people who need version control can often afford to hire an engineer who understands Linux just fine, or they may be savvy enough to sort it out on their own. This software, indeed this review, is not for you.
Who this software is for, is the small time developer of something, whether it’s code or art or whatever, who needs version control but doesn’t have a huge budget or a lot of time to spend learning the ins and outs of Linux. This is version control that you can install on Windows in 5 minutes, have it configured in 10, and be using it in 20 (the extra 10 is because you will need to install Tortoise SVN on your client PC and reboot, then configure it to Check Out your repository). If you’re unfamiliar (and I was until a few days ago), what this software does is it runs on a server that your team then connect to via client software on their PC’s. The clients each sync to and from the server, and as changes are made to the files in your project everyone is kept up to date on the latest project files with their own local copy. When they’ve made changes, they sync back to the server and the rest of the team will get their changes next time they sync.
OK smartasses, you thought you had me, didn’t ya? You thought “Oh look, he forgot to post up a FreeWare review today”, didn’t ya? Yeah? Well…you’re right. I did forget. I suck! On the bright side, I did already have a plan for it, so we’ll go ahead and with that right now.
Today’s exciting Freeware pick is IOBit’s Smart Defrag software for Windows. Like virtually any defragmenting software it’s far superior to the built in Windows Defrag, but more than that I’d say it’s probably better than many of the commercial defragmenters currently on the market. As a Windows user, the need to defragment your hard drive is a simple fact of life. You either do it or you face a downward spiral of decreasing performance, slower access times for all your software and worse performance for Windows itself. Windows Vista is particularly bad about this; an untended drive can easily become 30-40% fragmented in a matter of weeks or months depending on use (though in fairness, Vista is far more resilient to fragmentation than earlier versions of Windows have been).
Most people probably haven’t heard of IOBit, but if you use a PC at all you really should. IOBit provides some very interesting free software that I’ve enjoyed using for about a year now, and I’m happy to be able to report that their software is both high quality, professionally polished and updated damn frequently. It’s with this idea in mind that I introduce today’s Freeware Review product, Advanced System Care 3.
Just what is Advanced System Care? Let’s start with the basics. Advanced System Care will help you remove spyware threats from your system, inocculate against future infection by scanning for and plugging known vulnerabilities in the OS (read: Windows flavor) you use, and it will check for items that can be optimized to get a little better performance out of your system. If you’re a user of some of their other free products it’ll integrate with those as well.
Don’t let the name fool you–the fact that we live in the era of Windows Vista with an impending Windows 7 likely hitting our doorsteps later this year is no reason to avoid this fantastic CD and DVD Burning application. For those who remember using Ahead Software’s Nero back in the day, before it became…well, enormous, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that CD Burner XP is all about the data burning operation.
It’s pleasantly small at only 3.03MB, making it both fast to download and fast to install. A word of warning for those who may be averse: this app requires Microsoft’s free .Net Framework in order to operate. My sincere recommendation for those who’re fearful of .Net is simply this: get over it. The framework is very light and very useful, and unlike the early builds it’s pretty darn stable.