April 29, 2004

The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

Many thanks to Dennis Kennedy for the link to "The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities". This is a phenomenal list for anyone who looks for utility programs to fill a niche need. Power users in particular should find these of interest. Included in the list are some which I've previously discussed here, such as Spybot Search and Destroy, MyIE2, YahooPOPS! and others.

The great thing about a compilation like this is that there is always something new that I haven't come across. In this regard, these utilities look worthy to take out for a spin:

PocketKnife Peek, a small free Outlook add-in that allows you to preview your HTML email as text. To fight spam, security and privacy intrusions, etc. this is a must. While Outlook 2003 has some new preview content filtering features (particularly re: third party ad graphics or web bugs), prior Outlook versions do not, and using Outlook's preview pane is just as bad as opening the HTML e-mail itself. Only a few days ago, I mentioned how important it is to view questionable e-mails in a text-only format, so PocketKnife Peek is a timely find.

AM-DeadLink scans your bookmark file for dead links or duplicate links. If you're an early web adopter like me, you probably have hundreds or thousands of bookmarks accumulated, some of which are likely dead links by now. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone else go through them to determine which links are still active?

Gadwin PrintScreen looks to be a good replacement for some of the commercial screen capture programs. I've liked using SnagIt as a well-rounded screencap utility previously, but I don't need all of its bells and whistles, nor the price. Thus Gadwin PrintScreen should come in handy, particularly when I need some control for capturing partial screenshots for documentation and articles. I also find it a great way to document various programs' settings: Just go into the desired Options or Setup menus, and capture them to compact JPEG files or compile them into a single RTF file which can be opened by just about any word processor. It's not the same thing as a full registry or .INI file backup, but it's a quick down and dirty way to document items in a common format.

HTTrack is a free web site capture utility. While there are many excellent commercial products, I have only an occasional need for one, so this one looks like it just might do the trick.

Star Downloader Free may indeed be a rare find: A free download accelerator which purportedly doesn't contain ads, spyware, time limits or other malware found in virtually all other free download accelerators. While I've found some of the Mozilla-based download managers to work well, they are still somewhat basic. Star Downloader adds more features without the nasty side effects.

All in all, this is an impressive list, and while you probably won't have need for all of them, there are most definitely some gems listed. Another diverse resource for freeware programs is NoNags.com, which like its namesake, features free programs without any nag screens. Likewise, I often find many useful free open source programs at SourceForge.net. For Palm users, I also heartily recommend FreewarePalm.com. Just because it's free doesn't mean it's not worth using. Many times, I find the freeware programs easier to pick up and use, simply because they don't have all the bloat, they generally run fairly quickly, and their developers actively listen to their users' suggestions. In other words, software for the rest of us.

Topic(s):   Legal Technology
Posted by Jeff Beard