This website is dedicated to all things computer and Internet related
(but is geared mostly to those who are new to freeware software use)

As well as to serving geeks and nerds who're technology enthusiasts

 

 

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Geek vs. Nerd

The Saga Continues

The terms "nerd" and "geek" can have very dissimilar interpretations depending entirely upon who is using them, even though currently they are often used interchangeably. The designation of someone being referred as "geek," (as opposed to nerd, dweeb, and dork which are most often used as a derogatory moniker) is usually a far more discernible term, with different and meanings ranging from a passing computer buff or enthusiast to the more qualified user. Many feel that a geek is simply put; someone who has an obsession with computers and/or whose life consists of online video games, watching sci-fi, and performing computer related tasks, primarily because they possess are thought to possess greater-than-average computer skills. The term nowadays enjoys a uniquely special status within the technical community, especially among particularly knowledgeable computer programmers.

 

"Stony" Suggests:

Be sure to check out the numerous 'Obsolete Computers' which are listed at the following website link:

Oldcomputers.net

That site has a fairly comprehensive listing of "Oldies but Goodies" from the 1970's thru the early '90s

(Be sure and browse the Old Computer Ads as well)

 

Also, Go Back In Time:

Click on the link below to:

See What Ten Very Large and (now far more) Prominent Websites

Looked Like Many Years Ago

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So, What Exactly is Freeware Anyway?

Freeware refers to the many free software programs, suites and utilities available on the Internet;

that the software's copyright owner decided to make available to computer users - free of charge!

The term was originally formulated by early computer software innovators from blending the two separate words: "free" and "software" into a single word; freeware. This particular classification of free software program; implicitly denotes that it is made available for use with absolutely no time limits. Although freeware is provided without cost and can be used for an unlimited time period; there are usually some kind of usage restrictions such as "free only for academic use," and/or for non-commercial use or (most often noted as) to be installed solely for personal use. Sometimes there is a fee for commercial use; usually with a few additional options and features and maybe even a training manual which teaches the client's employees how to best use it.

The actual definition of term "freeware" is, simply put: a categorization of computer software program applications and utilities which have been created by the program's developers for the distinct intention of allowing users to download them from the internet; then to install these programs onto their computers and most importantly - to keep the software for free! There are some things that you should come to expect from any program which claims to be 'freeware' and would be - first and foremost - that you will never have to pay for the program, in any way, at any time. Additionally, that the program will turn out to be precisely what its description says it will do as well as the absolute assurance by the author that the users' privacy will not be encroached upon in any way.

There are literally thousands these free programs made available for download on the web from both the developers' websites as well as many other software downloading sites. These types of software downloading websites; such as MajorGeeks.com as well a Snapfiles.com and Freewarefiles.com and Freeware-Guide.com (which also has a handy webpage on its site entitled Freeware Updates Page offering the very latest updates for the freeware programs listed there). These are just some of the best ones out there, which offer users a vast selection of freeware and/or shareware programs; many of which also include detailed editorial descriptions and user reviews, a rating (usually 1-5 stars) and screenshots that are created during the review.

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Most of the more reputable download sites will take the time to also pre-test

ALL of the software they have available;

For any potential adware malware, spyware and viruses during the review process.

 

 

Sometimes such software downloading websites will also offer their own in-site search engine, product categories, freeware/shareware separation and lists of their most popular downloads. There is also very often an option for users to submit their own software commentary and reviews of products listed on the sites and to participate in an online bulletin board or forum within the website itself where other users can guide you through the process of installation or assist you with any problems you may have afterwards. But before you download or attempt to install anything; there are a few things you need to do: (1) learn the proper terminology involved and (2) follow about the particular relevant course of action to follow in order to achieve the intended results: The safe and sound installation and consequent use of your new freeware programs.

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"Freeware" is software you do not pay for, ever, in any way, period.

It is yours to keep! The following is a brief list of things that freeware is not:

 

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You can view far more thorough definitions and explanations

of what these terms actually mean, listed below:

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Open Source Software

(aka: OSS or Public domain software)

Freeware Licenses

 

Public domain software is simply called "free software" but unlike freeware; public domain software does not have a specific copyright owner and/or binding license restrictions. It is the only software that can be legally modified by the users for their own purposes. However another type of freeware is commonly categorized by the term "open source." Not to be confused an individual program which is offered as 'free' in and of itself; an Open-Source Software aka: OSS License (which is sometimes referred to as a "free software license") is a software license which grants recipients extensive rights to modify and redistribute, which would otherwise be prohibited by copyright law. The FSF or Free Software Foundation (a group that asserts the Free Software Definition), maintains an in-depth list of free software licenses.

This list distinguishes between free software licenses that are considered to be compatible or incompatible with the FSF license of choice, the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license. Copyleft provisions distinctly state that when modified versions of any open source free software are distributed, they must be distributed under the exact same terms as the original software. This is sometimes referred to as a "share and share alike" or "quid pro quo" provision. With regards to license compatibility; licenses of software packages containing contradictory requirements, render it impossible to combine source code from such packages in order to create new software packages.

The list also contains licenses which the Free Software Foundation considers non-free for various reasons, but which are sometimes mistaken as being free. A group launched in 1998, called Open Source Initiative also maintains a list of approved licenses. Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope which was originally formed in order to educate about as well as advocate for the benefits of open source and for the purpose of building bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

In practice "open source" software packages are generally constructed in an unobstructed, publicly collaborative manner with individual application authors often gaining input from various other developers; as the programs progress from their 'beta-stage' onto to full development. The vast majority of free software uses undisputed free software licenses; however, there have been many debates over whether or not certain other licenses qualify for the definition. The majority of free software licenses require that modified software not claim to be unmodified. Some licenses also require that copyright holders be credited.

Certain OSS software licenses will restrict distribution in order to force the derived projects to allow the freedom to use, study, modify, and redistribute the derived project. Some free software licenses carry requirements and restrictions which apply to distributors. There exists an ongoing debate within the free software community regarding the fine line between what restrictions can be applied and still be called "free." Although users can retain the application installation file as well as the program itself; in many cases (almost always, actually) the freeware software developer will still own the actual copyright to the software. This is done in order to establish the specific and exacting terms under which it can be used and distributed. The written computer program's and/or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory.

 

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EULA (End User License Agreement)

(read now, prior to installation... or users will pay later)

The program author will request some payment, usually within the accompanying documentation .txt files or sometimes eventually in a pop-up announcement which is initiated by the software itself. Such payment may or may not buy additional support or functionality. A most often ignored aspect of shareware use; is the 'fine print within the wording of the EULA (End User License Agreement) which is the legal agreement between the manufacturer and purchaser of software that stipulates the terms of usage. The EULA is almost always displayed on screen at time of installation and then requires that the user click either "Accept" or "I Agree," in order to get to the next installation screen - otherwise the software will simply not install.

 

 

Regardless of the legalese and mumbo-jumbo usually within them; I always encourage users who are considering installing any new software onto their computers to at least briefly scroll though and take gander at the EULA licenses; reading them carefully (if that's possible) whenever installing software, as they vary widely. Large companies invariably thoroughly read these license agreements very carefully for major procurements (mostly for legal and other liability reasons). However it is a widely known but rarely discussed truth that the average home user hardly ever takes the time to bother with reading the EULA when installing a program, because it is often lengthy and filled with complicated legalese.

Nevertheless, the fact that people do not read the agreement; which is exactly the means by which some of the more malicious spyware software has maliciously but "legally" been distributed to users over the years. Some EULA's have explicitly stated that; along with the program the user intends to install, that additional software is be included (usually in the form of Adware or so-called "Search toolbars") which will consequently report the user's surfing habits or perform some other undesirable function while the computer is in use. The worse of these offenders upon will leave the spyware embedded within operating system and/or the registry of the users computer upon removal the software; even continuing to spy on the users habits online or otherwise - long after the program has been uninstalled.

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Donationware vs. Freeware

Money is for nothing and the "clicks" ain't free!

 

 

A Penny for Your Thoughtfulness?

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Occasionally the 'free' program creators will ask those who download their programs for a small donation. This is commonly referred to as "donationware" software which in essence; is a variant of freeware that offers an option to its user to make a contribution to the program's author. Donationware is a licensing model that furnishes fully operational software to the user for free and then usually pleads for an optional donation to be paid to the program authors and in turn they will offer to provide 'preferential support' and assistance while you are using the software. When no support is offered then the donation is requested simply in the interest of further continued future development. Sometimes the requested potential donations are for a specific third-party beneficiary (usually the developer's favorite non-profit pet charity or other some other cause).

In many cases where the request to donate money continually 'nags' the user with each application of the program's use, this type of freeware is frequently referred to as 'nagware.' These types of software products are usually accompanied with a pop-up "nag screen" which prompts the user to donate or directs the user to the developer's website page; wherein the often author keeps on requesting a donation, should you find the software useful. It is important to note that if these developers actually "require" a fee in order to continue using the program, regardless of what they classify their programs as on their websites - they are NOT actually offering users freeware - it is actually referred to as 'shareware' plain and simple.

Software which requires any payment at all is always classified as shareware; and should be clearly described as such on any site which offers the programs for download. The reason I stress this is because there are many unscrupulous sites out there on the Internet which will offer software as a "free download" without making it very clear (up front) that payment is actually required in order to continue using the programs and utilities which are made available on such websites. Therefore it is always a good idea to research the site using a search engine in order to see if there have been many complaints prior to downloading any .exe or .zip installation files from websites that you are not familiar with. This particular type of software (donationware, that is) is always made available free of charge but then 'encourages' the user to make a monetary donation either to the author of the product or to a named charity or to any charity of the user's choosing.

There Are more than a few Scammers Out There

* So Be Careful Whenever Choosing to Donate *

Just a few words of caution before you decide whether or not you want to try this kind of program.

While I have found the vast majority of donationware developers are decent folks who have honorable intentions, it's still always a good idea to check on their reputations through a thorough online search; as well as the reputation of the charity that they want you to donate to first; prior sending anything off to them. My advice regarding these software products: I would be to strongly urge caution, if you should eventually decide to donate to just anybody out there on the web (and be especially careful whenever using a credit or debit card or even sending off a check).

In my experiences testing and researching the viability of these types of software programs; I have found that most of the donationware authors who are not ethically challenged use the online PayPal service, which is a much safer way to send money, or make an online payment, receive money when you are buying from (or selling to) anyone online. If the software developer's donation process involves using PayPal; this will offer a great deal of protection against fraud; then if you used a debit or credit card or sent a check out.

Donationware software is generally never time limited or 'crippled' after the trial period is over, (as is the case with most trialware also known as: shareware programs). Crippleware is a common term used to describe shareware programs whose usability is either terminated or is severely limited beyond that of the paid for fully-functioning model; most often in the interest of its author having the user make a purchase of the 'uncrippled' (no longer disabled) and fully operative version of that program.

Crippleware is similar to baitware except that it is a freeware product which is designed as deliberately poor in quality; with a few, but generally not all of the features of a the software application. The reason fro this is that the program author has intended to entice those who download the freeware to purchase the complete application. Bloatware on the other hand is a slang term for software that is potentially useful but is considered by many users to be over-packed with features and is therefore slow or unwieldy to operate and inefficiently designed and consequentially; needlessly uses up an excessive amount of memory or disk space.

Side Note:

Often folks who are new to downloading confuse freeware types and sometimes donationware is confused with "demo software" also called 'demoware' which is always for demonstration-only proposes is not intended to be the actually fully functioning program. Although it sometimes is the case - rarely actually - that demoware may allow partial functioning. This type of software is mainly designed to demonstrate to companies or individual potential clients what the purchased version is capable of doing, and often works more like an automated tutorial. However if a person using it wants to use the program, they must buy a fully functioning version.

 

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About ADWARE and SPYWARE

(aka: Malware that 'Spies' on the User)

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Advertising Supported software is referred to as 'Adware' which is the common jargon used to describe any software program that is provided to the user 'free of charge' but comes with advertisements, banners or browser toolbars. The ads are generally embedded within the application and then consequently are usually seen on the program's interface while it is in use. Many developers use adware as a source of added income and to keep the costs of developing and marketing the software down; ordinarily making it available to users free of charge while providing either frequent or sporadic updates of their programs. Software containing any commercial advertisement at all should always be clearly labeled as such and always referred to as Adware (and not freeware). In more universal terms, adware simply means any software application or utility that includes ads which are usually displayed when the program starts up, while the software is running and/or as it is closing down.

These advertisements can take many forms, from relatively noninvasive banners within a program, to very invasive pop-up windows that show up in the foreground regardless of that you are doing when it is operative. While the adware concept may be a great concept in principal; and offered as a trade-off to the user who downloads, installs it and keeps the program for free; the downside of it is that the advertising companies also install additional tracking software on your system, which is continuously "calling home" while using your Internet connection in order to send out reports of statistical data back to the adware originator's "home base."

Just about all of the more popular internet search engines offer toolbars to install on computers

Using a toolbar definitely accomplishes search tasks in a far less complicated manner. Instead of entering the search engine's URL or clicking on a favorite or bookmark, you just enter the query in the search box. They have links to a dictionary, phone numbers, thesaurus, acronym, currency, conversion, and other immediate types of specific information look-up services. Some of the most popular ones; AltaVista, Google, and Dogpile include pop-up blockers. Sometimes 3rd party software developers offer toolbars during the installations of their programs and utilities in order to support future development of their programs and utilities - it is as simple as that. They get a miniscule fee for every individual program that is downloaded and installed.

Consequently, these small fees add up in time so that they can continue to offer programs free of charge - as well as update them periodically. Most of the time, the vast majority of such programs "offer" these during the installation process and the user can then "opt out" if they wish to. It's entirely up to the user to decide whether or not this "hassle" is worth it in order to use the FREE program. Many users have problems and concerns about installing these types of toolbars; particularly the way in which the toolbars are embedded into Internet Explorer, as there is a potential security risk. My advice would be to not to install ANY such programs, especially if you are in a hurry to do so; or you may suffer the results of an unwanted toolbar (and/or any other adware or nagware.) As always my advice would be: "Let the Downloader Beware!"

How to Uninstall/Remove any and all 'Unwanted Toolbars' from the Internet Explorer Browser:

1. After clicking on the Start Menu button; open the Windows Control Panel
2. Click on Programs & Features.
3. Once the Programs & Features window is open highlight any unwanted toolbar and then click the Uninstall button to start the toolbar uninstall process.

Note: You can also save a lot of time by uninstalling all (or deactivating some) of the unwanted toolbars you might have installed on your computer all at once; by using the freeware program SlimComputer. There is much more detail about this utility below...

To give you an example of this type of situation, my brother called me recently and asked if I would stop by and take a look at his next-door neighbor's (newer model) computer; because it was evidentially running extraordinarily slowly "for no apparent reason" and he couldn't figure out why. When I started the computer up it took like 3-4 minutes to completely boot up and I could clearly and immediately see what the root of the problem was: It was simply because he had installed so many unnecessary toolbars (like 8 or 9, I think it was) as the PC was loading which were draining valuable system resources, hence slowing down the computer in the process. Evidently his two young daughters had been constantly downloading programs and games and had "unknowingly" carelessly installed all of the toolbars as well as numerous other adware and spyware onto the computer.

To fix this problem; I simply downloaded and installed the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free edition program in order to clean up and remove the adware/spyware as well as the SlimComputer program, which is an excellent free Microsoft certified utility that allows users to identify and remove all of the unneeded pre-installed programs, toolbars, Trial Offers, unnecessary startup entries, shortcuts and demo programs and links. Users can also disable unneeded services that needlessly consume system valuable resources. Both of these programs are very easy to understand and use; especially for novices and/or those who are using their first computer.

Important Side Notes about the SlimComputer install process: If you decide to try it out; during the installation process; be aware of the fact that the SlimComputer program installer (quite ironically) also "offers" the user the option to install AVG toolbar as well as change to the AVG homepage. If you do not want these changes simply "uncheck" those two checkboxes. After SlimComputer is installed and you run it; all applications that may be potentially unwanted will be displayed after the scan.
You can then select and delete the applications that you wish to remove by clicking 'Remove' button. Additionally, all removed applications can be restored (if required) from the 'Restore' tab. In this way, users can easily re-install any application that might have accidentally been deleted. BTW, an excellent step-by-step tutorial (with pics and all); for using SlimComputer can be found here.

As for Malwarebytes; I have actually used the "Pro version" very successfully; (but the freeware version is sufficient for new users) in order to detect and remove Spyware, Adware and Remove Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, Hijackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats. The program works really wonderfully and has served me well for a while now. I actually test freeware programs as a hobby on the side; and I probably download and install up to a dozen or so of new full applications and/or utility programs to test out each month; so I have to be very careful of the consequences of all of those downloads. I first tried using Malwarebytes freeware version and then afterwards; I liked it so much that I upgraded to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware pro.

Using the freeware version; when I first ran it the program it consequently caught about 10-15 or so 'baddies' both while I was trying to test the new freeware programs onto my computer as well as immediately warning me while I was in the process of downloading several installation .exe files for the new programs. Another nice thing is that it detects many remote and 'seemingly innocuous' Adware programs that many other anti-malware programs miss. It then lists them and offers a 'right-click' link option which leads to a more thorough explanation of what they are, what they do as well as describing how dangerous (or docile) they are and then offers the option to remove them or not to remove them.

Something to keep in mind prior to downloading Malwarebytes Free edition: the install file will offer users the option of installing a trial version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro. Also note that the real-time protection is restricted to the paid version, as is the scheduler for updates and scans. As for the Malwarebytes "Pro version" cost; I believe it ran me around 25 dollars (US) as a 'one-time' payment - but it was well worth it in my opinion.

Although I'm always looking for freeware alternatives to shareware programs; in this case I didn't really mind ponying up for the Malwarebytes "Pro version" version, in order to support the programs development, future upgrades and updates. One of the great things about it is that the program apparently updates automatically every single day, and runs quietly in the background. Also, thus far has not interfered with any of my other anti-malware/antivirus/firewall programs However by far, the best thing about it is that I only have to pay for it ONCE and it is mine to KEEP - the updates and support offered are 'perpetual' which is always a good thing.

Side Note: If you decide to try it out I would strongly suggest reading the helpful installation and program use step-by-step post listed at the following link: Using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware at the MajorGeeks Support Forum [authored by MajorGeeks Support Forum Admin chaslang]. Additionally, an excellent step-by-step 'Video Tutorial' regarding the proper use of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can be found here at MajorGeeks. This video tutorial was created by the co-owner and co-creator of the MajorGeeks.com website; Tim Tibbetts who goes by the moniker 'Major Attitude' in the support forum. Many other Video Tutorials for very useful software programs can be found here on the MajorGeeks site as well.

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I highly recommend this support forum

especially to newbies

(as well for More experienced computer users)

What makes the MajorGeeks Support Forum

much better than other forums out there?

The quality of the oversight is much, much better at MajorGeeks than in many other PC Help forums out there!

Something that I noticed right off the bat; when I first started posting there (and this is true to this day) is that the forum is well monitored... and that makes it far better than many other "computer help" related forums out there on the web. Maintaining the high quality of the postings at MajorGeeks makes a huge difference IMO. The two main reasons that I enjoy participating in this forum are that it is not only "well moderated" but that the vast majority of the posters there genuinely, simply want to learn from as well as help others.

There are also various computer forums which are Internet based and are software related (such as MajorGeeks Support Forum | BleepingComputer.com Forum | CNet.com Computer Help Forum and the PC Magazine forum) as well as several other assorted websites and other tech-geared bulletin boards/blogs where you could get some help. You can search Google in order to to find others out there on the Internet by clicking here; Google Search for: "computer support forums" and there you'll see for yourself are actually too many to count! But the best ones maintain support their sites not just with AD revenue; but by supporting their members with far better than average monitoring and oversight.

I have also noticed that many of these types of forums (particularly the mainly "PC only" oriented forums) have seen a recent shortage of postings; especially with the advent of more portable devices. I believe the main reason is that less and less people are actually using (or even have) a home based PC - whether it be a desktop or a notebook or even a simple netbooks; since the advent of all of these portable devices. They probably figure: "Why pay for internet access at home while using a home computer or notebook when all I really need is my handheld."

On a related note, it simply amazes me that so many people appear to have become 'addicted' to these portable devices such as Androids as well as iPads and iPhones and Blackberry devices, etc; using them while in public walking down the street; on the bus or in their car, etc. IMO it's quite ridiculous, really. I never in a million years would've figured people would plunk-down $25-50 bucks a month to waste time and effort twiddling their thumbs all day; punching out mindlessly tedious text messages as well as prattling and blathering on and on and on all day long with monotonous dribble on their cell phones - especially in public. I mean really... who'd a thunk' it? ;)

Anyway, MajorGeeks Forum is actually a very well monitored with posts by the site's co-owners and the forum also has many extremely qualified members who will competently post answers to any of your questions there. This forum is particularly suitable for those who are new to downloading and installing programs and computer hardware as well as basic Internet use in general.

At MajorGeeks; Any Troublemaking Trolls are Issued a Warning first and then get the 'Old Heave Ho' if it continues!

 

 

While light banter and kidding is perfectly acceptable in the MajorGeeks forum threads; all of the trolls, flamers and assorted troublemakers - especially those who quite obviously have nothing but malicious or malevolent intentions - are swiftly weeded out by the MajorGeeks moderators, who quickly admonished by warning them first and then their posts and threads. These two factors are both vital in maintaining any kind of vibrant and useful online bulletin board.

Many other "computer-related" forums out there do not currently have this continuity within their communities.

In fact many forums out there; which were useful, alive and kicking (prior to the tech boom going "kaboom") seem to have cut way back on monitoring their threads in any meaningful way. Therefore, the prats and pot-stirring troublemakers in many of these less-well-monitored forums thrive; constantly posting flames - or far worse, often allowing the posting somewhat misleading and/or entirely useless misinformation. And others continue to simply stir up trouble entirely unchallenged or unabated; for days or even weeks, before any attempt (if any) is made by the moderators to quell their disturbances or to entirely remove them.

This is not so at the MajorGeeks forum, especially regarding those trolls who for whatever reason; benignly or belligerently or blatantly provide misinformation. Posts such as these are quickly edited and corrected (or removed entirely) in this forum. For this "extra effort" I'm very grateful - the efforts those who oversee these threads - as well to those who participate here and quickly report this type of abuse immediately.

Additionally, Numerous Freeware and Shareware Software Applications are Exhaustively Reviewed and available for downloading at MajorGeeks.com

Even if you do not need or use their forum; they have a number of freeware and shareware software links listed and reviewed there. The vast majority (as in: just about all) of their product reviews of many useful listed 3rd party utility and full application software suite products are updated regularly. And these reviews are always very thoroughly thought out, easily accessible and readable and are listed daily at the: MajorGeeks Home Page. The 'Geek' website is fantastic because they really thoroughly test the products out before reviewing them and then posting them on their site. The site owners also take the time to also pre-test ALL of the software they have available; for any potential adware malware, spyware and viruses during the review process.

And, unlike a lot of sites that actually 'review' freeware and shareware products (often looking more like ads than reviews), I have found that the Major and his "Band of Geeks" are not afraid to pull any punches when it comes to reviewing new software products on the market. I most definitely highly recommend this site to everyone I know because MajorGeeks is one of the few sites out there on the web that dishes out both the 'dirt' and the 'desert!' about many shareware/freeware software products out there. This is quite a refreshing change from many bogus shareware sites and computer-related magazines that disguise their so-called 'reviews' (when they are really just ADS in drag!).

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Here are the links to the various sections of the MajorGeeks.com website:

< HOME | MAC | GEEK - WEAR | MAIL LIST | SUPPORT FORUM | TOP DOWNLOADS |>

New? Start Here | Live Tech Support | Top Freeware Picks | Reviews | Free Magazines | Geek Shopping

| Geektionary | Links | Spyware Removal | Folding@Home Team | FAQ | About

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Let the software downloader who either

previews and/or installs Any "Adware" Software at all

**always beware **

Sometimes Adware programs can potentially include 'Spyware' and many other types of malicious malware

 

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What is "Spyware"

Where Does it Come From?

Spyware is simply the accepted Internet jargon for a nearly absolute majority of "Advertising Supported Software" containing some form of Adware. Unfortunately, sometimes after the installation process has completed; some of these applications which contain the adware within them, and will consequently therein keep track of your Internet surfing habits anytime you use your computer; in order to serve ads specifically related to you or anyone else who runs your PC or laptop. There is also another common usage of the phrasings of adware; which is applied to describing a form of software known as "spyware" which can constantly collect varying amounts and types of information about the user's browsing habits, in order to display more relevant advertisements upon the individual user's Web browser.

Oftentimes shareware authors look this nuisance-ware as simply way to to make money from a product, other than by selling it outright to the users. There are several humongous media companies that offer them a small monetary benefit per software downloaded and then installed in order to place banner ads in their products in exchange; and consequently a tiny portion of the revenue from banner sales as well. This way, users don't have to pay for the software and the developers are still getting paid. If they find the banners annoying, there is usually an option to remove them, by paying the regular licensing fee. Bonzi Buddy, Gator, Kazaa, and Zango are some of the most infamous of adware advert companies that are considered by most experienced downloaders to be spyware proliferation based.

 

Why would they do this?

And what can be done about it?

The many adware distributing companies out there can actually generate significant revenue streams from their adware. How do they do it? By observing and noting the history of all of the websites traveled to by the unsuspecting users, and then chucking specific ads onto the user's browser, which pertain to their particular areas of interest, at them. Although the primary goal of the majority of adware creators is not to damage the computer itself, adware can be exceedingly persistent with its pop ups, and the computer user is likely to get annoyed with having to constantly view them whenever they open their browsers.

Adware is also frequently installed together within another unrelated software program or via activeX controls on the internet. This is oftentimes done without the user's knowledge, or without any disclosure whatsoever; that the adware will be used for the purpose of covertly obtaining personal user's personal information or habits. Adware usually attempts to ascertain all sorts of information about the active user's passwords, email addresses, web browsing history, their online purchasing habits, the configuration of the user's computer's hardware and software and the user's name, age and/or gender.

After you install these types of "free" programs; sometimes the adware can be far more malicious than others. Some may snooker you into installing it (even if you have chosen not to) by creating a pop-up on your screen that looks very much like an 'official' Microsoft error or alert. Additionally, even though you may choose to click "Ok" or "Cancel" to get rid of these alerts, in doing so you are actually unwittingly inviting the adware to install onto your computer anyway, most often likely to be hidden somewhere within your operating system's registry. When the adware program becomes intrusive like this, it moves them into the spyware category and it then becomes something you should avoid for privacy and security reasons.

Worried about a program installed on your PC that 'might be' Spyware?

Find out for sure by entering the program name at this website below:

Safer-Networking.org

The concept of spyware is; and has always been extremely unpopular. And many programs that use spyware protocols have more recently been required by law to disclose this information to users prior to installation of the product as well as offer a means to turn off the offensive reporting functions. Other spyware programs divulge the protocols solely in their EULA licenses, and making acceptance of the spyware features a condition of agreement for using the software.

To avoid being infected with malware and remove already installed adware, spyware, etc. be sure to download and install the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free edition program in order to clean up and remove the adware/spyware as well as the SlimComputer program for unwanted toolbar removal. Additionally, the freeware tools like SpywareBlaster can provide additional passive protection. SpywareBlaster is particularly good at preventing the installation of ActiveX-based spyware as well as many other potentially unwanted programs. Superantispyware and Iobit Malware Fighter are also among the best out there as well to use in order to undo the havoc that malware can cause users.

Are All Adware Programs 'Spyware?'

The Answer is:

No, not all of them; but unfortunately, a great many of them are!

(at least in my opinion)

Over the years since Internet usage has ; there has been a veritable proliferation of ad-supported programs, games or utilities that have been and are currently offered and distributed as adware. And nowadays there are a growing number of software developers who offer their goods as a "sponsored" freeware/adware version until you pay them to register for and upgrade to the non-adware to use the programs without the ads (or sometimes; ask for some menial payment in order to enable the 'full version" of their products). In such a case if you're actually using "legitimate" adware; when you stop running the software, the ads should disappear immediately. Additionally, you should alternatively have the option of disabling the ads by purchasing a the registration key; as is the case currently with such programs as the current versions of Microsoft Office Starter 2010 (which often comes 'preloaded' onto brand new desktop PCs and laptops).

However, in fairness I have to admit that there's a small minority of "adware containing" software products which; while they do indeed display advertising after installation, they do not simultaneously install any 'tracking mechanisms' to view your browsing habits while on your system and some - granted very few do not contain any of the more invasive spyware elements at all within them. These few more reputable products are oftentimes considered to be a fairly logical alternative; when offered to consumers who simply do not wish to pay anything for their software programs and who do not mind the seeing the annoying ads pop-up ads during the course of its operation. The very best way to avoid downloading/installing adware is, to never click on any unknown pop-up ads, and by immediately deleting strange email attachments that you see in your email client mailbox (without viewing them first) and then installing adware removal/blocking software on your computers.

 

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What exactly is Shareware?
Nearly all 'Shareware' is classified as software which users

can download from a network on a "try before you buy" basis

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Shareware essentially refers to any software application or utility program in which the software copyright owner eventually requires payment (for continued use). It is more often than not is offered as a .exe or .zip file download from the Internet which; after installation, is available exclusively for preview purposes. At the end of the preview period, it usually must be purchased or uninstalled. If you like the software and decide to use it you must eventually register with the author and pay a registration fee. The software developer, author and/or copyright owner has decided to give people the opportunity to try first before deciding if they want to purchase it or not.

Users are generally allowed a trial of the software, commonly for a specified period of time. The shareware may also be distributed for evaluation with a fee requested for additional features or including a manual etc. After that, you are expected to either pay the owner or discontinue using the software and to remove it from your computer system. Shareware (which is sometimes also called "trialware") refers to a copyrighted software that is available (normally via download) free of charge but ONLY on a trial basis, usually with the stringent condition that users pay a fee for continued use and support. Shareware is actually a marketing method, and not a type of software.

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Shareware Software Programs:

The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Two things to very carefully think about here prior to downloading

  •  The Upside:

Unlike software commercialized through normal vending channels, where you are forced to purchase the product before you've even seen it, the shareware marketing method allows users to use of the program for a period of time before buying it. Since you've already tried out a shareware program first, you will then know whether it will meet your needs before deciding whether or not you will pay for it. Shareware programs are more or less, just like the programs available as CDs or DVDs in boxes that you find in major stores, catalogs, and other places where people purchase software directly -- except in the case of 'downloadable' shareware you get to use them on your own computer for a brief time (usually for a month but sometimes even up to six months) before paying for them.

  •  The Downside:

There is a very negative and potentially damaging component of this type of software using shareware which is often overlooked by the many unsuspecting users who have used trial-based software... And that is that oftentimes people in the course of using it will create important documents, saved images, music, and/or other types of vital, necessary files that they have then saved and stored accordingly; which really need and then, they either cannot access them (or often are absolutely lost) when the trial period has ended.

 

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==================================================================

One-Time-Sale (aka 'Buy to Keep')

vs. "Subscription" Shareware

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Regarding so-called "Subscription" Shareware:

Some software cannot be keep for good by users; because it is only available via a subscription method usually via annual, but sometimes by a recurring quarterly or monthly payment. This way of doing business is obviously the most favored by those who are software salesman first and developers second because it is by far be the most profitable, stable business plan for them to go with. With subscriptions the developer and distributor incur a reoccurring revenue stream and by not offering their programs as a one time sale. At times software authors will also create different plan sets based on usage or installing additional optional features or by 'unblocking' them. This type of shareware which is sometimes called liteware, is offered with certain capabilities disabled as an enticement to buy the complete version of the program.

Shareware whether bought outright or on a subscription basis; is sometimes confused with freeware. Like open source, freeware is truly free; but is similar shareware in at least one respect: freeware program code is proprietary and the creator almost always retains the copyright for the product or products that are most often times available/accessible via direct download from the internet or in the case shareware; sold at the retail level as CDs / DVDs etc. in boxed form sold off the shelves of stores that sell business and computer associated goods.

The Origins of Shareware:

Prior to the widespread and international availability of World Wide Web, most "shareware vendors" replicated hundreds of shareware programs on floppy disks (and burnt them onto CD-ROMs) and sold them by mail order or and swapped disks with other associated vendors at computer-related flea markets. The sellers collected a small fee for the distribution service, although novices who picked up the shareware often purchased them sometimes in bulk without realizing that the software registration fee was necessary in order to use or redistribute the software elsewhere. Although occasionally programs sold in this way became eventually very successful, the majority were not, and subsequently most shareware evolved into trial versions that work for a limited time or lite versions that have limited functionality.

In the mid to late 1990s, advertiser-supported shareware downloading was made more easily available and currently shareware programs are almost exclusively marketed through an electronic network and numerous websites. An example of one network was such as the flagship brand of CNET Networks which was formed in order to provide distribution through the domain of Download.com (which was launched in 1996 as a part of CNET and is now at now located at the domain name of download.cnet.com). It was at that time and still is a very popular Internet download directory website destination for freeware and shareware users. Actually, originally the domain was actually the somewhat confusing download.com.com but is currently download.cnet com.

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What to think about and carefully consider before purchasing a new product or service, online or retail

Whenever I'm considering a new product or service, online or retail - I always do a web search using carefully arranged search terms like the following examples:

(1) Go to say, Google, AltaVista or AlltheWeb.com (all three - even better!)
(2) Type in these exact words: "Product XYZ problem"
(3) Type in these exact words: "Product XYZ review"
(4) Type in these exact words: "Product XYZ rip-off"
(5) Compare results then Copy & Paste the reviews onto to a WORD or Notebook file
(6) Name the document after the product.
(7) Save the document in a folder named something like "Possible Buys."."

Also, always beware of the reviews of so-called "Referral" websites which are notorious throughout the web for leaving out critical information; particularly shareware sites that are always interested far more in "turning a buck" than pleasing customers. Many sites disguise using what are actually ADS by the word "Review!" when they are actually just shilling the product using the product's developers' or company information.

My own personal "no-go" rules regarding purchasing shareware products:

Never buy any shareware product...

  • that does not offer at least a 30-day trial

  • without thoroughly examining the Support Section first

  • when the Support Section FAQ offers mostly purchasing Q & A

  • that offers only a "Contact Us" link and no "On-Site" Support Forum

  • when a freeware product performs the same function (obvious but true)

  • when the home site offers no "FAQ pages" and/or refers only to the program's Help File

This method may sound like a lot of work; but after you try it a few times it becomes like clockwork. And doing this beforehand will definitely save you money, time and aggravation later on down the line. The more information that you have from a variety of sources the better the chance of getting the desirable outcome will be. Whenever making any online purchase; the more information you gather from a variety of sources beforehand; the better the chance of getting the desirable outcome will be.

It is amazing how much trouble even a little bit of research will save computer users and unfortunately; how much wasted cost in terms of time as well as money (not to mention system damage) that any "gotta-get-this-right-now" impulse buying can consequentially cause. To rush to actually purchase anything on the web or anywhere else; be it hardware, software, web-based resources, etc. is a prescription for disaster in my opinion. Buying something on impulse without using a more extensive web search, is as reliable as making a service or product choice by simply "flipping a coin" or opening a phone book to the 'Computer Products' page and then with your eyes closed and pointing out a company. This is particularly true regarding any 'software' purchases because they are almost always (like 99.99% of the time) non-refundable after you purchase the product and they send you the serial.

The Better Business Bureau web site is another useful source. There you can search out any business by their company name, phone number or type in any company's URL to search for records and complaints.
 

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Here's the tricky part which often confuses the dickens

out of those who are new to downloading programs:

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Most download shareware vendors throughout the vast and varied network of websites that distribute software via the Internet; will distinctly claim in bold text on the main page that "Downloading All Software is FREE." Some software titles are trial versions; many are classified as available as freeware and/or shareware; however the most important thing to keep in mind that: although there is "no charge to the the user to access any content" on the site many such sites do not make it abundantly clear that you have to PAY for the software itself.

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So... What's The Big Difference?


Here is by far the most frequently asked question

from by the people who have never heard of freeware


"What are the basic differences between freeware and shareware?"

The biggest difference, of course; is obviously that any (legitimately offered) freeware computer software program is given away free of charge. Freeware is often made available on bulletin boards and through user groups. An independent program developer might offer a product as freeware either for personal satisfaction or to assess its reception among interested users. Freeware developers often retain all rights to their software. Users are not necessarily free to copy or distribute it further.

Sometimes the freeware developers may not always be able to provide much help; in terms of support if the software goes wrong, so there is always a certain amount of risk when using freeware. The assumption of risk of lack of "adequate support" goes for SHAREWARE programs as well. As with any product, it depends on the quality of the product and of the support availability of the product's maker.

With shareware you're allowed to sample the software on a trial basis, generally for a specified period of time. After that, you are expected to either pay the owner or discontinue using the software and to remove it from your computer system. Shareware is software that is available for free download and allows you to use it for a certain time period after which you are expected to either register it with the owner and pay a small amount to buy a license for unlimited use, or, if you decide you don't like it or don't need it, remove it from your PC. Some shareware relies on the honor system and expects that you contact the owner voluntarily after the evaluation period is up; but most of them will disable themselves after the evaluation period is over. Others will disable itself after the evaluation period and can only be unlocked with a valid license or registration number you first have to purchase from the vendor.

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Consider all of your Options Prior to Downloading any Freeware


Before you fill your hard drive up with more files than you can possibly use

Be sure to take a little time to consider the following points:

Do I really need it?

Do you really need this program, utility or file installed on your computer or do you just want it because it is free?

The consideration "Do I really need it" also depends upon your available hard drive space. In any event, if you decide that you want to keep numerous newly installed programs on your computer I'd suggest either upgrading your to a larger hard drive or even better putting in a second internal hard drive and keeping them installed there. You might also consider using an external drive for your all of your music files and/or if you choose to keep the original the installation .exe and .zip files. Over time both external hard drives have become incredibly inexpensive and are relatively easy to install, even by amateur computer enthusiasts.

Will I actually have any use for it?

Are you likely to make some use of it, or will the file just sit on your hard drive until you decide to delete all the unnecessary programs that you have accumulated? As an example, I have a neighbor who recently asked me to have a look at his computer because he was apparently running out of space on his hard drive and couldn't figure out why. As it turns out he frequently downloads music using a file sharing service. This is something a lot of folks do nowadays; but I don't recommend doing this because it is stealing, of course. Anyway, while checking out his computer I discovered that he had about four or five thousand songs and probably only has the time or inclination to enjoy about 100 or so of them!


Is it easy to use?

Most programmers design their programs and utilities for ease of use. Of course it depends entirely on the 'target audience' of the authors program. Many programs are easy to get used to after a while. However if you never use a program that you downloaded a while ago - I'd get rid of it or at least save the "setup" .zip or .exe file to a CD as well as a brief word document with the program's name, and the URL address where you got it from.

Will it improve my website or my operating system performance?

A common mistake for the inexperienced is to fill the pages of their site with every graphic, sound and script they can find without giving thought to whether they actually improve the site for visitors. This leads to a confusing and slow page. In the case of software, a similar thing can happen to their own system - especially if every latest gadget attaches itself to the start menu and taskbar.

Is it really free?

Best to read all of the instructions on the site where you want to obtain the software to find this out!

What are the restrictions on use?

If the object of your desire really is freeware, then there will be few restrictions on use, but there will be some. The software author/developer/creator always retains some rights. Check that you can legally put it to the use you intend.

 

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Consider why exactly it is offered for FREE!

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How to return the favor by supporting authors of freeware:

If you have managed to find a program or utility that is incredibly (or even in a minor way) useful to you; and wish to show your gratitude, the first thing to do is read the documentation again. Somewhere in there will be details about the creator and ways of showing your appreciation. Often this is just a case of sending an email or postcard, or perhaps linking back to their site. If you can't find that information, or you believe that it isn't enough, consider offering something that you have created as freeware on your own site.

Another way would be to make a point of visiting whatever website home pages the author has and check out the ads, that is if they actually have them on their website. Sometimes, free software is made to advertise the authors website and in this way they may get a small fee (pennies really) for any paid advertisements you might click on. This is a great way to make a little money for someone that is a competent and smart programmer who offers a truly superior quality product.

 

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People also often ask me:
"Why should I consider downloading freeware?"


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When you find yourself in the position of needing a new program and considering a shareware software purchase, you can also search around a little first; to see if there is a suitable freeware version of the same kind of (or even better) software then you were actually going to pay for. I'll agree that it takes a bit of time to find some programs that look like they are worth downloading. It takes even more time to install, evaluate, and uninstall a program because what you downloaded is not quite what you had in mind as a solution to your software needs.

I look at some of the weathered boxes of ancient program disks that I keep so that I can reformat them and reuse the disk which I paid between ten to 250 dollars on, because it once contained software that I hoped would enhance what I do with a computer. Many programs that I bought as CD's did not live up to the description on the outside of the package. Others looked like awesome programs initially; but I later found out were actually full of bugs and incompatibility problems and refused to work properly after a while.

Freeware applications are generally created as fully functional and yours to use indefinitely without any obligation.

Initially these are programs that were developed because the author thought they would be useful; but may not be substantial enough to justify charging a fee. Sometimes I have visited websites where the shareware developers make available to their customers superior freeware programs as an incentive for customers to look over their "try before you buy" products on their sites. Freeware generally refers to software that the software copyright owner gives away for free. They still own the copyright in the software and can establish the terms under which it can be used and distributed. Often the developer or another party retains the copyright to the software product; therefore, freeware is not necessarily in the public domain, and its distribution may be controlled by the copyright owner. Although the software programs are made available for free, the author retains the copyright, which means that you cannot do anything with it that is not expressly allowed by the author. Usually, the author allows people to use the software, but not sell it.

Use and Restrictions of Freeware Applications and Utilities:

Many freeware programs will include some information from the owner about how it can be used and any restrictions that may apply. You are legally bound to abide by any conditions the owner requires. Every time you probably have to replace your computer's hardware and the technology has changed just enough that, what was a sure buy just a few years ago is not even made any more. The elemental question for many users is: "Will my old operating system support this component" Sometimes it costs even less to buy a new computer than it does to upgrade your old one.

In my opinion; with few exceptions, practically all of the available freeware out there is actually similar to and even better than comparable commercial software. The vast majority of individuals who write freeware actually like computers and programming, and most freeware programs were written by folks who enjoy creating a product that assists others. Believe or not I have found in many cases that "Freeware Support" is actually usually much better than shareware support when it comes to contacting the software developer for assistance. Have you ever tried contacting a software developer from a CD you bought? Forget about it. They are far too busy counting all their money or developing more bug-ridden, complicated-to-use, software for their shareware consumers.

Re: Bothersome so-called "updates" and the tendency toward dubious "upgrading" by shareware software developers

Not to mention the constant in need for bothersome so-called "updates" and dubious "upgrading" - which, by the way is done more often than not - in any effort to actually improve the software; but so that you'll continue to needlessly pay them over and over again). Don't get me wrong - the shareware developers are not all like this. Many have terrific programs that are top-notch and are even willing to promptly (but usually eventually) answer your e-mail support queries. But the simple fact of the matter is that overwhelmingly - their prime interest is very often getting you to upgrade and purchase their new versions or other products - I'm quite sure of that much.

Shareware writers by and large give out limited editions of their software which is usually offered on a trial basis and tends to expire between twenty to thirty days. You might not get a chance to even try the program in question - much less push it to the limit - for a month or two after downloading the program. Many shareware authors write 'nag messages' into their software; in order to remind the consumer to purchase it. Freeware authors (usually) distribute complete programs which do not nag to buy or expire; but only offer the 'option' to automatically update. Occasionally someone writes a unique, useful shareware program that does not expire in 30 to 60 days, and I'll add these programs to my library as I find them - if they work well while I'm tinkering away with on my computer.

Saints Preserve Us - Sometimes (but not always) freeware developers are guilty too!

I should add that while the vast majority of them offer terrific support (at least in my experience); freeware developers are not all saints. Some of them have sold their souls by adding ADWARE and SPYWARE within their programs. But the overwhelming majorities are very thoughtful folks - whose prime interest is in developing a better product and making life easier and at the same time, more productive for their users. Many freeware authors ask for a donation if it is possible. When it becomes possible for me to do so I'll be the first in line to donate because I really appreciate the work and efforts of freeware authors. Sometimes shareware authors offer "lite" (which generally means 'less functional') versions of their products which are adequate. Does it help to have a freeware version and a shareware version of a given piece of software? It really depends. It's possible that the freeware version could impact the sales of the shareware version significantly. Furthermore, the developers have to incur the additional complexity of maintaining, updating and testing two different products. Even though they'd have most of their code in common, there are still lots of stuff that could go wrong, creating headaches they definitely do not want. And don't forget that users of freeware sometimes want support too... and that takes time and money for the developers to provide.

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Another FAQ:

"How exactly do I download software from the web?"

 

And what are these .zip and .exe Installation Files for?


Use the information in this section to determine how to open

a web-downloaded installation file after downloading it to your desktop

.exe software files are installed from the "Installation Files"

provided by the developer which usually look something like this:



To open an install an
.exe or to save a .zip
file, double-click on the icon

.zip files are compressed files (with the .exe files and .txt files inside them)

which come from the author and .zip files usually look something like this:

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Managing your Software Installations

(after downloading the .zip or .exe files)

Most of the software developers make available installs/downloads over the web use a "custom install" application. In such cases you should simply follow the given directions after you click 'Run' and there is very little management required on your part. However, numerous applications require you to download the software first and then install it locally after clicking 'save' and choosing where which place to store it onto to your computer.

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The following steps will help you to efficiently and effectively manage the downloading and install process:

(1) Create a "Download" folder: If you don't already have one, create a folder called 'Downloaded Files' (or something similar to that which you can easily remember) and then store it on your desktop.

(2) Where to download software: Download the software into your Downloaded Files folder (see the extra tips below*).

(3) Decompression: Open up Download Files folder and then 'double-click' the actual downloaded file.

Usually one of two things will happen next:

  • It starts up an install program; in which case follow the directions to install the software.

  • It decompress a folder of files, in which case look for a file called "Readme", and if there is one then double-click it and read it.

Then look for the startup file, usually called "setup", or "install", double-click it, and follow the directions to install the software. If your system needs help decompressing the file, both of these two ZipGenius or 7-Zip are excellent freeware decompression applications.

(4) Delete (or save) the installation file: When the installation is finished, unless you want to save the original downloaded file to perform additional installations later, delete the file to save disk space.

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* A Few Extra Tips *

For When Using Different Browsers

When you click on a link to download a file, sometimes different types of browsers try to load the file into the browser window; instead of downloading the file onto your computer. These techniques can help:

Using Internet Explorer:

  •  Right-click on the link and select "Save Target As..." and save the file to your download folder.

Mozilla Firefox Browser:

  •  Right-click on the link and select "Save Link As..." and then save the file to your download folder.

After you have chosen to install the freeware application that you wish; and the program's installation process is completed, most will also include some information from the owner in the form of a .txt text document; which is usually located within the computer's hard drive in the Programs folder.

This .txt document usually provides information about the author as well as to how the program can be used and any restrictions that may apply. You are legally bound to abide by any conditions the owner requires. In such a case the open source freeware software developers (almost always) still own the copyright in the software and as such can establish the particular terms under which it can be used and distributed. Often, as you download and/or after you install the freeware, it comes with a license agreement that you have to consent to before downloading the program.

Very Important Side Note:

The very first thing you should always do after downloading the program - before starting installation, I mean - is to:

(1) take a few moments to view license agreement

(2) and then after installing it make sure to read over the .txt document

(3) as well thoroughly reading through HELP files provided with the program; before actually using it; in order to get the most out of it.

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"How do I uninstall or remove unneeded and/or unwanted software from my computer?"

Uninstalling or removing software from your computer can usually be done in two different ways:

First check the program folder containing the program that you wish to remove from where it was originally installed in order to to see if the folder has an "Uninstall" utility you can use to remove it. This is a common utility which is usually provided by most program authors. Secondly if no 'uninstall utility' has been provided by the developer; you can try to remove the program from the Add-Remove Programs control panel applet menu option, which can be found in your Windows Control Panel. Proceed to check the Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs list. Most likely your program will be there. If it is not, try to uninstall it using a 3rd party uninstall software tool (see the items listed below).

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If your installation fails altogether...

(i.e. If it freezes or if you get an error message telling you about a fatal error )

~ Don't NOT Panic ~

Although at that frustrating moment it might be tempting to do so; if your installation fails, I would strongly suggest that you DO NOT use the Reset/Restart round power button on the front of your computer case. Shutting down the computer is such a manner; in the middle of the installation process, does not properly shut down the computer's operating system. It simply cuts off all the power suddenly and doing this can cause numerous severe problems and have very undesirable effects; such as activating a BSoD STOP error - (a.k.a. the Blue Screen of Death).

Probably the most common BSoD STOP error denotes in part:

"A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer."

"Attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout failed."

The oft dreaded 'Blue Screen of Death' BSoD usually looks something like this:

 

For Safety's Sake: For safety, the best thing to do in this situation is to simply shutdown your computer by using the to Start > Shut Down button in order to properly shut down the computer's operating system; rather than rebooting. While the computer is turning off completely (and then after the computer OS has entirely shut down); my advice would be to wait for at least 30 seconds to a minute before turning it on again by using the round power button on the front of your computer case. Then go to Safe Mode by following these steps:

To restart the computer in Safe Mode:

1) You might want to copy print these instructions before continuing.

2) Click Start button and then click "Shut Down."

3) In the drop-down list of the Shut Down Windows dialog box, click Restart.

If you're using Windows XP then click OK.

4) As your computer restarts but prior to Windows launching, press the F8 key on your keyboard. On a computer that is configured for booting to multiple operating systems, you can press F8 when the boot menu appears.

5). Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate safe mode option, and then press ENTER.

6). If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access using the arrow keys, and then press ENTER
.

If Windows launches before you can choose a safe mode, restart your computer and try again.

Side Notes Regarding Safe Mode:

Safe mode helps you diagnose problems. If a symptom does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and minimum device drivers as possible causes. If a newly added device or a changed driver is causing problems, you can use safe mode to remove the device or reverse the change.

In safe mode, you have access to only basic files and drivers (mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, base video, default system services, and no network connections). You can choose the Safe Mode with Networking option, which loads all of the above files and drivers and the essential services and drivers to start networking, or you can choose the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option, which is exactly the same as safe mode except that a command prompt is started instead of the graphical user interface. You can also choose "Last Known Good Configuration" which starts your computer using the registry information that was saved at the last shutdown.

There are circumstances where safe mode will not be able to help you, such as when Windows system files that are required to start the system are corrupted or damaged. In this case, the Recovery Console may help you.

Side Note: The NUM LOCK must be off before the arrow keys on the numeric keypad will function.

 

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Another possible option would be utilizing

a third-party 'uninstall' software program/utility

(instead of the quite buggy Windows Add/Remove Programs applet).

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The fact is that; simply because Windows has the "Add/Remove Programs" feature, it does not always mean your installed application will even appear on the list! The Windows Add/Remove Programs applet in the control panel constantly discommodes many advanced users with its severe limitations; particularly the initial slowness of the loading time as well as the uninstall time and lack of advanced features which many of the third-party freeware and shareware 'uninstall' software program/utilities out there on the web. In addition to that, even so when it does appear, it's no guarantee that the uninstall feature will function properly. If you ever run across one of these situations; the software programs listed below will help in getting rid of the application as well as the dead entries that they leave in their wake...

These useful 3rd party 'Uninstall Utilities' are the very best IMO:

Uninstall Tool 1.6.6

My favorite freeware uninstaller is called Uninstall Tool 1.6.6. It can be used instead of the standard inconvenient "Add and Remove Programs." This program has many features and options which are absent in Microsoft's (tm) applet. Currently the program is actually shareware but the last freeware version is still available here (scroll down to the bottom when you get to that webpage).

Total Uninstall 2.35

Another fairly good one is called Total Uninstall which has also gone shareware. However the last freeware version of Total Uninstall 2.35 is also available at that same website (here). I like using the program called Total Uninstall because it monitors any changes that were made to the system before during and after the installation process of any "newly installed" software program or utility. It's probably the best "monitor type" of utility that I've ever used. Especially when I consider all of the hassles that came with the numerous installs/uninstall that I've performed over the years; prior to using it!

Geek Uninstaller

This software uninstall tool far better than Windows uninstall applet...

Geek Uninstaller is a fairly new  'uninstaller' software application from developer Thomas Koen; which is far superior to the standard software uninstalling applet that comes with the Windows operating system. It has a very easy-to-view, no-nonsense graphical user interface that lets users view (and sort) all of your installed programs. It also allows right-click options to access registry keys, installation folder and web resources.

When you uninstall any software on your computer, Geek Uninstaller will automatically check if any registry keys, files or folders where left behind and offers to allow you to remove them. Other features include and option to force-remove a program (example: in case the standard uninstaller that comes with the program that you want to remove; does not work), highlighting of freshly installed apps and export to an HTML report. This freeware tool is available here at the developer's website

IObit Uninstaller

This program is free very useful for beginners as it is extremely easy-to-use and little to no extensive IT knowledge is needed in order to use it. IObit Uninstaller is a portable application so users can simply download and run it to remove any and all junk programs. It requires absolutely no installation itself but runs when you click its program file. It will also uninstall many programs that have a Windows uninstaller within them that is either damaged, entirely broken and are therefore inoperative. But the very best thing about this particular freeware program is that the IObit Uninstaller can be run without and installation needed - users can run it off of a USB stick, CD/DVD (or even a floppy disk if you are running an older Windows OS). Portable uninstallers rank as some of the most effective tools to have handy on a USB drive.

Revo Uninstaller Freeware Edition

This program is very useful if you run into problems uninstalling and/or cannot uninstall them from "Windows Add or Remove Programs" control panel applet. Revo Uninstaller also comes in a 'Pro' Edition which has additional advanced features.

Side Note: Although many people rave about the benefits of using this program, I listed this one as last because the freeware version of Revo Uninstaller does NOT support full 64-bit OS compatibility. You have to purchase the shareware 'Pro' version for that (this is a huge negative in my opinion). Revo Uninstaller Freeware Edition is a 32 bit application therefore it can only 'see' the 32 bit part of the Registry under 64 bit Windows. As 64 bit applications install their entries into part of the Registry that Revo is not aware of it cannot remove them.

Your Uninstaller!

My favorite shareware-only "uninstall tool" is aptly called Your Uninstaller! And Your Uninstaller! is far more foolproof than many other types of uninstall tools out there; because the program automatically creates a System Restore point before users have attempted to uninstalling anything! It then guides the user through removing the installed program and clears all the left-behind entries as well. It has far more options than the previous ones I mentioned; particularly the way that it lists affected registry items for removal.

The Your Uninstaller! program also offers a Disk Cleaner, Start Menu controller, Trace Eraser, File Shredder, and a module to access all the common Windows Tools (Defrag, System Info, Services, System Properties, Security Center, Active TCP/IP connections, Network Diagnostics and Info, etc. and also works on all Windows versions including Windows 8-8.1 and Windows 7, 64bit/32bit Windows Vista/Windows XP/Windows 2000/Windows ME/98/95/2003.

I use the "average" match settings in options and Your Uninstaller! rarely misses anything. Since I am constantly testing and reviewing numerous shareware and freeware programs; I really need a uninstaller that I can count on to do the job correctly. The only negative thing is that it is not offered as a freeware edition: the program costs about $40 bucks and the trial is limited. (Limitations: after the 21-day trial, the program will only remove 2 programs, nag screen).

Very Important Side Notes:

Basically, what the developers' uninstallers (which are included with programs) do is to remove the program listing from start menu, startup (if used) folders, registry entries and then the add\remove programs entry. However, often times, the developers' uninstallers will unfortunately do an inadequate job removing their programs entirely, usually leaving some registry entries and even some files and folders behind. These useless items will bog down your computer and, over time, it will get slower and slower and even grind to a halt - unexpected errors and frequent crashes may also occur because of this! Be aware that these steps may not remove everything associated with the application and can impact other applications on the computer. Always save a backup and/or create a system restore point and use caution.

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Why is my older (or even newer) computer running so slow?

My advice would be to add more memory. Generally speaking; MORE RAM is almost always a good thing. While I have seen many users in various computer-related forums who have been disappointed and regretted downloading and installing various so-called Ram Optimizers; I have yet to meet anyone who actually regretted adding more RAM memory to improve the performance on their laptop or PC computer. Many years ago RAM memory was prohibitively expensive; but nowadays is dirt cheap – the prices have really come WAY down in the last few years. I can remember a long time ago; ordering a 512 MB stick for an old Dell Dimension 4100 (which had only a measly 128 MB) and I believe it cost something like 75 dollars+ S & H! Nowadays a 2MB memory stick usually goes for only around 20-25 dollars.

Important Notes: Make sure to find out the exactly type of memory which is allowed (i.e. type/make/model of RAM, etc), for your computer. And I would most definitely shop for and buy it somewhere other than the manufacturer of your computer. Mega-Computer Companies like Gateway, Compaq, and Dell are notorious for unreasonably upping the price of peripherals and add-ons. Once you know the compatible rams "exact" type/make/model that you need to use - it is actually relatively easy to open your case and install the RAM yourself. Paying someone to install memory for you is like buying a new vacuum cleaner just because the dust and dirt filled bag is full! Like I said earlier, RAM does not cost as much as it used to (especially if you shop around), and it is one of the better investments you can make in your system performance.

Other Side Notes: If you decide that you do not want to install more RAM: with regard to the "best" memory optimizers; I have actually tested many of these "programs that free up Ram" with mixed results. "CleanMem" is a good one. Another good one IMO would be the memory optimizer that comes with the Glary Utilities freeware program; which automatically detects how much memory you have installed and sets the proper optimization (but users can also adjust it manually, if you like). It can easily be set to optionally run at startup.

Good Luck! -- COMP.
 

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The Reasons Why Your OS will Eventually Need General & Windows Registry Cleaning

"Why Should I Clean My PC?"

As your PC or notebook gets older, you will notice that it is not as fast as it was the day you purchased it.

If you compare it to any newer model computer, you will see one or more of the following examples:

  • It takes longer to boot up and get to your desktop then before.

  • While you surf the Internet, the pages seem to take longer to appear.

  • If you try to load a program or file, it take longer and your hard drive light seems to stay on more often. Occasionally your fast PC seems to stagnate.

All Windows system registries eventually degrade over the course of time. Consequently, the primary reason they become slower and much less effective is because the operating system collects junk files and other obsolete data. As you install programs, save and retrieve files and do all the things your computer was designed for, temporary files build up in hard-to-reach areas, data fragments get left behind and before you know it, you have a very messy system. Consequently, older programs leave quite a mess in the registry and within some of Windows data folders.

The more software and hardware users install and uninstall, the more congested their registry gets. Many software do not uninstall well; failing to clean up after itself, it leaves behind old and obsolete Registry entries, or upon install creates invalid ones. There will be pointers to missing DLLs, listings of no-longer-valid file extensions, invalid paths, invalid ActiveX Controls, and much more. The more your Registry fills with this junk, the slower your PC gets and the more often you'll have system crashes. When you were to remove this clutter you will free up disk space.

 

These are terrific freeware utilities for 'cleaning up'

any leftover files and registry entries after uninstalling a program:

 

CCleaner is far and away the easiest and safest 'cleanup' utility program to install and use

CCleaner (which was formerly known as 'Crap Cleaner') is a utility tool/program that comes with a registry scanner that scans for invalid references [including 'invalid installer' references] and has options to start cleaning automatically or from the command line. I have found that most of the many times I have tried it, CCleaner will help to clean out the errant entries leftover after a uninstall of now "Obsolete Software." Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention that CCleaner also contains an Uninstall list which allows you to remove programs through CCleaner... And it is much faster and efficient than the Windows Add/Remove control panel applet, as well.

You might also try using an excellent program suite called Glary Utilities which is another safe way to go

Glary Utilities free edition from Glarysoft is a freeware program suite which includes both a registry and a general disk cleaner. Many of these types of 'all purpose' cleaning and optimization utilities are cumbersome, difficult to set up and use and can be downright dangerous to the users PC but not so with the easy to configure and use. This utility application offers several all-encompassing utilities to improve your system's performance and protect your privacy. You can scan, remove, and back up faulty registry entries. Includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more. While there are are many all-encompassing utility suite programs out there; this one is the very best as far as I'm concerned.

The Eusing Free Registry Cleaner is an excellent tool for removing remote and hidden dead registry entries

I have used the Eusing Free Registry Cleaner program for several years now (using Win XP professional as well as Win 7 professional) and it has never caused any problems at all. And the computers that I use to 'test new freeware' has literally hundreds of programs installed on two large hard drives, so if there was any problem caused by Eusing I surely would have noticed it by now. Eusing Free Registry Cleaner seems to find far more items to 'clean' than many other shareware and freeware utilities which are available.

Like many of these types of cleaners; after the initial scan the Eusing Free Registry Cleaner also provides a list of choices and allows the user to "uncheck" any choices the user deems unworthy of removal. Before the program deletes any keys, it automatically creates a backup of the registry and allows you to easily undo any changes if needed. By default; this program creates this backup each time you use it and has a button labeled: "Restore Previous Registry" just in case you want to restore the previous backup. Although I have used this program for a long time and it has never caused any problems at all; my feelings about 'registry cleaners' in general are that they should always be used with great caution - as well as ALWAYS using the so called back up option - especially when used by beginners.

For your own reference I'd strongly suggest that you read the "Feature Details" part of the Eusing Free Registry Cleaner website in order to investigate what this program scans and offers to clean. About the only 'negative' thing I can think of about this utility is that it is 'nagware' and every time you start it; a "please donate" registration reminder nag screen pops up (this 'nag' function cannot be entirely disabled until some donation is made to the developer). However, users can just click the 'Skip' button and that screen goes away. This is a minor inconvenience in my opinion, especially considering the quality of the product.

Eusing Cleaner (formerly Eusing Free System Cleaner)

 Also offers a separate program which is fairly good at general computer cleaning:

The Eusing Cleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy cleaner tool

Eusing Cleaner (formerly Eusing Free System Cleaner) offers an simple interface that looks a little outdated; but this is actually a plus as it is very easy to navigate. Down the left side there are menu items for Cleaner, Registry, Defrag, Tools, Options, and More, which takes users to an online Help file. Each of these items contains a collapsible menu with check boxes, allowing users to select exactly what they want the program to scan for. The program supports all the standard cleaning operations, including cookies, cache, history, temporary files, recent documents etc. and offers additional support for more than 150 third party applications. Other features include a secure deletion option, scheduled cleaning, boss key operation, integrated registry backup, Index.dat viewing and cookie management and more.

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Why does is my 'Brand NEW' PC Computer

Loaded and Bloated

With Unneeded and/or Totally Unnecessary Junk Applications?

New PC computers are often filled with an infestation of so-called aptly named "craplets" which are the crappy unwanted programs and icons, that come already installed on your computer when you buy it. These pre-installed software (also known as bundled software) are installed for no reason other than that the PC maker gets paid to install it there. These craplets slow down your PC startup and its general operation.

Dell, eMachines, Gateway, Sony Vaio and HP are are all infamous for filling newer model PCs with craplets. These companies often defend this practice, stating that it keeps costs down, and implying that systems might cost significantly more to the end user if these programs were not pre-installed. In fact, most new personal computer desktops, netbooks and laptop ship from their manufacturer bloated with numerous unnecessary bundled with these applications, as well - the vast majority of which are trial versions.

These pre-installed software are often functionally restricted and/or time limited, in an effort to get the user to purchase the "full" version. This types of program can very quickly and entirely unnecessarily take up a lot of room on your hard drive and frequently check for updates on a regular basis (usually automatically and indefinitely without any user intervention). This will sometimes even result in compromising your system's security, while at the same time slowing down its performance; because the crapware often consumes massive system resources, even if not actively being run by the user, adversely affecting system responsiveness and startup time. One possible answer to this problem:

Lighten Your Load with the PC Decrapifier Tool!

(also works on computers that are older PCs as well)

The free PC De-Crapifier removes dozens of craplets automatically. Just run it, and it does its removal work automatically. Don't expect it to completely clean your PC, because it removes only a specific set of craplets and trialware programs, those that are specifically put on new PCs, such as QuickBooks Trial, Wild Tangent Games, Dell URL Assistant, and many others.

PC Decrapifier is a very useful compact application and an first-class tool designed to remove unneeded programs from brand-new and used PCs. This portable freeware utility can run on any Windows XP, Vista, or 7 machine without ever having to be installed. It scans your PC for junk programs and other applications and removes them all at once when you're ready. PC Decrapifier seems best used to remove this unneeded software when you first use your new PC; but can be used on older models as well. Since it's free, though, you can run it on any PC to see if it has any junk programs and remove them as a group.

Very Important Side Note: This is a good overall tool for removing numerous unwanted craplets all at once. Using this program is exceedingly simple. However in my opinion PC Decrapifier program is NOT for those who don't quite understand what they are removing. The main reason that I advise against using it if you do not know what you are doing; is that unless you cautiously tweak the deletions list, PC Decrapifier might remove some full working copies of preinstalled software that you actually want. This is because; being a simple program, it cannot substantiate or differentiate between what is a trial and what might be real versions of some commonly bundled programs.

For a full list, go to the pcdecrapifier site's listing of What it Removes. Note that when using this program, it's a good idea to tell it to first create a restore point, just in case it removes something that you wanted to keep. Although many applications will automatically create a restore point; just to be on the safe side I would recommend to users who want to try it out; that they make certain to take just a few minutes time to create a System Restore Point before using the PC Decrapifier tool; especially if aren’t quite sure what it’s going to do to your computer. Here are the steps to do so: Create a Restore Point for Windows 7 or Vista’s System Restore (via the very useful HowtoGeek.com computer help site)

PC Pitstop -  Full PC tune-up

Is your PC acting sluggish? Are strange windows inexplicably popping up on your screen? Do you have to reboot your computer because of errors and lockups? PC Pitstop is a free computer checkup and diagnostics which can help you detect and fix many common PC problems! Try the PC Pitstop for a full PC tune-up. The diagnostics take between one and five minutes depending upon your system and modem speed. You'll be informed along the way on the status of our testing, and at the end you'll get a 'clickable' report on your computer's health and performance.

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Some Essential Security Tools for Safety During Online PC Use

Software tools and utilities are only part of the security solution. First you need a strategy for protecting yourself and your computer while you're online. Then you'll know what you're doing, and you'll know which tools to get. If you just get some tools, you won't have the strategy. The strategy is more important than the tools. If you haven't been there yet, read more about the threats and the defense strategies you can use. Then come back here.

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Antivirus programs

Why Do You Need An Antivirus Program? Computer viruses are everywhere, that's why!

With the proliferation of the use of the Internet and more communications between computers, viruses are spreading faster than ever. Years ago the "I Love You" virus spread to 6 million PCs (with just a few hours of its release!). Antivirus protection programs have been around almost as long as computer viruses -- long before the Internet came along and was widely used. The original viruses were carried by floppy disks. Viruses (and most worms) are fairly "dumb" compared to Trojans. Viruses are usually limited to a few malicious deeds, but they can be very damaging nevertheless. Antivirus programs work fairly well against the current breed of viruses. They're effective against some worms too. Your best defense against all of these critters; is the users own wits though.

Many people erroneously believe that their Antivirus program alone is all they need to protect them online. Some of these same people often don't even know that they need to keep their antivirus signatures up to date. Soon they have virtually no antivirus protection. (In fact, the signatures on brand new computers are often months out of date.) Antivirus programs do not protect against most Trojans and they do nothing to protect against hackers. People who simply rely on their only their AV application to keep them safe online are tragically uninformed. They needed to start with a defense strategy. Then they'd know what they need to do.

So what exactly is a computer virus?

A computer virus is simply computer code that was written by some person to carry out a specific task. This code can be independent or attached to some other computer program. The instructions in this code tell the computer to perform some task. This task is often a destructive one, such as deleting important information, sending out emails or crashing the hard disk.

How does your computer get a virus?

A computer virus is passed from computer to computer. A virus can be attached to any file that you copy to your computer. If you download files from the Internet or copy programs or files from friends on floppy disks, you are very susceptible to viruses. Actually, anytime that you download files or put a floppy disk into your computer, you are susceptible to viruses. These days most viruses spread rapidly through e-mail. Since there are literally billions of emails sent every day.

How do I know if my computer has a virus?

A computer virus can do extensive damage. It can crash your hard disk. It can destroy all or some of your data. Many viruses do weird little things that adversely affect your computer. The most usual symptom of a computer virus is erratic behavior. A virus can be on your PC right now and you would not know it. Different viruses activate themselves at different times. A virus can wait patiently in your system and attack only on a certain date. Of course, in the time between the moment that you contracted the virus and the time that it made itself known to you, you may have innocently spread the virus to others. Once activated, it can delete files, bog down your internet connection, cause start up errors etc. There is no way of knowing for sure, unless your scan your PC with an Antivirus program.

What's the best way to protect your PC from viruses?

Viruses can spread quickly through the Internet. If your computer starts to act a little weird, the first thing to do is to check for viruses. If you are smart, you will stop viruses before they enter your computer. You can do this by purchasing a good virus protection program. Such a program will check all files for viruses, it will monitor all virus entry points and it will do this without bogging down your PC. Once installed, an antivirus program can be set to work in the background. It will check all files before they enter your computer and will alert you if a virus is detected before it contaminates your system. If the program detects a virus, it will quarantine or eliminate it so that it cannot harm your computer.

You should be very careful to purchase a virus protection program that matches your operating system. If you use Windows 95, 98, Me or 2000, XP, use a program that was written specifically for your operating system. If your PC came with a virus program pre-installed. You should not install a new one, without uninstalling the old one, otherwise your PC will freeze up or behave erratically. Don't have antivirus and spyware utilities? At Trend Micro you can use "HouseCall - Free Online Virus Scan or you can try at pandasecurity.com free online detector called
ActiveScan.

Keep your virus protection up-to-date.

New viruses are written everyday. However, antivirus publishers are constantly searching out new viruses and updating their antivirus software tools. In order to take advantage of the constant new antivirus patterns, you must update your antivirus program on a regular basis. The company that manufactured your antivirus software will provide constant updates as they find new viruses. You should make arrangements to get these updates regularly to be sure that your computer is completely protected. All new antivirus programs allow you to update your antivirus definitions when you log onto the Internet through a process called live update.

Check for software and antivirus signature updates. For those software programs for which you are not receiving automatic updates or notifications, check the software publishers' Web sites.

Do the following Two Steps (at least) Twice a year

Spring cleaning, fall cleaning—add "computer cleaning" to your list:

1. Change your passwords. Keeping the same passwords increases the likelihood that someone else will discover your password. (Create Strong Passwords!)

2. Verify that your antivirus subscription is current. Don't let it lapse.

Reassess your situation. Your security and privacy needs might have changed due to who is using your computer, how it's being used, or new threats in the Internet ecosystem.

3. Remembering to Remember

There are a few additional steps you can take that can help you remember to follow up and perform these tasks:

· Add this Web page to your Favorites. Right-click the page and save it as a Favorite for easy reference. Or...

· Copy Paste & Save this document to a file and then print it. This low-tech yet effective technique works well for many people. Just print it and post in a prominent place near your computer. Note: Add the dates you want to perform the tasks before you print it.

· Link this page as a shortcut to your desktop. This is effective if you use your desktop to keep yourself organized and remind you of things you need to do. Simply right-click and create a shortcut.

· Use the Microsoft Outlook Task function to remind yourself. If you use Outlook regularly for your scheduling, this is an ideal way to personalize the suggested maintenance checklist. Select and record convenient dates for performing the weekly, monthly and semi-annual tasks. The most important part of developing positive habits is reminding ourselves to do new tasks until they become routine.

I actually use the Norton Suite which detects and removes most of the potential harmful programs out there (however AVG Free Antivirus and Avira Free Antivirus are also adequate freeware alternatives). These two freeware options are the best antivirus program that you can get nowadays. Each of the two freeware "Antivirus" program's homepages will provide more information on these antivirus programs.

I rarely trust any of the so-called "protective" trialware programs which came bundled with my computer, but I have to admit that the Norton Security Suite has served me well. While some users have reported problems with it; the AV and firewall that come with it, consistently rate high in the computer based forums and bulletin board which I regularly visit and review.

Consequently, I don't get many virus warnings while online; maybe 2 or 3 per year. However I'm always glad that they were intercepted before I inadvertently clicked on and activated them. Even though it takes a long time for the Norton Suite to fully scan the computer; compared to many programs which check for viruses and malware, I still run a full scan at least weekly (before I shut down the PC), as I am constantly downloading and testing new freeware programs.

Also, often programs which check for malware need constant updating to find the latest troublemakers. House Call is Trend Micro's 'online scanner' on demand scanner for identifying and removing viruses, Trojans, worms, unwanted browser plugins, and other malware; which is a generic web term increasingly being used to describe any form of malicious software; e. g., viruses, Trojan horses, malicious active content, etc.

To folks who are considering running two antivirus applications running simultaneously.

(Definitely NOT a Very Good Idea BTW)

One of the great things about using PCs are that they often allow geeks and other users try running several applications of the same type simultaneously. This would sounds like a great idea with regards to using antivirus applications because it seems reasonable to assume that running two or more on the same PC should catch more viruses, right? Wrong!

Effectual Antivirus applications typically scan for suspicious as well as potentially harmful intruders that may damage your files and most times can even remove them. Unfortunately, the only thing these security applications seem to detest more than potentially harmful viruses is other antivirus applications running simultaneously together. Running two antivirus products at the same time is risky, even potentially dangerous to your system. It is simply an accident waiting to happen. Whatever "feel-good" benefits users may believe running two antivirus applications simultaneously might bring potential them; the pitfalls clearly outweigh the benefits, in my opinion. Therefore, my advice would be to pick one (or the other) to use and then proceed to Windows Add/Remove Programs to uninstall the one that you do not want to use anymore.

In order for Antivirus software to do its job properly; it needs to poke around the vulnerable portions of Windows, memory, and other places like in the registry. When two antivirus programs boot up together and lie in wait in your system tray; then after a while, start scanning and stalking these intruders, all sorts of problems happen, ranging from system freezes, program crashes to operating system lockups.

Because these programs typically remain on all the time, they normally need to load as soon as Windows boots, which means if you install more than one antivirus application on your PC, both programs load automatically and even though they may appear to work in harmony for a little while; at some point in the future; they will lock up the system or cause problems with other programs (mail clients in particular) that may seem unrelated; before there's a chance to troubleshoot.

Firewalls

A firewall is a device or software application which serves as a flexible barrier between the computers on your internal network and the outside world (i.e., the internet). A firewall's primary purpose is to prevent outside users from accessing your computer. The purpose of a software firewall is to keep malevolent hackers out of the reach of your computer and as a barrier that is intended to thwart the spread of any potentially destructive agent. You can use a firewall to protect your home network and family from offensive Web sites and potential hackers.

If you have a dedicated internet connection, one which is up 24 hours a day, then putting a firewall in place is probably a good idea to prevent a hacker from systematically try to break into your computer in the early morning hours when you are least likely to detect it. (Most break-ins usually go undetected unless the intruder damages or erases files from a machine).

Selecting a firewall:
I would definitely recommend buying a router that has a firewall built into it. This is usually the most cost-effective solution, is easy to set up and administer, and does not require the purchase of superfluous hardware. If you already have a router in place, a stand-alone firewall may also be a good idea. Most router vendors now offer basic firewall services either as a basic feature or as an optional upgrade.

Even installing a firewall will not stop a virus worm or Trojan from getting in. They may not stop a Trojan from getting out either. If you've never used a firewall before, you probably should start with one that's easy to set up. The heavy duty ones require a good understanding of how things work on the Internet. There are many firewalls to choose from -- even a few reliable free ones such as Zone Alarm free edition.

Anti-malware programs

There's a whole menagerie of malware that you should have protection against. An antivirus program just doesn't cover the bases an longer, although some antivirus firms are making noises about doing it. It's not clear yet just how broad their coverage will be. Besides viruses and worms, there's spyware, adware, foist ware, Trojan-horses, hijackers, dialers and more to worry about. There are currently some very good anti-malware free programs to choose from, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware which is a very effective freeware antimalware tool.

Anti-Trojan programs

A Trojan infection can allow total remote access to your computer by a third party. A Trojan horse is any program that infects your computer and consequently allows a hacker out there on the web to take control of your machine without your knowledge or consent. Trojan horse infections and unlike virus infections and worms, in that trojans will not replicate themselves.

Like spyware and adware, trojans can get onto your computer in a number of ways, including from a web browser, via e-mail, or in a bundle with other software downloaded from the Internet. You may also unknowingly transfer malware via a USB flash drive or other portable media. In order to actually get infected by these trojans the user must have downloaded the corrupt program and then installed it onto their computer.

Unlike viruses or worms, trojans do not replicate themselves but they can be just as destructive. On the surface, trojans appear benign and not causing or capable of causing harm. However. once the infected code is run, trojans are brought in and can perform malicious functions to harm the computer system without the user's knowledge.

This most commonly occurs when you have unwittingly download a corrupted program that pretends to be one thing while it is actually another. This is the origin of the "Trojan" designation. Many people falsely believe that they are completely protected from trojans by their anti-virus software. Unfortunately most virus scanners have only limited trojan detection capabilities. If you want serious protection you should install a specialized anti-trojan program in addition to your anti-virus scanner. Some really vicious Trojans are difficult to remove; even after they have been detected. Anti-malware programs are good protection against most Trojans, but this new strain requires something more robust. I recommend Trojan Hunter, but take your pick.

Security 'Bundled' Suites

Suites are just several related security programs that are "bundled" together -- usually at considerable savings. If you already are currently using an adequate antivirus program which you are satisfied with, a suite may not offer a real bargain. Norton and McAfee both offer highly security suites.

Computer "Start-Up" Management tools

I actually used Mike Lin's StartupCPL for quite a while w/Win 98, 2000 and XP. When it first came out it was really sort of a revolutionary first-of-its-kind tool and was such a relief to use; rather than haphazardly fiddling around w/MSCONFIG in order to configure which programs run when your computer starts... Great tool, really but unfortunately; as far as I know, StartupCPL has not been updated since 2004. Currently there are numerous apps that do a far better job of managing startup programs IMO; such as CodeStuff Starter and Sysinternals Autoruns for Windows as well as the Startup Manager Module which comes with the Glary Utilities suite from Glarysoft.

The CodeStuff Starter tool and the Glary Utilities 'Startup Manager Module' are very easy to use and both of these have some fairly basic configuration options that StartupCPL currently lacks. If anyone wants to try them out those two are much better for 'beginners', I believe. Autoruns is a great utility program; however it can be a bit tricky and even overwhelming (for those who may be new at using start-up management apps) because it lists so many different options.

Side Note: Additionally, the Sysinternals main website also has some very useful (yet tiny) programs such as Process Explorer, Process Monitor, PsTools, PageDefrag, RootkitRevealer, TcpView, BgInfo, and Desktops utility apps available on their site, as well. :)

 

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Practice Safety with Regards to Downloading Anything from the WEB

(Particularly when any e-mail arrives with attachments)

It's a jungle out there!

The internet makes it easy to deceive the credulous, and sometimes the not-so-credulous. It's just the nature of things. Many savvy people have been taken in by some clever con-artist's email or webpage. The Internet is seen as an open, free-spirited sort of place on the surface. This perception often fosters misplaced trust and wishful thinking. People forget that it's easier to hide motives, and avoid detection and prosecution on the Internet than it is in real life.

Be wary of any potential deceptions. Your own wits are the most important part of your online defense perimeter. Deception on the Internet can persuade you to help attack your own computer, or it can sucker you into a fraud. The Internet is a natural breeding ground for scam artists and vandals because it lends itself to anonymity. Perpetrators can hide very effectively by "spoofing" or quickly changing their email address, and/or by using offshore or "zombie" computers. Email and Web sites are often used in conjunction to perpetrate the fraud.

Virtually all unsolicited 'spam emails' conceal a scam of some sort

If it's too good to be true, of course it isn't, but some spam can be mighty appealing. Identity theft is probably the worst fraud that you can be a victim of, but it's not necessarily more likely online. "Social engineering" is usually the starting point for scams and fraud. It's the art of getting people to drop their guard -- to get them do something or reveal something when they'd ordinarily be suspicious. Virus writers use socially engineered email to get people to open attachments that carry viruses and worms.

It's easy to be taken in by innocent looking email, an enticing attachment, or a slick Web site. Even experts do from time to time. The wrong click can ruin your whole day. The most important thing you can do to defend yourself is get a general idea of the hazards, and then be on guard out there on the Internet. Fraud perpetrators thy to get people to reveal private information. Instead of an email, you might even get a phone call asking for information. "Can you verify your password for us?" should be a warning, no matter how the request arrives. If you didn't initiate the contact yourself, be very afraid. A growing percentage of pop-up windows are fraudulent. Or the offer on the page is just a scam. A typical ruse is asking you to verify a password, account number, date of birth, etc. You can imagine what will happen if you provide the information.

Web sites that send you unsolicited email can often lend themselves to scams and fraud not to mention hoaxes, conspiracy theories and urban legends. Virtually all spam contains deception of some kind. Bogus email often links to a bogus Web site to complete the scam. You're not as vulnerable to immediate physical attack on the Internet though. The answer is to always be on guard against scams and fraud. Think before you decide to buy anything on the Internet; especially if you didn't go looking for it. Why are they in business? Why are they offering what they offer? A legitimate business will never ask you for private information such as credit card information or your account password in an e-mail. They may direct you to a Web site to enter it, but be sure it's the real deal. It's very easy to counterfeit websites.

Handle your email safely

Email and email attachments are the most likely way for you to run into trouble on the Internet. If you set up your email client (program) correctly, and handle your email messages and attachments carefully you'll avoid your greatest hazard online. Prescreen your messages Examine your list of unopened messages carefully before you open any of them. If you didn't expect a message, if you don't know the sender, if the subject or attachment seem strange, too urgent, too alarming, too good to be true, or the sender and the subject don't jibe, just delete the message, along with any attachments, without opening it. Email messages and email attachments are dealt with in separate tracks in this online security section. However, you need to examine them as a whole when you're deciding if one or the other could be hiding a hazard. Often the nature of the attachment, its size, name or extension, combined with details of the message will give bogus email away.

Beware of the "previous/next" trap: When you open a message (by double clicking) it opens in a separate window. That window has "previous" and "next" buttons. When you click one, the previous or next message is opened automatically. If you have not prescreened all your messages before starting to read them, you stand the chance of opening a malicious one before you realize it. The best idea is to prescreen all your new messages before starting to read any of them. If you don't though, close the message window, and then open the next message from the message list. Handle attachments safely Never, ever open an email attachment that you have any doubts whatsoever -- even if it's addressed directly to you and comes from someone you know. Always check with the sender directly -- most worms appear to come from someone you know these days -- make sure they intended to send the attachment. (Just send them an email and ask what it's all about -- and even then be cautious.) If you're satisfied with how they got the file, it's probably OK, but you still need to handle it appropriately.

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Validating files that you think you can trust

These steps are precautions that the prudent web user will want to take - even for trusted files

Do NOT let the apparent validity of files tempt you to take shortcuts

(1) First to check: Do you know for sure that the file came from a source you absolutely trust? If not, go back and validate the source of file. The validation rules in Software Download will tell you how. If you are already sure, proceed to the second check below. This check applies doubly to attachments. Go back to Handling attachments safely, if you haven't validated the source of the attachment. If you already made sure, proceed to the second check below.

(2) Second to check: Have you determined that the file is what it claims to be? If you've already checked, proceed. If not, go back and check the file. You may end up having to discard the file. Either way it is good to make sure that the file is a reliable download.

(3) Continue Carefully: OK, you and the file have made it to here. Continue carefully, as outlined in the steps below, even if you now are sure you trust the file. If you don't fully trust the file at this point, review the next step...

(4) Weed out obviously bogus messages and attachments first.

You will need to examine messages and attachments as a whole, not separately. Sometimes attachment details -- size, name or extension -- combined with the nature of the message will tell you they're bogus. Usually there's a whiff of something not quite right. If something is fishy just delete the message, along with the attachment, and get on with your life.


Carefully inspecting any files that you don't fully trust

Scan all files for viruses before you open them -- no matter what the source. Scan all files for worms and other malware before you open them -- no matter what the source. If you have the software, scan all files for Trojans before you open them -- no matter what the source. This final step above applies to a special situation; in that here's a lot happening to your machine when you install a program. Make sure you have a current backup of your documents and preferably your operating systems data before you install any software, downloaded or not. Otherwise, it will be way too late to back up when (not if) something goes horribly wrong.

HTML attachments (filename .htm) are a special case

Depending on how the message was composed, and on its size, email clients will show some HTML messages as attachments. Others will be displayed directly with no attachment. Either one can have malicious content though. Many malicious attachments appear to come from a legitimate address, or from someone you know. Be suspicious of any attachment that you were not expecting -- even though it's from someone you know. Be paranoid about attachments from anyone you don't know. When you're not sure the attachment is safe NEVER simply "double-click" or "right-click open" an attachment you're not sure of. That will immediately activate any malicious content. Safe file handling, and find out how to open it safely.

Wait, wait... don't click that link just yet!

It's very easy to "spoof" links in email messages so that they look like they're legitimate, but actually take you to a counterfeit or hostile Web site. The process for inspecting messages with attachments will also work to decide if a plain email message (and thus the link) is bogus. Go through that process carefully before you click that link. This may sound tedious, but after you've done it a few times, you should get the hang of it. In most cases, you'll be able to decide if a message is bogus or not without referring to the process directly.

Handle files safely. The principles of handling dubious files safely apply to both email attachments and the files you download. When you want to be certain a file is OK, you can often check it out safely before you open it. Surf the Web safely. There are many traps for the unwary out there on the Web. You can sidestep them with a few precautions. Download files only from sources you fully trust -- well known and trusted sources. The download page has much more information on the whole process.

 

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Examples of Quality

(trustworthy to use)

Search Engines for use while ONLINE!

 

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If you are looking for a variety of Search Engines; look no further than the following site:

The Search Engine List


A Very Comprehensive List of Search Engines is available there

 

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Search Tips for ONLINE Research

Search engines are extremely important and instrumental to Internet users.

Without them, it would be next to impossible to find any websites or anything else for that matter

unless someone provides you the exact URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

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This Section Covers:
Enhancing the Use Functions of Various Search Engines

Search engines offer a variety of ways for you to refine and control your searches. Some of them offer menu systems for this. Others require you to use special commands as part of your query. Be SURE to READ OVER the Help Files at each search engine site for more detailed coverage about what options they offer.

Experiment with these options at your leisure...

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USING the Google Search Engine

 

 

Exploring Proper Use of Search Terms

Match Any

Sometimes you want pages that contain any of your search terms. For example, you may want to find pages that say either Ireland or Eire. The Search Features Chart shows which search engines will do this type of search by default, without you needing to specify any commands. At some search engines, you can do a Match Any search by using a menu next to the search box or on the advanced search page. The Search Features Chart lists where this is possible. Keep in mind that most search engines will automatically first list pages that have all your terms, then some of your terms, when you perform a Match Any search.

Match All

This is a search for pages containing all of your search terms, rather than any of them. For example, you may want to find pages with references to both The President and Speaker of the House on the same page. Most of the major search engines support the + symbol (as a means of doing a Match All search)..

Exclude

Most major search engines allow you to exclude documents that contain certain words. This is a helpful way to narrow a search. For example, you may want a page about the philosopher Calvin, not the cartoon character Calvin. By excluding pages that mention Hobbes, the cartoon character's sidekick, you will get better results. The best way to do this is by using the - command, which is supported by practically all major search engines.

Keyword searching Created by software "spiders" -- Good for specific, detailed searching...

Sponsored search is when the program that you install offers the user the option to set the user's computer browser software to say, a Google sponsored search engine. Many users will eventually get wind of program authors' changing their search settings and some might not be very pleased with it but most users either do not know about it or do not mind many and even do not mind it at all if the program offers to install a toolbar upon installation.

 

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Tips for Correctly Entering SEARCH Keywords

 

How to Get the Most out of Your Search

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Keywords are synonyms or phrases that describe your search topic.

These are the words which various search engine uses in order to find

precisely what it 'thinks' are specific sites match what you're looking for.

Examples of Keywords for "Dogs"
[puppies, collies, hounds, canines]

If you're using a directory for your search, you don't have to use keywords--you may simply follow the subject links provided by the directory. However, most directories allow you to input keywords at any point along your search path.


Tips for Conducting Your Search

1). Brainstorm and write down words and phrases that describe your topic before you hop on the Internet.
2). Use a directory if you're searching a broad subject area or haven't quite decided what part of a particular topic to cover.
3). Use a search engine if you know exactly what your topic is and have some knowledge of the words typically used to describe it.
4). If you're using a search engine rather than a directory, start with specific keywords and if you get too few hits or none at all, broaden your search (e. g., search "sharks" instead of "porbeagle").
5). Try more than one search tool.
6). Evaluate the sites you find as much as possible for reliability.

Search engines often return tons of non-related "hits," many of which have absolutely nothing to do with your topic. It's always a good idea to scroll through the first 20 or 30 hits, even if the list is over 100,000 hits. Then alter your search strategy, using what you learned from your gargantuan search results, and try again.

 

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Safer Ways to Dispose of and/or Discard

any Older or Outdated Computers

(and Other Assorted Electronic Equipment)

 

 

Donating your no longer needed computer

Every computer chucked in the trash bin and consequently dropped off at the local dumpsite; represents not only an ecological waste (literally) but is also a missed opportunity to provide technology and tools to individuals and organizations who may still be able to utilize this equipment. If it is at all possible, be sure to include the keyboard, mouse, printer, modem, packaged software, and any other accessories you have used with the computer; provided you no longer need them. They can almost always be utilized by schools and nonprofits, and these types of organizations will really appreciate it if you provide them with a more 'complete' system.

Also be sure to include the original operating system and other software disks, media, Certificate of Authenticity sticker, user manual, and other documentation which originally came with the equipment. Keeping the Certificate of Authenticity sticker (usually on the outside of the computer) intact is generally the most important thing to remember. This allows folks you donate your old electronics to to inexpensively re-license and reload Microsoft Windows and Office software on the the donated equipment. If the COA sticker is not attached anymore you can always download, install and run the free Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit software tool in order to determine this information (as well as a wealth of other info about your computer).

Before Donating:

Clear Your Computer of Personal Information Yourself, Using 'Disk-Cleaning' and 'Data-Wiping' Software

The best way to protect against any unauthorized use of sensitive personal information is to use a disk-cleaning tool that obliterates all data on the hard drive. "Personal information" includes your Internet browser's cache, cookies, history; your email contacts and messages; your documents; your recycle or trash folder; and all nontransferable software.

CCleaner is far and away the easiest and safest 'cleanup' utility program to install and use for this purpose

Below are examples of thorough data-wiping utilities; should you choose to entirely wipe your hard disk clear of everything including your operating system. Data Erasure provides for data destruction during computer reuse management allowing for permanently erase of ALL data in order to to prevent sensitive data recovery from unwanted sources.

Commercial Windows Disk-Data-Wiping Software:
• Blancco Data Erasure Software
• WipeDrive

Free Windows Disk-Cleaning Software:
• Active@ Kill Disk Hard Drive Eraser
• Darik's Boot and Nuke

Macintosh Disk-Cleaning Software:
• Disk Utility (built-in in Mac OS X, under "Security Options")
• WipeDrive for Mac

 

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Some Other Free

"technology-oriented" Recycling Options:

You can always decide to bring in your old office technology products to your local Staples and they will responsibly and securely recycle them at no cost to you - any brand, any condition, even if you purchased it somewhere else!

  • There is a limit of just 6 items per customer per day.

  • All brands of items are accepted regardless of where purchased.

See the following lists below for acceptable/non-acceptable technology products:

Items accepted for free recycling through Staples:
• Desktop computers • Laptops, tablets, eReaders • External hard drives and small servers

• Monitors • Desktop printers, copiers, scanners, faxes, all-in-ones • Shredders

• Peripherals including mice, keyboards, modems, routers and PC speakers

• UPS/battery backup devices

Incidentally, Staples will also accept:

Small electronics including GPS devices, digital cameras, MP3 players, mobile phones and cordless phones

Side Note: The Staples so-called "Copy & Print Shops" do not accept electronics for recycling, however all other U.S. Staples locations will accept the above listed electronics for free recycling.

Prohibited items - items not accepted for recycling through Staples:
• Televisions
• Floor model copiers and printers
• Appliances
• Large servers
• Stereo/home AV equipment
• Alkaline batteries
• Rechargeable batteries larger than 12 pounds
• Lamps/bulbs

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Here are three additional 'Environmentally-Friendly' options

for disposing of your old electronics:

1. Sell them on eBay or perhaps Craigslist (especially if you wish to sell locally)
2. Donate them to a thrift store or charitable organization (get a tax-deduction!)
3. Recycle them so their raw materials can be separated and repurposed.

As far as selling or donating your used electronics goes, there's always going to be someone out there who could use your used computer, cell phone or other technological device; especially one that works and is affordable. Reselling and donating used electronics can be a wise choice.

Donating to Goodwill or the Salvation Army and any other 'charitable' organizations a which are tax-exempt nonprofits, can often offer an unexpected tax-deduction bonus refund at the end of the year. The Salvation Army even provides a handy guide to determine the 'value' of whatever you are donating to them. This Donation Value Guide helps you determine the approximate tax-deductible value of some of the more commonly donated items. It includes low and high estimates.

However; if you really are set on selling them for a few bucks instead, eBay can be a good choice as well; and the ever-popular Craigslist is one of the simplest sites on the Internet; anyone can post an ad on the site where potential buyers can find what they're looking for with a few clicks of the mouse. On Craigslist's website, the company offers a few prudent tips regarding ways to stay safe when meeting someone for the first time by way of any Craigslist posting. Suggestions include insisting on meeting in a public place, telling a friend or family member where you're going, taking a cell phone along, having a friend accompany you, exercising extra caution when buying or selling expensive items and, most of all, trusting your instincts.

How to Best Use the provided 'Search Box' -- Here are Two Helpful Tips to use at Craigslist

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase such as: "rocking chair" or "delivery available"

  • To specify words which you'd like to exclude, use a minus (-) sign:

"Flat Panel" or "LCD Monitor" -CRT finds postings that include "Flat" and "Panel," monitors but not "CRT"

Regarding connecting with Craigslist sellers:

• If you see an ad you're curious about, or outright interested email the seller right away; but if they have provided a phone number in the listing, always call instead.

• When you email or call the seller, tell them that you can come right away (or that evening) with cash in hand.

• All sellers want to dispose of their item as quickly as possible, so mentioning that you'll pay in cash. Make sure you have your own delivery method — this will always lower the final price.

• At all times be sure that see an item in person before buying. see it. If you don't like it, simply thank the seller for their time... you are not obligated in the least to purchase it if you really don't want it.

• There's absolutely no return policy on Craigslist. Buying on e-bay offers far more protection; using PayPal, etc. if something goes wrong or if you are unsatisfied with your product you can complain to PayPal and get your money back. However, on Craigslist  - Once you have paid for the item; the deal is done.
 

Recycling these items your takes a bit more knowledge and forethought

The following links should get you started; should you decide to 'recycle' your electronics:

Recycling Locations – An excellent and easy guide to find places in your local area that can recycle electronics.

Choosing to dispose of PCs or laptops through recycling their materials; rather than simply chucking junk PCs and Hardware into a landfill where they can contaminate the water, land, and even harm the wildlife - this means that you are doing your bit to help!


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Computer Software Tools for People with Disabilities

 

 

 

 

Windows Software for People with Disabilities

 

 

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Microsoft RELATED Accessibility SITE URLs:
 

========================================================

Microsoft Accessibility
 

Microsoft Accessibility Training


Microsoft Products & Aids for Accessibility

========================================================

In addition to the features and resources described in online Help, other products, services, and resources for people with disabilities are available from Microsoft and other organizations. Microsoft provides information about accessibility aids you can use with Windows. This technology helps improve the lives of people with disabilities by making computers a positive force in employment, education, and recreation. For information about accessibility products and aids for Windows operating systems, see the accessibility page on the Microsoft Web site.

You can find additional information about this technology by following the links to Accessibility and Microsoft, News and Events, Products and Aids, Training, or Developing Technology.
 

Full documentation on the Accessibility features available in Windows as well as step by step guides for Microsoft products are available. For information about accessibility products and aids for Windows operating systems, see the accessibility page on the Microsoft Web site. Accessibility features are also documented in the Microsoft Windows Resource Kit.

 

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AbilityHub - Assistive Technology

 

 

HOME PAGE

 

A website consisting of Assistive Technology, and solutions

for people with disabilities wanting to access a computer.


AbilityHub - Assistive Technology for people with a disability who find operating a computer difficult, maybe even impossible. This web site will direct you to adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers.

AbilityHub. com's purpose is to help you find information on adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers. Searching the Internet for accurate information on Assistive Technology is much like "looking for a needle in a haystack". This website attempts to reduced the size of the haystack and bring you the information in an organized fashion.

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A-Z to Deaf Blindness
 

All the info about deaf blindness anyone could need or want!

 

Excellent Link to

A-Z to Deafblindness

Homepage at:

deafblind.com

 

Simply an incredible site; in that James Gallagher, a U.K. gent (with deaf blindness), created and maintains this site.

 

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Here is the ASL (American Sign Language) Alphabet

 

 

 

Braille Utilities & Related Sites
 

Braille.org
National Braille Press
Duxbury Systems -- Braille translation software
Tutorials: Teach Braille Software Overview
Braille Institute of America for the blind and visually-impaired
International Braille Research Center (IBRC)
Braille Bug American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Braille Bug features a kids' center that
teaches sighted children grades 3 through 6 about Braille.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children Seedlings Braille Books for Children is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality children's books. Includes information on special projects, FAQs and related resources.
 

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TTS Programs

(Text-To-Speech Tools)

 

 

A text-to-speech 'system' (sometimes called: engine) can convert raw text containing symbols like numbers and abbreviations; into the equivalent of written-out words. This process is often called text normalization, pre-processing, or tokenization. The front-end then assigns phonetic transcriptions to each word, and divides and marks the text into prosodic units, like phrases, clauses, and sentences. The process of assigning phonetic transcriptions to words is called text-to-phoneme or grapheme-to-phoneme conversion. Some important qualities of a speech synthesis system are naturalness and intelligibility. Naturalness describes how closely the output sounds like human speech, while intelligibility is the ease with which the output is understood. The ideal speech synthesizer is both natural and intelligible. Speech synthesis systems usually try to maximize both characteristics.

 

 

 

Stephen Hawking; author of A Brief History of Time (in .pdf form, available to read at that link)

is probably one of the most famous people who currently use speech synthesis to communicate.

 

Dr. Hawking was born exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo!

 

Dr. Stephen Hawking; is often counted among two other previous great minds from the past of Earth science, along with Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Like these two; Dr. Hawking is also widely considered to be one of the world's the most brilliant theoretical physicists (of 20th-century). Hawking's scientific achievements were even more remarkable; considering that during his college years he was afflicted with a progressive, debilitating neural disease that kept him confined to a wheelchair, and consequently had the ability to speak only with the aid of a speech-synthesis computer.

 

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"Speech Readers" as well as speech-recognition technology has significantly improved in recent years, and continues to do so. Most software that is available now; programs like Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred, IBM Via Voice, and Lernout & Hauspie's Voice Express Professional are vastly better than the software that was available just a few years ago.

 

All these "Speak & the Computer Types for You" programs cost money; however below I have listed a few freeware programs which are TTS Speech Readers (which cannot type for you – however; can READ the screen and "speak" just about anything you can type into them.

 

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Sayz Me • (simple text to speech application)



 

 

Sayz Me is a very simple text to speech reader. Copy text from web pages, emails or documents and this free utility will read the words out aloud to you. Sayz Me also uses the Microsoft speech engine and synthetic voices. Listen to text and give your eyes a rest. Great accessibility software as you can adjust the font size and color to assist reading. Very simple and easy to use. Best of all its free.

Please ensure that the Microsoft Speech API 4.0 and the Microsoft synthetic voices are installed. Be sure to install "spchapi.exe" first, followed by "msttsl.exe" - the installation order is important! (These files should have been installed automatically in the default Win2k setup.)

 

Sayz Me has been tested on Windows 98, 2000 and XP. Please ensure that the Microsoft Speech API 4.0 and the Microsoft synthetic voices are installed. Be sure to install "spchapi.exe" first, followed by "msttsl.exe" - the installation order is important! (These files should have been installed automatically in the default Win2k setup.)

More information about the myriad of Speech setups can be found at the Microsoft Speech website

Sayz Me will definitely not work on Linux, Unix, Mac, etc. (yet!)

Click here download it... Sayz Me Site at: Sourceforge.net/projects/sayzme/

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Speakonia

Another very easy-to-use tool "Speakonia" with graphical user interface (GUI) is similar to Notepad.

Speakonia reads aloud any given text with a single mouse click:

 

 

The reading can be paused, resumed and can be exported to a wave file. In addition Speakonia is able to fetch webpage’s through an internal http interface and read them aloud for you.

You can even have your mails read to you using the "Clipboard Reading" feature.

To enable Support for a particular language in Speakonia, download the appropriate language module from the Microsoft Page to your hard disk and double click it.
Follow the instructions on the screen. After Installation has finished restart Speakonia to refresh the available language modules.

Language Support Files do not replace Speakonia; you will have to download both!

 

Important Side Notes: development of this program has been discontinued! The Text-To-Speech Engine is NOT a CFS-Technologies, but a the Microsoft ® Corporation Product!
 

Operating systems: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP
System requirements: 20MB-RAM, 200MHz, 2MB disk free space

Click on this URL below to read about and download it...

Main Speakonia Home Page Site URL: http://www.cfs-technologies.com/home/?id=1.4

 

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Natural Voice Text to Speech Reader

The standard version is a FREE software with FULL function, you can let computer read any part of text, emails, and record your voices.

Standard versions Contains Microsoft Voices Mike, Sam, Mike.

With build-in web browser, you can view any web news in the Internet, and have the computer to read any part of the news, weathercast, charting messages, and emails.

click on this URL to read about and download it...

Main Natural Voice Text to Speech Reader
Site URL: http://www.naturalreaders.com/
 

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In addition, here's one for the kiddies... •ANALOGX -- "Say it"

It's not really designed for those who require Screen Readers, but the kids will have a blast with it. It is speech synthesized voice / sentence recognition software. It will "say" (through the computer's speakers) whatever you have typed in and it has plenty of knobs and do-dads for obtaining far out voices. It's called ANALOGX “Say it.” SayIt works on all versions of Windows, from Window 95 to Windows 7 and everything in-between (including XP, Vista, Win2k, etc).

Click on this URL to read about ANALOGX Say it - and to download it...
Main Site URL: http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/audio/sayit.htm

 

 

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Some More other Freeware Tools

to ASSIST Disabled folks with Computer User:
 

Lens
 

The Lens - magnifying glass is a graphic tool for viewing the screen area in different zooms (magnify from 1x to 64x). Freeware. Site URL http://www.abfsoftware.com/ (under freeware)
 

Lupa 0.99


Magnifying glass with a twist. You can expand its area, change magnification from 0.1 to 16 times and it works on top of other applications even if not active. Freeware. Site URL http://www.winfiles.com
 

Vision Screen Driver


Vision for Windows software provides a magnified view of the entire Windows desktop & applications, similar to viewing the screen though a large magnifying glass, providing enhanced accessibility for blind & partially sighted users. Vision for Windows is suitable for use with Microsoft Windows 95 & Windows 98. Freeware for private use.

 

Site URL http://www.users.waitrose.com/~jspinks/magnifier.html.
 

Screen Loupe v4.6


Screen Loupe displays a magnified view (2x, 4x, or 8x) of whatever is beneath the mouse cursor, much like a jeweler's or printer's loupe. The contents of the Screen Loupe window can be copied into another program, so you can use Screen Loupe to capture part of the screen. You can also use it to magnify small print or detailed graphics without having to use your application's zoom command. As if the magnification feature wasn't useful enough, Screen Loupe also has horizontal and vertical ruler windows that can float anywhere on your desktop, an ASCII/ANSI chart that lets you copy characters to the Clipboard, a system information window, plus a chart of Microsoft Windows error codes. Freeware. Site URL http://www.execpc.com/~sbd/
 

Key2Speak


Key2Speak allows you to hear your documents read as soon as you type them. Key2Speak lets you avoid keying errors by listening to your documents as soon as you type them, and check your spelling as you write your documents.

 

Site URL: http://www.madoogali.com/Key2Speak/Features.htm
 

Keyboard Remap (Microsoft Kernel Toys)

Site URL http://www.microsoft.com
 

Take control of your Control key! (And Caps Lock, too.) Envious of your friends who have the Microsoft Natural Keyboard? This Control Panel Keyboard extension lets you fight back. Freeware.
 

ReadPlease 2002
 

ReadPlease 2002 is an exciting updated text-to-speech application. Use to read web pages and e-mail. ReadPlease is Internet aware and will read any text file or Rich Text Format file from the Net. Features four natural human sounding voices. ReadPlease will speak any text copied to the Windows Clipboard from any Windows application. Site URL http://www.readplease.com.

Simply Web 2000


Simply Web 2000 is an speech friendly, speech enabled accessible web browser with advance features that allow easy navigation of complex pages by blind users. Freeware.

Site URL http://www.econointl.com/sw/
 

Special Keys Disabler

Site URL: http://accesscodes.hypermart.net/product02.html

 

A freeware utility program that can enable and disable the special keys combinations in Windows 9x. It disables the special keys combinations like ctrl+alt+del and alt+tab. This program prevents the user to use those keys combinations permanently, thus preventing improper restarting or shutdown of the computer. Unfortunately, it also disables the windows and the menu key.

 

USING Microsoft-Based

'Speaking' Windows UTILITIES

 

Many people who have a significant vision or literacy difficulty would benefit from having their computer speak back what they are typing and other text on the screen.
 

Windows comes with a basic screen reader called Narrator, which reads text on the screen aloud and describes some events (such as an error message appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
 

Windows Narrator is a somewhat 'limited' speech-output program (not a fully functional screen-reader required by someone with no useful vision) but can nevertheless provide useful speech feedback in many situations.
 

This page gives you step-by-step instructions on how to launch the Narrator speech-output program; and shows users how to open Windows Narrator and to highlights its features.

 

Instructions:

 


 

Figure #1

After clicking on the OK button, another window appears which has various options which you can select by clicking on the checkbox or tabbing to the checkbox and pressing the spacebar. You can also adjust the voice settings from here by clicking on Voice or pressing V on the keyboard. (see Fig 2)

 

Figure #2

 

Click Here: Hear-text-read-aloud-with-Narrator

 

Important note: If this procedure does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help. Window's Narrator is available for Windows 2000, XP and Vista and Windows 7. Narrator is not available in all languages, so if the steps below don't work, Narrator is not available for your language.

To learn how to use this keyboard shortcuts


Note: Windows Narrator is a basic screen-reading program; which offers 'speech feedback' in a variety of situations (i.e. all menus and dialog boxes, Windows Explorer and Notepad) but will not speak in some parts of most applications (i.e. a Word document or web page). It can be set to echo your keystrokes (this will work in all situations).


Start Narrator: To Activating the Windows Narrator tool

To activate Windows Narrator:

  • (1) Open the Start menu by clicking on the Start button or by pressing the Windows logo key

  • (located between the Ctrl and Alt keys) - or Ctrl + Esc

  • (2) Click on All Programs or alternatively press P on the keyboard until All Programs is highlighted and then Enter.

  • (3) Click on Accessories or press A on the keyboard until Accessories is highlighted and then press Enter.

  • (4) Click on Accessibility or if you are using the keyboard, it will already be highlighted so just press Enter.

  • (5) Click on Accessibility or if you are using the keyboard, it will already be highlighted so just press Enter.

  • (6) Click on Narrator or press N and when Narrator is highlighted, press Enter on the keyboard.

  • (7) The Microsoft Narrator foreground window appears and the narrator immediately starts to talk

(It will read out the instructions on how to use this feature.)

 

ReadPlease Text to Speech Software
Although we have seen how
Windows’ Narrator (available in Windows 2000 and XP) can offer some speech output to help those with a vision impairment or literacy difficulty, it does not allow for the speaking back of chunks of text in your document or web page.

There are a number of text to speech programs that are either freeware or shareware that allow any text that can be selected with the keyboard or mouse to be spoken back in a range of different voices. One such program is ReadPlease. This may be a very valuable facility for someone who needs to give their eyes a rest or who has difficulties with reading.

ReadPlease 2003 -
ReadPlease Plus 2003 - Trial version

ReadPlease/ReadPlease Plus 2003 (free and trial version) - ReadPlease 2003 is a free version that never expires. ReadPlease Plus 2003 has a free trial period of 30-days after which you may purchase a registration code to unlock the software.

Find out more about both versions of ReadPlease at the product developer's Home Page:

Home | Downloads | Order | Support | Contact

Check out the comparison chart between ReadPlease 2003 and ReadPlease Plus 2003 here
 


Click this link to
download a free copy of ReadPlease

Also available in US - UK - Spanish - French - German - Italian - Dutch - Portuguese
Now available in many languages!


Making Text Easier to See (in Word)

Increasing the text size

You can increase the onscreen size of the text, without affecting how it will print out, by using the zoom function. To do this:

  • Click the View menu or press Alt + V
  • Click on Zoom or press Z to display the zoom box

 

  • Either click on the desired zoom level, or use the up and down arrows to select a value.
  • If you want to type in your own value, click in the Percent box, or press Alt + E.
  • Type in the value you want (between 50% and 200%).
  • When you have chosen or typed in a value, press Enter or click OK to return to Word.
  • Once you are done, click OK or press Enter to return to Word.

You may find that the text doesn't fit in the windows width ways after you have adjusted the zoom level and that the Word window will scroll along as you type to keep the text visible. You can force the text to wrap to the window which will make sure every line fits on to the screen, width ways.

  • Click the Tools menu or press Alt + T
  • Click on Options or press O to display the Options dialog box

Now Click the checkbox marked Wrap to Window or press Alt + W

Now any lines that do not fit across the screen will be wrapped on to the next line so the window does not scroll. This will not affect the final print out in any way.

Using the Windows Magnifier

Magnifier is a display utility that makes your computer screen more readable by creating a separate window that shows a portion of your screen larger. Here's how to turn on Magnifier and set the Magnifier levels.

 

To turn on Magnifier using your mouse

(1) Click the Start button, point to All Programs, point to Accessories and then click Accessibility.

(2) Click Magnifier to open the Magnifier Settings dialog box. Adjust the level of magnification by typing a number from 1 to 9, or by selecting the arrow button to open the list of options from the drop-down menu.

 To turn on Magnifier using your keyboard

1. Display the 'Start menu' by pressing the Ctrl+Esc key (or the Windows logo key). Press R and type magnify. Then press Enter.

2. Move to the Magnifier Settings dialog box by pressing Alt+L. Adjust the level of magnification between 1 and 9 by moving the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys.

To change Magnifier 'size and position' using your mouse

Do either of the following:

• To change the size, make sure Magnifier is turned on.

Move your mouse pointer over an edge of the Magnifier window. When the pointer becomes a two–headed arrow, hold down the mouse button and drag the Magnifier window to resize it.

• To change the position, make sure Magnifier is turned on. Move the mouse pointer over the Magnifier window. Hold down the mouse button and drag the Magnifier window to reposition it.

To change Magnifier size and position using your keyboard

Do either of the following:

To change the size of the window, make sure Magnifier is turned on and the Magnifier Settings dialog box is open. Press Alt+F6, then press Alt+Spacebar. Press S.

Then press an arrow key until the mouse pointer becomes a two–headed arrow on the side or corner of the Magnifier window. Continue pressing the arrow keys until the Magnifier window is the size you want. Then press Enter.

• To change the position of the window, make sure Magnifier is turned on and the Magnifier Settings dialog box is open. Press Alt+F6, and then press Alt+Spacebar.

Press M. Move the Magnifier window to the position you want by pressing the arrow keys. Then press Enter.

 

 

 

Help With Seeing Your Keyboard

Hi-visibility keyboard stickers

 

Many people find it very difficult seeing the letters on a standard computer keyboard; which tend to be small and grey on a beige background.

There are a number of large, hi-contrast, sets of keyboard stickers available online at very little cost. Simply stick them on the keys of a standard keyboard and it may be much easier to find the key you are looking for.

These stickers can be affixed to your laptop keyboard to provide a high contrast, making the keys easier to read. The stickers are usually black (or sometimes yellow) text on white background and work with most laptop keyboards.

The above example consists if large white letters on a black background; often found to be the easiest color combination to see. However they are also generally available in black on white, black on yellow and yellow on black.

Making the text easier to see in your browser in Internet Explorer

A lot of webpages can be difficult to view because the text is too small to comfortably read. Follow these steps to increase the size of the text on any web page you are viewing.

  1. Open the View menu with the mouse (or by pressing Alt+V).

  2. Select the Text Size option with the mouse (or by pressing T).

  3. Choose your 'preferred text' size with the mouse or by using the up and down arrow keys and pressing Enter or by clicking on it.

    The text on our website should now have changed to reflect your choice.

    Some websites have hard-coded the size of their text and as a consequence these websites will not reflect the change you have just made.

To set your preferences to be reflected on other sites that you visit...

Follow these steps:

Open the Tools menu with the mouse (or by pressing Alt+T).

Select the Internet Options option with the mouse or by pressing O.
 

Select the "Accessibility button" with the mouse (or by pressing Alt+E).

Check the Ignore font sizes specified on web page checkbox with the mouse (or by pressing Alt+Z.)

Click the OK button twice with the mouse or by pressing Enter twice (to return to Internet Explorer).

Changing Default Font (for IE)

(1) Click the Tools (gear wheel) icon beneath the search box, then select Internet options.

You should see a window with a list of options. Click on the Fonts button at the bottom of the window.
 

IE WINDOWS FONT PREFERENCES

(2) Change the Language Script: from Latin based to an appropriate script. Note: If your encoding is not available, you may need to install a newer version of Internet Explorer, but make sure you install the appropriate international options.

(3) Select a Webpage font and a Plain text font. A Plain text font is one in which all the characters take up the same amount of space and is associated with older computer terminals. This is plain text

(4) If no fonts are listed in the menus, then you need to install fonts designed for that encoding. Check the Encoding by Script page to see a list of recommended fonts by script.

(5) Click OK to close the Fonts window. Click OK again to close Internet Options window.
 


Making text easier to see in your browser in Opera

Many webpages can be difficult to view them because the text is too small to comfortably read. Unlike in Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator Opera can increase the size of images as well as text. These settings affect how Opera displays Web pages. You have a great deal of flexibility to override the Web designer's page style.

In Opera, you can zoom in and out of Web pages. If you want all your Web pages to start with a particular zoom rate, specify it here. You can also zoom individual Web pages by clicking the down arrow next to the field that says "100%" on the address bar.

Defaults:

You can specify which presentation mode should be default.

Presentation modes

Opera has two "modes" called "Author mode" and "User mode". Author mode lets you see the Web page as the author intended, while user mode lets you change the style to your own preference.

Conveniently, the modes each contain two full groups of settings. You can switch between the full groups of settings simply by clicking the mode button on the address bar, rather than changing the settings one by one.

Usually, you will want to change the settings for your "own" mode, user mode, but you can change the settings in author mode too, if you want.

The following settings can be changed for each individual mode:


Page CSS
Use the page's style sheet

Page font and color
Use fonts and colors explicitly defined in the page's markup language

My style sheet
Use your style sheet (choose with choose)

My fonts and color
Use your fonts and colors (specified in Fonts preferences)

My link style
Use your link style (specified in Fonts preferences)

Tables
Disabling tables will dissolve tables on the page and display text inside tables as straightforward text

With the exception of the default zoom, it is strongly recommended that you be somewhat familiar with markup language and style sheets before you change these settings.

Page style preferences

Follow these steps (listed below) to increase the size of the text on any web page you are viewing. You can quickly increase or decrease the size of both text and graphics using the numberpad + and - keys. Each press will increase or decrease the size by 10%. However these changes will not be remembered next time you open Opera.

Follow these steps to increase or decrease the size of the text permanently:

  • Open the File menu with the mouse or by pressing Alt+F.

  • Select the Preferences option with the mouse or by pressing F.

  • Select Page Style from the list with the mouse or by using the down arrow key. (see fig 1)



    Fig 1

     

  • Select the Default Zoom of your choice with the mouse (or by pressing Alt + Z) and using the up and down arrows.
  • Select the OK button with the mouse or by pressing Enter to return to Opera.

A few good places to research scholarships (disabled or not) include:

Fastweb.com | Finaid.org | Collegenet.com

and

Fastaid.com

=============================================================

Education Based Disability Support Organizations:

ACE Advisory Centre for Education
UK based advice for parents on State Education
IPSEA
UK specific legal advice
ADDNet
UK based AD/HD information
JABS
UK vaccine damage support
Angelman's Syndrome Foundation
US based
MENCAP
UK Learning Difficulties
British Epilepsy Association
UK based
National Autistic Society
UK based autism support
Chromosome 22 Central
International
National Deaf Children's Society
UK based
Contact-a-Family
UK support for rare syndromes
OASIS
US Asperger's Syndrome
Cri-du-Chat Support Group
UK based
Parent's View of the SEN Tribunal Process.
UK specific
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
UK based
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
UK based
Down's Syndrome Association
UK based
Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome
UK based
Down's Syndrome Educational Trust
International
Rett's Syndrome Association.
UK based

Fragile X Society
UK based

Royal National Institute for the Blind
UK based
 

ICAN
UK support for communication difficulties

Royal National Institute for the Deaf
UK based

SCOPE
UK Cerebral Palsy Support

Signalong
Sign-supported English


Teaching Resources

Jan Brett Homepage
Huge collection of very attractive print materials

CERL (Flo Longhorn)
Sensory Curriculum/PMLD learners

Topmarks
Large searchable database of quality resource websites

Deaf Sign
Loads of resources for sign including online finger spelling translator

Northern Grid SEN Freeware CD
*Free CD* full of SEN Materials

Speech Teach
Extensive downloads and materials related to speech therapy

School Train
Teaching resources and deafness/language disorder materials

Educate The Children
Lesson plans, printable and more with Primary emphasis

Basic Skills Resources
Resources for teachers of basic skills

SEN Resources
Loads of printable SEN resources

Kids Freeware
Extensive collection of Windows Freeware

ICTeachers
Large collection of teaching resources and links

Primary Resources
Large collection of teaching materials

Teacher Freebies at About.Com
Various freebies for teachers with US focus

TinSnips
Excellent printed materials and ideas for special needs

FINE
Inclusion Resources (North East, UK)

Do To Learn
Printables and other resources for autism

Sites for Teachers
Ranked database of websites for teachers

The Teacher List
Archive/mailing list of reviewed educational websites

Teaching Ideas
Teaching materials, links and lesson plans

 


Other Teacher/Student resources:

· Priory Woods School & Arts College
 

· Trans-active
Multi-media passports
 

· Microsoft and Accessibility
Accessibility reference

· Learning Difficulties Org
LDs and Internet Use
 

· LD Resources
(US) Learning Disabilities
 

· NASEN
UK SEN Association
 

· BILD
UK Learning Difficulties
 

· Mayer-Johnson
PCS Symbols (Commercial)
 

· SERI
(US) Long list of SEN links
 

· UK Special Schools On The Web
SEN School Homepages
 

· Peepo
Picture directory
 

· Computer Project
Adults with LDs and IT
 

· Kingsbury Special School
UK SLD/PMLD School
 

· Inclusive Technology
UK SEN ICT supplier
 

· SEMERC
UK SEN software publisher and retailer
 

· Sensory Software
UK SEN software developer

 


More help for teachers

(and student teachers Too!)

Teachers Report Assistant 5.2

A guaranteed time saver!


Free time saving utility for teachers who prefer to word process student reports. Produces professional sounding, individualized report cards in the shortest possible time. This program uses a set of statements written by the teacher or downloaded from the net which can then be tailored to suit individual students. Designed to work in conjunction with your usual word processor.

Requirements: P200 CPU, 32K RAM, 2MB disk space

[ Freeware - Windows all versions ]


MaxMedia (light edition) 1.00

Even inexperienced users can combine text, images, buttons, videos, sounds, animation


Now it is very easy to create the most incredible interactive multimedia applications - no programming is required! and other elements. MaxMedia is a multimedia authoring system that allows you to create great interactive programs such as: presentations, photo albums, kiosks, electronic books and magazines (e-books), greeting cards (e-cards), computer-based training applications (CBT), educational materials, catalogs, brochures, interactive multimedia CD-ROM, games, cartoons, screen savers and more. You can compile your project into a complete stand-alone Windows application (exe) or to run directly from the CDROM, which you can distribute without royalties! Without any complicated programming, MaxMedia is the perfect solution for multimedia applications in several segments

Requirements

Pentium 500mhz or higher CPU, 32mb or higher RAM, 5mb or higher disk space, yes video card, sound-card (optional)

[ Freeware - Windows all versions ]


Students grades 3.0

Simple and useful software to manage student grades, calculations are all over


Features: possibility to enter 30 exams or exercises, a report with the last exercises, a student list, a board to facilitate data entry, etc. You can modify the student marks and even the value of your assessments (the software will adjust itself automatically). You can see the software, how to use and to download on the website of the author.

[ Freeware - DOS; Windows CE/3.X/95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP ]


APSW Instant Converter 1.0
A simple, user friendly unit conversion program - freeware.

Requirements8mb HDD/4mbRAM CPU

[ Freeware - Windows CE/3.X/95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP ]


QuizFaber 2.8.3

QuizFaber will allow you to create easily and rapidly multimedia quizzes

In HTML with a JavaScript, embedded in the HTML page. All this is done automatically by the program, which means that the user doesn't have to know anything about html tags or JavaScript. This application, which runs under Windows, is a quiz editor. By using it, it is possible to create and manage many different types of questions:

  • Questions with multiple answers, one or more of which can be right

  • True or false questions

  • Question with an open answer, in a text box where the student can write the answer.

  • Gap filling exercises: a phrase with missing words: a text in which some words have been replaced by empty spaces.

  • Matching words: there are two separate groups of words placed into two columns.

  • The student will have to associate each word of the first group with one of the second.

  • The teacher can associate a remark with every proposed answer.

  • This remark will appear in the HTML page every time the candidate chooses this answer.

The teacher can set a maximum time for answering all the questions
At the end of the quiz, the student will be given a final mark.
The final mark is computed using the 'weights', associated with each question.

The HTML pages can be personalized in many ways: one can choose a new background color for the text of the answers, set a background image and sound that will be played with each question answered by the candidate. Finally, a multimedia object such as an image or a sound can be joined to every question or answer.

[ Freeware - Windows all versions ]


QUIZ 3.1.0

QUIZ is a study tool.


You can train a topic by collecting questions in a file and then answer them repetitively. With Quiz, you can build and administer objective tests using either multiple choice or fill-the-blanks questions. More then one correct answer is allowed. It is possible to build timed tests and even add sounds or graphics to quiz items. Sample tests on Bible knowledge, Greek, or Hebrew are included.

  • Quiz files may be printed.
  • You may set a general time limit (optional), allow to skip questions, etc.
  • If your learning a language, use QUIZ to train the foreign words:
  • The program allows you to repeat only the words you did not know before.
  • You can switch the interface between English and German.
  • More languages are supported, especially Spanish.
    [ Freeware - Windows all versions ]


Examiner 1.0

The examiner is a open type test system.
Users is gave a free hand with answers' formulating.
A teacher must formulate a questions and an answers.
Users will not see the answers and must formulate it by themselves.

The answers consist a keys each of which may be a sentence, a combination of words, a word, a part of a word, etc. Right answer for a question must content all of keys. Each key gives to user an appointed mark. All keys can have one or more variants. A mention of one of variants is enough for user to have a mark.

[ Freeware - Windows all versions ]


HomeKey 96.5

Homekey A simple beginners touch typing program.
Make your own lessons. Will run from a floppy disk.

Ideal for beginners learn at your own speed.
Will work on most 286 IBM, 1Mb RAM, VGA machines and above
a DOS program will run in Windows.

Requirements: Home Key Touch Type Tutor CPU, 1Mb RAM, 1Mb disk space,

VGA video card, IBM 286, 1Mb RAM, 100Mb HDD, VGA, MS-DOS 4.0
[ Freeware -
DOS; Windows 3.X/95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP ]

 


Here are listed some GREAT Open Source Sites

Where Teens and 'Kids of All Ages'

Can Learn More About Computer Use:


Basics of Computing [Teens/Mature Teens]

Offers a tutorial on basic computing tasks. Also includes information about the history of computers.

Computer Lab

Teaches elementary students about computer tasks including saving, email, computer decorating and the internet.

CTGlobe.com [Teens/Mature Teens]

Young adult network offers HTML tutorials, a guide to C++ programming, and reviews of books and products.

Help on Computers [Teens/Mature Teens]

Provides tips on computer maintenance, graphics, and communicating online.

How Computers Work [Teens]

Explains computer-related terms as well as how to navigate the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Humpherlinks Freeware [Kids/Teens]

Links to sites and software on activities, art, educational, entertainment, games, reference, information, nature, health and safety, internet safety.

Introduction to Computers [Teens/Mature Teens]

Includes information regarding the history of computers, basic computer concepts (including hardware and software), data storage, printing, programming, and networking.

Kristy's Desktop Creations [Kids/Teens] Free web site themes for download.

My Uni Address [Teens/Mature Teens]

Free Email, including POP3 and web based access.

New User Tutorial [Teens]

A tutorial designed for people who have never used a computer before. Step-by-step instructions on how to use a mouse, typing commands into dialog boxes, double clicking, and other very basic functions.

PBS Kids Techknow

Get your Web license from PBS Kids or join their panel of web site judges.

Tales of the Encrypted [Kids/Teens/Mature Teens]

ThinkQuest site explains what cryptography is, how it has been used in the past, and the potential it has for the future.

Teach Me Computers [Teens/Mature Teens]

Includes lessons on computer types, input/output devices, storage, and applications.

Teaching Computers To Children [Kids/Teens]

A topic of the larger Suite101.com site, this area includes the basics of how to use the computer, using the internet and how to use email. It also reviews web sites, software programs and books aimed at teaching children to use computers.

Technology Buzzwords for Students  - Provides definitions of common computer terms and uses each word in a sentence.

TekMom [Kids/Teens]

Internet research tools, a computer dictionary, and other useful and fun resources.

We Read eBooks [Kids/Teens]

Non-profit organization provides free eBooks and games relating to each story.

Young Programmers Network [Teens/Mature Teens]

Message boards, chat and information on various programming languages.

Youth Club [Teens/Mature Teens] - Includes a chat, ringtones, competitions, games, and news.


Use these Search Links for:

Pre-Teen and Teens

Targeted search links:

All the Web - AltaVista - Gigablast - Google USENET - Google

HotBot - Lycos - Teoma - WiseNut - Yahoo


Websites Designed Specifically for You and Your Toddler

Pre-School

Activities and Crafts at ChildFun.com

Easy crafts and preschool themes, coloring pages, and holiday activities, all sorted by category.

Activities in the Sunshine Room

  • Online games, activities, and printable 'coloring' pages to teach and reinforce basic skills.

101 Activities to Do with Your Toddler

  • An extensive list of activities, songs, and finger plays for toddlers. Most activities can be done at home with little or no expense.

The Activity Idea Place

  • Over 600 theme-based activity ideas for young children.

Alphabets and Digits

  • A java applet which randomly presents different letters, digits, colors and basic shapes to kids helping them learn.

Ashley Marie's Playground for Kids

  • Includes games, photos, songs, animations, and basic French.

Bry-Back Manor

  • Craft and activity ideas, and some Macintosh computer fun.

ClassBrain

  • Online games and educational activities for Pre-K and kindergarten children.

The Counting Story

  • Illustrated with animated pink bunnies that do different tricks on each number page.

Disney.com - Mouse House Jr

  • A place for preschoolers to play online games, do activities, read stories, and learn.

DLTK's Favorite Friends for Preschoolers

  • Free printable crafts, coloring pages, and cards for Blue's Clues, Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, Winnie the Pooh and so forth.

Eeiren's Faerie Tales and Kyla's Alphabet

  • A collection of simple learning activities and lessons.

The Family Room

  • Five activities to do with children in rainy or wintery weather.

Fun 'N' Learn

  • Offers java applet to help teach letters and numbers.

Fun with Spot

  • Official site of Eric Hill's Spot includes online games, activities, and printable coloring pages featuring everyone's favorite puppy and his friends. Requires Shockwave.

Giraffian

  • Offers educational online stories and teaches objects, letters, shapes and colours.

Identifying Time - The Hour

Match the clock face to the time. Requires Flash plug-in.

Interactica

  • Animation and games for pre-readers. Following the metro to discover museum, park, music and English lessons.

Kids Only  - Offers factoids and pictures for juniors.

KidsCom Jr

  • Features games, coloring pages, art projects, stories, and other interactive content.

Kidzone

  • Some original kids artwork, recipes, music and finger-paint ideas.

Kikki's Workshop

Learn about construction machines such as bulldozers or dump trucks. In Japanese and English.

KindlePark

A safe education and play zone for kids 2 to 6.

Lalitha's Nursery Rhymes

  • Animations w/nursery rhymes, pre-school oriented games and activities.

Learn and Play

  • Number, alphabet, pattern games, and a story about Anya's favorite things.

MegaFile

  • Educational freeware and shareware games for children who do not read.

The Mouse Club

  • Features tools to make a card, create stories and form a secret club.

Myschool

  • Site for pre-schoolers teaches letters, number, rhymes, and animals names.

Noggin

  • A place for pre-schoolers to find out about things, play games, and share stuff. Brought to you by Nickelodeon and Children's Television Workshop

Nursery Rhymes 4 You

  • A collection of nursery rhymes and songs to share and enjoy, with pictures to print off and color in.

Nursery Rhymes and Silly Stuff - Rhymes, pictures and music.

Quaker Toddler Fun and Games

  • Find activities organized by age, category, and season.

Rebus Rhymes : EnchantedLearning.com

  • Preschoolers paint online while picking out the words they can read in their favorite rhymes.

Seussville University

  • Learn basic reading, math, science, and reasoning skills while playing games with your favorite Seuss characters.

Spell People

  • Includes email lessons, games, and coloring book. From Kiddies-Kingdom.

Theodore and Tilly-Bear's Funsite

  • Stories and things to do introduced by two teddy bears.

The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends

  • Meet Peter Rabbit and hear his story told aloud. Join the fun in Tom Kitten's playground, or write a Jemima Puddleduck e-card.


Use these Targeted Search Links for:

Pre-School

Search on:

All the Web - AltaVista - Gigablast - Google USENET - Google

HotBot - Lycos - Teoma - WiseNut - Yahoo




Please note that the administrator of the COMPUABLE.com website cannot not offer any technical support whatsoever; regarding any problems you may encounter while either downloading or using any of the software from the tools and programs which are listed on this website. Any questions regarding any particular software download or it's operation should be directed to the appropriate author or developer of the program. Contact details from program authors are usually available within documents which are distributed along with the program's install file or within the Help files section of that particular application.

Alternatively, the "Help" files menu; available within most applications, will almost invariably contain the program developer's 'contact' email address (or a link will be provided in the Help > About section). You might also try getting some assistance from the particular software website where you downloaded the program from in the first place. The larger software download sites often offer "User Reviews" and/or a "support forum" where you can go to in order to check and see in order to find out if others have had problems with any particular software (as well as posting your problem or comments there).

If you happen to come across any of the links to products or services any websites links at all listed on this COMPUABLE.com site which are dead or misdirected feel free to contact me. However, if you find that any of the websites are unsatisfactory for your particular needs or especially if the software program or utility that I listed and/or reviewed here either fails or crashes your system, please contact the software developer directly (and/or the site where you downloaded the freeware from). This is really the best way to get the proper instructions as to exactly what to do next in order to "fix" the problem. You can certainly contact me regarding a product or link which fails; however I do not have the knowledge of software code, developer's permission or expertise to fix another individual's freeware product. Should that product's .zip file or .exe download installation file fail; or consistently cause problems (and if enough people complain about it) that product's site listing will be removed from this site.

Additionally:

Sometimes developers/authors change their programs from freeware to shareware; especially if they become very popular. So it is possible that among the thousands of site links available on the Internet; you might just run into this 'bad link' situation on this site. If you come across any shareware program that no is noted as 'not being freeware' on the product's home page description, let me know and I'll either remove it from the site or perhaps simply change the listing to denote it as having changed from freeware to shareware. I really try very hard to keep up with theses types of changes as they occur (and they are incredibly rare, believe me). However if you have thoroughly checked out my site, you will see that it is a nearly impossible task to check every single freeware program's website; as there are so many listed.
 

 

 

 

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Who Remembers Life... Prior to the Proliferation of the Internet!

Please note that the administrator of the COMPUABLE.com website cannot not offer any technical support whatsoever; regarding any problems you may encounter while either downloading or using any of the software from the tools and programs which are listed on this website. Any questions regarding any particular software download or it's operation should be directed to the appropriate author or developer of the program. Contact details from program authors are usually available within documents which are distributed along with the program's install file or within the Help files section of that particular application.

Alternatively, the "Help" files menu; available within most applications, will almost invariably contain the program developer's 'contact' email address (or a link will be provided in the Help > About section). You might also try getting some assistance from the particular software website where you downloaded the program from in the first place. The larger software download sites often offer "User Reviews" and/or a "support forum" where you can go to in order to check and see in order to find out if others have had problems with any particular software (as well as posting your problem or comments there).

If you find any of the links to products or sites listed on the COMPUABLE.com that are misdirected feel free to contact me. However, if you find that website unsatisfactory for your particular needs or if the software program or utility listed and reviewed here either fails or crashes your system, please contact the software developer directly and/or the site where you downloaded the freeware from; for instructions as to exactly what to do next in order to "fix" the problem. You can certainly contact me regarding a product or link which fails; however I do not have the knowledge of software code, developer's permission or expertise to fix another individual's freeware product. Should that product's .zip file or .exe download installation file fail; or consistently cause problems (and if enough people complain about it) that product's site listing will be removed from this site.

Additionally:

Sometimes developers/authors change their programs from freeware to shareware; especially if they become very popular. So it is possible that among the thousands of site links available on the Internet; you might just run into this 'bad link' situation on this site. If you come across any shareware program that no is noted as 'not being freeware' on the product's home page description, let me know and I'll either remove it from the site or perhaps simply change the listing to denote it as having changed from freeware to shareware. I really try very hard to keep up with theses types of changes as they occur (and they are incredibly rare, believe me). However if you have thoroughly checked out my site, you will see that it is a nearly impossible task to check every single freeware program's website; as there are so many listed.


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The word "compuable" comes from a friend's daughter who used to always say: "I wish daddy was as 'COMPUABLE' as you!" The original concept was to build a fairly elementary, straight-forward website which was to primarily be created in order to help people to become more aware of the vast amount of useful freeware available out there on the Internet. I also decided to add some of the 'do's and don'ts' of directly downloading program installation files from the Internet; as well as how best go about using the program and utilities after they are installed. I am always constantly amazed to find that there is often numerous freeware alternatives to almost every shareware program out there and have always enjoyed helping my friends gain access to and get the most out the web it with regard to freeware and shareware programs that are out there - especially freeware for new folks just starting out.

Additionally, I wanted to set about contributing some of the more current; as well as previously collected "tips" concerning various aspects of safe internet and computer use which I've accumulated over the years from visiting various PC related forums (such as MajorGeeks Support Forum and the PC Magazine forum) that I mentioned earlier, as well as several other assorted websites as well as tech-geared bulletin boards/blogs out there on the internet.

When I first started getting interested in freeware; a few years back, I began collecting all versions that were available as download installation files and then storing them in folders on CD-R & CD-RW and then DVD and then later on I put them on larger hard drives; when the prices of internal and external hard drive's went down considerably. I therefore have many programs in the old "Freeware Library" that were available quite a while ago, but are no longer available for immediate download. Incidentally, if you are ever looking for older versions of software, you might want to check out these two websites Oldversion.com as well as Oldapps.com for an excellent selection of ancient and more recently available older application and utilities. I stopped counting how many old freeware installation files that I currently have but I would guesstimate I probably have thousands of applications, program and utilities installation files (with most 'updates' included as well) on various drives and CDs, DVDs, etc.

I actually learned how to use computers and the software that came with them at a local college, back in the year 2000 and quickly became interested in finding disability-related freeware programs for my friends at the school. At first I was uneasy because prior to that time, I could barely get my toaster to toast properly - but it went along very well and turned out to be something that actually I could do fairly well on my own! I never really thought about creating an entire website before; however in October of 2003, I won a FrontPage 2003 software program (from the PC Pro Magazine's Reliability & Service Awards in 2003). Shortly thereafter; when the opportunity to create a website became available I decided to give it a try.

I had a lot of fun while creating my initial original website a few years back - which was under another domain name. This was my first attempt at creating an entire website. It was originated back in 2003 and it was really a lot of fun updating and improving on it. The original website was fairly easy for me to set the site up, because I really had everything that I needed to add to it in my "Freeware Related" folder where I kept all my computer related freeware tips and site URL addresses, etc. on Microsoft Word documents. Recently, when the opportunity to develop this 'compuable.com' website became available; I just thought to myself… Since my friends (and especially their kids) are always asking me advice about all of the great freeware available for download on the WEB (and how to use computers without stress) - as well as how to get the most out of the World Wide Web - why not set up a website so they can more easily review all the information at their own pace and leisure!

Creating and maintaining the site has been a very rewarding experience for me. I really enjoy telling people about freeware as well as how much fun as well as useful these computer gadgets and handheld "thingies" are. I know it opened up access to a whole new world out there for me and it can for you too! Many long distance friends had been "after me" for a while to get something of a site up and running, as would be far more easier to explain all these things to them step-by-step (on the website) rather then in the limited amount of time I have when I see them in person.

I'll be trying to update the site as often as I can with computer based information like the latest freeware and a few of the superior shareware/freeware mega-sites out there - that I've been exposed to on the web and have utilized with great success. But the main emphasis will always be on freeware; especially for newbie’s and students on a budget. As time goes on I will definitely try to add many more superior free tips and software service sites, blogs and forums available on the web, as well as other things like Internet technology and computer related history discussions and also tips and instructions on how folks can keep their computers running smoothly. I'll try to make daily (or at least weekly) updates to the newest section devoted to offering "active links" directly to crucial "Tips & Tweaks" sites available on the WWW in the "Webs We Weave" sections.

Feel free to share the compuable.com address with anyone you know who's interested in freeware (especially for any newbies and disabled students "on a tight budget") whom you might know. The site will always be a "clean site" and safe for kids and adults alike.

Thanks again for all of your comments

Sincerely, COMPUABLE
Site Administrator for compuable.com
E-Mail Address: compuable@yahoo.com

 

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If You Have ANY Comments

*** Tips and/or Suggestions - ***

feel free to E-mail me at:

compuable@yahoo.com

 

 

Comments & Questions

(and especially any tips you might have)

Are most welcomed!

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Thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions and/or questions you might have

In the meantime, have yourself a cold one on me!

 

 

(Thanks a bunch!)

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A "Request" from this website's primary author/facilitator: COMPUABLE.com also does solicit or receive any remuneration or compensation from any of the numerous freeware and/or computer and Internet related tips and tweaks sites which are provided throughout the this website, nor ever seeks any remuneration or financial donations from anyone who might view the website.

However the this website's creator humbly requests that if you ever truly find anything on this websites pages "extremely useful" - that you might in the near future; please consider encouraging anyone that you know and love to donate any old or used blankets and household item such as linen, towels, and/or especially sweaters, gloves, hats and coats directly to a nearby homeless shelter. Also, consider donation of still functional; but no longer used or needed electrical appliances...(whenever you purchase might new ones).

The Salvation Army will EVEN pick up these items...

Click Here: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/

To schedule a Salvation Army "pick up" of any goods you can donate

Or to find a convenient "Drop-off " Salvation Army Post NEAR your AREA!

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Computer DJ

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