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FingerMeElmo87 Jan 05, 2009, 11:58pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 09, 2009, 03:57pm EDT

Replies: 109 - Views: 21563
Since there isn't a go to spot for freeware reviews here on HWA, i decided that we should start one here. Why? Because we're awesome. Too keep things simple, it should follow this basic format:
Application:
What does it do:
Verdict:
Link:

<Article>


Thats really about it. Simple right? You really only need to write like a 1 or 2 paragraph at most about what it does,what made you decide to use it, why you do/dont like it, what could make it better, and maybe who you think could use it. Since most of us use at LEAST 1 freeware app, it shouldn't be to hard to do. Formal and Informal reviews are welcome. So HWA, lets hop to it! Aslo, if there are any mods that would like to sticky this, that would be great ;)


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FingerMeElmo87 Jan 06, 2009, 12:54am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: Jing
What does it do? On screen video capture
Verdict: It Sucks

Today while surfing the i got a little board and decided to watch "Jizz In My Pants" on Youtube for s**ts and giggles when i got the great idea to record it and show it to my coworker the following day at work. I remembered Maximum PC had wrote an article about a few freeware apps and one that would do just that, on screen video captures. after a bit of searching on their page, i found the article and app in question; it was called Jing.

at that moment, i thought, "sweet. i'm going to capture what ever i want now and record it starting with the HD version of Jizz In My Pants". after reading about the much hyped Jing on Maximum PC i also thought it was going to be cake and easy. after downloading the reasonably small and installed it, i came to the first thing that annoyed me, registration. after aggreeing to the EULA, you're prompted to fork up a valid email address, create a username, and create a password for said username for sharing online. i don't like giving up my email for stuff like this nor did i care about sharing because i just wanted to use if for personal stuff but unfortunately, it can't be skipped and i had a mission to accomplished so i forge ahead and gave up the goods.

the next issue i came across was how the app ran in the back round. first is doesn't run like a normal app being that it isn't on the windows bar. it runs in a constant background state which isn't a big deal except for that i was expecting a decently normal app a windows to appear to let me know it started. instead i got a application loading circle which proceeded to move to the upper part of my screen which locked onto the top of the desktop. it wouldn't have been annoying if i didn't have Stardock's ObjectDock running at the top of my desktop already, but i did. the annoying part about it is that you have to hover over the the half sun looking Jing app/icon looking thing to access any of its functions but once i try to select an option, which was already obscured by ObjectDock, ObjectDock would come to the foreground on top of Jing so i couldn't select any functions until i moved stupid icon or ObjectDock.

After i figured out how to move it (drag and place anywhere on the desktop edge) a came across yet another annoyance; using the software. first off the to record anything, you first have to drag a box over what ever you want, effectively letting to record what ever you want. cool in theory but it actual practice, it sucks. trying to get a pixel perfect box is fairly tough but not only that, its not smart enough to just record the onscreen video without doing that. next is that, once you get what looks like a pixel perfect box, the Image, Video, Redo, Cancel control box ends up on the outside of the bottom left side of the box without the option of moving it. wheres the play button on Youtube videos? That's right, the bottom left of the window, so if you want to record anything from Youtube, you have to include the playback bar in the recorded field. LAME. I have 2 beefs with that, i don't want to record the playback bar, nor do i want to record the mouse hitting the play button.

Once again, i was on a mission, so sucked it up and decided to record the playback bar. then another great idea struck me; I'll just cut the first second or so out of the video that shows me hitting the play button using windows movie maker, a step i didn't want to make but once again, on a mission. well, the mission ended in failure. the file format that it uses to record the media is in a BULLs**t shockwave media format. nothing but Jing will playback that format. how do i know? i have K-Lite Codec Pack which plays EVERYTHING and it won't play that. i even tried to out smart it again but trying to convert it using Handbrake and once again, failure. and no, it doesn't give you and option in the settings to change recording format. it will only do its stupid .swf shockwave format.

what followed my failure was an abrupt uninstall and deletion of Jing. after so many annoyances, i can not even recommend this app nor can i think of anything who it will benefit from it. if it allowed you to change the recording format, move the recording controls, and give you the option of just recording the onscreen video without creating a custom box, then i can see it being awesome. but until that day comes, avoid it.


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GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4
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Hiper Type-R 580 WATT PSU
FingerMeElmo87 Jan 06, 2009, 11:12am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
no one has anything to write about?

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Rolebama Jan 13, 2009, 12:38pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: DownloadHelper for Firefox.
What does it do: Download videos from YouTube and the like, and change format for save.
Verdict: It Works.
Also give the option to download HQ version, if it exists.

Application: FLV Player
What does it do: Plays .flv format videos
Verdict: It works.
Window size can be changed by dragging.

Both worth a look.

Meats_Of_Evil Jan 13, 2009, 01:00pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 13, 2009, 01:01pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: Spyware Terminator
What does it do: Protects you against spyware using a realtime engine. The engine only works for Windows XP though.
Verdict: It's free and I haven't had a spyware problem since I uninstalled Webroot's Spysweeper.

Application: uTorrent
What does it do: Downloads torrents.
Verdict: It's an excellent free application that comes at the jaw dropping file size of 263kb. As an improvement, it would be really useful if it could integrate Torrentz search bar in the program.

Application: Ccleaner
What does it DO: It helps keep your Pc as clean as possible.
Verdict: One, if not the best freeware program available. Ccleaner has many option to customize the crap you delete from your Pc. It searches the registry for invalid entries and cleans them, making your PC feel top notch always. It has a handy Uninstaller, which I prefer using to that of Add/Remove that Windows includes. It has frequent updates

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything I write is Sarcasm.
Jan 13, 2009, 04:26pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
A couple of apps from McFly's Essentials

Application: 4t Tray Minimizer (http://www.4t-niagara.com/tray.html)
What does it do: Sends any program (32/64) to your system tray by right-clicking the minimize button
Verdict: A must-have
>> The free version does everything. There's a pay version, but it has no features I need. 1.5MB memory usage.

Application:Taskix (http://taskix.robustit.com/)
What does it do: Re-order the running programs on your taskbar by click-n-drag
Verdict: A must-have
>> Simple and easy. 800KB memory usage. 64-bit builds.

Reason Jan 14, 2009, 04:23am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
Agreed on Taskix, it's absolutely a must have.

Some of these will be very familiar to enthusiasts, but may be new and helpful to those less intimate with computers.

Application: FastStone Image viewer
What does it do: Edits and views most image types
Verdict: Goes on every install.

While it is request-ware, you only get bugged once. The pay version is $29 US, last time I checked, and includes lifetime updates.

I like it because it offers easy, intuitive cropping, resizing, redeye removal, gamma/brightness/contrast adjustments, and other basic but necessary photo editing features. It allows some basic highlighting, text and drawing to be performed, making it easy to point out hilarious gaffes (myspace toilet girl) or make your own lolcats.
________________________________________________________________

Application: Memtest86
What does it do: Tests RAM for physical defects
Verdict: Rarely necessary but indispensable when you want it.

One of the most common causes of the remarkably irritating BSOD is bad RAM. Memtest allows you to test the RAM, helping to rule out other causes. Recently saved a family member hours of frustration as he tried to chase down his sudden stops; memtest returned a ton of errors almost immediately and $25 worth of replacement RAM later, he was (and has been) good to go.
________________________________________________________________

Application: OpenOffice
What does it do: Offers replacements for MS Office apps like Word and Excel
Verdict: Worthy for light users

There are still a few compatibility issues when trading files between MS Office and OO, which have been most obvious to me in formatting inconsistencies in Word/Write documents. However, if all you need to do is create a budget spreadsheet, or write a college paper, or create a resume, this program is more than enough.
________________________________________________________________

Application: Quintessential Media Player
What does it do: err, plays media
Verdict: A personal favorite

Plays any type of audio file via plugins (which are easy to install and rarely need configuration). I like having my audio player separate from my video player, as I might want to watch an emailed movie or something and then resume listening to music, without having to restart my playlist. Has quite a few skins and is skinnable for those so inclined. Two features that have kept me from going to foobar2000 or WinAmp are the timer, which allows me to use it as an alarm clock and also supports fading in so I'm not jarred awake, and the stupid little multimedia keys on my keyboard, which WinAmp wouldn't recognize. Is also good for ripping and re-tagging files, and allows you to create any naming schemes you like.
________________________________________________________________

Application: Media Player Classic
What does it do: err, plays media
Verdict: Versatile, small, effective

I use this one for video files, and thanks to the codec pack I download with it (K-Lite) have yet to find a file it can't play, including DVDs. Clicking the screen pauses/unpauses the action, and a doubleclick brings it up in fullscreen. Simple and unobtrusive and it just works.

_________________
Ultima Ratio Regum
Meats_Of_Evil Jan 15, 2009, 02:04pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 15, 2009, 02:04pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Nice one on Taskix McFly, It's just what I needed. I vote for this thread to be made into a sticky.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything I write is Sarcasm.
Suspended User Jan 15, 2009, 02:09pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
I concur.

Jan 15, 2009, 02:13pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 15, 2009, 02:29pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Reason got us going with some media players, so I'll add my favorites:

Application: Winamp (http://www.winamp.com)
What does it do: Plays audio/video
Verdict: You'll love it or you'll hate it

I've been using Winamp for more than 10 years for playing my MP3 audio. I only use it for audio. The number of decent new skins available on the site has gone down and down over the years, though. Since moving from 1440x900 to 1280x800 resolution, I can't see the title of the current song under my preferred size of Firefox ... so I may switch skins, or even just move to foobar2000. Speaking of which ...

________________________________________________________________

Application: foobar2000 (http://www.foobar2000.org)
What does it do: Insanely powerful, multipurpose audio player
Verdict: for tagging, it can't be beat. Winner of a McFly <3

foobar2000 looks at first like an ordinary audio player. It's not. You can encode audio, add ReplayGain, the skinning abilities are endless, it can support just about any kind of audio, and you can add lots of features through plugins on the site.

I don't use it as my audio player (I use Winamp, above), but I use it everytime I acquire a new album for tagging. You can keep every file on your computer tagged and named in the same format, for example, I use:

\%genre%\%artist% - '('%date%')' %album%\%tracknumber%. %artist% - %title%

... which becomes ...
\ Alternative Rock \ Pearl Jam - (1994) Vitalogy \ 08. Pearl Jam - Corduroy.mp3

... and keeps the tags of all of my files matching their filenames. Perfect <3.

________________________________________________________________

Application: VLC media player (http://www.videolan.org)
What does it do: Plays any video without codec packs
Verdict: Tops. Winner of a McFly <3

My video player of choice. Plays any kind of video file you might have, all through installed libraries. That means no codec packs, and it means it's portable. :) The GUI is much improved in the latest versions.

It doesn't just do files. It can play DVD's, network streams (it can even create a network stream to be viewed elsewhere), it can play files before they're done downloading (as long as they are being downloaded sequentially) as streams, and it can play from local capture devices. It can also re-encode/convert video and audio files. Insane. <3

Michael C Jan 15, 2009, 02:18pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
"Jizz In My Pants"

I love that song and video!!! lol

TamTheBam Jan 15, 2009, 05:55pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 15, 2009, 05:55pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Anything you want FREE & USEFUL is located here:

http://www.filehippo.com/

nuf said!

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
FingerMeElmo87 Jan 15, 2009, 06:18pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
i'm glad this thread got off the ground. thanks fellas. also, please sticky this

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Hiper Type-R 580 WATT PSU
FingerMeElmo87 Jan 15, 2009, 06:40pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: ObjectDock by Stardock
What does it do: Creates a single application dock anywhere on the screen
Verdict: Much better than Vista's side bar

If you like Vista's sidebar than you'll love Stardock's ObjectDock. It creates a single application dock similar to OS X's were hovering over the selected app will enlarge it to the size that you've specified and directly launch apps instead of having to dive into the start bar. Customizing is a breeze, you simply have to drag an icon into the docket to make a quick lunch for it or grab an icon you don't want in bar and drag it off to delete it. You can even put dividers on the bars to separate apps. It has many built in apps but you can also download many other type of apps an even live update type apps like weather, time, system resource meter, and most everything else that the Vista sidebar has from WinCustomize.com. To top things off it only takes up about 5MBs of system memory while running. much better than 40+ for Vista's.



Phenom II 720 BE @ 3.41Ghz w/ Zerotherm Nirvana NV120
G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2 1066 @ 5-5-5-15
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4
VisionTek HD 4850 512MB GDDR3
500GB Seagate 7200.12 - Windows 7 RC1
Hiper Type-R 580 WATT PSU
Suspended User Jan 15, 2009, 07:11pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 15, 2009, 07:12pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: Hirens Boot CD
What does it do: A VERY useful boot CD with plenty of handy apps such as: Partition Tools, Disk Clone Tools, Antivirus Tools, RAM (Memory) Testing Tools, Hard Disk Tools, System Information Tools, MBR (Master Boot Record) Tools, BIOS / CMOS Tools, MultiMedia Tools, Password Tools, NTFS (FileSystems) Tools, Windows Tools AND MUCH MORE

Verdict: The handiest thing I have ever come across. AWESOME

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

BoT Jan 15, 2009, 07:14pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 15, 2009, 07:16pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
App: SteamRipper
Link: http://streamripper.sourceforge.net/
What it do: can be used as standalone or as a plug-in for WinAmp to record radio streams. also works with shoutcast. automatically cuts the songs when fadded in or out. buffer can be customized. perfectly legal mp3 recording
Verdict: tired of paying for a whole CD if you only like 1 or 2 songs? don't wanna go the iTunes or Raphsody route? if you have a lil time to edit the songs, you are good to go.

You can either be part of the problem or be part of the solution.
Codisha - http://www.codisha.com
Reviews - http://www.codisha.com/reviews/reviews.htm
Rolebama Jan 16, 2009, 09:18am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner
Application: StartUpMonitor
What it does: Gives you an on-screen 'requester' every time a program wants start with Windows
Verdict: Wouldn't be without it.
Very useful for keeping an eye on what is added to your registry. Gives you the option of not having a load of clut running in the background every time you boot.
**See also StartUp.cpl. This adds a utility to Control Panel allowing you to disable almost every program that starts on boot.

Application: ImgBurn
What it does: Create and burn iso and other files.
Verdict: I love it.
Create iso from disc, write iso etc etc. Best part is that it works with DL DVD. The guy who wrote it runs his own Forum, so if you have a problem, you get the solution straight from the horse's mouth.

Plug & Play Jan 16, 2009, 09:35am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Freeware Corner

STICKY :)

i5 2500K @ 4.8Ghz- Corsiar H50 WaterCooler- Coolermaster Realpower 1000w- Asus P8P67 Deluxe - Asus 6990 4GB - 8GB Corsair DDR3 2000Mhz - X-Fi Sound - 7.1 Surround Speakers - BenQ 24" TFT - G9x Mouse- G19 Keyboard
Dr. Peaceful Jan 16, 2009, 10:13am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 16, 2009, 10:25am EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
To let off some steam...

Application: WinZip
What does it do: File compression... we all know what it does.
Verdict: Why Pay???

It's been decades since I used this program. It's an indispensible application. It has always been just a "nag-ware", to ask you to get the full / pay version but not require to, Until Recently. Now I have a copy of the software, WinZip 12, which just stopped running, Until I Pay for it!!! W-T-F! Downloaded WinRAR, same f**king sh*t, 40 days trial!

IMO, file compression should be a native part of the OS, and not some software we have to PAY. Windows XP and up do have compression tool, but it sucks. Unlike Linux, which has an array of commands for archiving and compressing files, that is if you like using the command prompt.

Meats_Of_Evil Jan 16, 2009, 01:59pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 16, 2009, 02:00pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner
Fear not my friend because there's still hope.

Application: 7Zip
What does it do: Tremendous file compression, is used correctly.
Verdict: The perfect legal alternative for cheap bastards.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Message for mods:

Dear moderator(s)[That means you Adam],

It has come to my attention that this thread is one of the most useful things to happen to HWA for the past year(s) or so. Please find it in your heart to spread more satisfaction for us current users. Do so by implementing this particular page of information as a sticky onto the Latest Topics page. And do a good deed for the day.

Sincerely,
Louis Pedraja

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everything I write is Sarcasm.
FingerMeElmo87 Jan 16, 2009, 02:13pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 16, 2009, 02:14pm EST

 
>> Re: Freeware Corner

Application: Handbrake
What does it do: Rip DVDs and convert almost type of video format
Verdict: Awesome . . . if you have a quadcore

Handbrake is the equivalent of any cd ripping program but for dvds and video conversion. it supports many many types of video formats that you can convert to or rip to any type of quality or resolution setting that you want. its pretty beast but its best paired with a quadcore machine. my 4400+ isnt exactly a speed demon so its not very fast (15-20FPS) when using handbrake but i have found that there are faster applications around, unfortunately, the cost money. not only that but you need somthing to decrypt the dvd that you want to import. theres DVD43 which is free but it doesnt support 64bit Vista and then theres Slyfox which works in every OS with regular updates but its like $60. Handbrake comes in Windows, OS X, and Linux flavors with options to run with a GUI or CLI. All around, its pretty sweet.

Phenom II 720 BE @ 3.41Ghz w/ Zerotherm Nirvana NV120
G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2 1066 @ 5-5-5-15
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4
VisionTek HD 4850 512MB GDDR3
500GB Seagate 7200.12 - Windows 7 RC1
Hiper Type-R 580 WATT PSU

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