June 15, 2006

Free Stuff

Posted in geeky at 12:52 am by jimazing

I gotta tell you, I like free stuff. I am using several free software programs that are quite useful and I’d like to share them with you. Hope you find something useful… If you have some you would like to add, leave a comment. Here goes…

Audacity is a very cool audio file editor. You can use it to edit wav files, mp3 files, probably more types too, but that’s all I’ve done with it. I now have a way to “rip” my old LP albums to wav files on the computer, then I can create mp3’s or burn them to CD. When I copy the music onto my hard drive it’s a big wav file, so I use audacity to break it into the individual tracks and to edit out some of the really bad pops and clicks. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

CDex is a program that works well for ripping CD’s or converting audio wav files to mp3. http://cdexos.sourceforge.net

CutePDF is a program you can use to create PDF files. These are the files that open with Adobe Acrobat Reader. http://www.cutepdf.com/

Eraser is a utility that erases your hard drive completely by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/

FileZilla is for FTP access. If you don’t know what that means, you probably don’t need it. http://filezilla.sourceforge.net

Finale NotePad is a music writing program. The freebee version is pretty rudimentary, but you can fiddle around with it if you don’t do much music writing. http://www.finalemusic.com/

Firefox web browser is way cooler than Internet Explorer. http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/

KeePass is a password program. It’s like a safe that you keep all of your passwords in. It even generates secure passwords. All you have to do is remember the one password to get into your password file, or you are hosed! I used to signup for everything on the web using the same id and password (not a very good idea). Not anymore. Get a copy and give it a try… http://keepass.sourceforge.net/

Lavasoft Adaware finds spyware and adware on your computer and removes it. http://lavasoft.com/ – be sure to look for the word “Free”

Personal Ancestry File (PAF) is a genealogy program that is provided for free by the LDS (Morman church). I do not subscribe to their teachings, but they have a darned good genealogy program and the price is right. You have to give them your name and address in order to download it, but I’ve never been contacted by them. http://www.familysearch.org/

  • Click on “Order Download Products”
  • Then click on “Software Downloads – Free”
  • Choose “Personal Ancestral File 5.2.nn.n …”

Powertoys for Windows XP is a collection of XP addons that Microsoft wrote, but doesn’t bundle with XP, nor do they offer support… which begs the question, what do they support? My favorites are:

  • Image Resizer – Resizes images that you choose from Windows Explorer
  • Open Command Window Here – Opens a "cmd" window from Windows Explorer in the context of the current folder where you choose it.
  • Tweak UI – Let's you change lots of user settings that are hidden otherwise


The Panorama Factory is a program that allows you to stitch photographs together to make a single panoramic shot. Not bad for free. Wait a minute, I have version 1.6 that was free, but their web site no longer offers it. Looks like the latest version is $70. There are some cool samples that folks have uploaded. Worth the trip to the web site, I think http://www.panoramafactory.com/

WinDirStat is a program that shows you graphically what’s on your disk drives (or media cards). You can quickly see the files that are large, just click on the boxes to see the details. http://windirstat.sourceforge.net/



  1. Curt said,

    jimamazing is an apt name!

    After a beautiful piece on your grandparents and your feelings, you follow up with techno stuff that your bald headed friend only wishes he understood or could use. If only I had one of Gates 20 yr olds to help me! 😎

  2. jimazing said,

    Like I said in my previous post… I’m a mess.

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