Feb 25th, 2008 by Jared Schwager
One of the great features of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions is the ability to include third party application updates alongside regular operating system level software updates. Both Windows and Mac OS X are somewhat lacking in this area, with Windows as the higher-lacking of the two.
Fortunately on the OS X side, software developer metaquark has released an application by the name of AppFresh which aims to fill the gap of the need for a central application updater.
Currently, AppFresh is available as a Development Preview, so it is recommended that you back up all of your applications before using AppFresh if you intend to use the built-in update installer. If you’d rather stay on the safe side, AppFresh can still be used to check for and download updates excluding the automatic update installer process.
AppFresh also includes integration of iusethis.com. This allows AppFresh to also check for updates to applications that are not natively supported but are listed in the iusethis database. It also allows you to easily add new apps to your iusethis profile without having to search for each app beforehand.
Another interesting feature is the ability to take a “snapshot” of an application, which captures the current version of the application along with the application data and preferences. It’s basically Time Machine for your apps.
More information can be found at the AppFresh website.
Aug 17th, 2007 by Jared Schwager
Portable applications can be run right from a USB drive such as a thumb drive or even an iPod. Unfortunately, not all applications can be run from a USB drive. Here’s a few great resources for portable applications. As far as I know, all the applications listed on these websites are freeware.
This website offers a great selection of software that has been optimized to run from a USB drive. This is probably the premier place to find portable applications. At this point in time, PortableApps has 40 applications listed on their website. Another great thing about PortableApps is that they have their own suite that you can download which includes a fancy “PortableApps Menu” which acts more or less like a start menu for all the programs on your drive.
This resource has a large amount of software available and has over 1,000 applications available currently. You can find a lot of software here that you may not have even heard about before. Portable Freeware Collection is a great place to find great little tools to put in your “tune-up kit” when you go over to help grandma with her computer.
This blog links to a bunch of great portable software that has been created by others. Not all the applications on Pen Drive Apps are freeware. Here you may be able to find a portable version of a program you have paid for, which can come in handy if the developer doesn’t offer a portable version. Personally, this is probably the last place I’d go for portable applications.
Aug 5th, 2007 by Jared Schwager
In many cases, web development can be quite costly between purchasing image editing software to FTP software. You may not know it, but there is a plethora of great free web development software. I’ve put together a list of a few of the best webdev freeware applications I could find.
Good and free image editors are hard to come by, but Paint.NET is an exception. This image editor can be classified as somewhat of a Paint Shop Pro replacement as it doesn’t have as many features as Photoshop does.
If there’s one essential web development tool, it’s the FTP client. Unfortunately, good free FTP clients aren’t very common. FileZilla is both free and very easy to use. The beta version is available for all platforms, whereas the stable version is only available on Windows.
Know of any other good web development freeware? Post your favorites!
Jul 25th, 2007 by Jared Schwager
Hamachi is a program which lets you interact with friends through the internet on a virtual network. It’s main feature let’s you interact in ways on the internet which you normally only can do on a private LAN. For example, you should be able to play an older PC game that only supports LAN through the internet with friends.
You can create a private network of your own for free. If you’re friends are everywhere in the world, you can use Hamachi so it’s as if they’re right next to you on your local area network!
I think that this program’s great, but isn’t perfect yet. You can instant message on it to individuals, but you cannot have a chat room, or a lobby like in IRC. I sometimes experience problems when I use it with Vista, but it does the job on XP. These are simple updates that work on for their newer versions.
Nonetheless, this program can also be a major problem solver for some as well. Hamachi is freeware, but a paid premium version is also available.
This is a guest post by Charles Leclerc of soniccagedome.com
Jul 11th, 2007 by Jared Schwager
One of the tasks a Windows user looks forward to the least is likely to be defragmenting the hard disk. The defragmenter that ships with Windows, otherwise known as Windows Defragmenter (how original), does a horrible job at defragmenting when it comes to speed and resource usage.
I recently found a great freeware defragmenter called JkDefrag which does a very good job at defragmenting. The application is very quick and extremely lightweight, so it has minimal impact on resources. If you’ve downloaded the program, you will notice that there is more than one “version” of JkDefrag. These versions include the GUI version (most people will use this), command line version, and two screensaver programs.
The GUI version is what most people will use. You can also schedule it to defragment by using the Windows Task Scheduler. The command line version is pretty obvious. It allows you to defragment using command line. The screensaver programs allow you to set your Windows screensaver to the JkDefrag screensaver program so your computer will be defragmented every time your screensaver initiates.
Let me know if you know of any other good freeware defragmenters.