I have been trying out different kinds of software for quite a few years now, & have even been recommending various applications to my friends & relatives. Trying out software has become like a hobby of sorts for me, & so I thought I’d share my opinions on different software with more people.
I’ll be covering many types of software, ranging from firewalls & antiviruses, to games, emulators, text editors etc. I’ll also provide links related to the software where the user can get more information about them.
My primary focus will be on freeware & open source software, as there is a huge number of such programs available today which are just as good, if not better than their paid counterparts (take this blog site for example).
You are welcome to post your suggestions & comments about the software & reviews. In case you have any requests, you can post them too.
Here’s a list of the stuff I plan to review over a period of time:
- Browsers – Opera*, Firefox*, Maxthon*, X-Smiles
- Browser addons – Firefox extensions^, Opera utilities
- Text editors – Notepad++, Crimson Editor
- Emulators – Visualboy Advance, SPIN, EmuZWin, DOSBox*
- Antivirus – Avast
- Firewall – ZoneAlarm
- P2P software – Shareaza, Ares Galaxy
- Messaging clients – Google Talk, Gaim
- Utilities – ZipGenius, EULAlyzer, xplorer2, SigZag, HTTrack
- Multimedia apps – MPlayer, codec packs, Winamp, iTunes, jetAudio, Screamer Radio*
- Misc – Google Earth, World Wind, Celestia*, Stellarium*, FreeMind*
These are some of the programs I have used over the last few years, & there are many more not listed here which I may also add at some point of time. In addition to these I’ll also be adding links & usage tips for some of the applications.
I have not yet decided on the order in which I will be putting up the stuff, so suggestions are welcome.
* – indicates review has been posted
^ – indicates review has been started & additions will be made to it
FreeMind is a mind mapping software, i.e., it can be used to put down your thoughts in an organised manner. As a mind mapping software, it allows you to branch out your thoughts & connect them in a manner which seems fit to you. It also lets you to associate images & links with different items. Basically, it enables you to lay down your thought in a manner which seems fit to you – pictorial/written/mixed.
I used to play quite a lot of DOS based games, until I switched to the Win 2000/xp platform. As these two OSes are not based on DOS, the performance of most DOS based games under them is pretty poor (if they run in the first place). However, I found an interesting little application some time back – DOSBox. It is a DOS emulator, & is available for different platforms (Mac & Linux too). So, those who have switched to non-Windows OSes can also play the DOS games.
Stellarium along with Celestia is one of the most interesting piece of software for those interested in Astronomy. Those who like to visit the planetarium will possibly love this program, especially given the fact that it is free (licensed under GPL). It brings the power of a panetarium (minus the viewing area) to your computer. Given the kind of light pollution at night in urban areas, Stellarium serves as an exploration tool for Astronomy enthusiasts.
Celestia is a software which explore the universe in 3D, & it is free just like Stellarium. It takes you a step further than a planetarium like software, by not confining you to Earth. For Astronomy enthusiasts or for anyone for that matter, this can provide an out of this world experience. Like, for example, viewing the entire solar system, & watching the planets go round the sun, or following Halley’s comet as it orbits the sun.
I will be providing information on a number of Firefox plugins in this post in due course. First of all let me list out the extensions I plan to cover, along with a one line description:
- Adblock* – block ADs
- Flashgot* – use download managers with Firefox
- Fasterfox* – tweaks to speed up browsing
- CustomizeGoogle* – removes ADs
Update: Something seems to have gone wrong, & most of the content that I had added to this post, including the reviews, seems to have disappeared. I will be rewriting the reviews in due course.
Strictly speaking, Maxthon may not be a browser by itself as it uses the Internet Explorer engine. However, for the people who are using IE as the primary browser, it is a very feasible alternative. It is probably both good & bad as it uses the IE engine, depending on one’s point of view. It can be looked upon as a pretty good replacement for IE itself, atleast till IE7 is released. Continue reading
Firefox seems to be emerging as the most popular alternate browser, especially after the release of version 1 around a year ago. The main reason seems to have been the delay in the release of the next IE version (& also the security flaws in IE), as a vast majority of the users are still using it. Now that version 1.5 has been released with the basic features being revamped & a number of small changes, its popularity should increase furthermore. However, there seems to be some stability issues with v1.5. Continue reading
Opera has been a useful alternative browser for quite some time. I have used it right from version 5.x. Now that it has become completely free (it had banner ads earlier), it can be looked upon as a handy browser. The biggest downside to using this browser is its problem with some sites (both display & functionality), & this prevents it from being used as the sole browser. Continue reading