Tucows Editorial - Five Cool Tools for Free!
|Published:||Jan 14, 2008|
|Author:||Michael E, Callahan|
Five Cool Tools for Free
by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder
Poking around the Internet you can find some really handy tools and many of them are absolutely free. So, I picked out five of my favorites and I'm here to tell you about them.
ProcessLibrary is a free service from Uniblue Systems. This online database is totally free to all users and it lets you find out exactly what's running on your PC. Why is that important? Well, because what you don't know about can hurt you. If your system seems to be running slow it's possible there are programs running that you don't know about. Even for a computer professional like myself it's sometimes hard to tell what's a good program/process and what isn't. What's running on your computer that you don't know about? That's where ProcessLibrary comes in. When you visit the site you can download the free ProcessScanner and have it inspect your system. The program is really fast and it produces an in-depth report that shows every process that's running on your computer. It lets you see, for example, what processes are using too much memory. It also lets you see anything mysterious that's running on your computer in the background. The benefit of such a large database is that so many programs or processes are cataloged. You can quickly see what's good and what's not. The report generated by ProcessScanner gives you lots of useful information about each and every process. You don't have to be a computer guru to understand the report either. If a process is a threat to your PC the report will tell you so in plain English. ProcessLibrary and ProcessScanner are cool tools that you can use for free. I use it about once a week just to keep tabs on what's going on inside my computer. Check it out, I recommend it.
McAfee SiteAdvisor is another cool tool that's also absolutely free. The program is available for Internet Explorer or Firefox and it gives you a little extra protection as you surf the Internet. SiteAdvisor resides in your Web browser and as you move around the Internet it shows a rating for each site. McAfee, the anti-virus people, runs automated tests all across the Web to determine if a site is safe. If a site is suspicious or has had issues in the past McAfee SiteAdvisor will give you a warning. Generally these are sites that have a history of bad practices, sending a lot of SPAM, and so on. With some sites SiteAdvisor will simply give you a caution flag. So, for a little extra protection as you move around the Internet try McAfee SiteAdvisor. It's free!
SuperStorm is another free tool that helps you to protect your data. The folks who produce SuperStorm take that approach that it's better to hide your sensitive files among your other files. What it does is hide your sensitive data inside media files like pictures or music. The original file is eliminated, but the contents of the file may live on in a photo, for example. So, say you had a document full of passwords that you wanted to protect. SuperStorm incorporates that file within a media file and then complete obliterates the original file. The information can't be found by anyone except yourself. Later, when you need to access the information, SuperStorm restores the file exactly as it was. The cool thing about the program is that you don't actually have to install it. I even ran it from my USB thumb drive and it works perfectly. There is also a Pro version of SuperStorm that has more features. The program is very easy-to-use and intuitive. If you're looking for a way to keep your sensitive data safe SuperStorm may be your solution. It hides your data in plain sight, so-to-speak, where only you can find it.
Eulalyzer is a slick little tool that analyzed End User License Agreements or EULA's. Think about it. Every time you install a software program you are shown an EULA. I'm willing to bet that most people don't read them, but simply click "I Agree." For all you know you've given up your first born or allowed the company to spy on you. Remember, you have agreed to the terms. What Eulalyzer does is analyze license agreements to check for things that might not be on the up and up. The process is really quick and it allows you to click on "I Agree" with a lot more confidence. Eulalyzer also keeps a database of every EULA you look at. Check it out.
Belarc Advisor is a free utility that gives you a complete profile of your computer and the software on it. I mean it shows you everything from how much RAM you have, your processor speed, down to how much free space is on your hard drives. It shows you the status of your anti-virus software, if you've missed any of the "hot fixes" from Microsoft, and lots, lots more. The result of Belarc Advisor are displayed in your Web browser and the results are kept on your computer. This screen shot shows you just part of the report on my computer. The results are really detailed and give you important information about your PC and all the software that runs on it.
That's it. Five free tools that help make you more secure and more informed about things. Give them a try, the price is right!
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.