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Windows Tune-up tools

It’s never a bad time to give your PC a little tune-up, and there are some great shareware tools that can help make the task a little easier.

If you’re constantly struggling to free up RAM on a sluggish PC, Meikel Weber’s free shareware program FreeMem Professional can help get your PC running more efficiently. The program installs an icon onto your taskbar that indicates, via a green, yellow, or red light, the amount of your PC’s available memory and its current condition. Users can free up any amount of RAM as needed, or schedule emergency free-ups.

If you’re still trying to clean up after a messy uninstall, Easy Desk Software’s Perfect Companion will help you scour out your PC and get rid of unwanted files–both current and retroactive. Perfect Companion tosses invalid file entries, class and interface keys, as well as application keys noted in the Registry. Perfect Companion even goes so far as to track installs and uninstalls, informing you of any file modifications, replacements, additions, or deletions.

Digital Millennium Inc.’s Windows Power Tools v2.85 will optimize Windows performance for users still plugging away on an older box. Windows Power Tools installs six utilities that will get Windows running faster and increase your Internet speed. Utilities include a security toolkit; a virtual device driver that creates a memory buffer, which intercepts all writes and compresses them before writing them to the swap file; and tools for freeing up memory and hard disk space, modifying settings that influence your connection speed, and tweaking performance.

Presentations made easy

Tech Smith Corp has released a shareware program that lets computer users capture screen shots and edit them into a single movie–a great tool if you’re looking for an easy, hassle-free way to create tutorials, demonstrations, and presentations. Camtasia v2.1.2. captures screen images as an .avi file and lets users compile and edit clips into one video. Camtasia will let users record and add audio files in real time in addition to adding callouts, cursors, effects, annotations, and more.


Sick of deleting unwanted messages? Novasoft’s Spam Killer processes e-mail messages from all of your e-mail accounts, filtering out spam as it comes in. And Spam Killer has tons of handy filters to help users customize how they want unwanted mail weeded out. Let Spam Killer know who your friends are so their messages aren’t deleted by mistake, filter out mail by address, subject head, and even mail that’s been routed through a given country. And just in case, Spam Killer keeps a copy of all those deleted messages, so you’ll never really lose anything. -Christy Mulligan

New Mac stuff for a new OS

With Mac OS X all but a foregone conclusion for most Apple users, it’s time to start taking a look at the applications that will make the new operating system run more efficiently and effectively.

Apple’s own iMovie Plugin Pack 2.1 contains a number of effects, including flash, ghost trails, mirror, mirror advanced , and n-square. It also includes a number of new transitions and titling features. The new plugin pack is a free download, but you will need iMovie for Mac OS v2.1 to get it to work.

Tenon Intersystems’ iTools 6.0 is a Web server that takes advantage of the pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection of Mac OS X. The iTools Web server suite is an Apache-based Web server package. The iTools Web server package for Mac OS X is the next step for Tenon’s WebTen–it’s meant to make the most of the Apache that is included with OS X.

Computer Systems Odessa’s flowcharting and diagramming software, ConceptDraw, is now at version 1.6, which is OS X-compatible. The program is cross-platform, so all the documents, libraries and templates you create with it will open on both Mac and PC machines. ConceptDraw 1.6 runs natively on Mac OS X and takes full advantage of such Mac OS X features as the Aqua interface, enhanced memory management,and multitasking and more. It boasts a set of drawing tools that will help you create elementary segments; apply patterns, fills, and shadows to objects; and reshape, rotate, and resize objects on a page. Registered users can download the free update to 1.6 free from the ConceptDraw Web site.

The OS X-compatible edition of CreativePage 2.6, a Web-creation tool from PineHill Products, includes AppleScript support. It lets users create and edit Web sites with a variety of Web assistants and other tools. Those tools include backup and autosave options, search features, syntax coloring, HTML tag auto fill, a built-in FTP client for uploading your site, a note pad, and more. It also has more than 25 HTML assistants that enable users to add a table, link, image, and other items to Web pages.

Bare Bones Software’s text editor, BBEdit, is also now available for Mac OS X. BBEdit 6.1 for Mac OS X has several new features, including enhanced FTP support and support for Emacs-style key equivalents to enable basic editing commands. If you’re using BBEdit 6.0 or later, you can download the 6.1 update for free. But if you’ve got previous version of BBEdit, the upgrade to 6.1 costs $39.

A beta version of the genealogy program GEDitCOM for Mac OS X is now available . GEDitCOM is a customizable shareware application that uses GEDCOM genealogy files to trace your family history. It’s free to use as a GEDCOM file browser, and it also works on Mac OS 8.6 to 9.1 if CarbonLib is installed. -Christy Mulligan

Linux news

Run Apache from your PDA? Why not? Agenda offers a lot of ways to keep Linux in hand.

While Linux has made inroads into the server realm, especially for Web and mail servers, Linux has also made great strides into the realm of small devices.

One of the latest small devices is the Agenda VR3 handheld from Agenda Computing. With Palm and other Palm OS systems such as the Handspring Visor holding the majority of the market, and Windows CE most of what’s left, the VR3 will have a hard time cracking into the market, and that’s too bad.

Not only does the VR3 run Linux, but it also runs the micro-Emacs text editor, the X Window System, and sports a set of features you normally find in desktop or laptop computers more often than a plain old PDA. One of the most interesting for Linux users is the fact that you can access a terminal window-a bash shell-from the PDA.

In addition, the Agenda supports normal networking applications, such as ftp. In fact, someone even ported the Apache Web server to the Agenda PDA. With the X Window System, you can run applications on your Agenda but display them on a PC, so long as the two are connected via a network link. This is a real Linux system.

For software developers, Agenda runs a site. You can write applications in C or C++ using FLTK, short for fast, light tool kit, a GUI toolkit that makes it easy to create X Window System applications. You can find out more about development at one of the main developer information sites and networking.

While having Linux inside is great for Linux users, the VR3 also has to appeal to mainstream PDA users, the type of people who now purchase Palm or Windows CE handhelds. The VR3 includes a standard set of expected PDA applications such as a contacts keeper, a to-do list maintainer, and a scheduler.

On the downside though, the unit has only limited synchronization capabilities, and only to Windows. In addition, the software isn’t as polished as that of the Palm OS or Windows CE. Furthermore, the current units have no rechargeable batteries. While you should be able to get a full month of usage from the two AAA batteries, I much prefer a rechargeable system like that used on the other Linux-based PDA, the Yopy >

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