Image Manipulation Software.
After years of testing literally more than 100 apps called "Freeware"
I though I'd share some experience and tips and hope to keep this updated. Perhaps ad or expand this blog on other freeware topics. The following covers windows operating systems Except for GIMP which can also be used on macs and linux systems.
You don't have to spend 100's of dollars to get software for multimedia applications. There are plenty of safe free applications under a variety of genres for home use and sometime business use, too.
Freeware: That's misnomer of late. A few years back the term 'freeware' meant exactly that; "FREE". Alas that graduated to "shareware"
, which is no different than purchasing software. The only real difference was shareware used to be freeware until tested and the author took it commercial. I'm sure many have googled or if you haven't, 'free' brings up plenty of free offers.. free download.. (duhhh it's not pay per view!!). Generally what you get is a test drive of the real product without any or just a few functions which is frustrating if you do as much software as I do. Generally if it's not absolutely free or at least contains a good value of the free stuff I find useful I don't bother with purchasing.
A Good indication of true freeware is called GNU developed software. Too long to get into that here but you can google it. In short GNU software has been developed via public domain licensing. This means it's absolutely free and the source code for the software being developed or completed is available, too. In short it's a sure bet it's virus and spyware free.
Adware: This is a very frustrating part of trying software. You don't know if it has ad's or trackers or just plain infested with a virus or trojan. These bugs called "bots" that is also called spyware report back to the who ever stuck it in there, to track your pc actions and surfing potentially. So essentially a second rule I use is that I don't download just anything without some research before hand. Even so a good A.V. program is essential. (I also use 'avast' freeware version and zonealarm free for my firewall but that's another topic)
So here's my choices for editors I've found run flawlessly or near perfect. the only factors I've found would be I run short of memory or have a few apps open that are sharing the same system libraries at the same time. Otherwise these run very well with as little as 256 meg of ram on some applications and very well with 512 meg of ram. New pc's these days have a half gig minimum at purchase to gig or more, so that's covered.
This editing, viewer and player combination has been around for years and still is constantly of high quality version after version and is used by professionals as well. The app is robust with too many features to list here and does not integrate with windows systems in anyway. I can assure you you will find Irfanview very easy to use after a short learning curve. I find it especially useful for making fast image adjustments and effects as well as a general player/viewer/thumb compiler. Only short coming it's paint and drawing sub app. But I have two other equally well suited apps for that.
The only warning I give is when installing.
Do not make any dedicated file associations at first as you will be prompted for that permission. Irfanview has just about every media file extension tag in existence and you probably already have other applications for certain things you do like playing movies etc. Although you can change the file associations at anytime, I simply suggest trying irfanview and see how you like it before making those association changes.
Photoplus 6.0 :
By Serif. 6.0 free version is an excellent photo and image creation program that can also be used for creating animations. I like/use the app for more intense photo work like airbrushing, drawing etc. Because of it's layering capabilities multitude of features. Unlike fast work like irfanview, Photoplus 6 is a very robust "tool" feature filled program that requires a longer learning curve but if you've used other apps like windows paint etc you'll get the hang of the standard tools easily. It gets a little more complex where layering and other tools and effects require learning but help contents is very good for learning the ins an out. I would say for the experienced photo/ artist this app is a good tool all around. For those who have use i.e. more complex software this comparable for quick work as well without being over complex. And you can always upgrade to the pro version for very minimal cost considering other apps. Half gig ram recommended.
Stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program and is the equivalent of adobe Photoshop to the point that skins are available to make the Photoshop users more user friendly! Seriously, for free! I am still learning the heavy duty options only because I find the first two apps cover most bases for me but the creativity of GIMP lends itself only to your imagination. The descriptions on the home page do not cover all the bells and whistles this application is loaded with. I can only say; Try it. Half gig min required memory
Audio recording, editing, file conversions: audio and video:
File Conversions: Audio and video
Oh the knashing of teeth continues! Oh my my.. free trial.. convert wma to mpg ... converts files only 19.95
30 free trial. "Sorry you must upgrade to the premium version to convert". bla bla bla.. And really you just want to convert one type of file to another to play on your portable or crunch down that monster file size wma to mp3 wmv. I really laugh at these offers when I test their programs when this app does it all and more including recording streaming audio.
http://www.erightsoft.net/SupCk2.html just paste and read what this can do!!!
download page: http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html 512 min ram required 1 meg recommended.
Simply the best thing around so don't waste your time with these simple converters and wasting money.
Recording on the fly..
Ever wish you could just hit one button and record your streaming audio? (or anything that comes out of your speakers for that matter! ahemm) This little tool bar does just that. It's fast reliable, no spyware etc. The only little item is there is a icon for ads that is very unobtrusive and actually I click on it sometimes. Easy to remove if you're not satisifed and you can edit your stream folders, too. Perfect for laptops and some portables.
.... to be continued.. editing your stuff.