Author Archives: jeff

Freeware / Open Source Applications

I have decided to compile here a list of my favorite freeware/open source applications. For simplicity’s sake, I will limit the list to that software running on Windows since it remains the most prominent operating system.

You might be surprised to find there is a lot of freely available software that is as good, and sometime BETTER, than its commercial counterparts. No cost, no ads, no nagging (of course, consider donating to that software you find useful!). It’s a beautiful thing. Keep in mind, there are others out there; these just happen to be my favorites. I will likely revise this list in the future as I stumble upon new applications. Without further ado:

Office Suite: Open Office
Archive Utility: Zip Genius
Desktop Post-It Notes: AT Notes
Flow Charts: Dia
Media PC: Media Portal

Connectivity
Web Browser: Mozilla Firefox
Email Client: Mozilla Thunderbird
FTP Client: FileZilla (Firefox also has a very decent FTP extension)
SCP/SFTP Client: WinSCP
SSH Client: Putty
Instant Messaging (ICQ, AOL, MSN, etc.): Gaim
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing: eMule
BitTorrent Client: Yet Another BitTorrent Client
Telephony (VoIP): Skype
Multi-Platform Desktop Control: Real VNC
Port Scanning: Nmap

Audio/Video
Audio Editing: Audacity
Audio Encoding/CD-Ripping: Exact Audio Copy (EAC)
MP3 Stream Ripper: Stream Ripper
Video Encoding/Processing: Virtual Dub
Music/Video Player: Winamp
DVD Player: VideoLAN
Quicktime: Quicktime Alternative
RealPlayer: RealPlayer Alternative

Graphics
Viewing/Converting Images: Irfanview
Image Editing: The Gimp
Image Viewing/Organizing: Picasa
PDF Viewer: Fox It PDF Reader
PDF Creator: PDF Creator
Web Authoring: Nvu
RGB Color Calculator/Matcher: Easy RGB

CD-DVD Software
Windows XP SlipStreaming Utility: Autostreamer
Display Audio CD Tracks as .wav Files in Explorer: CDFS.vxd
CD-R Identifier: CD Media Code Identifier
VideoCD: VCDgear
CD/DVD Burner: CD Burner XP
Video-DVD Ripping: DVD Decrypter
Video-DVD Copying: DVD Shrink
DVD-R Identifier: DVD Identifier
ISO Utility: ISO Buster
Virtual Drives: Daemon Tools

System Maintenance
Anti-Spyware: Microsoft AntiSpyware and Spybot
Anti-Virus: AVG Free Edition
File Backup Utility: SyncBack Freeware and Allway Sync
Hard Drive Imaging: SelfImage
Floppy Imaging: RawWrite
Hard Drive Fitness: IBM Hard Drive Fitness Test
Disk and Data Recovery: ResQPro
Restore Deleted Files: Restoration

Tweaking and Miscellany
System Information: Belarc Advisor and CPU-Z
Benchmarking, 3D Peformance: 3DMark
Benchmarking, Application Performance: PCMark
Benchmarking, Hard Drive: HD Tach
Hard Drive Temperature: Hard Drive Thermometer
Monitor and Control Motherboard: Motherboard Monitor
Memory Diagnostic: MemTest86
Boot Analyzer/Cleaner: BootVIS
Disk Wiper: Darik’s Boot and Nuke
Partition Manager: Ranish
Windows Process Management: Itt Bitty Process Manager
File Encryption: Cypherix
Tweak Windows XP: TweakUI
Find Out What Program is Locking a File: WhoLockMe?

For All Those Times You’re Using Your Computer Outside: Anti-Mosquito

And don’t forget the ultimate open source software: Linux and it’s myriad components. Feel like taking the plunge? I’d recommend Ubuntu. It’s a cinch to get up and running.

Maritime Terrorists

So a company named Dubai Ports World is based in the United Arab Emirates and wants to buy six U.S. ports. We’re opening our borders to terrorists. Everybody run.

It’s funny–well, laughable, anyway–how we can outwardly hold American ideals to be so important to us only to roll over on them at the slightest whim. We should try to remember that the ports in question are privately owned by Britain’s P&O shipping company. I’d be willing to bet that P&O does not base its business decisions on the ill-informed American public’s image of an ideal business partner (good thing, too). No, I would be willing to bet P&O bases its business decisions on profit, that omnipresent, ever-powerful motivator serving as the backbone of capitalism. You remember capitalism, don’t you?

Right about here is where I should be pounced upon for implying that the pursuit of a (at least partially) free market economy should necessarily supersede security interests. Yes, let’s take a look at those security interests.

I won’t bother discussing Los Angeles, the largest shipping port in the U.S., to dwell on the fact that 80% of its shipping ports are owned by foreign entities. I’ll keep this post focused on the ports along the eastern seaboard which are currently in such eminent danger of Dubai acquisition. Why is it so typical for the United States to treat an ally with such impunity? The United Arab Emirates IS an ally, after all, and not merely in name. Aside from continual support in our “War Against Terror,” the U.A.E. was one of the first Middle Eastern countries to acquiesce to U.S. requests and sign the U.S. Container Security Initiative. The agreement places U.S. customs agents in overseas ports of origin to begin screening cargo. Does the simple fact that the United Arab Emirates happens to be in the Middle East warrant more scrutiny than a country located in a different part of the world? I think that’s a slippery slope to start down.

To place blame on the United Arab Emirates for 9/11 is also disingenuous. Their counter-terrorism efforts of the past few years aside, as far as we know, one or two of the 9/11 hijackers may have been born in the U.A.E. A few others traveled through the country at some point or conducted some business there. Does that constitute “ties” to 9/11? If so, perhaps we should consider Germany, where several of the hijackers were based for a time, as also “tied” to 9/11. Would such a ruckus be raised if a German entity was interested in buying U.S. ports? I doubt it.

One more issue I would raise: how will the situation on the ground change at these ports? Currently, dock workers are members of the longshoremen’s unions; the same will be true after any handover. Furthermore, port security has always been the charge of the U.S. government; that, too, will remain the same. Please, tell me, what exactly is changing again? Before and after any sale, the shipping ports are worked by American laborers, secured by the American government. And did I mention that some of Dubai’s top executives are American expatriates? Oh yes, this company reeks of Al-Qaeda.

Yes, I believe it prudent to demonstrate heightened scrutiny when a business deal of this magnitude involves foreign interests, absolutely, and perhaps especially when a foreign interest is state-controlled; but I think we should be careful with our tone. Does the call to place a hold on the sale stem from a sense of general caution, or is it the result of the buying party being Middle Eastern? An ally of the United States is an ally of the United States, regardless of what region of the world it is located. Treating a Middle Eastern country differently only serves to highlight the American hypocrisy that has gained such global notoriety in recent decades.

one down…

Well, everonward recently lost its biggest fan. That’s sad not only because that person happened to make up a large percentage of everonward’s fan base; it’s sad on a personal level, too.

Pointless post? Perhaps, but I certainly don’t think so. Well, Mort…looks like it’s you and me.

Hello world!

This WordPress installation went live on November 22, 2005.

Well, I made the switch from MovableType to WordPress. The transition was actually fairly smooth. The ease with which themes can be changed means I may switch up the appearance of the site a bit more frequently, but I’m kind of partial to its current design.

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