These are a few of the graphics editors available as freeware and shareware. IrfanView is my current favorite for day-to-day photo editing. If you need a powerful graphics tool with lots of options and sophisticated functions, have a look at Gnu Image Manipulator and Processor (GIMP) before you drop a bundle on Photoshop. GIMP has a great set of functions and it’s a free Open Source tool. It comes bundled with most Linux distributions and has recently been ported to Windows.
IrfanView is a powerful freeware image editor with everything necessary for basic photo editing and image format conversion as well as advanced features such as red-eye reduction and batch conversion and editing.
Paint Shop Pro is a graphics suite that includes many of the features of more expensive packages for a fraction of the price. With Paint Shop Pro you can do advanced photo editing and retouching, create your own custom graphics and perform sophisticated two and three-dimensional transformations. The "browse" mode helps with organizing and cataloguing images.
Gnu Image Manipulator and Processor is an Open Source application that started life as a graphics creation and editing tool for Unix-type operating systems, but it was ported to Windows several years ago and more recently to MAC OSX. GIMP has a feature set that rivals Adobe Photoshop for sophistication and power, but because GIMP doesn't include the commercial production printing functionality and proprietary technologies that are the heart of Photoshop, and because the application is supported by the Open Source community of programmers and developers, GIMP is a freeware tool. Go to GIMP.org for information, tutorials, and free downloads.
Microsoft has finally rolled out a new browser and I like it even less than the older designs. The tool and menu bars at the top of the Internet Explorer 7 interface are upside down and there's no way to adjust them. Did somebody at Redmond really believe this was an improvement over the nearly universal arrangement?
My current favorite is still FireFox, the Open Source version of the venerable Netscape browser. FireFox is a standalone, but has lots of useful extensions available and the development team at Mozilla.org also offers an e-mail client called "Thunderbird."
Opera is a fine, speedy Web browser from a Norwegian development team. It has lots of the features usability features built in, including tabbed browsing pages, search tools, selectable sidebar, session control and integrated communication applications.
As of version 8, Opera no longer includes rotating ads in its button bar, so the free-of-charge "unsupported" version of Opera looks and runs exactly the same as the "supported" version that would be installed for licensed users.
An enormous amount of video is now available for viewing and download on the Web but the files aren't always in a format that's compatible with your favorite media player. ImToo has a full line of video tools including a video file converter that can handle most popular video formats and includes specific settings for iPod and Archos media players.
Tools and Toys (freeware and shareware)
These are two of my favorite places to look for utility software. Both SnapFiles and Tucows maintain collections of free and try-before-you-buy software.File readers
There are lots of ways to format data for presentation, and some of them produce files that can be read only with the right viewer. Two of the most common file types you’ll run into these days are Adobe Acrobat (files with a PDF extension) and Microsoft PowerPoint (files with a PPT extension). The URLs below point to the sites for the Adobe Acrobat Reader and the Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer. Both are free.File compression
Adobe Acrobat Reader http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details
Most files contain lots of empty space or areas of identical data. A file compression utility encodes repetitive data to reduce the file size and make it easier to store or send over the Internet. File compression utilities are also great for bundling collections of files.
The classic Windows file compression and archiving tool is Winzip. A trial version is available as a free download. Stuffit comes in a version that’s popular with Macintosh users.Download Managers
If you’re using a dialup connection and you’ve ever tried to download a big file, you know how frustrating it is if you lose the connection or it just takes so long that you can’t keep holding the phone line and you have to quit and start over. A download manager can help. One of the useful things a download manager will do for you is allow you to download a partial file and resume the download later at the point where you left off. Here are a couple of freeware download managers you can try.
Every major browser already includes an integrated download manager. However, you can substitute a different manager if you find one that has features you like better.
This is the beginning of a continuing list of software tools that HennaPage users might find useful. I’ll update and revise it as necessary and I invite you all to send me names of your favorite tools, especially freebies and things available through the Web, for inclusion here.