#289 February 1, 2023 from Don Crowder www.don-guitar.com
I was never a hippy. I'm the right age but I was a very
late bloomer when it came to maturity. I didn't really
identify with the ideas and behaviors of my contemporaries
in the late sixties. I didn't use drugs or alcohol and was
quite literally a virgin, thus excluded from the sexual
behavior of my peers. Not that I didn't abuse drugs and
alcohol, those things just occurred later in my life. I
discovered drugs late in 1969 but was smart enough to
recognize that drug abuse was a downward spiral with an
unhappy ending so I asked for, and received, help liberating
myself from the desire to use any sort of recreational
drugs. By early 1971 I was free of any desire to use drugs.
Unfortunately getting free of alcohol and tobacco took a
few more years. I stopped using alcohol sometime in 2000
and tobacco in 2004. Of course I started smoking in 1962
so quitting after over 40 years was far too late to prevent
my getting COPD. I'm just lucky that my symptoms are mild.
Many of my peers have long since died connected to oxygen
via nasal cannula gasping for just one more breath of air.
So, at age 74 I've mostly dodged the tobacco related COPD
bullet, the alcohol related liver failure bullet and the
jury is still out on the age related heart failure bullet.
I've have one Supraventricular Tachycardia event and had to
wear a heart monitor for a month. The heart monitor's
results were inconclusive but the VA has ordered me onto
a regimen of regular exercise with a more restrictive diet
than I'm accustomed to but I see that as a small price to
pay. I've also finally been diagnosed with RA (Rheumatoid
Arthritis) which is painful and debilitating but the worst
symptoms have, thus far, been controlled by medication.
Someone I knew used to say 'life is a bitch and then
you die' but that hasn't been my experience. Life has been
difficult at times but the good has far outweighed the bad
and the health problems I've had have pretty much felt like
life making me pay my dues. I figure I'm very lucky to be
alive and I plan on continuing to enjoy the ride. That
same person also used to say 'It's a great life if you
don't weaken". That works for me.
Let's get started . . .
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For this issue I did some research on costless software
titles, mostly for Windows but many of these are available
for Mac and Linux as well.
Completely Uninstall stubborn software,
windows apps & browser extensions.
WizTree disk space analyzer. https://diskanalyzer.com/
Back up software for Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 and Vista. Both
32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows are supported.
ShareX is a screen capture, file sharing and productivity
Apparently lots of folks really hate the Start menu in
Windows 10 & 11. Here's how you fix it.
If you're been on the web for very long, it's a safe bet
that, no matter how cautious you've been, companies that
trade in demographic information know a great deal about
you, whether you like it or not. Knowing this, I personally
choose to avoid even trying to keep secrets from the web.
If 'Big Brother' wants me, he knows exactly where I am and
what I'm up to. I'm not worried about it. That being said,
there are plenty of folks who DO worry about online privacy
and I'll do what I can to help them out.
Brave browser claims to be three times faster than Google
Chrome while offering superior security and privacy.
Vivaldi claims to be extremely customizable while offering
superior performance, productivity, and privacy. . .
. . . finally, Tor is touted as a very secure & private
Do you really need a VPN for online privacy?
https://tinyurl.com/mr2cpa2j [consummerreports dot org]
Should you use a costless VPN?
My favorite Office Suite is LibreOffice. . .
. . . but these days there are other choices too.
. . . Of course you don't actually have to install an
Office Suite these days, you can get the same
functionality online with Microsoft 365 or Google Docs.
Some folks don't have any use for a full blown office
suite but they do like to write a nice document once in
a while. Here's a couple of nice word processors.
. . . and there are online analogs for that too.
Most of us do email in our browsers these days (because
we don't have to worry about getting booted in the middle
of writing an email like we did in the dial-up days) but
with an email client you can check several accounts in one
step and that's awfully convenient.
Until Windows 11 Microsoft didn't have a good native PDF
document viewer so most of us knew to install the Adobe
PDF Reader . . .
But there's been another good alternative out there for the
past few years. https://www.foxit.com/pdf-reader/
Online PDF tools.
I recall being furious, back in 2004 or so, to learn that
my brand new Win2K machine wouldn't play a store-bought
DVD even though It had a DVD/CD Read/Write drive in it.
After an hour or so of online research I discovered the
K-Lite Codec Pack, which took hours to download on my dial
up connection but installed easily and played movies just
A few years later, an even better solution came along, in
the form of VLC. A multi-platform, multimedia player
which works like a charm. https://www.videolan.org/vlc/
Since I first learned what a 'zip' file was, I've used a
lot of different file compression utilities but none has
ever been better than 7zip. https://www.7-zip.org/
The uncontested king of costless image editing software
is the Gimp https://www.gimp.org/ but if you're not a
power user, even with tutorials all over the web, it may
be too much for you. If that sounds like you, then you
probably need Irfanview or XnView. Both are wonderfully
powerful image editors with lots of nice features and both
are costless. XnView always seemed more intuitive to me but
I was never without both on any Windows machine I owned.
As with many other installable applications, there are
online analogs to photo editors.
Slim down WebP, PNG and Jpeg images for the web.
When I started learning to write HTML (and later CSS) code,
like the majority of my peers, I used Windows Notepad but
I didn't know any better. After I had occasion to do
extensive research on costless text editors I quickly
became a huge fan of NoteTab Light. I later purchased both
the Standard and Pro editions of NoteTab, to show support
for the developer, but the costless Light edition remained
my personal favorite for writing my ezine and editing web
Note: After switching to Linux full-time, in 2006, the only
Windows application I missed was NoteTab. Gedit, which is
available in just about any Linux distro, is a great editor
but lacks many of the features I love about NoteTab.
Incidentally, Gedit is also available for Windows and Mac.
Notepad++ is a very popular and powerful text editor for
Have you ever wished you had a better volume control for
your Windows computer? https://eartrumpet.app/
QuickLook enables a very quick preview of Windows file
contents by pressing the Spacebar.
https://tinyurl.com/3yedkfvc [microsoft dot com]
An amazing and wonderful software for digital artists.
Blender is an equally awesome tool for video artists.
This software fills the cracks between photography and art.
If you sometimes have trouble finding files on your Windows
computer, try 'Everything'. https://www.voidtools.com/
Costless software for video recording and live streaming.
Peer to peer (or person to person) file sharing can be
controversial because sometimes folks wish to share files
that they don't own the rights to and that's bad, but the
software has less nefarious uses.
If you're the nerdy sort who wants to know all about the
hardware that's 'under the hood' of your computer, this is
for you. https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
Linux distributions have a software app that updates every
application on the computer in one operation. This is
something that many Windows users really envy. Ninite is an
app that tries to offer the same functionality to Windows
Convert a webpage into a printable PDF document.
If you have a 'big ole' one or two terrabite drive on your
computer with lots and lots of free space and you're
curious about Linux, or another version of Windows, or some
eclectic Operating System like Solaris or BSD you can
use some of that extra space on your machine to install
VirtualBox and then install whatever Operating System you're
curious about on VirtualBox. https://www.virtualbox.org/
Shotcut looks like a pretty cool video editor.
Another high powered video editing tool
An online digital audio workstation. https://soundation.com/
And that concludes the bulk of costless software I gathered
for this issue. There may be one or two online software
engines listed but no installable apps.
Online equation solvers.
Desygner can help you create an image for your book
cover, website, event poster or just spiffy wall art.
Downdetector cab tell you when your favorite
services are down or having problems.
Costless, fun, and effective ways to learn a language.
Eat This Much creates personalized meal plans based
on your food preferences, budget, and schedule.
It's just a search engine but they offer you a very cool
incentive to use it. https://www.ecosia.org/
Learn to write computer code or pass the
links on to your kids or grandkids.
Paste in a shortened link to get a detailed analysis of
where it points. https://www.getlinkinfo.com/
Pick up some nice, cost-free fonts from Google.
Hacking stuff (in a nice way). https://hackaday.com/
Nerdy security training! https://www.hacksplaining.com/
A plethora of 5 minute lessons. https://gohighbrow.com/
A resource for time challenged gamers.
Tutorials on fixing stuff. https://www.ifixit.com/
How much info about you is on the web?
Coordinate all your streaming apps into one app.
Costless and royalty free images. https://pixabay.com/
Pre-K to college, the very best learning resourc on the
internet, bar none. https://www.khanacademy.org/
Sounds to sooth you, inspire you, calm you, make you more
productive, help you sleep or just cover up annoying
background noise. https://www.noisli.com/
A large collection of cultural and/or educational media.
Lot's of digital books. https://openlibrary.org/
Back in the day I used to assemble a computer from multiple
choices listed on a website. They would assemble and ship
me the computer I 'built' from all the choices on the site.
There aren't a lot of places like that still around, but
I did find one. https://pcpartpicker.com/
A PDF search engine. https://www.pdfdrive.com/
An Amazon price tracker. https://keepa.com/
Send private notes, from a website, which will self-destruct
after being read. https://privnote.com/
Organize your road trip in fine detail.
A place where kids can create stories, games and animations
to share with others. https://scratch.mit.edu/
Check out the details of your seat before you get on the
Plug in the ingredients you have and let the supercook
help you turn them into dinner.
A useful place to get an instantly disposable email
Paranoid about the extensive Terms of Service that are just
too darn long to actually read? Let these folks help you.
Learn to type or improve your typing.
Analyse suspicious files, domains, IPs and URLs to
detect malware and other breaches, automatically
share them with the security community.
What should you read next?
A knowledge search engine. https://www.wolframalpha.com/
Just visit this site and it'll instantly tell you how fast
it figures your connection is . . . https://fast.com/
It said my download speed is 34 Mbps but I'm not
sure I trust them because https://speedof.me/ (the one I
trust) measured my connection to be 16.26 Mbps . . .
https://www.speedtest.net/ said it was 34 Mbps . . .
and https://speed.measurementlab.net/#/ said it was
36.49 Mbps. I know that Speedofme sampled over a longer
period of time than any of the other tests and averaged
the result. Which do you think I should believe?
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Ok that wraps it up. Seems to me like this was a pretty
good issue. What say? Let me know what you think.
It's still cold in New Mexico but at least it's mostly
above freezing. Yes, I know, I'll be complaining about
the heat in a few short months but, as I've always said:
'I can work with sweat in my eyes but if my feet get
cold I'm going to the house". I really don't like cold.
I hope all is well and wonderful with you and yours.
See you next time.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 11:05 PM (MDT/MST)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Internet: A Weapon of Mass Instruction.
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