Good, Free Stuff for Your PC: Part 1 of 2


It was a dark and stormy night. The lightning pulsed outside my rain pummeled window, but I was safe and sound inside my study. The comfort of my surroundings lulled me into a sense of warm, contented security.

I tapped away on my keyboard and graphics pad; the project I was working on seemed almost too easy to do. I was elated. But without warning, the computer screen started to flicker several times as though it were in electronic cardiac arrest.

I watched in horror as the realization hit me that my computer was dying right in front of my eyes. And the saddest part about this tragedy became as bright as the light of day to me. I didn’t back up my files.

I could hear the howling wolves in the distant night air.

Were they laughing at me?

hand-keyboardOk, I know that was rather cheesy, and this was my intent. But the reality of this sort of situation did confront me several years ago.

My computer literally fried during a big storm, and I did lose virtually all of the files I was working on. From that day onward, I vowed never to fail to back up my work.

Along the way of my graphic design education, I started to collect a few computer programs that were not only highly useful but were also free of charge. These freebies do various tasks to make your computing life easier, and some will literally save your computer from harm.

But what does this have to do with graphic arts, photography or illustration? Everything. We all use our PCs extensively when we do our projects, graphics, photography, or media. It makes sense to keep our computers, (and ourselves) happy by using a few of these programs. Using our computers effectively is all part of our graphic design education.

Oh, did I mention that they were free? So here we go. My favorites:

avgAVG - This program is an anti-virus program that will scan your computer for viruses, Trojan horse programs, and spyware. It detects them, identifies them, and removes them.

The program has its database constantly upgraded, so you have protection from the newest viruses out there. AVG rivals, if not surpasses, anti-virus programs that are sold for lots of $$$.

Check it out at http://free.avg.com/
asc-logoAdvanced System Care - Ever notice that your computer doesn’t seem to be as fast as it used to be?

One reason could be related to your computer’s registry–a place where information about programs and data is stored away.

As this data piles up, some of the unnecessary records slow down your computer. Advanced System Care corrects and tunes up your computer by scanning for spyware, deleting old registry data, getting rid of junk files and a host of other things to keep your computer running great.

Check it out here: http://www.iobit.com/advancedwindowscareper.html
demas-virtual-notesDema Virtual Notes - We’re all familiar with Post It notes–they’re the ubiquitous little sticky papers that everyone uses to remind themselves of things to do or things they need to remember.

Dema Notes is the virtual representation of the sticky notes. The program is simple to use and places colored notes on your computer screen.

It is entirely configurable and gives you the option to change the note paper’s color and size, and even has an alarm feature.

The only downside is that there are no instructions on how to use it. But a few minutes of tinkering should get you familiar with the program in no time.

Check it out by clicking here or going to:  http://www.oibaf.com/drupal/node/2

And as they say in the movies, to be continued…

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  1. Posted September 16, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I really wanted to try out the Dema Virtual Notes, but alas, when you click on download it takes you to a HTTP 505 page. Hopefully they get that fixed.

  2. admin
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lisa,

    As a backup plan, you can also download Dema Virtual Notes on download.com. The guy is a pretty small operation, so sometimes his site goes down.
    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Josh
    Posted September 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I like AVG. Been using the bigger suites by other makers for years, but they get so bloated and really slow things down after awhile. AVG does what it needs to do and lets you do what you need to do without getting in the way. The upselling gets in the way a bit but that’s what you get for free.

  4. admin
    Posted September 25, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Josh,
    I totally agree. I’ve used various commercially produced products, and oddly enough, they seem to have conflicts with other computer applications and have a tendency to display false positives as well. I’ve been using AVG for a few years now and I haven’t seen a better program regardless of price, imho. Thanks for dropping by and for commenting. :D

  5. Posted October 6, 2009 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I want to develop illusration library for my work. I have many illustrations(more than 1000) but scattered in different folders and also to finding them is difficult. i want to hava a libray which is similar to MS clipart.
    I need some guidance to start.

    I can’t afford to buy any application which is available in the market.

  6. admin
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Asshu,

    I think one way to organize your illustrations is by using the search command on your PC or Mac. All you need to do is to type in the phrase or word you want to look up.
    For instance, if you want all your .psd files, just type .psd in the search box. Your computer will scan for all these files and bring them up on your desktop screen. Then, all you need
    to do is to make a new folder and drag them all into it. You’d do the same for your .jpg files, .png, etc.

    Then, after all your clips are assembled in one place, you’re going to have to categorize them.

    You can also try out Microsoft’s free media organizer by going here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/clipart/HA011477171033.aspx

  7. Posted October 8, 2009 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for your help and wonderful suggestion. I will start working on this.

  8. admin
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi Asshu,
    Glad we could help and thanks for dropping by. :D

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