Best Of 2008: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008

A good list from Life hacker, one of my favorite blogs,with some stuff I need to try, Some of the tunes management and CC cleaner are on my radar.. and probably a few others.

Best Of 2008: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008.

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10 Things You Won’t See After the Recession – Business Center – PC World

A friend passed this on I think it has a fair ring of truth to it. Click on the line below for a full read

10 Things You Won’t See After the Recession – Business Center – PC World.

The government says we’ve been in a recession for the past year. Experts say it’ll be at least another year before it’s over. And everybody says it’s the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Nice sound bite. What does that mean?

Who knows? We can be sure that this downturn will differ totally from the Depression, and also different from the many recessions we’ve suffered every decade or every other decade since the 30s. I’m not an economist or a historian, but it seems to me that this recession will be something unprecedented.

One reason is that that there was no Internet or mobile technology in the 1930s. That means individual people and companies have very low cost, high efficiency alternatives for doing a wide ranging of activities. That will accelerate the demise of those things fated to be replaced anyway.

Here are 10 things that I believe won’t survive the recession.

1. Free Tech Support

The practice still employed by some companies of paying humans to answer phones and solve technical problems with hardware or software purchased for consumers will become a thing of the past. PCs, laptops and hardware peripherals, as well as application software — these categories will be purchased like airline tickets, with price becoming the sole criteria for many buyers. In order to compete on price, companies who now offer real tech support will replace it with message boards (users helping users), wikis, wizards, software-based troubleshooting tools and other unsatisfying alternatives.

2. Wi-Fi You Have to Pay For

Everyone is going to share the cost of public Wi-Fi because the penny-pinching public will gravitate to places that offer “free” Wi-Fi. Companies that charge extra for Wi-Fi will see their iPhone, BlackBerry and netbook-toting customers — i.e., everybody — taking business elsewhere. The only place you’ll pay for Wi-Fi will be on an airplane.

3. Landline Phones

Digital phone bundles for homes (where TV, home networking and landline phone service are offered in a total package) will keep the landline idea alive for a while, but as millions of households drop their cable TV services and as consumers look to cut all needless costs, the trend toward dropping landline service in favor of cell phone service only will accelerate until it’s totally mainstream, and only grandma still has a landline phone.

4. Movie Rental Stores

The idea of retail stores where you drive there, pick a movie, stand in line and drive home with it will become a quaint relic of the new fin de siecle (look it up!). The new old way to get movies will be discs by mail, and the new, new way will be downloading.

Getting Started With Google App Engine-Hello World

I’m configuring this all on Vista 64. Well I finally decided to begin the learning process. I elected to use only the “Ordinary” x86 versions and not 64 bit versions. I installed the latest Python, 2.61 which according to the Python site is the continuing line from the required 2.5 for app engine (Python 2.6.1 Windows installer (Windows binary — does not include source), this could cause problems later but so far so good. I ran the Python environment stand alone to ensure that is functioned.

I then followed the tutorial. Downloaded the app engine development environment. I ran the install.  I also created the Helloworld folder in the documents folder and placed the trial Yaml and PY file inside the folder, as the tutorial required.  Then tried to run the executable according to the tutorial. I could not figure out how to do that. I rebooted, always a good idea!

Then noticed that the Google App Engine had placed an Icon on the desktop. Clicking it did not result in anything other than a window that opened and closed too fast to see. Re-reading the getting started info it came clearer to me that I had to follow the format for invoking the App Engine and specifying the location of the helloword folder.  So I opened up notepad++ and created this line, which I the entered into the Vista Search box (which I discovered also now functions as the “Run” box). >>> dev_appserver.py C:\Users\DadLaptop\Documents\Helloworld<<<

Bang, It worked!! Followed the rest of the tutorial to display “Hello World” on Localhost. Now I have to continue for the more advanced functions. Stay tuned!

I saved the command line as a .bat file and believe that I can edit the desktop icon to include the parameter for the location of the hellworld folder.

A Survey of Free Software

One of the most vibrant areas of software development world is the free/open source software movement. A big reason to learn and use Freeware and Web 2.0 software is most of it is available free.

Most people think primarily of Linux when using this term but there is a much larger eco system. You have to do some research and trial and error since you won’t see a bunch of ads around (it’s free remember) Actually the “free” part is the biggest Ad.!

The movement covers most “normal” functional areas of software, from

Web 2.0 services,

  • E-mail, MSN, Gmail, Other Google services,
  • Web hosting, Blogs: WordPress.com, Blogger, others,
  • Regular web hosting, Microsoft Live. Microsoft live does not get much respect but is a very rich offering , now up to 25 GB of space and web site, automatic file backup/synchronization, blogs, picture storage, collaborative workspace and more.
  • Google app engine is so big and multifaceted I have not yet started to use it, and it’s free.

It is a bit hard to find the good and distinguish from the bad, many Google search results are pretty confusing. I generally have to poke around a bit in a regular Google search to find the host site as opposed to some fly-by-night site. You really want to “know” what you are looking for, find reviews and make sure that you are getting the “original” product. I am including links in this paper to most of the key products which I mention.

For instance I wanted to use Eclipse a major free Software development platform,. I figured I would need the Linux operating system. I downloaded and installed the Ubuntu version of Linux and configured it to “dual boot on my machine. One of it’s features is an automatic software installer, which is very cool, just click what you want and the operating system downloads and installs the software. Unfortunately, it did not work for Eclipse, I later found out that the version that Ubuntu had in it’s repositories was out of data. A direct download from the Eclipse site rand fine, in the process I also discovered that almost all of the freeware I was interested in was available in Windows, it was not just a Linux phenomenon! In fact most freeware is pretty platform independent, this is because the developers are very conscious of wanting to appeal to all audiences and since most of the software is built using freeware tools themselves which incorporated “cross-platform” libraries.

Some of the software and systems fall into the category of, “some assembly required”. While if you get everything from Microsoft, you can generally expect it all to work together right out of the box. Well, sometimes not quite that easy. In the free software arena you may very well be getting numerous pieces from separate vendors to work nicely together. In my case Mysql, JDBC driver, Birt report writer, query browser, Eclipse, Subversion, and Heidi SQL. In general the process is not too painful, and the online support community is very responsive, more so that the “Normal” vendors. You may often hear directly from the developer. Learning each products support methods is a bit of a chore but the more you do the more they all begin to feel very similar.

Sometimes documentation can be an issue a project called Floss manuals is a relatively new attempt to address the issue, check out the site free manuals for freeware.

I started to document my journey to the brave new software world. Wait! you say, its not new, and well you may be right! But it is new to me and from poking around in the process of learning it it seems that it is new to a lot of other people also.

I began by setting up a web site on Microsoft Live. Located at Http://TomBrander.com which hosts information about my real estate statistical consulting services. While Microsoft is not normally associated with great web stuff, this product is a wonderful exception. I got it when they were still handing out free domain registration, which sadly they have discontinued, now its something like $14.95 per year. However, the hosting remains free. You can get a free subdomain (like http://myname.live.com) and still get completely operational for free. Since, as some have pointed out, search is the most common way to find information now on the web. I don’t think the lack of a full domain registration is the handicap it once was, Google does index top level domains better, I hear, though.

I also incorporated a Blog hosted here at WordPress, a free service, http://tbrander.wordpress.com and incorporated into the main site via Iframes. I also maintain a Tech blog which will have this posted on it as well at https://tombrander.wordpress.com.

I’m now exploring Linux (Ubuntu), MySql, Eclipse, Open Office. I’ve got them loaded but I have a ways to go to get fully operational. I’m Using a dual boot Dell Win XP pro Machine with the newest Ubuntu Hardy. I’ll pick up some of that next time. I’m striving to create a solid free software development replacement to my entire Windows experience. I need a replacement for MS Access and eventually Photoshop CS3, although If I could get that in Wine I’d probably be ok with it.

Other neat tools/ services I’ve picked up are: Many Items in Google such as my new favorite: Google “reader” the Shared items page, Base, Mail, Docs, adsense, to do lists, portfolio, finance and a bunch of others, something new almost every day.

Metadot: A free hosted Wiki. My experimental site is here.

Mindtouch Wiki a hosted free service. My site is here.

PB wiki Is a hosted free service. My site is here.

Del.icio.us; A great way to keep bookmarks organized so I can get to them via any computer and not use my browser which keeps them stuck on one machine.

In fact one of my main goals is to move as much as I can into the “cloud” so that depending on a particular machine or location is no longer necessary. So this means giving up on Microsoft Outlook. So far no problem.

One last item for today is getting Firefox instead of Explorer, It has been a great improvement. I happen to be in Explorer at the moment, for no particular reason but I find myself most of the time in Firefox, which seems noticeably faster and much less crash prone, when running exactly the same stuff!

The 25 Best Alternatives To Your Enterprise Applications & Functions

The following article on one of my favorite subjects, freeware. This selection is slanted to “enterprise” type solutions.

I’m in the process of updating some material which I will soon post here but in the meantime you should take a look at this article. It has some great ideas. Click on the link below for some good ideas and links. Some of these are new to me.

John Perez, Wednesday, December 10, 2008
2009 Budgets are in and for many who oversee the Operations and IT Budget, you are probably challenged to reduce your capital budget by at least 40% lower than what you originally put in. As the pressure to cut continues, you may want to rethink about the software vendors you have selected to introduce into the Enterprise, or even think about replacing your legacy Enterprise applications with more cost effective open source alternatives.

Still not convinced about Open Source or Lower Cost Alternatives? Well according to Gartner, approximately 85% of companies surveyed are already using Open Source Applications in 2008. The other 15% surveyed have plans to incorporate Open Source Strategies within their Enterprise in 2009. Whether your a small business, or you are looking to minimize costs – attached are some of the most cost effective applications on the market that can easily replace some of your more expensive Enterprise solutions and functions.

Here is the link to the Slashdot discussion of the article, it has a bunch of interesting insights.

Just found a site “Find Open Source Alternatives to comercial Software”. Looks pretty good at 1st blush.

Putting Two Columns into one In MYSQL

No Biggie but in a single select clause you can use the concat to combine fields like so

Select concat(vw_curr_new_over4_names_fxd.NAREA,’ ‘,vw_curr_new_over4_names_fxd.Area_name)AS AREA

Note the use of commas and the single ‘ mark to provide a space the result is this new Field

110 Fultondale/Gardendale/MtOlive

From these two old fields

From NAREA=110

and Area_name=Fultondale/Gardendale/MtOlive