Few of these are big downloads. For many years, I was a modest DUN user. You can try these programs for free. If you like one, you send money afterwards. In most cases, you only send about $25. (I've tried to remember to mention of large downloads or expensive programs.) In virtually every case, the suppliers offer package deals for people needing more than a single user license.
I have no commercial interest in the following. They are things I like using on my own machines.
Shortkeys: A wonderful "auto-complete"- system utility. It gives you gives you as many auto-complete items as you want, with the abbreviations you want, across all of your applications. For instance, if I type qad, it gets replaced by my full postal address. (I had to play a trick on my system to prevent it from changing the three letters in the previous sentence!) If I type qda, Shortkeys replaces that with the current date and time. I've also set up qed to type out my long and tedious email address ("eddress"!) for me.
When I went online to check the current (9/04) URL, I got a delightful surprise: There's now a free "ShortKeys Lite"... and it looks much like the ShortKeys that gives me everything I want. (It is still there at 5/10, but I managed to overlook it in the description of the shareware Shortkeys. Duh.) (I also discovered that the shareware ShortKeys has a spellchecker, though I must admit I've never used it!) The try-before-you-buy ShortKeys costs $25 (May 2010) for a single user... after you have evaluated it, if you decide to continue using it.
Besides providing auto complete of phrases you want to set up, it can also be told to paste in the current system date and/ or time, in the format of your choice (easily specified), in response to whatever code you want to define to trigger that behavior; I use qda. Software that works the way you want it to! Fantastic. And small. And cheap!!!
Terrapin FTP: This is the program I use to send my web pages to the server you fetched them from. Was single user $30 at 9/04, by 5/10 it had become freeware!! Hurrah for us... bad for the people who built a business around supplying a good product. Does Windows now come with a free FTP client by any chance? Sigh.
Textpad: A superb replacement for Notepad.... but it does much more. Spellcheck and syntax highlighting, among other features. I've written more about it in a page dedicated to Textpad. I use it more than I use my wordprocessor. My web pages are written with it. Single user $27 at November 2010.
For text editing, also consider JGSoft's EditPad.
I use WinZip... and yes, I have registered (paid for) my copy. It is quite easy to use it indefinitely without paying. Single user $30 at 9/04.
Stock market tracking: I keep track of the price of stocks and my portfolio via shareware from www.personalstockmonitor.com. The evaluation terms are reasonable. You can also track UK stocks, but I have not found a source of historical quotes for UK stocks... but I haven't looked far.
Single user: $30 for "standard", $50 for "Gold" at 9/04. 3.2Mb download.
I'm not going to get into games here... much... but I will just mention three:
Slay: I've played this since at least 1994, and I'm still not tired of it. The unregistered version is extensively playable, and registering is not expensive.
Forgive me if I gush... but this source is just too fantastic! Marvelous games... I especially like Slay (apart from the hours I've "wasted" on it.) But on top of that, the demos are free, not time limited, AND the site is a delight: You can download just one game, for those of us on DUN, or who like things simple, or you can download a comprehensive archive.
(Slay's setup.exe at 9/04 was only 660kb. $20 to register. Registered version allows playing over a network, and person vs person play on one computer... up to 6 players. The freeware is you vs 5 computer "players". Registered version allows 1 human vs 1-5 computer "players".)
DO NOT be put off by the early stages of a game of Slay, nor by the seemingly "random" behavior of Mother of All Battles. Re- Slay: Would you expect to be a chess fanatic after 15 minutes of giving it a try? Re- MOB: What's happening is NOT random... you just need to master the game to grasp what is happening.
There are five strategy games and three action games, and most of the games are networkable.
There are Pocket PC versions of Slay, Conquest and The General.
There are Handheld PC versions of Slay, Conquest and The General.
Slay is also available in a version for Palm handheld computers.
If you go to this Colossal Cave site, and go down to the section starting "This version (often referred to as Adventure 550...", and click on the "a combined DOS/Windows executable" link, you'll download a good, free, version for Windows. I didn't do a deep link because the site has so much fun stuff.... but I hope you won't be a wuss and look at the maps and "Magic Word XYZZY" info! (At least not until you've tried to solve the puzzles for yourself!)
Virtual Sailor / HangSim: I haven't used Sailor extensively, and haven't used HangSim (hang-glider simulation) at all! But I was so impressed by what I have seen of Virtual Sailor that I wanted to bring it to your attention. Virtual Sailor, the pre-registration demo, gives you only a quite short time to sail before you have to restart the program to explore it further... but the registration is only $25. 7 Mb download... but have a look at what is in the package: Visit their web page.
Jigsaw Puzzle Creator/ Player: Have you seen the really gorgeous 3D jigsaws- with- adventure- game from Wrebbit? No? Treat yourself... there must be a copy on eBay. (Try "Notre Dame", or "Wrebbit"). Anyway! Jigsaws Galore doesn't do the adventure game or 3D parts, but the gameplay is as good.
The trial conditions are excellent: As I remember it, you download and install the full product... and then can access it 30 times before it locks up. ("Access"= start. If you never shut it or your computer down, you could use it "forever"!) So if you try it a few times, and then forget about it for a while, your free trial period isn't ticking away as the days pass. Play it once a month for over two years!
Lots and lots of options... have pieces rotated, or not... see picture, or not... sort pieces by any of several criteria, or not. Make jigsaws from your own graphics.
At 5/07: Costs $25 to buy. 3.0 meg download. If you make a jigsaw, you can send it to friends to play on their computers... but they won't be able to make new puzzles without also buying the game.
Photograph editing: I haven't used it myself, but having mentioned some alternatives, I should mention that Paint Shop Pro is a long-established, well respected shareware program for the job.
Entering their site was a little frustrating after the delights of the more "amateur" sites typical of most of the products in this page and the two related pages. A VP In Charge of Marketing has obviously had a hand in the site for Paint Shop Pro. I couldn't find way to check download size without registering. Finding the price took me a while (At 9/04: $130 for boxed product, $120 if you download, $55 to upgrade if you already own an earlier (than ver.9) version.)
They also offer something called Paint Shop Pro Studio ($70 as download) which may be a "junior" version of their flagship product, but I found the site unclear on this.
Enter their shopping mall at www.jasc.com, if you want to try your luck. I haven't made that a link, because it repeatedly messed up response from the W3C link checker.
Helpfile creation... .hlp and .chm files: While in general, I lean towards using general tools and open source applications, for many years I have used HelpScribble to create helpfiles for the software I sell. Sometimes you need the right tool for a specific job, and I think creating helpfiles is one of the tasks where buying something is worthwhile. You can either try the free version, which doesn't allow distribution of the resulting helpfiles, or you can just buy the full version ($99 at 11/2010)... which comes with a money-back guarantee. That guarantee has been online since at least 2003, so if they were "being funny" about the money back guarantee, I think the fact would have emerged by now, don't you? (If you want a chuckle, use the WaybackMachine to compare old and recent pictures of the HelpScribble chief programmer!). I've been very happy with HelpScribble, and with a recent (11/2010) response to a support need, and am seriously considering investing in JGSoft's DeployMaster as a result. (Nov 2010: $99, but again with a 3 month money back guarantee, and a way to try before buying, and good online demo videos.)
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