North Fork Media does Web site design, ecommerce
and Internet marketing strategy for small businesses, professionals
and artists. We are located in the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana
and as long as you have email and a telephone, we can help you get more
out of the Internet.
Free High Quality Goodies
Back in the Old Days, everything on the Internet was
free. Thats because there was no way to collect money! There were
no Web sites, no Internet Exploders, no Amazon.coms. There was no spam.
There were no pictures; it was all text. We had to walk to the Internet...uphill
both ways...through the snow! Academic types created programs and collections
of information and shared their work with the rest of the network.
That spirit of sharing ones work with the community
still exists on the Internet, even in these post dotcom-boom days of Web
sites based on real business plans with real products.
So, here are a few of the best free goodies that the
Internet community has to offer these days. Most of these are programs
you can download and install, and though I have found all these programs
to be trouble free, your mileage may vary.
Free Anti-virus: There are a bunch of good free anti virus tools available these days...here are two of the most popular.
(Update July 20, 2011) I found a couple more free anti-virus apps.
The first part of FREE anti-virus protection is to make sure your system is updated. This means getting your Windows Updates installed, of course, but it also means keeping Flash, Adobe Acrobat and Java updated. You also want to keep your browser updated. Doing these things is your FIRST line of defense because the updates remove the possibility of infection (Updates fix security holes which then cannot be exploited by virii)
There's a new Anti-malware tool on the block. Well, it's relatively new. MalwareBytes has been around for three years, and it's gotten to be a standard in the toolkits of hacker fighters. It's become the first tool I use in case of malware attack. It's not a preventative tool. It's a scan and clean tool. You still want an active anti-virus program.
Also, Microsoft Security Essentials is a pretty good free option for those who have Vista or Win 7. I've installed it on Netbooks and it works pretty well on these low power devices. On Windows 8 this is called Windows Defender and it is already installed.
AVG Anti-Virus Free A lightweight anti virus program, I have used AVG free on a number of computers and had no troubles yet. Free for home use. Runs on Windows 2000 to Windows 7. Automatic updates, resident protection.
avast! 4 Home Edition Both of these programs are easy on your computer, both are free for home use, both are pretty easy to use, and they often win the VB100 award. However, this one runs on everything from Windows 2000 to Windows 7, 32 and 64 bit. It doesn't seem to support Windows Me, 98 or 95 anymore.
If you need to buy an antivirus program, the experts all seem to agree that Nod32 is the best. I have used if and it is very fast, and consumes very few system resources.
[Update: recent research by independent test organizations has demonstrated that none of the anti-virus programs do a complete and 100% job of detecting and removing viruses and malware. And all of them have a significant false-positive rate (where they think a file is a virus, but it really isn't). Do your updates, and while you can only run one anti-virus program at a time, if you do get infected, you can use an online scanner, such as the one offered at Eset.com, to help double check the cleanup.]
Free Anti-spam: Gmail. It has the best spam filters, as far as I can tell.
Free Email Address
Often times, you need to provide an email address to be able to download something. And then you can expect the company to email you regularly about their products. I use a free
email address from Operamail to receive the download links and registration keys. Simple
sign up. Use it once to get your download info and then forget
about it, or keep it as a public email address.
Free Anti-spyware Spyware is a term for a variety of softwares that get on your computer and do things that you are not aware of or don't want. It can make pop-up windows appear when you are working in Word, it can capture passwords you type, it can watch where you go on the internet and report your browsing activites back to a 'mother ship'.
A computer can acquire spyware just by going to the wrong website. Internet Explorer's ActiveX controls can, if they are not updated and set securely, allow websites to install spyware and viruses on your computer. People also get spyware by downloading games, or little computer gizmos like Bonzi Buddy or the WildTangent games.
You check for and get rid of spyware by running a program that scans your computer.
Free online scans Security researchers Secunia offer a free scan of your computer for programs that are insecure. When researchers find bugs in software that could allow hackers to take advantage, Secunia reports these bugs and tracks the bugs on their site. You can scan your computer for buggy software so you will know what to update.
The home of Spybot Search and Destroy. Gets rid of spyware that can cause
system instability, incessant pop-ups and loss of privacy. I have seen
a TON of spyware this year on almost every computer I come into contact
with, so get this program!
Ad-aware will also get rid of spyware. I have found
that Spybot and Ad-aware don't come up with the same results. So, I think
you should get both programs. Click
here to download Ad-aware.
Windows XP and Vista users can get Windows Defender as well.
Is a software Firewall. It keeps hackers out. It also helps with spyware in that every program that wants to access the internet will have to get permission first. So, if you see some unknown programs asking for permission to access the internet, you can check them out at Google before you grant permission. Free for home use. Works on Windows XP.
In order to protect your computer from spyware and
viruses you need to download, install, update and run Anti-virus, Spybot and Adaware.
Download and use
instead of Internet Explorer. The Google toolbar blocks those annoying pop-up and pop-under windows, and provides a handy search box. Firefox is a great browser and has some neat features.
Here are some other interesting and useful resources:
A free office suite. I use this in my business with no compatibility issues.
This suite seems to be a full fledged replacement for Excel, Word, and
Powerpoint and it even generates PDFs. It opens and creates Word
and Excel files with no problems that I can detect. Now, I have to admit
I never had much use for office software. If I need to type a letter,
Wordpad seems to work just fine to me, or I use a page layout program.
But I do use Open Office to make and open spreadheets, and I use it to
open the .doc files that Wordpad can't open.
Free, topnotch email program. Runs in paid, sponsored (small ad in one
corner) or light mode. Eudora is an Internet classic.
Recently, Qualcomm decided to stop working on Eudora. While it remains a good and useful email program, you might want to check out Thunderbird, which comes from the Mozilla Foundation, like Firefox. I use Thunderbird and it works great. There are add-ons for T-bird, just as there are for Firefox (below), so check em out.
I highly recommend this one. Firefox is a new modern
It is simply a browser, like Internet Explorer. I like it alot and use it
everyday. It blocks pop-ups, and remembers passwords, and keeps web sites
from changing the status bar text. It is also extensible and many people
have written add-ons
for it. Firebug is my new swiss army knife of web development. It makes life sooo much easier. I like the Web developer extension, too. You can get plugins that fill in forms and allow mouse gestures,
too. It is also more standards compliant, so it is easier to make Web
pages for Firefox. If everyone in the world would please download it now,
I'd really appreciate it.
is full featured cousin of Firefox's. It provides all the enhancements that Firefox does as well as an advanced e-mail and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and an HTML/web page composer—all your Internet needs in one application. It is also more advanced than Internet
Explorer. Runs more slowly on older computers than Firefox does.
Listen to an amazing variety of music on the Internet with Winamp Lite.
Winamp is the least intrusive and smallest media player. One of the extensions for Firefox will let you control Winamp right in the Firefox window. No switching.
All these sites are giving to the Internet community,
some out of the goodness of their hearts and some as a marketing ploy.
But, they are all participating in that time honored Internet tradition
Spring is here!
If you have a question about your Web site, call me or send an email and
I'll take a look at it for FREE and get back to you.
Call Tim Van Buren at 406-755-1080
I'm working on a big post about free sources of images for your website, graphics project or whatever. And those free sites can be a source of good images. But I've spent hours and hours trying to find good images on SXC and others. If you're just trying to get a project out the door, you'll probably save time and billable hours money by going to a professional stock site. Running a photo search on sites like Fotosearch.com might be something to consider.