North Fork Media


North Fork Media


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
The Internet

Back in the Old Days, everything on the Internet was free. That’s 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 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.

First, the Google Pack offers PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Anti-virus for free which seems to be a stripped down version of the commercial PC Tools product of the same name. They call it the Starter Edition.

PC Tools also offers an AntiVirus Free Edition directly from their web site.

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, 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.

ZoneAlarm 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.

more free stuff - an article about free programs to use instead of photoshop.
You should try out Google's nice little image editing, organizing and sharing program: Picasa.

The Gimp is a free advanced graphics editor. 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 browser. 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.

Seamonkey 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.

Find music to listen to on these web sites: (free and easy) or (free and easy) or (Free sign-up required). . Free games you play online. Cute. Stylish. Fun. Free screen saver that shows amazing real time images of the sun.

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 of sharing.

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

or email your questions.


©North Fork Media 2002
P.O. Box 2515
Columbia Falls MT 59912

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