Page Contents Introduction
Recommended Programs
For Webmasters
Causes I Support


Wherever practical, it is my policy to have links to external websites open in a new window. Links are also provided on other pages where the content is relevant, and may not be included here. I am not responsible for the content of any external websites, and as such you should not contact me with queries, complaints, etc. relating to them. Please contact them directly if you should need to do so.

Recommended Programs

It is my policy only to provide links here to programs that are either completely free or that are perfectly (or almost perfectly) functional without registration wherever possible. Typically these are freeware (full, unlimited use and free upgrades). Links to programs that have a "trial period", "evaluation period", or other expiry-limited use are kept to an absolute minimum because I like free software. ;-)

Program Type Reasons For Recommendation
Mozilla Firefox Web browser Your choice of web browser is your own business, and that's the way I like it; but if you're looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer, this might be your first port of call. Major advantages include open source architecture, a built-in popup suppressor and tabbed browsing - have as many different webpages as you like in one window, and switch between them easily.
Opera browser Web browser The free version displays small-ish ad banners at the top of the window (not in your webpage viewing area). Opera is surprisingly versatile and customisable, and a real eye-opener to what an innovative browser should do. Features tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking like Navigator, but it can also emulate a text-only browser, disable tables, etc. for accessibility testing. Commodore C64 fans, check out the "nostalgia mode". ;-) Invaluable for website developers and the incurably curious.
DynaBrowse Voice-controlled web browser (shareware) Although this is shareware, it's fully functional for the first month and it just has to be worth the download to see it in action. :-) It really is a voice-controlled browser using your computer's microphone, and with a bit of voice training (elocution for your computer :-D) it's remarkably reliable. Features commands like "next link", "select", "back a page", etc., as well as voice-activated favourites/bookmarks. You can even control your pointer with commands like "move up", "move down", "left click", etc.! Fully customisable voice commands.
AVG Antivirus (free edition) Antivirus Offers real-time antivirus protection via a virus-recognition database, as well as optional heuristic analysis of files. Also includes email checker (incoming and outgoing), as well as a complete scan scheduler. Version 7 now features improved Trojan detection.
Agnitum Outpost
Agnitum Outpost (free version)
Firewall Provides all the features you'd expect from a quality firewall, plus additional features including optional banner-ad blocking! Completely free and unlimited version, ideal for most personal computers. Essential web security.*
Diskeeper Lite Hard-disk defragmenter Defragments your hard-drive(s) for optimum operating efficiency, and could even prevent errors that can occur regularly with fragmented hard-drives. Much faster than the software that comes with Windows, and still freeware! Or purchase the full version for extra features.
Ad-aware Spyware detection and removal Scans your computer for spyware, adware, sneakware, troublesome cookies, etc., and gives you the option of removing them. Not real-time prevention, but if you run this from time to time you will keep corporate software at bay.
Agent Ransack Desktop file search utility Something like this is essential if like me you use Windows XP, since the XP File Search function no longer works properly. You know that field in the file search window that says something like "Containing Text"? Well it is incapable of finding anything, even in a plain text document such as .txt, .htm, etc. After intallation, the easiest way to use this utility is to right-click the folder icon in the top-left corner of any directory's titlebar, and select Agent Ransack from the popup menu.
Irfanview Image viewer A very quick, user-friendly image viewer. Compatible with even some unusual filetypes unsupported by expensive programs! Also plays sound files, video files, etc. (be sure to download the plugins too)
Winamp Music and video player Famous for playing MP3s, will play plenty else besides - especially since Winamp has now transformed into a multimedia utility. Plays many formats of sound and video, versatile, easy to use, plenty of plugins available, and customisable with skins, styles, colour schemes, etc. Widely used.
Fresh Download Download manager make some very nice freeware utilities - this is just one of them, but you can take a look at others too. Registration is required but it is free, and I for one have never been spammed by them. :-p
EditPad (lite version) Text editor This is an excellent plain text editor - it's like Notepad, except that it's WAY better. Unlike Notepad, this has no limit on the number of files, the length of files, etc. Ideal for editing plain text, HTML documents, cascading syle sheets, Java Scripts, etc. Word processor, spreadsheet, etc. Sick of paying for Microsoft Office, only to get shoddy products? Try this open source package that replaces MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Closely compatible with files created in MS Office, but without the numerous and serious problems associated with using Microsoft Word. Being open source, it's completely free to anyone - that means you can use this even if you're running a business for profit.
Trillian Basic Instant messaging If you have any instant messaging accounts including MSN Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo! Instant Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) or IRC, this software puts all your messaging accounts in one place. It replaces the default software for all those above accounts and signs you into all your accounts at the same time, which makes it much easier to message other people who don't all use the same IM accounts. And the chat interface is so much better than the ICQ software!
FineCrypt Archive encryption and secure file wiping Deleting files from any drive (whether fixed or floppy) will not erase them, even if you empty the Recycle Bin! They are just labelled as free space, and can easily be recovered with the right software (see below). FineCrypt wipes your confidential files with security standards recommended by the CIA, and also creates encrypted archives (like high security zipfiles, with up to 256-bit encryption) of your confidential material in case your computer is stolen or hacked. The keys can be stored on a floppy disk for safe keeping.
PC Inspector File Recovery - download now Deleted files recovery utility If you recycle a file and then want it back, you can just restore it from the Recycle Bin. If you have deleted it even from there (and haven't used FineCrypt or something similar to wipe it), and it was deleted relatively recently, there is still a good chance you could get it back. This program allows you to use an Explorer-style interface to browse the deleted files stored in "empty" space on your disk drives, and even retrieve files you may want back.
Poppy for Windows POP3 email notification tool For Hotmail email accounts you can have MSN Messenger to notify you when you receive a new email; but if like me you have POP3 email, you will need something else. This is the first freeware POP3 notification utility for Windows that I find really satisfactory. It sits in your system tray and gives a small popup message when you receive new email - you can even use one of many You've Got Mail soundbytes as your audio notification (even if it should be You Have Mail for proper grammar :-p).
TurboLaunch Shortcut manager toolbar (shareware) This is a good alternative to the Quick Launch bar and even the Start menu for Windows, as it puts all your most useful shortcuts to files, folders, programs, etc. in one place. Organise shortcuts in tabs, and even create reliable startup items and keyboard shortcuts (both of which won't work properly since I installed Windows XP). This program is not free, but if like me you find this useful then it could be worth the purchase price. ;-)
Trackless IE browser history eraser You might find this useful - it's a program to erase your browsing history in Internet Explorer. You could pay a lot of money for software like this, but this one is free for cost-effective security. :-)

* Test your computer's security on the internet -
use the "ShieldsUP!" or "LeakTest" links to test.

For Webmasters

I always think the word "webmaster" is an overly grand title for what I do, but if you have your own website, or if you want to know how to get one, this is the section for you.

Link Comments
Dave's HTML Guide These pages provide an invaluable hands-on interactive HTML tutorial - this is the secret to how I became so proficient at HTML so quickly! Code your own pages in a very short time. There is no charge for using the tutorial, but donations to Dave are optional.
One And One This the company I use to register all my domain names and provide my hosting, as they were the best value I found on the web. Free web hosting, including FTP support. My website's new home as of Juy 2006. Make T-shirts, caps, mugs, etc. with your own designs, and sell them for a profit! Plus buy your own products at base price.
Swapitshop Join this site, then register for the Friends affiliates program and put links on your site. As long as people click the links and/or join Swapitshop themselves, you will be credited with a monthly salary in Swapits - a virtual currency you can spend on CDs, books, toys, posters, whatever you like! And if that's not enough for you, you can earn even more Swapits by selling your old stuff.

Causes I Support

Causes I support - quite carefully selected, so please check out each one.

Link Comments This is excellent. Visit the site and click a link, and sponsors will give free food to starving people in the world. It doesn't cost you a penny, so why not set it as your homepage and click every time you log on. I do. You could save lives just doing that.
Petition For A Software Patent Free Europe Say no to software patents in Europe! Demand that corporations not be allowed to copyright a file format, and then charge royalty fees for people. For a specific example of why this is so important, check out (see below). If you support this, you may also want to boycott Amazon for trying to copyright the idea of one-click shopping (I'm not kidding).
I burned my GIFs My website is now proudly free of GIFs - check out to find out why I gone out of my way to take this step. I have now exchanged GIFs (no pun intended) for the PNG format, which is technically superior, more flexible and open-source to boot. Burn all GIFs now! :-)
Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation today The Electronic Frontier Foundation addresses issues concerning online privacy, anonymity, censorship, civil rights, etc. - all causes I support wholeheartedly.
The "SETI@home" project Do you believe in extra-terrestrial intelligence? Nah, neither do I, but I'm always glad to help a physicist. :-) Data from outer space is being received at a phenomenal rate, and computers are needed to analyse it all. You can help! The SETI@home software receives data via the internet, uses your computer's unused processor cycles to process it, and sends the analysis back. Almost entirely automated, and should not interfere with the smooth running of your computer. :-)


Useful or fun links.

Link Comments My favourite search engine. International versions are available. Spam (unsolicited junk email) is one of the worst scourges of the World Wide Web. SpamCop is a free service that allows you to report it quickly and easily. Set up an account, then any time you get spam you can submit it to SpamCop, who will quickly take action against those responsible - hopefully stopping them from sending any more to you or anyone else. :-) Worth the effort to learn how to use.
[ - things you want for things you don't!] Things you want for things you don't! This is a FREE service in Britain (except postage), aimed primarily at kids. Swapits are a virtual currency that you can use to buy toys, CDs, books, etc. from the website. Earn Swapits by getting rid of your old stuff or by promotion (e.g. tokens from crisp packets). Refer your friends and you could win prizes! If you're asked for your referral's nickname, mine is RupertGrintFan - please enter it exactly! A cool alternative to eBay - it's online auctions for adults with cash, and you can buy and sell loads of stuff. Cheaper to sell than eBay, as you can sell for free! Sell without risk of incurring any charges, and the free auctions even include a photo of your item. International branches opening soon. ;-) Customise items with your own pictures, for unique souvenirs, gifts or promotional items. Mugs, T-shirts, keyrings, teddies, jigsaw puzzles, etc., etc. Low prices and free first-class delivery in the UK - much better value for UK residents than CafePress. ;-)
UKDVDR - blank media, trade prices This is not a sponsored link, I'm providing this because it is genuinely good value on DVD-Rs, DVD cases, ink cartridges, labels, paper, etc.