Every now and again we come across some fabulous application or utility that
blows us away. It invariably makes our lives easier or richer in one way or another.
Immediately we want to shout it from the rooftops, but usually settle
for e-mailing it to friends and colleagues.
So, here for your enjoyment, pleasure and the betterment of all mankind, is our list
of really cool utilities.
In spite of our very loud moaning about the pains and aches we suffer at the hands of Windows,
the OS we all love to hate, we have to admit, at the end of the day, that we are, after all, stuck
with it. So we may as well make the best of it.
- Answers That Work
- We'll put up with the abysmal navigation on this site, for the pure gold which is the listing
of Windows Tasks. These behind-the-scenes programs are responsible for all the good, and all the bad
that happens on your Windows machine. This list, sorted by task name, tells you exactly what each
of these programs does, and whether you can strip it out, or should leave it in place. They've
also got quite a nifty downloads section, with a number of useful utilities! Check it out!
- The ultimate Instant Messenger (IM) client. It allows you to connect and interact with five
different IM services: AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Yahoo and
MSN Instant Messenger. There's a free version, as well as a pay "Pro" version. Sadly, the license
for the pay version is for a fixed time. Then you have to pay again. Bad form, guys.
- Geek Tools
- Advanced tools for sysadmins and such. The one I love and use is GTWhois: it quickly
finds any domain name in a wide range of whois databases. They also have lists of traceroute
sites, and geek friendly hotels with broadband or wireless access.
- Top Level Country Code Domains
- Every once in a while I come across a URL with an unusual TLD (Top Level Domain).
This is the place to look them up!
Security and Privacy
- First thing to do, of course, is check how vulnerable you are.
Gibson Research, run by Steve Gibson, provides us with a number of great tools; among them
the terrific (and FREE) ShieldsUp! service
(yes, this is your first stop), and the SocketToMe and
- ZoneAlarm 3.0 is considered by many to be the best free
firewall around. This will not only keep intruders out, but also keep your data in:
if any software on your system tries to communicate with the outside world, ZoneAlarm
will notify you, ask whether to block it, let it go this time, or let it go always. If you
do nothing else, install ZoneAlarm.
- Publishers of the very bodacious (FREE) Ad-Aware
utility. This utility checks your harddrive and registry for spyware.
Don't boot up without it!
Fonts and Graphics
- The Font Thing
- Absolutely essential for selecting fonts for graphics. Allows you
to create collections, so you don't have to select from the entire
list of fonts. Written in Delphi, bien sur!