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Free Photo Editing "Plus" – SerifSoftware’s PhotoPlus 6

SerifSoftware puts an interesting and unusual twist to the usual “try this application for free for 30 days” we are all pretty familiar with.

Serif releases older versions of their current software for download at no cost, to hopefully entice at least some users to upgrade to current versions of their popular software.

Despite the slightly dated appearance of SerifSoftware’s PhotoPlus 6, this is not an ‘old’ program that’s been revived just for give-away. PhotoPlus is still an amazing photo editing application that enables you to fix and enhance digital photos, create bitmap graphics and even web animations.

With PhotoPlus, you can easily adjust brightness and contrast, color balance, remove red-eye and make numerous other image editing adjustments and enhancements.

And here’s the “Plus” – You’ll find a large number of tools for creating web-savvy images. As well, a collection of web animation tools will help you import and export GIF files. You can even let PhotoPlus do all the hard work and create animations for you.

Image slicing tools are another web feature that are surprising in a free package. With these tools you can sub-divide an image into invisible segments, each of which can then be given a hyperlink and popup window. Alternatively, you can add hotspots to your web page.

Because of its simple layout, this is an easy program to pick up and work with, especially for those with little or no previous experience.

Quick Facts:

Creative Tools – Enhance your images with easy-to-use creative tools, such as paintbrush, airbrush, clone, smudge and erase – adjustable brush settings include size, shape, softness and fade.

Layer Effects – Apply bevels and drop shadows to create sophisticated-looking text and images. Use the layer manager to add to and enhance images without affecting the originals.

Digital Darkroom – Adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, color hue, saturation, remove red-eye and more. Enhance, repair and tweak your photos for great results.

Deform Tool – The versatile Deform tool lets you rotate, resize, skew, reshape and add perspective to any selection or layer.

Text – Add editable, deformable text to your images and further enhance your text with drop shadows and bevel effects.

Animation – Create your own animated GIFs.

Web Images – Divide images into individual sections that can be clicked on to link to other web pages and websites, just like text hyperlinks. PhotoPlus 6 creates all the HTML code ensuring your images appear properly.

Export Optimizer – Simultaneously view up to four previews that display the relationship between image file size and quality, making it easy to decide how to save and export images for every purpose.

QuickShapes – Add ready-made, customizable QuickShapes to your images. Choose from a range including speech bubbles, starbursts and spirals.

Download at: SerifSoftware

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Filed under Drawing Software, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Graphic Software, Image Editors, Integrated Photo Applications, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Windows Dictionary and Thesaurus! – WordWeb Free Version

Looking for a powerful, but free, English Thesaurus and Dictionary that can instantly find definitions, synonyms, sets of related words, and pronunciations for words in virtually any Windows program?

Then checkout WordWeb, a one-click English Thesaurus and Dictionary for Windows that includes a data base of over 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets that can be used to instantly find definitions, synonyms, and pronunciations for words in virtually any Windows program. What’s more, it can connect to the Internet enabling you to look up words in web reference encyclopedias and dictionaries including Wikipedia, Chambers Reference Online, Encarta, and OneLook.

The straightforward interface has the look and feel of your word processing program’s dictionary tool, so there’s no learning curve involved here. Simply launch the application and you’re good to go. A great feature is the hot key function which allows you to find definitions from within virtually any application, with a single keystroke.

I have been using this neat little application for ages and I find it invaluable. If you’re a student, a writer, a Blogger, or you just want to choose a better word in your correspondence, then download and install this neat little freeware utility.

Features of the free version include:

  • Definitions and synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Proper nouns
  • Related words
  • Word types and parts
  • Spoken pronunciations (love this feature!)
  • Translation support – French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Hot key support
  • USB compatible

Note: The author is a concerned environmentalist, so this free version of WordWeb comes with some ecological restrictions; read the license agreement for details.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Free Word Processors, Freeware, MS Word Alternatives, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, Uncategorized, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools, Writing Aids

ThreatFire 3 – Free Protection Against Zero-Day Threats

I am an Internet security freak and I make no apologies for it. The Internet today presents constantly evolving security risks to computers, and operating systems, that sometimes seem to me like science fiction.

Consider that every day there are increasingly more stories about computer viruses, adware, spyware, hackers, spam, denial of service attacks, phishing, vishing and other Internet frauds, so much so that these stories have become commonplace in the news.

The relentless evolution of these more powerful and destructive attacks against home computer systems has disclosed a gaping hole, a vulnerability to zero-day threats, in many users’ Internet security defenses. Zero-day threats are those that are defined as malware that has been written and distributed to take advantage of system vulnerabilities before security developers can create and release counter measures. Without tools that will identify and eliminate these threats to your computer, you run the risk of infection.

A powerful free tool, ThreatFire 3 from PC Tools’ – the developers of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor, blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior (heuristics), instead of relying only on a signature based database. ThreatFire 3 works together with your signature based security applications to increase the effectiveness of your security arsenal.

When ThreatFire 3 detects a behavior based threat, it goes into analysis overdrive by comparing the threat against its signature database; those threats that are recognized by the database are quarantined immediately. Unrecognized threats, or behaviors, are assigned a calculated risk level at which point the user has the option of confirming or blocking the action.

A good example of the effectiveness of this application was made clear to me, this week, when I was checking all of the ports on my Windows machine, and ThreatFire 3 immediately advised me that the Port Checker was attempting to send email from port 25. Of course it actually wasn’t, it was simply opening it for testing purposes. But if this port was being opened, and was being used by a bot, ThreatFire 3 would have identified this danger by its behavior and given me the necessary warning.

Based on my experience with this application, I highly recommend it as critical component in your overall Internet security toolbox.

System Requirements: Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download at: ThreatFire

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools