The computer helper: Find it for free online
By Jay Dougherty Oct 3, 2006, 5:00 GMT
Washington - It's hard to argue with free. In this age when computer-related vendors and service providers are dipping into your pocket at every chance, finding worthwhile wares for free online is refreshing. The only challenge is knowing where to look to make your search for free goods as painless as possible.
Q: Where are the best place online to find free software?
The NoNags site stands out because the reviews of software that's posted. More importantly, though, you're pretty much assured of finding truly free software there - without any strings attached, such as trial periods or 'nag' screens reminding you to buy the program.
The Free Site.com is a nice place to browse - because it hasn't been around as long as NoNags, it doesn't contain links to as many applications, and the site's creators have done a good job of paring down the offerings to time-tested or very popular applications. So you can sometimes find what you're looking for more quickly here.
Q: Where should I go to find free offers online?
A: An excellent source of free offers from many categories - including software - is the #1 Free Stuff Web site, at http://www.1freestuff.com. There, you'll find pointers to free MP3 music files, software, email, services, clothes, games, and even free money (for surfing the Web).
FatWallet.com, a site that features a very popular forum for bargain hunters, has a section of the site devoted to listing free offers from around the Web (http://www.fatwallet.com/c/22/). FatWallet it unique in that its members do much of the legwork in finding free offers and reporting them back to the community. You can even sign up at the site and ask other members whether they know of any free offers for items you don't see listed.
A word of caution: There are many gimmicky sites that point you to 'free' offers all over the Web, but most are disappointing because they lead you to enter contests that promise free gifts to the winner. Free contests almost always require you to input your name, e-mail address, and other personal data. Steer clear of such sites, since in giving out your e-mail address, you open yourself up to receiving unsolicited marketing materials of all kinds. Your inbox will quickly be flooded and unmanageable on a daily basis.
Q: Are there any sites that offer pre-screened listings of only the best freeware available?
A: At least one Web site - OnlyTheBestFreeware.com (http://www.onlythebestfreeware.com/) - claims to have done the difficult job of finding the best freeware for you. The site claims to have installed and tested each of the programs that it lists, and indeed here you'll find freeware that is widely considered worthwhile. Freeware is broken down conveniently into easy-to-understand categories such as Office, Internet, Graphics, and Games.
There's also a huge list of 'the best of the best freeware' at Tech Today Online (http://www.techtodayonline.com/index.php/topic,287.0.html).
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