Article, March 2007
Free and Shareware Utilities from Camtech
By Ira Wilsker,
APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show Host
Iwilsker@apcug.net (click to email author)
Most of us like bargains and possibly free software. Most of us have a need for or utilize utility software to ease our computer activities and improve performance. There are many sources of freeware and shareware, and many authors of such software post their creations on their own websites. For those not familiar with the term “shareware”, it is software that is intended to be shared with other computer users, but is not totally free; users are typically honor bound to pay the license fee if they try it, like it, and continue to use it. One such author of dozens of free and shareware utilities is Camtech at camtech2000.net.
Camtech has categorized its software utilities in several easy to comprehend categories including desktop, internet, utilities, system, logos, screen, games services, and stationary. Some of the shareware software listed is authored by people other than Camtech, but many of the titles are original to Camtech.
Many of us like to create catchy web pages, Power Points, and other attractive projects to which we would like to add color and animations. Camtech offers free download of animated gifs of a variety of fireworks images. Likewise many of us that use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer get bored with the stylized “e” logo on the top right corner of Internet Explorer, or the proprietary logo placed there by our internet service provider, and would like to replace it with a different icon. Camtech offers a shareware utility explicitly for that purpose, “IE Logos”, which contains 24 replacement logos for Internet Explorer. IE Logos will work on most computers with Windows versions from 95 to XP. A registered version of IE Logos can be purchased for $15.
Many of us have noticed how bland our desktops are, as well as the blank stationary used by Outlook and Outlook Express email programs. For those who want to jazz up the appearance of their emails and desktops with some colorful and humorous stationary and wallpaper are available. Camtech offers a variety of free stationary and desktop products at camtech2000.net/Pages/FlyingPigsDL.html. The classic retort “when pigs fly” can be applied to both Outlook Express emails as well as boring desktops by implementing the flying pigs selection which will display a porcine figure traversing the email or desktop, complete with optional helicopter sounds. Star Trek fans will appreciate the “Space Odyssey” stationary which displays an email message which overlays an animated fleet of phaser firing starships. Other animated choices for email stationary includes a Thanksgiving themed “Turkey Trot”, a “Smokey Ghost”, and a “Bart Moonwalks” with an animated knockoff of Bart Simpson moon-walking across the top margin of the email.
We frequently multitask while on the computer often answering phones or engaging in conversations while our computers are turned on. A cute program “CT Stickies” allows the user to post virtual “sticky notes” as reminders on our monitor screens. These notes can be edited, saved, deleted, or used as needed. If the user finds CT Stickies useful, the program can be registered for $20.
As one who tries to practice good internet security, I use different passwords on many of the websites that I visit. Many programs will store passwords, sometimes only displaying them as a string of asterisks or stars. Camtech offers an easy to use and free “Password Reveal” utility which can quickly display the actual password hidden behind the asterisks. The program is loaded and a cross-hair cursor is dragged over the asterisks revealing the hidden password. A more sophisticated version, Password Reveal Pro, also works on most web pages displayed with Internet Explorer 5 or later, and can be registered for $20. Both versions will work on Windows 95 through XP.
Sometimes I can not remember the passwords that I need for the many protected sites that I visit. Camtech offers a shareware password manager “Password Vault” ($20 registration fee) that can track websites, usernames, and site passwords in a secured environment. The passwords and usernames are stored encrypted, and can not be read by other programs, providing another level of safety.
Casual investors may like Camtech’s “Multi Stock Browser” which can monitor an unlimited number of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Financial information can be displayed in tabular form or graphed in any of four formats. Quotes and graphs are apparently obtained from Yahoo. A symbol lookup feature allows the user to quickly locate the symbol for any listed investment. A fully functional free demo version can be downloaded, or a fully registered version, with free updates for life, can be downloaded for only $15. As with almost all other Camtech products, Multi Stock Browser will work on all versions of Windows from 95 to XP.
One factor that contributes to slow or poor computer performance is having too many programs load when the computer boots or starts up. Many spyware and other malware programs may be loaded in the startup process, and may be neutralized by preventing them from starting. The startup process can be manually managed on most versions of Windows by clicking on START – RUN and then typing “msconfig”. For those who want to automate the process, Camtech offers its “Ultimate Startup Manager” which will search for items that load at boot from the seven different places that such programs may hide. For safety reasons, this utility automatically backs up the startup listing before any changes are made making it quick and easy to restore any changed settings. This shareware program can be registered for $20.
Many of us receive emails that have been countlessly forwarded by others with a series of “>>>>” symbols before each line making reading and subsequent forwarding difficult. It is also poor netiquette to forward email with all of those extraneous symbols cluttering the screen. Fortunately Camtech comes to the rescue again with its free “StripEm” program that cleans emails and other text files of useless characters.
Camtech produces and distributes dozens of cute and useful programs, many of which are free to the user. Most computer users will likely find something interesting on the Camtech site.Click here to return to top