NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2009
Dozens of Free Utilities from Camtech
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director;
Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show Host

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I will admit that I am a junkie when it comes to free utilities. I enjoy trying new software, especially if it is legitimate freeware from a reliable source. Occasionally I have a special need for a utility, and there are a few places that I typically check to see if such a freeware utility is available. One of those websites is Camtech2000 (camtech2000.net).

Camtech2000 has dozens of freeware utilities available, many of which will run on most versions of Windows, from Windows 95 to Vista. The Camtech2000 download page is broken down into categories, such as desktop enhancements, assorted games, screen savers, desktop themes, internet related, utilities, and system related. The website is very easy to navigate; clicking on the name of a program will bring up a program specific webpage with information on the selected program, often including screenshots demonstrating how the program functions. Clicking on the “DL” on the right side of the listing downloads the program. According to Camtech2000, “Camtech Freeware is developed for free personal use and is NOT supported by Banners, Adware or Malware of any type!” For those desiring to support Camtech2000, a PayPal link is provided for donations. My personal choice (and recommendation) is to make a donation to Camtech2000 via PayPal whenever I download a program that I find useful, and intend to use on a periodic basis. Some of the utilities displayed are free to download and fully functional for a limited period of time, but request a fee to register the programs for continued use. In my experience, I have always found Camtech2000 software very intuitive and easy use, requiring no special skill or knowledge.

In the category “Desktop Enhancements” are 16 programs that can be used to customize the users’ desktop or Internet Explorer. With these desktop enhancements, the user can easily customize the appearance of folders, create MP3 play lists, create and manage desktop icons, change the appearance of the desktop and toolbar wallpaper, and create customized logos to display on Internet Explorer rather than the default Microsoft logo. For those who like to customize the appearance of Windows, and would like features not otherwise included in Windows, some of these utilities would be appropriate, as well as fun to play with.

I am typically too busy to play games on my computer, but I do know that a lot of users enjoy simple but entertaining games to pass the time. Camtech2000 offers five games free for the taking. Gamers can play darts, or manipulate squares in an obvious knockoff known as “Cubik's Rube”. Word Finder is a common word game for those wishing to practice their observational skills and gamblers may appreciate “Camtech Slots” which has some of the excitement of a slot machine, without actually losing money to the “one armed bandit”.

While they are functionally obsolete, many computer users still like to use screen savers. In the early days of computing, it was somewhat common to burn-in an image on the CRT if it was displayed too long. While typically unlikely with a modern monitor and video card, burn-in is still theoretically possible, and this is where screen savers are of use. (For the record, I do not use a screen saver on any computer that I use, and choose to turn the computer off if I am not going to use it for any reasonable length of time). Camtech2000 offers an even dozen screen savers offering a variety of shapes, colors, images, music, and other visual treats. I have seen the Camtech Space screensaver in use, and it is very attractive as it changes between a series of astronomical images. For those who like and use screen savers, and would like some variety, these may be a worthwhile addition to their collections.

I have made some use of the “Internet Related” utilities, of which Camtech2000 offers 30 titles. The one that I have used the most is Password Reveal Pro 2.0, which displays the hidden passwords in programs that display a password as “******”. Loading Password Reveal Pro 2.0 and dragging the lock image over the asterisks displays the underlying password. Another neat utility that I have used on some of the web pages I have created or edited is RedirectEm, which generates a small script file to be placed on a webpage that automatically connects the user to another webpage. This is especially helpful when the new webpage has a different address then the old page. You may have noticed that some email users have fancy signatures at the bottom of their emails; it is very easy to create your own professional looking email signatures using Camtech2000’s Signatures 2.0. With this program the user can create custom email signatures with a choice of colors, fonts, and graphics. Additional graphics, both static and animated are included with the program. Another especially helpful and possibly even profitable program is Multi-Stock Browser, which can display stock quotes and charts. While the basic version of Multi-Stock Browser is free, a registered version is $20.

Camtech2000 offers 45 miscellaneous utilities which can be used for such tasks as cleaning up startup files to creating and storing passwords. I just had the occasion to use UnlockMe, a utility to unlock files which may have been used by another program. Many users complain about how slow the computer boots, and seems to run slower than it did in the past. This problem may be quickly and easily resolved by cleaning up the startup files by using Ultimate Startup Manager. This program displays all seven places that contain startup information, not just the three sources displayed by some competing programs. While the program is free, a registered version is $20. With 45 utilities available in this category, most users will likely find something useful here.

There are nine system related utilities available including a System Restore Control, XP Repair Install, RegKey Backup, MemCheck Pro, CT Attrib (file attributes), and a Visual Basic Runtime Library. I used CT Attrib to manage a troublesome folder on my hard drive, and it worked admirably.

Camtech2000 has an impressive list of useful utilities available for download. Users of all levels will likely find something useful to download and try.

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