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Shareware for Macs and PCs
technofile  by al fasoldt
Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology 
Simple gray rule

Shareware for Macs and PCs
 

Bit Player for March 9, 1997
This is an expanded version of the column that appears in print.

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1997, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1997, The Syracuse Newspapers

Where can you find good shareware for PCs and Macs? How can you find help with programs and games?

It's easy. Just follow the links in this column. I've put together a list of some of the best sites for Windows PCs and Apple Macintoshes. You can type these URLs (uniform resource locators, a fancy term for Internet addresses) in your browser's address line, or you can make things easy on yourself by going to the electronic version of this page. You can immediately call up this list at my personal site at http://www.dreamscape.com/afasoldt/ texts/bit030997.html, or you can go to the newspaper's Web site at http://www.syracuse.com and navigate over to the technology page.

(A reminder: The site at the newspaper is the official online Web site for the Syracuse Newspapers, and it has a ton of features. You may not be able to find previous columns there when you look for my stuff, however. Check my own site before you start complaining.)

Mac owners have been shortchanged for too long, so let's start with Macs. You'll find an excellent article on the best Mac Web sites, with hyperlinks to dozens of them, at the Macworld site. The address is http://www.macworld.com/pages/august.96/Feature.2265.html.

One of my favorite Mac sites is the Mac Orchard at http://www.macdirectory.com/pages/BestSites.html, which lists its candidates for the best Mac links and the best Mac programs. The links are kept up-to-date, and the list of programs has 20 categories. You can search for any program, and you can quickly go to another site that has a full index to every program. There are many other good sites for Mac software, but the Orchard is one of the easiest to get around in.

The mother of all Mac software sites may be the one at the University of Michigan. Because the newspaper's publishing system can't handle some characters, I'm not able to show the site address in the print version or in the version at the newspaper Web site. Pick it up from my own Web site. Here it is: http://www.axiom.net/mothership/mac_share/umich.html.

PC users have many more sites. Unfortunately, they also have to wade through many useless Web pages. Here are my picks of the best Windows and Windows 95 sites:

For Windows 95 users, my top site is http://www.windows95.com/apps/. This is the main shareware page at the Windows95.com site. Once you've searched through the thousands of files listed there, you may want to make another page your starting page. It's http://www.windows95.com/apps/newapps.html, where the latest programs and revisions are listed.

For Windows software in both Windows 3.1 and 95/NT versions, drop by the No Nags site at http://www.imd.it/nonags/main.html. "No Nags" means the programs that are available (through a well-organized series of lists) don't try to make you feel guilty if you don't pay for them. (The psychology of no-nag shareware is simple: If the author of the program annoys you, you probably won't pay for the program.)

For Windows 95 and Windows NT news, help and information on drivers, you can't beat http://www.conitech.com/windows/, run by Frank Condron. He is one of the patron saints of Windows. Condron has spent more or his own time than perhaps anyone else in tracking down updated drivers (for video displays, CD-ROMs and the like) than anyone else on the planet.

Forrest Stroud's site, called the Consummate Winsock Apps List—Winsock is the method Windows PCs use for Internet connections—is a tribute to Stroud's marvelous way of comparing software programs. He also writes exceptionally well. His site is mirrored all over the globe, so check for alternate (mirror) sites if you have a hard time getting onto the two I'll list here: http://cws.iworld.com/ and http://www.montreal.com.br/cwsapps/inx.html. Note that the second site is in Brazil, so once you've reached it you may want to find a mirror closer to your location. (Unless, of course, you're in Brazil.)

(This brings up a favorite topic: Does it make sense to choose Net servers closest to you? Ordinarily, it does, because you're more likely to get a fast connection. But there are times when a server on the other side of the globe is a better choice, too. You just have to try different servers to see what happens.)

Finally, a site I check into every week is http://www.download.com/, which lists many programs that seem to be missed by other sites.

Other links can be found at my personal Web site at http://www.dreamscape.com/afasoldt/links.html.


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