Thursday, 22 August 2013

Internet Freebies That Everybody Should Have

Hello and welcome!

It's been well over a year since I posted anything new on this blog site, since October 2011 to be more precise, that's almost two years.  So what have I been up to you may ask.
Briefly I have been concentrating more on my 'Trail Trekking' blog site, and writing a couple of books, then I got myself a job which effectively took up most of my time and left me with just the weekends and the occasional evening to do my own thing.  For this reason I was forced to focus on my main goal - 'Trail Trekking'.  However I'm back now, but for how long I cannot say, it depends on what the near-future has in store for me.
Fortunately I have got loads of new stuff to tell you about, which I will split over the next few posts, so please read on.

Firstly, 'Trail Trekking' involves taking lots of photographs but as my main camera was a 9 megapixel model the resulting images were pretty large and it wasn't uncommon to end up with images that were a few megabytes in size so I went on the lookout for something that would reduce their size without sacrificing too much quality.  I eventually found what I was after in 'PhotoScape'.

PhotoScape in action
PhotoScape

This is a totally free (of course) basic photo editor that I use all the time.  It allows me to do everything I need to do to my photographs; such as downsizing them, adding text, darkening, lightening, and the usual expected features such as cropping, adding frames, and red-eye removal to name a few.  The interface is extremely easy to deal with and the basic functions can soon be picked up to allow you to do whatever you need to do to your images quickly and efficiently.

If you are looking for a program to get a fast overview of you photos and images with simple ways to optimize them? Than PhotoScape is for you! The tool offers the beginner everything they need to organize and edit their digital images.  Other than the viewer, PhotoScape has functions to clone, crop, sharpen and decolour as well as settings for contrast, levels, vignetting and many other image parameters. Several templates allow to easily arrange photos on a page which can then be saved as a final image or be printed on paper. Photoscape also includes capabilities for red-eye removal, batch editing (file names and image settings), converting camera RAW files, taking screenshots and generating GIFs, where several individual images can be combined to an animated GIF.

Developed by MOOII Tech, Korea.  The basic concept of PhotoScape is 'easy and fun', so that allows users to easily edit photographs taken from their digital cameras or even mobile phones.  PhotoScape provides a simple user interface to perform common photo enhancements including color adjustment, cutting, resizing, printing and GIF animation.  However PhotoScape operates only in Microsoft Windows systems and is not available in Mac or Linux systems. Its default languages are English and Korean, with additional language packages available for download.
Version 3.6 is the current stable release. However, older versions are still available for the sake of Windows 98 and Me users. It is distributed free of charge for all users including commercial bodies.

PhotoScape can be downloaded totally free from a number of locations but to save you time I've included a link here.

Secondly, for the Audio-heads out there here's a good one for you.

Audacity doing its thing
Audacity

Another freebie that I wouldn't be without.  Audacity allows me to record voice-overs for my 'Trail Trekking' slideshow videos, it also allows real-time recording from any audio source whether internal or external (imagine the possibilities when listening to streamed music or videos), then it gives me many options to allow me to enhance the recorded audio; such as amplify it, de-click it, delete sections (such as when I mess up with my voice-over recordings - washing machine spinning in the background for example) so I don't have to start all over again, I can just remove the bit or bits that are wrong.  It has almost all the functions you can expect from a quality audio editor, and of course it's free.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. The interface is translated into many languages.  You can use Audacity to:
  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more! See the complete list of features.
Audacity is free software, developed by a group of volunteers and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Free software is not just free of cost (like "free beer"). It is free as in freedom (like "free speech"). Free software gives you the freedom to use a program, study how it works, improve it and share it with others. For more information, visit the Free Software Foundation.

Programs like Audacity are also called open source software, because their source code is available for anyone to study or use. There are thousands of other free and open source programs, including the Firefox web browser, the OpenOffice.org office suite and entire Linux-based operating systems such as Ubuntu.

Download 'Audacity' here.

Other free stuff I've learned about include:
Any Video Converter
Speedbit Video Downloader
K-lite Codec Pack
PDF Creator
SpeedFan
OpenOffice
Spotify

I'll tell you about a couple of them in my next post.

Thanks!




Saturday, 1 October 2011

Fully featured registry cleaner absolutely FREE

Hi folks!

Here's another excellent freebie for your PC, 'AML free registry cleaner'.

I'm sure we all get those 'I'm fed up of waiting for this damn computer!' moments, you know the times when your PC is on a go-slow and there seems to be nothing you can do about it but to wait, and wait, and wait until eventually it sorts itself out and you finally get the file, program or web page you're after.  I know, it used to be a regular thing with my old PC but not any more.

This is thanks to 'AML' who's free registry cleaner is excellent and very efficient.  What am I waffling on about?  Of course not all of you will be aware of registry issues with your computer so let me explain; please forgive me if what I'm about to go into is not 100% accurate, it's just a brief explanation of what registry is about in my opinion.  So it may be slightly inaccurate but does briefly tell those who do not know what they are up against, of course you computer pros out there will no doubt have your own explanations which are most probably much more accurate than mine.

Here's my brief - perhaps mis-informed explanation.


'AML free registry cleaner' - disc cleanup app in action
 Although you may not be aware of it, your computer keeps a log of everything you do on it.  Somewhere in its system it records everything you do and logs each individual activity, however slight, in its memory somewhere.  Don't ask me where, I haven't got a clue!  Your PC then goes through all these logs when you try to do something and also records what you do once again.  All these log files and temporary files that your computer saves are what slows down the system sometimes to the point of a virtual stand still.  This applies to programs or software you use, the initial boot process, internet browsing; everything! 

It can be likened to searching through a thousand receipts to find the one you need for whatever reason.  That would certainly take you some time wouldn't it?  Your PC has the same problem.  Why not just save the most important receipts and throw away the rest?  You would then be able to find the one you want much more quickly and with no effort.  That's what a registry cleaner does; it goes through all the 'receipts' if you like on your computer and throws away what's not needed.  You can if you want choose which PC 'receipts' you would like to keep, but I tend not to bother and get rid of them all.

You could go and pay out silly money for a decent registry cleaner and some anti-virus packages do have one thrown in as part of the deal.  But why go and pay for one that doesn't do any better job than this one you can get for free?  Search for 'free registry cleaner' in Google and chances are you'll get a somewhat limited 'trial' version or something that's useless and totally unefficient.

'AML free registry cleaner' has it all and also has a few bonus tools thrown in with it.  You also get access to online tutorials telling you about its features and how to use them. 

So leave the debit or credit card where it is and click one of the links to download 'AML' for free.  Go for it, you'll love it!

http://www.amltools.com/

After more free stuff?
Email me at mediabandit@ymail.com and tell me what you would like me to find next.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Get the first 'Media Bandit' tutorial ebook

The 1st 'Media Bandit' tutorial is available now.  It is an interactive ebook that guides you through the whole process of downloading videos, converting them and extracting the audio etc.  Laid out in step-by-step instructions where I take you by the hand and guide you through the lot.

In 'The Media Bandit Book of Free Vids & Audio' I show you where and how to get all the FREE software required to complete the whole process and of course how to use that software.  With this tutorial ebook at hand you will be able to download all the videos you like to your hard-drive absolutely free, you will be able to add a codec that will enable 'Windows Media Player' to play video formats that it does not do normally by default, you will be able to convert your downloaded videos to any other video format you like so as to make DVDs for example; what's more if you just want the audio part of the video (the soundtrack) this tutorial will show you how to extract that from the video also to use as a stand alone audio file such as MP3 or WAV for example.

'The Media Bandit Book of Free Vids & Audio' is available from 'PayLoadz' or on 'Amazon Kindle', and will be available from my own site at 'Stanton Publishing' soon.  I have tried to price it reasonably low so that anyone can afford it, plus tagging a high price to an ebook about getting FREE stuff would be defeating the object don't you think?

I have also recorded some video tutorials to go with 'The Media Bandit Book of Free Vids & Audio' and you can find a glimpse of them now on 'YouTube', just look or subscribe to my 'YouTube' account 'PREnterprisesUK'.  There's only a few of the video tutorials uploaded at the moment but I may upload some more soon, we'll see how it goes.

Not all the video tutorials will be available for free on 'YouTube' as I plan to sell them as an accompaniment to 'The Media Bandit Book of Free Vids & Audio' or as an extra but rest assured I will price them very reasonably.  You can get a glimpse of what's to come by looking on 'YouTube' but for now here is the first one for your viewing pleasure, please excuse the breathing into the mic as I'm still getting used to using it.

video
Get the ebook tutorial by clicking any of the links below and please feel free to comment on and share the 'YouTube' vids.

Thanks!
'Media Bandit'

http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=947456
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005F50FM8

Monday, 12 September 2011

Free antivirus - get 'avast'

Recently panic set in when I received notification that my anti-virus software was about to expire and I couldn't afford to pay the renewal price. So I trawled the net to find a free anti-virus that I could at least use for the trial period. There are plenty of these and they are all pretty good and good value; you get a free trial version and then on expiry of the trial period you are prompted to get out your debit or credit card to pay for their service.


'Avast' free anti-virus
 So imagine my surprise when I found an anti-virus that was completely free forever, use it free for as long as you like and no payment ever - unless of course you want to upgrade to a more thorough version.

So what is it called?  It's 'avast', a totally free-for-as-long-as-you-like anti-virus that works extremely well.  Avast works quietly in the background and sorts out any virus issues for you, it even upgrades itself automatically whilst you are net connected, just showing you a little pop-up to let you know that an upgrade has taken place.

Verdict!  Highly recommended!

Get 'avast' free by clicking here, download the free version and get it installed.

Excellent!


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Download often? You need DAP

Speedbit Video Downloader is normally an excellent piece of kit for downloading flash videos to your hard drive but it's not without its faults.  My main gripe is that whilst downloading some video files the connection seems to be lost before the download is complete, and although this happens only on the odd ocasion it is rather annoying when it does.  You get to something like 75% and it doesn't download any more; fortunately I manage to resist the temptation to launch my computer equipment in anger.

The reason for this happening is that it primarily only downloads the file from one online location, and if the connection to that location is lost bang goes your download.  When this happens please resist the urge to yank your hair out from the roots for I have a solution to our frustration.

It's called 'Download Accelerator Plus' (DAP for short) and of course it's absolutely free - you wouldn't expect anything else from me would you?  So true to form I offer another awesome piece of totally free software to help you along.

It is a program that is provided by Speedbit and works in total harmony with their video downloader.  Fortunately if you don't have Speedbit Video Downloader then no worries!  Download Accelerator Plus works with or without it and has no vices about whether you have other Speedbit software installed or not.

DAP will speed up your downloads of anything to give you a download time of about one fifth of the time it takes to download without it.  So if your download would normally take about 5 minutes then with DAP chances are it'll only take just 1 minute.  Superfast downloads - cool!

It does it by downloading your file from multiple locations at once (average 5 to my experience).  This way if you lose one connection you've still got 4 more for example, and because of the multiple loations it downloads your file much quicker.

That is the basic gist of it, and it does have a few other features too but I've yet to learn them all.  One big advantage is it has a file checker built in so if the file is a bit dodgy it will tell you so.

As far as I'm concerned if you wish to download anything then Download Accelerator Plus is a no-brainer, a must have.  Get it installed on your PC, you will love it!

Click on the link below and download the free version from the Speedbit site.

http://www.speedbit.com/dap/


Monday, 8 August 2011

How to get super sound from a normal tv without the expense

I spent the whole morning the other day trying to get the best sound from my entertainment equipment.  By the time I'd done and not without a little trial and error I had it, super-sound entertainment with no extra expense whatsoever.

So what did I do?

I already had a bog-standard TV with 2 scart sockets on the back, a standard 'Sky' receiver/digibox, a combined mini hi-fi cd/radio with built-in DVD player, and 4 speakers.

The most favourable piece of equipment which made it all eventually come together nicely was the mini hi-fi, which I purchased from the local 'Aldi' store last Autumn for the paltry sum of just £54.  On first apperance it looks like a standard black-fronted mini hi-fi but the built-in disc player will play mp3 discs, DVDs, Xvid discs, and of course standard audio CDs, has a built-in radio, and will accept a USB connection and SD/MMC cards - plus it's remote control also.  It also has a host of connections on the back to input external sources, and believe it or not it came with not a one year, but a three year warranty as standard; quite a lot of kit for the low price tag.  It is by 'Tevion' - no, I've never heard of them either - but with a 3-year warranty who cares what it's called!

Up until now I only used it as a CD and radio player.

But regardless of any of this, almost any standard hi-fi can be used to get the desired results, as long as it will allow external connections so it can operate as an amplifier; and of course a normal amplifier will do the same job.

OK, here goes!

On the back of the 'Sky' receiver/digibox can be found two audio output connectors - left & right, usually coloured red & white - on the back of the hi-fi or amplifier can be found two connectors the same as on the receiver/digibox - a straight coupled standard audio connecting lead can be used to connect all four together - Voila! job done! - now whenever the TV is watched via the receiver/digibox the sound comes through the hi-fi or amplifier speakers - spread the speakers a distance apart and there you have it, wide supersound that you can adjust through the hi-fi or amplifier controls.  Don't worry about the TV as it is already connected through the system via the scart which is needed to watch programs from the receiver/digibox on it. 

That's just the basic set up.  However I went a little over the top and I can now watch TV through 'Sky' and hear it on the hi-fi speakers (of which I have four in the four opposite corners of the room to simulate a surround-sound effect), of course I can play any audio or mp3 CD and hear it through all the speakers, watch a DVD and hear it all around the room, and I can also run the sound from my PC through the same kit.  Awesome!

What's more it didn't cost me a penny as the 'Tevion' hi-fi/radio/DVD came with all the connecting leads.

This basic method can be applied to almost any digital receiver or TV as long as an audio output is available on it.  You can also connect games consoles like our 'Nintendo WII' using a similar method which merely requires a fairly modern TV that has the audi out connectors (most HD, LCD and digital TVs have this).  The majority of today's standard DVD players also have the audio out connectors.

To connect a PC using this method you will need a 3.5mm stereo jack to 2 x audios lead; you plug the 3.5mm stereo jack into your speaker output on the sound card of your PC or the headphone socket, and the audio connectors on the other end of the lead into the audi inputs on the hi-fi or amplifier.  Please note however that you may need to switch your hi-fi control to auxiliary (aux) for it to work.  You can pick one of these leads up from any decent supplier for a few quid, they're not expensive at all; fortunately for me I already had one spare as this is the one lead that didn't come with the hi-fi.

On a similar note:  If your TV doesn't have any audio out connectors you can still connect up as above through the headphone socket, if it has one of course.  However with the impending national analogue signal shutdown if you don't have at least a digital TV or some other digital receiver connected to the TV through scart you're doomed, because soon you will get no signal on the TV without the right equipment.  A digital television or a television with a scart socket will be the minimum requirement, so you will be able to use the methods above anyway.

Who needs to buy a fancy telly when you can get great sound without the expense, just a simple hi-fi or amplifier and a connecting lead or two?

Go for it!

Let me know how you get on.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

A brief explanation for my recent absence

Hello! I'm back!

Yes I know it's been a while since I last posted anything on here. I've been rather a busy fella. You see I'm in the process of setting up a website of my own as a platform to sell my stuff on. This is still in construction but will be online soon; hopefully!

Other than that my main reason for my absence is purely down to my family commitments. 'Family first' is a policy I've always stood by my whole life. Recently a few of my grandchildren have had birthdays, have you noticed how with birthdays they all seem to happen at about the same time of year?

You see as I am such a great cook and baker, lol, I have been recently commisioned by family members to supply all the baked goods for my grand-kids birthday parties. First it was my youngest grand-daughter only a few weeks ago, next my grand-son last weekend, and still yet to come this weekend one of my other grand-daughters, so my baking commitment as I call it is still on-going. All this coupled with days out (after all it's the six-week's holiday at the moment), my internet ventures, and various other lifestyle pressures something occasionally has to take a back seat; and unfortunately my blog posts are it.

But I'm back with a vengeance now, or at least from this weekend, yes there's still day trips and my other internet ventures but no more party baking until next month.

I'll post you soon!

Pete.