Monthly Archives: August 2013


Cygwin ( is a free software package that provides a complete Linux/Unix-like environment inside a Windows PC environment. If you like Unix tools but need access to Windows software, you may find this preferable to buying a second computer or trying to manage a dual system, both of which involve learning to be a system administrator to some degree. Cygwin works by providing a DLL that emulates the functionality of Linux API. On top is this is layered ALL the standard Unix/Linux software, all for free.

The range of free software is enormous. Starting with your choice of a dozen different shells or support for gnome, archive support, editors including emacs, database software including Sleepycat and PostgreSQL, audio software, software development tools for C, C++, Java, PHP, C#, D, ADA, Fortran, Lisp, Prolog, BC, Perl, Python, Expect, and of course tools for writing your own compilers. There are graphics tools and software packages, email clients and servers, the apache web server and a full collection of web and internet clients and utilities, IRC, FTP, newsreaders, libraries ranging from ASCII art to complex math routines, publishing software including postscript tools and TeX, word-processing software, more utilities than you can shake a stick at, including cron for waking up and running backups and memory hogging tasks at ridiculous hours of the morning. Did we say free?

Cygwin provides a setup.exe file that not only makes downloading and installing the software you want a breeze, it also makes installing updates on your schedule, and software you later decide you want, just as easy. For software from other sources, Cygwin does not let you simply run an existing Unix or Linux tool, you have to recompile them in the Cygwin environment. With this one drawback, Cygwin may be exactly what you,re looking for.

Easy Media Creator Suite

Easy Media Creatorâ„¢ 8 Suite is a easy to use all in one software suite that should cover most average computer users needs for making backup of DVD, rip music cd, and other media related tasks. Media Creator is several programs packaged into one easy to use set of pull down menus. Burning a CD of music for either MP3 format or a standard audio CD what will play in most units is just a matter of click and drop into the window. Backing up a DVD is quite easy as well, only requiring a few clicks of the mouse. Some of the programs such as burning a vcd or mpeg video into a DVD that can be used in a home DVD player require a bit more work and reading the manual is a must, but the learning curve is easy enough. The Easy Media Creatorâ„¢ 8 Suite retails at 89.99, but can be found cheaper online.


N/vu is an open source alternative to WYSIWYG html editors like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. It’s designed for Linux users, but versions are available for the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems as well. It allows you to design pages in a simple interface without having to know html. It also provides file management via FTP to help you upload your creations to the web. You can download it here for free!

Microsoft MapPoint

Planning a trip is a whole lot easier using Microsoft MapPoint. With this powerful mapping software, you can do everything from mapping the fasted route from one location to another, to estimating total fuel cost for the trip (after inputting current gas price). MapPoint is also able to integrate maps with other MS applications such as Excel and Outlook, as well as visualize business data– like geographic sales patterns and demographic information. Custom annotations can be easily added to maps using simple drawing tools.

You can also highlight important places, make personal notes, and make a variety of shapes and freeform scribbles. New features in MapPoint2006 include: – the ability to interact with connected GPS device to generate voice or text directions. – Location Finder technology, which uses a database of known wireless hotspots to map your location regardless of whether a GPS device is connected to the computer. – Microsoft Pocket Streets allows exportation of custom maps to mobile devices like PDAs and Smartphones.

Celltrack – Cell Phone Tracking

Celltrack is a free program for Windows 2003 or 2005 Smartphones that allows you to track your location and transmit it to your friends via a simple graphic banner on your website, forum posts, or emails. The only requirements are that you have a Windows-based Smartphone that runs on a GSM network, which include Cingular or T-Mobile in the United States.

The program works by transmitting the unique “cell-ID” of the GSM tower that you are closest to to Celltrack’s server. Celltrack relies on users to describe the location of each cell tower with the name of a city or neighborhood, but you also have the option of assigning a nickname to a particular cell-ID such as “Home” or “Office.” Future versions will work with your phone to control specific tasks depending on your physical location, such as setting your phone to vibrate at work but allowing it to ring at home. Celltrack is available at

Drupal – Powerful Content Management System

Drupal is a content management system (CMS) created initially by Dries Buytaert from the Netherlands. The project started in the year 2000. The Drupal project is open source and has an active user community approaching 100,000 user in the summer of 2006. Drupal allows those with just a smattering of html, css, php, and mysql knowledge to create powerful, interactive, easily updatable web sites for a small fraction of the cost of doing so just a few years ago.

The Drupal community is highly collaborative and special efforts have been made by associated groups to create models and installation packages which specifically support small and not-for-profit organizations. CiviCRM is one project that is supporting Drupal and sponsoring compatible modules to help not-for-profit organizations keep better track of their constituents. Drupal’s core program is extensible via contributed modules and a well-written clear set of APIs.The number of modules available for Drupal is growing daily More information about Drupal can be found at