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Archive for the ‘internet freebies’ Category

I love the Halloween Season!

I don’t like roller coasters, slasher movies, or walking home alone in the dark, but give me pumpkins, witches, and skeletons, evil laughs, Frankenstein, Dracula or Mummy movies, a Milky Way, and I’m a happy camper.

In my younger days, I had my goth costume moments, and I did dress up as a vampiress to my husband’s priest,and for a cozy what-if scare I will watch Ghost Hunters with my daughter (she sure does know how to scare herself).

But Halloween is pure fun.

I used to make my kids’ costumes. They were so adorable! My son was a devil (red pj’s, glued on devil horns, a pitchfork—watch out dog!—and once he figured out why the heck I was dragging him around in this outfit, he’d run up to people’s doors chanting ‘candy’! He was 2 ½ ), Zorro, Batman (yes, I made that one despite all the readily available costume shop ones), a pirate, a ninja, and the Prince of Thieves. My daughters have been Sailor Moon (reused several times, a fabulous costume if I do say so myself), princesses (from old bridesmaids gowns, got a lot of mileage there), and then I went to buying costumes, because, well, because, so we had cheerleaders, vampires, and mermaids. Did we do a black widow or ghost bride? Oh, maybe that was me.

Then we went to Zombie soccer players, and minimalist outfits (ie, sweats) and make-up, bloody scars, out with the friends and see ya, mom! Sigh.

So now, only my youngest goes out trick or treating, with friends, and my house must be a little spooky, because I get very few little goblins knocking on my door. I do put on the light. The dog is loud, maybe?

Anyway, I could go on and on about Halloween fun and the joy of a good scare, but I’ll leave it at this.

The spirit world is the closest to ours on the Eve of Hallowmas, or Samhain, depending who and where you are. Roast some pumpkin seeds, light a candle for the dead, ring some bells, and definitely go for the Treat over the Trick.

And I hope you don’t get egged!

Good Halloween Movies

Really old, really creepy. I mean, really. If it’s late and you’re alone, and you watch this thing, you WILL be scared! NOSFERATU—1922, b&w, silent. It’s in the public domain. Creep Factor=HIGH! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyzubFvBsA

THE MUMMY—with Boris Karloff—ooh, that close-up of him! Kissing dead things. That vat of embalming fluid. This is both a love story and a creep-fest. Creep Factor=MED

THE MUMMY—Brendan Fraser—I adore #1 and #2. Creep Factor=LOW Although those scarab beetles, ugh! Some good gross-out moments, too. Fun Factor=HIGH

DRACULA—oh, pick any of the dozens of movies out there! Children of the Night, indeed. Creep Factor= SOME CREEPIER THAN OTHERS, SOME STUPIDER, TOO

Frankenstein, Wolfman—hey, I’m a traditionalist! And for a laugh—it still holds up, ABBOT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. They meet a lot of other fun characters, too. And who can forget YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, the Mel Brooks comedy with Gene Wilder and many other fabulous people. Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life!

And for a good black and white ghost story, and I probably mentioned it before, try THE UNIVITED (1944) with Ray Milland.

A lot of people tend to ignore movies made in black and white, but if you’re up for something different, I say give it a try! There is nothing like a spooky black and white movie at this (or any) time of year.

And for a fun Halloween TV treat, if you didn’t catch the Halloween episode of The Office, give it a whirl. It was funny, and good. If you missed it, check out HULU http://www.hulu.com/watch/292804/the-office-spooked James Spader’s Scary Story was Excellent.

Nothin’ to fear but fear itself!

Any Halloween tips to share, a favorite costume, or favorite scary movie? Love this holiday or hate it?

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My love of internet freebies may be known to you (see previous Freebie Friday post https://lizjakes.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/freebie-friday/ ) So here are a few more FREE programs I use a lot, and have found to be very handy. Perhaps they might be of use to you as well.

In the Computer Protection Zone

AVG—AVG has a free as well as a for-pay antivirus program. AVG FREE is pretty darn good. Of course, it’s up to every individual to find their comfort zone in the anti-virus department. It’s a hot zone out there!

You can read PC Mag’s take here, where the reviewer gave AVG FREE a pretty glowing review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2391931,00.asp#fbid=bXMUMp2P9Or

Nothing is perfect, but I’ve found AVG to be fairly reliable. I recently went through a big hassle with a virus/malware that I needed help with (thank you and God Bless, Roger M! ) , and ugh!, it sucks. After a few starts and stops in safe mode, a run or 6 of Malwarebytes, AVG finally caught the two nasty bugs and stuck them in the vault.

So, as with anything, make sure you’re up to date, make sure you run the thing every day, and make sure you back up all your important files.

Every day.

Every.

Day.

To read more: reviews & download

http://download.cnet.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition-2011/3000-2239_4-10320142.html

http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage  They also have their pay one, which has a free trial, so watch which one you click. Freebie to the LEFT.

Watch out for the toolbar they want you to install! I hate those things—unclick unless you want it!

MALWARE BYTES:

http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free Also on the People Are Nasty front, we have the inventors and proliferators of malware. ‘Malware’ is a smush-up word for Malicious Software. That’s the adware, Trojans, worms, spyware, etc. that evildoers try to get onto your computer for their evil-doing pleasure. Grr.

Malware Bytes searches out and gets rid of such nasty things, yeah!

The Free version works fine with the caveat that you have to manually update it and instruct it to run. Easy to forget on a day-to-day. If that’s a little too hands-on, go ahead and spring for the more automated Pay version. It’s $24.95—and, hey, that’s almost free!

For CNET review and another avenue to download, see here: http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html

Useful On Your Computer

PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT or .pdf

Portable Document Format gets around the fact that different people have different operating systems and use different word processing software. PDFs can be read (and printed) by (almost) all operating systems. You can read a lot of technical stuff about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format

Of course, you need a PDF reader to view a PDF file. Guess what? That part is free! You probably already have it installed on your computer—Adobe Acrobat Reader. If not, you can get if, for free, here. http://www.adobe.com/products/reader.html Make sure to UNCHECK any sneaky software they may ask you to install along with it. You don’t really want it, I promise.

The PDF was created by Adobe, and has become more and more widespread and useful. And kindly and wisely, they allow the world to use it royalty-free so that now we have a worldwide document standard. Pretty cool, right?

And in the spirit of continuing along FREE…

CUTE PDF—Windows Only, Sorry!

If you find the Portable Document Format useful, as I have, you can create PDFs of your documents, or graphics, without buying the ADOBE product. ADOBE ACROBAT Standard=$300 — CUTE=Free. This is a very basic creator. Create your document in MS Word or whatever you use, make it error free, and save it in .pdf (well, not exactly, but read on).

You can’t do the fancy things you can do with a full program, which it looks like you can buy from CUTE for $50. If you need to make changes, you’d have to go back to the original document and fix, then re-PDF.

You will need a PS2PDF converter to make CUTE work—but you can get that for free as well. It’s called GHOSTSCRIPT which is a POSTSCRIPT (which I guess is the PS in the PS2PDF above). Both are linked on the website.

Review: http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,25938-order,1-page,1/description.html

Download: http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/Writer.asp I would suggest you install the converter first, then the CUTE.

After wards, your CUTE PDF creator will be a function of your printer menu.

When you’re ready to create your PDF, select the PRINT button on your computer, then select CutePDF in the drop-down menu of the printer select button. A new “save as” box comes up. Save it where you like. Easy peezy, lemon-squeezy.

WEBSITE CREATION & MAINTENANCE

Image that came up when I searched for Coffee Cup Software.

This is not for everyone—but if you are interested in doing your own website, or if you’re like me and have fallen into maintaining your RWA chapter’s website, and you have time, patience and a geeky streak, read on!

You can learn how to create your own website, for free, from the people who maintain the standards. The World Wide Web Consortium. http://www.w3.org/ Very cool group! http://www.w3.org/wiki/HTML/Training

Me, I learned from library books (ULTIMATE FREE PARADISE:  The Library), and pitiful experiments that shocked me by actually producing visual images in my web browser. Can you say, hooked? Or crazy, one of those. The Library has an OVERWHELMING number of books on the subject. My 2 favorites are:

1.  a kid’s book “Dave’s Quick n’ Easy Web Pages” by Dave Lindsay. Dave was 11 when he wrote this. I aspire. Clear, concise, and results-oriented. You might be able to find this in your local library, or used from Amazon.

2. And then, if you get hooked, you can read “Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and CSS in One Hour a Day” (6th Edition) by Laura LeMay. This is a bible-esque tome. But accessible for all its size and weight.

And when you’re ready to create or update:

COFFEE CUP HTML EDITOR– FREE edition.

Coffee Cup software, and doesn’t the name sound so friendly and inviting? I can almost smell the gently-wafting java. Sigh.

Anyway, it isn’t real expensive to begin with. The full version of the HTML editor is $50. You can buy a suite of software for $99 to $150+, which is a good deal for 4 or 5 programs bundled up. But if you want to stay in the Free Zone, the Free HTML editor is perfectly fine.

Better for you if you know HTML (HyperText Markup Language—the way websites are created and read over the internet) going in—and btw if you want to get super basic and bare bones, you can design and edit a website in HTML with Notepad or even Word in a pinch.

But this is better because it’s organized well, has lots of code you can add with a mere double click (and it fills in for you, too) and if you have a lot of pages, it’s much easier to organize yourself because of the left hand side tabs.

Paying for it, you get the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) visual editor component, but the FREE version has a tab for code editing and a tab for previewing your work. Very convenient! You can also do some browser testing, copy and paste easily, PLUS you can upload directly to the web from inside the program.

IMO, well worth the hard drive space!

Check it out here: http://www.coffeecup.com/free-editor/

Coffee Cup also has a free FTP program. FTP=File Transfer Protocol, which is the way you get files from your computer to your web server, and vice verse. While the HTML editor above has an internal FTP, sometimes the separate program comes in handy. http://www.coffeecup.com/free-ftp

Good Stuff!

There are a lot of initials in website design and internet use, aren’t there? And it acts like magic if you ask me. How do a bunch of tag commands in angle brackets become a beautiful website? Heck knows! I mean, even after I read about it and even after I use it, it’s still mysterious.

But lots of fun.

Stay free, my friends!

Anybody have other freebies they love? Cool and useful programs they adore? I’d love to hear about them.

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