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Applications for free!
Contributor: Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®

Computer magazine cover CD's contain free applications by the bucket load, but aren't they for amateurs? Past versions of buggy software that give your system an impossible task and crash without any prospect of recovery? Stick to a few golden rules and you'll find some free applications offer advantages that simply aren't available from the commercial world.

Yahoo! uses freeware

As an example of great free software let's first turn to Yahoo! You might not be aware but Yahoo! use free software to run their site. If it's good enough for Yahoo! then it's good enough for me. The software I'm referring to is called MySQL, a server product commonly available for free on the Internet at numerous sites. Yahoo's database functionality is wholly incorporated into this free server. That should at least allay any fears that free software is poor software.

Protect yourself

There are now a plethora of sites offering free software but be careful and bear in mind the following guidelines:

be aware that if you're asked to register a product as a requirement of downloading their free software, you may receive regular e-mails about that product. If you receive e-mails from unsolicited companies do not reply as this simply tells them your address is active and they'll keep pestering you.

free may only mean free for a trial period

read the small print of your 'acceptance of usage' agreement

run up to date virus and firewall programs such as Norton or McAfee to ensure you're not downloading something that may compromise your system

check you're cookies after downloading and remove any that you are unhappy with

keep a back up of any free downloads on an external disk, the software may not be free indefinitely

scan your hardrive for spyware. Spyware is the term used for secretly collecting information about your online activities. Mini applications may run from your computer and inform companies about your browsing habits. Fortunately there are spyware utilities that can locate and delete these applications.

visit a software venders web site first before downloading their software, This will give you a good idea about the way they treat their customers.

You may be getting a little squeamish with all these security measures, but most of the advice we've given is common sense and any virus and firewall protection you set up will largely run in the background resolving any serious security issues.

Freeware at AbleStable

We have a Freeware Area at AbleStable® where you'll find very high quality Windows and Mac freeware to download that we've selected using strict security and reliability criteria.

The freeware that is featured on our site is unconditional freeware: no nag screens; no advertisements; no registrations; no payments; no spying; no collection of demographic information; and no unauthorised Internet connections from your system.

You get what you give

One last thought. When you download Freeware that you find useful, contact the developer and say thanks. If it proves difficult to easily locate the author, try to give something back to the Internet community. You know something that others would value. Write an article, share some expertise and experiences. As countless people have said, you get what you give, and you'll be happier for it :-)

Authors background

Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author.

If you observe inaccuracies in our in-house contributions or wish to contribute an article or review to be included at AbleStable® visit Feedback.

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