Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of FEBRUARY 21, 2016

WEEKLY MEETINGS
EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:00 - 10:00 AM
One on One Help 10:00-?
In the Library

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Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday FEBRUARY 24, 2016 Meeting in the Library
 8:45 AM Set up your computer
 9:00 AM Lesson
10:00 AM One on One help

IraMore Sources of Free and Deeply Discounted Software and Apps

by Ira Wilsker

 

WEBSITES:

http://sharewareonsale.com

http://hungryforapps.com

http://www.bitsdujour.com

http://appgratis.com

http://www.giveawayoftheday.com

           As happens a few times each year, earlier today I was the guest speaker for the local computer club.  Before my presentation, one of the leaders of the computer club was answering some questions from a few of those present, and his answers led to one of the several websites that I visit daily to find the latest deals in software.  The website that he finished with, and the same website that I started with, was Ashraf's ShareWareOnSale.com.

          Old time personal computer users, even going back to the TRS-80, VIC 20, and Commodore 64 days, may recognize the terms "shareware" to mean software that was intended by its authors to be free copied and "shared" with others.  The old, now long defunct, Commodore Computer Club had cartons full of 5.25" floppy disks, each containing a particular shareware program, which we busily copied during the meetings.  In the early days of the local PC club, which is still bustling, the software library containing thousands of shareware floppies was the most popular attraction of the club.  Members could copy whatever they wanted, or purchase copies already on floppies for a nominal fee.  When the earliest CDs came on the market, we started trading CDs, as one CD could hold the contents of hundreds of the old floppies, and entire software libraries could be burned onto a single CD.  Getting a new CD every few months with the latest updates and new software was the highlight of many of the club meetings.  That is where and when the concept of "shareware" blossomed.  While shareware still exists, it is no longer traded as it was in the past, because with the universal spread of the internet  there is an abundance of software available for free download from countless online sources.

          While its name may be slightly misleading, one of the first emails that I open every morning is from ShareWareOnSale.com.  I choose to get the once daily email from them, and then check the website if any of their offerings are of interest to me.  Rather than the classical shareware readily available elsewhere, ShareWareOnSale.com offers legitimate, complete, fully functional, licensed copies of commercial (paid) software either for free, or at a deeply discounted price.  The apparent marketing concept behind this is that the free versions of the paid software often does not allow any updates or upgrades (with some notable exceptions), and often offered adjacent to the free version is the fully supported and upgradeable versions of the paid software at deeply discounted prices.  By downloading and using the free version, the publisher hopes that the user will like it and eventually pay the fee for the upgradeable version of the same software.

          The offerings at ShareWareOnSale.com are dynamic, in that they are frequently changing, as the software offered is only available for a limited time, and other titles take their place on the listings.  ShareWareOnSale.com offers software for Windows (7, 8.1, and 10), and Mac computers.  A companion website, HungryForApps.com offers similar deals on apps for Android, iOS phones, iPads, Windows, and Mac powered devices.  As I type this, the leading offers on ShareWareOnSale.com for Windows PCs include a comprehensive encryption utility, CyberSafe Top Secret Ultimate, which retails for $95.90 for free without any future upgrades, or the exact same software with a lifetime license including free upgrades at a 75% discount, or $23.97.  A very popular and competent comprehensive PC cleaner and management utility that may significantly improve PC performance, Wise Cleaner 365 PRO is available as a free download, or the same software is available with a lifetime license for three PCs, including all future updates and upgrades at a 70% discount off the direct sales price of $76, or $22.80, after the discount.  A 6 month license, including all updates and upgrades for Avast Internet Security 2015, normally $19.99 is available for free; it is obvious that Avast hopes that the user likes the program, and will renew the license at the then offered price.  A one year license, including all updates and upgrades for the AVG AntiVirus 2015, normally $39.95, is available for free for a limited time.  A few dozen other Windows programs, including system optimizers, photo editors, instructional e-books and training lessons, media utilities, and other types of Windows software are also listed for free or deeply discounted.  People interested in receiving a once a day "no spam" email listing the latest offering can sign up on the website for the service.

          The companion site, which coordinates its offerings with ShareWareOnSale.com is the "app" site offering apps for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 apps is HungryForApps.com.  As the sister site, these apps are normally paid apps, but are offered for a limited time for free or deeply discounted.  The offered Android apps are all available for direct download and installation from the reputable sources such as the Google Play Store or the Amazon Android App Store.  At any given time, hundreds of Android apps are available, with the listings available sorted by price, store (Amazon or Google), quality ratings (1 to 5 stars), and category, with "ALL" showing everything also being an option.  The "category"  menu is comprehensive, with user selectable listings of Games, "Books & Comics & Reference", Business, Entertainment, Finance, Kids & Education,  "Medical & Health & Fitness & Cooking", News & Magazines, Shopping & Real Estate, Sports, Tools & Utilities, Travel & Navigation, Weather, and several other categories.  As I type this, 540 normally "paid" android apps are available for free, with hundreds more deeply discounted.  An identical menu is available for apps for the iPhone, iPad, and the newer versions of Windows that utilize apps.  A once daily email subscription is available where the user can choose any one or any combination of operating systems, and receive an email with the latest offerings.

          While ShareWareOnSale.com and HungryForApps.com are among the most comprehensive of the daily updated websites offering software "deals" available for only a limited time, they are not the only sources of similar software deals.  With daily email notifications or website access, other sources of deeply discounted or free commercial software are Bitsdujour.com, AppGratis.com, and GiveAwayOfTheDay.com.  On a typical day, Bitsdujour.com offers about a dozen deeply discounted commercial software titles, and an occasional commercial product is available for free.  Unlike the other sources, AppGratis and GiveAwayOfTheDay.com typically only offer one, and occasionally two, software titles a day.  As is common for these deal sites, the offerings are only available for a limited time. The GiveAwayOfTheDay.com offering is always free, and AppGratis.com always offers at least one free app, and sometimes a second deeply discounted app.  One especially nice feature of the GiveAwayOfTheDay.com is the ratings and evaluation given to the day's offerings, often by dozens of users who have already downloaded the daily offering.  While most of the offerings have generally high ratings and reviews, there are also some offerings that have relatively low ratings, and as a matter of personal policy I will not download and install any of the poorly rated offerings.

          Between these five resources for commercial software, on any given day, hundreds of commercial software products are available for immediate download.  My preference is to subscribe to the once daily email for each of the five, having specified the operating systems that I have, and peruse the new offerings for that day.  AppGratis offers an optional service that displays a notification of that day's offerings on my Android phone every morning.  With these five resources, anyone who likes software and apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, and iPad will likely find products of interest. 




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