GRATIS - a guide to free software and services
Subject: GRATIS - a guide to free software and services of value
Dedicated to the proposition that
Everybody deserves something for
Nothing every once-in-a-while.
-FWIW * From the Editor
Feds Lead To Gutenberg
-BYTE SIGHS * Software
Wipeout - Replacement For DOS' DEL
Virus Killer - Mac Disinfectant
X File - DOS File Compressor
Fetch Boy! - Windows Software Gets Web Pages
-VARIOUS & SUNDRY * All The Stuff That Fits
To The STARs - Shareware CD For MS OS
Hot Stuff! - Free E-Mail For Every Platform
Getting Connected - Free OS/2 Newsletter
Disabled Talk List - Mail List For Macs
MS N.G., MAC O.K., OS/2 TOO! - For Discriminating People
FWIW -- by Bob Collister
"How do I unzip a file?"
I am instantly inclined to respond with the punch line of an old
joke that asks: How do porcupines make love? Answer: Carefully,
But instead, I respond to this e-mail from a GRATIS reader by
telling him what utility to download, pointing him to a site where
I know it is available (in self-extracting, zipped form), and
requesting, somewhat tersely, that he educate himself by reading
the instructions in the documentation supplied with the utility.
But, as I respond to him, I am annoyed by him (briefly) for not
doing his homework.
I try then to recall what it was like for me when I was dumped
first, into the world of computers, with all of its strange words,
symbols, and machines. Then, into the online world of Bulletin Board
Systems with downloads, uploads, and fidonets ("probably a dog-
catchers user group"). Finally, after a brief stop at an online
service ('Net prep), arriving here, on the Internet with some small
degree of experience and netpertise (another new word!).
Having recalled these things, I determined that I would pass this
thought along: New to computers or new to the 'Net, you still have
to do your own homework.
Read the manuals (aka RTFM), connect with user groups, a great
source of help. Log onto your local BBS and read the discussions
going on there (called "lurking"). If you have a question, ask it
in one of these forums. If you belong to a major online service
there are PLENTY of user groups and forums, and most of the major
software publishers and hardware manufacturers are represented
there or someplace on the Internet. There are hundreds, if not
thousands of information sources available online.
GRATIS, in fact, will from time to time feature free sources of
information or services directed towards helping the newbie,
whether it is computer or Internet specific.
The best resource of all is a guru, a friend or relative who is
computer literate and has some online experience and netpertise.
But be true to yourself while at the same time being considerate of
your guru: Exhaust every other legitimate resource available to you
BEFORE you call on this friend. In other words, learn how to help
Does this mean, then, that after my writing this, you should never
ask me a question like "how do I unzip a file?"? No, of course
not. Just don't be surprised by my answer. 8-)
Thanks for being here.
Several readers sent feedback about the Federalist Papers (GRATIS
- No. 5, No.6). Specifically, Brian Davis wrote:
"I write for two reasons. First, you (GRATIS) are correct that the
_Federalist Papers_ are available free on the net. Along with
hundreds of other books and documents, it is available from Project
Gutenberg , which has volunteers that
scan in books that have entered the public domain. Since all the
materials are available in (ASCII) text format, it doesn't matter
what kind of computer you have to access them."
Davis continues, "Rob Knautz has also used the Project Gutenberg
texts and turned the Federalist Papers into web pages at
He also has the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the
Amendments to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
Note: We already have plans (and notes) to feature Project
Gutenberg in an upcoming issue of GRATIS, but we encourage you to
visit the Gutenberg Web site and learn more on your own about this
fascinating and worthwhile endeavor. You'll find the Gutenberg
Project on the Web at http://www.promo.net/pg. Me, I'm gonna
curl up in front of the computer with a good book. --Bob Collister
TDELl256I.ZIP Power Replacement For DOS' DEL command
TDel is a freeware replacement for the DEL command of MS-DOS and
4DOS. TDel is fast, reliable, easy-to-use, and safer than DEL.
Options include: Percentage and bar-graph indicator; advanced
confirmation methods; deletes empty directories after file(s)
deletion; deletes with sub-directories; supports script files;
protects specific files from being deleted by mistake; wipe; quiet
mode; pauses each full screen; file-attributes selection; and more.
Four colorful pages of online help explains clearly all the
options; examples are included. TDel can automatically install
itself to run directly when calling the DEL command. The ZIP file
is 29,355 bytes and is available at:
Author: Tsahi Chitin, emailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
DISINFECTANT 3.6 Mac Virus Detector & Disinfectant
Reader Rob Slade, author of "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer
Viruses" (0-387-94663-2) writes "I am a member of the computer
virus research community, specializing in reviews of antiviral
systems. For your Mac devotees, Disinfectant is probably the
premier antiviral, and has always been free."
According to its publicity, Disinfectant will detect the majority
of the known Mac viruses and when possible, repair the infected
files. Disinfectant also contains a virus protection extension
(INIT) that when properly installed, will protect an uninfected
system from infection by any of the known non-Hypercard Mac
It is important to have the most current version of Disinfectant
because it is changed every time a new virus is found. The program
requires system 6.0.7 and 347K of disk space. Download size is
227K, and it's waiting for you at:
XPACK145.ZIP DOS Freeware EXE/COM/SYS File Compressor
XPACK is a EXE/COM/SYS executable file compressor that makes
smaller, encrypted, CRC-verified .EXE files, and includes the
ability to compress overlay programs compiled by Turbo/Borland
Pascal. XPACK also makes smaller .COM & .SYS files, does default
extension searches with filename wildcard support, generally gives
a better compression than other freeware programs (diet, lzexe),
and the compressed EXE is unextractable by some "smart" unpacker
Special requirements: 386+ to run the compressor.
Changes: XPACK no longer determines the executable type (EXE or
COM) from the file extension, but looks instead, at the signature
(as DOS does). Some files are distributed with the extension COM,
although they're EXE (for historical reasons - e.g. 4DOS.COM).
XPACK weighs only 45,671 bytes and can be found at:
Author: JauMing Tseng, Dep. of Computer Science and Info. Mgt,
Providence Univ. emailto:email@example.com
ARF22.ZIP Searches Alta Vista, Others, Puts Web Pages On Disk
Arf is a free Windows client program for web databases such as Alta
Vista, Lycos, and Deja News. You type in a search term and tell
Arf which database to contact. Arf contacts that database and
tells it to do a search. The database sends back a list of Web
pages (or Usenet posts in the case of Deja News). Arf goes out on
the Internet, gets those web pages, and copies them to your hard
disk. The ZIP file is 91,503 bytes and can be found at:
Larry Landwehr, Bitsafe Computer Services firstname.lastname@example.org
VARIOUS & SUNDRY
All The Stuff That Fits
Stan Spielbusch of Cottonwood Software has begun a weekly drawing
at his Web site at: http://www.webcom.com/cottonwd/index.html. The
prize is a "STAR Shareware Collection" CD-ROM. This CD-ROM has
over 60 shareware programs on it by professional shareware authors
who are STAR (Shareware Trade And Resource) members.
There is no cost or obligation in order to enter. Just fill out a
simple form at the Web site. If you are a GRATIS reader without
access to the Web, Stan will register you if you send your name and
USPS address in an e-mail to: CottonwdSW@aol.com. You should also
include your e-mail address if it differs from the one you are
entering from. Drawings are held every Saturday, and participants
are allowed one entry each, per week.
The August issue of the OS/2 CONNECT newsletter has just been
released. It is said by the publishers that OS/2 CONNECT is "THE
authoritative source for contact information in the universe of
IBM's OS/2 32-bit operating system". The Monthly freeware
newsletter is implemented as an INF file for use with VIEW.EXE,
which is built into OS/2 2.x or higher.
This issue is released as CON0896.ZIP, and includes a README.TXT
file describing the newsletter and how to install it. It is being
distributed at the following Internet addresses. You can find OS/2
In HTML format at http://warp.eecs.berkeley.edu/os2/connect
And, INF format at http://www.ssbbs.org/share.htm
If you need further information, you may contact the Editor, Tim
Bryce, by e-mail at TimB1557@aol.com
Last week (GRATIS - No.6) we spoke about TALKER, software used in
generating speech from a Macintosh computer. It was pointed out
that sound applications for the computer could be of benefit to
vision impaired users. Other ways of interacting with and using a
Mac are discussed in a new, free mail list, DISABLED-TALK. The
list will concentrate on discussion of techniques and technologies
available specifically to enable the Mac to help people with
disabilities. The possibilities are quite intriguing.
You can sign up by mail at email@example.com. Put
SUBSCRIBE in the body of the message. There are some related links
at the Web site, http://thelorax.res.cmu.edu/lists/disabled.html
You can also sign-up there.
This weeks entry into the free (advertising-supported) e-mail arena
is a bit of a different animal. While HotMail is not free e-mail
for the masses, as is Juno and Freemark, HotMail IS free e-mail for
the mass of computer operating systems.
In order to use HotMail, you'll first have to have access to the
World Wide Web. According to the latest statistics, that
eliminates the majority of Internet users. So much for the masses.
If you have Web access, read on. If you're just curious, you may
also read on.
Once you have registered at the HotMail Web site, you'll have free
e-mail service that you can access from any part of the world, from
any computer. To paraphrase GRATIS reader Robin Arnaud, HotMail is
a must for coffeehouse and library "surfers" who have free access to
a computer with Web access to http://www.hotmail.com
Generally, the HotMail software is much the same as other mail
software. The biggest difference is that the software, along with
your address book, etc., lies on the HotMail Web site.
You can find an informative review of HotMail at the CNET Web site,
There is also a link there to the HotMail home page.
MS N.G., MAC O.K., OS/2 TOO!
And then there's Lewin A.R.W. Edwards who climbed to the top of the
rigging and announced to the world that he wanted to give away
"something free for Mac and OS/2 lovers". Actually, it was the
news group comp.sys.mac.advocacy, not the top of the rigging.
Edwards has "opened a web site which is dedicated to providing free
exposure for authors, vendors, system integrators and ordinary
Joes who support non-Microsoft platforms. If you'd like your own
page on my site or a link to your own site, plus an email address
at my domain (if you want one) forwarded to your 'real' address,
aim your WWW browser http://www.zws.com
He goes on to say, "you could call my site comp.!ms.advocacy.
Please let me know what you think. The site is very new (only a
couple of days old) and so does not contain much material YET but
of course I hope to change that 8-)".
Perhaps some GRATIS readers...hmmm.
->> The Collister Group, Inc * Information Management Systems <<-
Digital imaging, OCR, ICR, & database applications improve your
productivity & increase profitability. Workflow, record archiving,
customer service, accts. payable are just some areas where we can
help. FREE demo disk or consultation. E-mail to
SUBSCRIPTIONS: You can subscribe and unsubscribe to & from GRATIS
by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with one of the
following in the body of the message;
SPONSORSHIP: E-mail email@example.com with Subject: RATES
GRATIS (c) Copyright 1996, Bob Collister * All rights reserved
You may freely distribute GRATIS to your friends. Permission
is required for any other form of distribution or display.
Send this issue to your friends and tell them it's GRATIS.
If it's not free, it costs too much! (TM)