One of the top websites described in my January “Best of 2010” column was Gizmo’s Freeware Site which has been proclaimed one of the 100 best websites of 2010 by PC Magazine. The website continues to impress me as it adds, updates and reviews various free programs and organizes them for ready access on the site. While they do not directly provide downloads, they help you decide which software to choose and often furnish links to good download sites.
The current Gizmo’s Freeware site was started in 2008, but evolved from work started back in 2000 by Ian “Gizmo” Richards and now involves contributions from over 90 volunteer editors. In addition, thousands of others send ideas and suggestions to help make the site the success it has become. How can the site continue to operate independently and non-commercially, as is their aspiration? Voluntary contributions by site visitors and sales of “Gizmo’s” branded merchandise like tee shirts and caps cover most expenses and a small amount of advertising fills the gap.
I’m devoting this week’s column to Gizmo’s to help them spread the word and I encourage you to access their website whenever you have a need for free software. They have a search feature where you can type in your need and then be directed to alternative free softwares in that category. They also review the software to help you make good choices. Their site is very user friendly and can be helpful to average users as well as the advanced.
Do you need to register on the site? Not really! You may if you want to make suggestions with credit. You may also subscribe to their feeds on Facebook or Twitter and they will also send daily updates to your email address if you choose.
One of the updates posted last week was a review of the top 5 Video Streaming Websites. The top five are interesting, but the article points to over 100 additional sites if you’re looking for more comprehensive information. The top site, as you might expect is Youtube.com. The Gizmo article gives you a good description of the types of material on YouTube, some technical aspects and a list of pros and cons about it. The number four spot went to hulu.com which is another site included in my best of column. Hulu, founded by NBC was the first site to legally offer a wide variety of TV shows and still one of the best. In addition to shows like The Simpsons and The Office, hulu also offers a catalog of movies to watch. Veoh.com, number five on the list offers some TV shows that hulu does not.
Streaming video requires a lot of bandwidth, so you’ll be disappointed if you try it on a dial-up connection. I even find video streaming to be problematic with the slower (i.e. cheaper) versions of DSL in some locations.