Saturday, December 30, 2017

Portable and ... "quiet"?

So a post on the site actually has me re-thinking some of our terminology -- specifically around the term "stealth".  It's interesting simply because the term has been in use for so many years and now I wonder if it was the wrong one.  The idea pre-dates my work on the site, but it's something I'll consider.

Anyway here's the full post in case the site goes offline or the comment gets dumped ...


Ultimately portable software is more broadly a response to behavior by good software on many platforms throwing information, settings and other garbage all over the computer.   (Android is maybe the worst at this but Windows is guilty too.)  Over time that wastes space, slows down the computer, and is a privacy concern because you're not in control of your own data.  That means unless you encrypt the *entire* hard drive, you can't be sure what someone who finds the drive will know about you.

By this reasoning, to call something "stealth" isn't about subterfuge — it's about not throwing junk all over the drive.  I'm actually wondering if we picked the wrong word; I thought about calling it "registry green" for a long time now, but I got stuck on the fact that it's about more than just the registry.

Generally speaking, being self-contained and keeping most changes to the local machine restricted to the local folder means *better* portability, which is why "stealth" or "registry green" status is ideal.  Programs are *less* portable when they write to the registry, AppData, ProgramData, C:\WINDOWS etc.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Zap Kindle DRM

I don't necessarily want to add this program to the database, I just want to point out that it exists both to point out the futility of DRM and to encourage people to zap any "rights management" nonsense on their existing books.

ePUBee Kindle DRM Removal

While it's ideal that you just stop buying books from Amazon, this may be a potential alternative.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Website analysis tools

So let's say you work on a website for a decade and then type in that website plus "tags" into a search engine.

Well at least for us, a lot of site analysis tools come up.  There's a lot of data here that I wish I had insight on but maybe someone can find something useful in this mess:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Micro-transaction ratings

I like this idea for how to accurately describe game revenue models.  I'd like to see something like this generated for freeware, though there's so many slightly different variants (if it only nags you once a month, is that really nagware?), I'm not sure if it would work.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Summaries of

I spend so much time trying to write clear, short summaries of other people's work, I was sort of startled to see a pretty good one about our work:

Huge, regularly updated collection of portable freeware or open source applications of all kinds. No specific launcher is distributed by this site, just the applications. (source)

Not bad.

MakeUseOf adds a bit with:

TPFC is the place to go if you're looking for the largest source of portable applications.

Another review from back in 2008 criticized our entries as out of date, but I think Checker and billon have largely resolved this as I frequently have seen them beat other sites to updates.

Only downside is considerable update lag – it often takes up to week for information on new versions to appear there. (source)

Answering freeware critics

Some time back, a user posted something on the site about being angry about how a given freeware program wasn't doing what he wanted.  This having been a trend over time, what follows is my response that I elected not to post.

Certainly there's real concerns about a program that doesn't work, doesn't work properly, or is just a demo.  That's a topic for another time.  Here we're talking about what are to my mind perfectly good programs that mysteriously get crapped on.


So I'm getting really frustrated with this whole "looking a gift horse in the mouth" attitude.

First, for whatever reasons, there's a long tradition in freeware of people looking at programs and only finding fault.  They don't like the free thing (often something that came with the source code) because the developer did or didn't include something that a minority of his or her users care about.

Second, I often see freeware get compared unfavorably to software that has adware or bundleware competitions.  Programs that -- by virtue of these additional elements -- have an ongoing revenue flow to help pay for their development, improvement, and support.

Third, very few projects see any donations and many tools highlighted on the site are non-simple to create and maintain.  Even those programs with 100,000+ downloads.  I've been struggling to find ways to support developers effectively, whether feature bounties, Amazon Wishlists, or other methods.

I would definitely understand this response if 1. you had seen a roadmap for this program 2. based on this roadmap (including a specific change) you decided to fund the project 3. the developer reneged on this agreement and 4. you stopped funding the project.  If you paid for something and didn't get what you paid for, that would be a very legit response.   Otherwise I really don't understand this response or it's frequency.

Someone once said you get what you pay for and therefore freeware must be junk, but there is such a thing as charity and giving something away because you want to.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The ugly code problem

More than once I've spoken to a developer who's worked on a project for some time and decided to set it aside.  When I ask them to open the code so that it might be utilized by others, a frequent reason they refuse is because "it's ugly".

Well here's one possible reply: post it anyway and present it as what not to do.