Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last of the 2009 Freebies

Ten Things You Can Have for Free

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

Architect Roger Berent offers The 5-Hour Home Office a free e-book on Scribd that describes and shows detailed illustrations and photos on how you can build a home office/work space for $300.00.*

Artweaver is "a simple Freeware program for creative painting, i.e. Artweaver makes all artistic effects, which you need for your work. You can create sketches from photographies and experiment with a wide range of brushes. The brush simulation is realistic as possible. Features: Support of many different digital brushes e.g. chalk, charcoal, pencils; A wide variety of adjustment settings to customize the default brushes or to create new brushes.
Standard image editing tools like gradient, crop, fill and selection tools; Support for the most common file formats like AWD (Artweaver), BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, TGA, TIFF, PNG, and PSD (no layer support); Transparency and Layers support; Effect filters like sharpen, blur, emboss and mosaic; Editable text layers; Pen Tablet support for a realistic feeling; History function to und/redo last editing steps; Expandable by Plug-In modules (Artweaver Standard); Support for many languages through language files" (OS: Win 2000/XP/Vista)

If you'd like a new look for your Blogger or Moveable Type weblog in 2010 but don't have any extra $$$ to spend, check out the top-rated free templates over at Blogskins.com (I really liked some of doughnutcrazy's and Xavqior's skins.)

Want to listen to some free audio books? Check out the excellent selection over at BooksShouldBeFree.com.

Here's a neat project for the kids: customize and download a free Coloring 2010 Calendar for them.

Dreamstime, where I buy most of my images for PBW and other projects, has a gratis archive section with over 20,000 images you can download for free (registration required; free images are subject to the same terms as the regular Royalty Free terms.)

Natural Parenting Tips's Family Budget Planner can "help manage your expenses. Now in version 1.1 it offers the ability to: Enter companies you make payments to; Enter expenses you pay each month; Automatically calculate how much you spend each month; Grouping to see which companies you are making the most payments to; Yearly Expense Report; Weekly calculation" (OS: not specified but it looks like Windows)

LyX is "a document processor that encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM) and not simply their appearance (WYSIWYG). LyX combines the power and flexibility of TeX/LaTeX with the ease of use of a graphical interface. This results in world-class support for creation of mathematical content (via a fully integrated equation editor) and structured documents like academic articles, theses, and books. In addition, staples of scientific authoring such as reference list and index creation come standard. But you can also use LyX to create a letter or a novel or a theatre play or film script. A broad array of ready, well-designed document layouts are built in. LyX is for people who want their writing to look great, right out of the box. No more endless tinkering with formatting details, “finger painting” font attributes or futzing around with page boundaries. You just write. On screen, LyX looks like any word processor; its printed output — or richly cross-referenced PDF, just as readily produced — looks like nothing else" (OS: Mac OS X 10.4 or later;
A TeX installation (see http://wiki.lyx.org/Mac/Mac )

Name Maker LE is "the ideal solution for those who need to generate names, quickly and easily. This flexible system incorporates a large database of thousands of male and female names along with many more thousands of last names. This gives millions of possible combinations of first and last name, then, when a middle name is added, the possibilities are almost endless. The system is easily configurable and enables a variety of parameters to be used to control the generated names" (OS: no info although it looks like Windows; designer states it requires the Microsoft .NET v3.5 runtime)

PhotoFiltre is "a complete image retouching program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve. The toolbar, giving you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks, gives PhotoFiltre a robust look" (OS: Win 98/ME/NT/2K/XP/Vista)

Finally, a bonus motivational free e-book -- What Matters Now by Seth Godin and a whole bunch of important people. Here's the description from Seth's blog: "Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Fred Wilson, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber." I've looked through it, and while it provides promo links for every single one of the seventy contributors, it offers some generally good ideas. You can also read it online, download and print it for free (note: my version of Adobe came up with a display error, although I haven't found whatever it is that it can't display. Added 12/30 -- I posted a note about the error in comments for the e-book, but it's been deleted, so I assume that means the error was corrected.) *Note 9/3/10: Since Scribd.com instituted an access fee scam to charge people for downloading e-books, including those I have provided for free for the last ten years, I no longer recommend using their service. See my post about this scam here.


  1. Not free, but a favorite program around here is Art Rage; the kids love to draw with it. I think it's $20. There are some incredible creativity tools for very little to free.

  2. Namemaker looks pretty interesting. I often have trouble coming up with character names.

    I looked at the Lyx. If only they hadn't used *math* as a sample! LOL I am so not a math person...