Sunday, January 29, 2006


I like to look around the internet for freeware. Writers are generally poor; we need free stuff. I think (when possible) it's also a good idea to test drive freeware, lite and trial downloads before you invest in expensive software.

On my searches I do find some oddities that I save in a junk file. Joke programs that actually do nothing, like the Penis Size-O-Matic, or fandom-type stuff, such as the Matrix Code Emulator screensaver program. I find virtual widgets annoying, so out of spite I'll trash links like Konfabulator. I also like freeware that is writer-specific versus general info programs such as Kwik Facts.

I'm becoming a little leery of freeware sites such as another virtual sticky notes program, SyncNotes, which require registration before the downloads can be accessed -- if they're giving it away, why do they need the registration? What are they doing with that info? Is it just another SPAM addy collector? I wonder.

Then there are the programs I'm simply not sure about, like SLang, which is meant for screenwriters but may or may not be useful to writers. I wish I had time to try them all out myself, but as I found out tonight with a freeware program from Europe, some are so complicated I'd have to reset ten thousand things on my system before they'll even run.

Tomorrow I'll put up another bunch of freeware links for the Monday ten, and eventually I hope to compile a master list of freeware for writers and stick it somewhere here where you all can explore it at your leisure. To help me with my future hunts, what type of freeware programs are you all most interested in finding?


  1. Anonymous3:15 AM

    You may have suggested these before, PBW, but a couple of cool (and free!) programs for writers are YWriter ( and StoryLines (

  2. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I'd love to try out voice recognition software for free ... I love the idea of "look Ma, no hands!"

  3. I'd really like to find free multi-lingual dictionaries. Whenever I need help with translations, I find myself hunting the net for little online dictionaries which always seem to be missing the two words I really need to translate (while offering three of four "free" pop-ups!!) :)

  4. I would like a nice, simple, and free piece of software that helps me better organize notes, outlines, etc. for a novel project. Organization is a weakness of mine, but I find I am a zillion times more productive when I've got everything I need to write organized in a clear fashion. So far, I still don't have a streamlined way of doing this, though. And the software I've seen is either too complicated, too expensive, or both.

    Free is good.

  5. Anonymous5:59 PM

    JLB: I don't know about other languages, but a saintly person named Jim Breen has created a free translation database for Japanese. Lots of dictionary programs use it, some free and some not. The name of the database is EDICT. Asking your favorite search engine for some combination of "Japanese dictionary EDICT" should give you lots of choices.

  6. Anonymous6:01 PM

    rob: Have you tried a personal Wiki? There are lots of packages out there for both Windows and Mac. Wikis are basically text entry with automatic linking between pages, so they couldn't be easier to use.

  7. :O how can you not like Konfabulator! It's the coolest! I love being able to glance at my desktop and see if I have email. Or check the weather. Of course, I'm complusive about email and weather...

    Ever tried OpenOffice?

  8. The Penis Size-O-Matic link seems to have vanished. ???

  9. I know, pj. Dammit I'm depressed. I wanted that Penis Size-O-Matic, wanted it more than a high carb dessert. Now what am I going to do?

  10. Anonymous6:45 AM

    Sorry Doug & PJ. Apparently we funneled a bit too much traffic their way or something.

  11. Thank you Katherine - that's a start! :)

  12. Anonymous6:08 PM

    Rob - You could take a look at Keynote, it is free and simple.
    All the information is stored in tabs, which have a tree structure. You can also have just one tab with your information in it.
    I created a file for my current novel in which each tab has information for one part of my notes, like worldbuilding, characters, ...
    Sadly there won't be any updates, but the current version is still available.

    It works great in combination with yWriter. ;)


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