If the dot-bomb fiasco of a few years ago is any indication, computer techies know a lot more about programming than they do about economics.
Etoys.com may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it took a catastophic bankruptcy before principals in that company realized that kids don't have credit cards and parents generally want to see the toy before they buy it.
Concrete.com attempted to revolutionize the way we buy concrete, but it seems the world just wasn't ready for this paradigm shift.
For a while there auction houses were packed with PC clones, ergonomic chairs, glass desks, and the foosball tables from the "chill rooms" of these fledgling Internet start ups. Maybe when these items were being loaded onto the truck, the founders put two and two together and realized that to be successful, you actually have to sell something - goods and services must be bartered in exchange for cash.
Despite this relevation, companies are continuing to just give away their valuable software for free. Some of it is freeware, no strings attached, and some of is shareware, which has a few more strings but is usually free, at least at the beginning.
P.C. World ( www.pcworld.com ) recently compiled a short list of some the top shareware programs available. Follow the links for "Best Downloads of the Year." The list includes games, graphics software, productivity software, and some other little tools you might find useful.
Download them now before these companies come to their senses and starting charging money for their products.
Cool Edit 2000 - It's a couple of years old, but you can use Cool Edit to record or upload audio, edit it, mix it, add digital effects, and then equalize it You can burn your personalized sound files to a CD, post them on the Web, or add it into your applications.
This is just a free trial version, unfortunately, but it can be yours with a variety of features and updates, for around $70.
Kyodai Mahjongg - Play this beautifully designed desktop solitaire game, based on the ancient and always popular Mahjongg board game. It's free to demo, but down the road they're going to ask you for $23.
CuteFTP v5.0 - FTP programs allow you to upload and download files to servers. Typically these programs were used to post images and pages to Web sites on servers, but with file sharing programs like KaAzaA, LimeWire, Hotline Client, and the like enabling users to search for and download everything from music files to movies, CuteFTP has expanded its focus slightly. You can now search for pictures, music and software, comparing directories at local and remote sites, and download the materials you want. If you are using it to update your Web site, you can use its built-in text-based HTML editor.