Last Updated: October 23, 2020
While mainly for my own records (I re-install my OS frequently), I am including this here as a list of software I find useful or interesting. As many of these are
independent projects, if you choose to use any of these, use them at your own risk.
- CHIRP - GUI Client for programming hardware radios, especially one with irritating hardware interfaces.
- MultiPSK - Multimode Digital Receiver. Transcribes morse code/CW, SSTV, and multiple other modes from sound card or SDR.
- SDR# - Waterfall display / audio for SDR dongles
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Astronomy, Weather, and Geography
- Celestia - 3-d known space explorer/simulator. Fly through the stars, visit planets, etc.
- Stellarium - Night sky map.
- Google Earth Pro - Standalone geographical representation of earth incorporating a subset of Google Maps functionality, plus many additional functions.
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- Audacity - Free sound capture/editor. Covers all of my audio editing needs.
- fre:ac - Audio converter
- Musicbrainz Picard - MP3/FLAC metadata lookup and tagger
- Exact Audio Copy (eac) - CD Ripper
- foobar2000 - mp3 player
- iTunes - Everyone's least favorite Windows software, because I gotta.
- Mp3tag - mp3 metadata tagger
- MP3Gain - mp3 audio volume normalizer
- MinimogueVA - Super-cool standalone synth emulating the classic Minimoog
- OpenMPT - .MOD, .it, and .S3M tracker and player.
- SAM - Command line Software Automatic Mouth implementation for Windows
- sidplay2/w - Commodore SID player for Windows
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- Bitcoin Armory - Bitcoin wallet. Sail the seas of volatility, environmental havoc, and abject fraud at your own risk! (I mean, I do.) Good backup and cold-storage options.
- Bitcoin Core - The "official" Bitcoin wallet. Required by Armory.
- Bitcoin ABC - Wallet for Bitcoin Cash.
- Bitcoin Price Live Tile - BTC price tile for the Windows Start menu
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Emulation and Virtualization
- Oracle VirtualBox - Virtualization Application. I like VMWare better, but VMWare trashes my system where VMWare can't load and I can't uninstall and reinstall to make it work.
- AppleWin - Apple II emulator
- - Apple II emulator with a lot of built-ins
- WinVICE - Commodore 8-bit emulator
- Altirra - Atari 8-bit emulator
- Stella - Atari 2600 emulator
- kat5200 - Atari 5200 emulator
- Classic99 - TI-99/4a emulator
- Project64 - Nintendo 64 emulator
- ZSNES - Super Nintendo Entertainment Center emulator
- Kega Fusion - Sega emulator
- WinUAE - Amiga Emulator
- GSport - Apple //gs Emulator
- DOSBox SVN r395 with NE2000 Patch - MS-DOS emulator with NE2000 patch for full TCP/IP networking in DOS
- SheepShaver for Windows - Apple Macintosh emulator (pre-OSX)
- fceux - NES/Famicon emulator
- Xming X windowing system for Microsoft Windows. Run Linux GUI apps in Windows
- MAME/MESS - Multiple machine emulator (arcade games, consoles, etc.)
- QMC2 - MAME front-end
- CiderPress - Manages Apple II disk images
- DirMaster - Manages Commodore disk images
- com0com - Null-modem emulator / virtual serial port driver. I use this to simulate a com port allowing AppleWin (Apple II emulator) to communicate with tcpser / to "call" BBSes on the Internet via telnet.
- tcpser - Translates incoming and outgoing telnet connections to modemspeak (AT commands).
- Kermit - File transfer software. Used in the old days to move data from a shell account to a local Windows machine before scp was available.
- B-EM - BBC Micro Emulator
- SimH - Simulates very old hardware and operating systems - DEC PDP and VAX systems, etc.
- Steem SSE - Atari ST emulator
- jzIntv - Mattel Intellivision emulator
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- Steam - The well-known gaming community/catalog/installer/store.
- BZFlag - Low-polygon first person shooter involving jumping (!) tanks from 1993. Still in development and still loads of fun.
- Second Life - More of a walk-through art gallery than a VR social network
- xu4 - Ultima IV Recreated - Windows-native Ultima IV: The Quest of the Avatar remake
- Telengard - Telengard for modern systems
- DarkPlaces - Quake mod with new maps, better textures
- Golly - Best Conway's Game of Life simulator I've seen
- Maelstrom - Best of the Asteroids-like blasters
- Xonotic - Free multiplayer first person shooter
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Editors / Viewers / Utilities
- Greenshot - Outstanding screenshot tool for Windows. Indispensible.
- AmScope - for AmScope microscope digital camera
- GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program. Everyone complains, but it covers my needs just fine.
- IrfanView - Image viewer
- VisiPics - Duplicate Image analyzer / finder
- GifCam - Records portion of screen and makes an animated GIF from it.
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- mSetup - Mobius Actioncam Software (to connect, configure, and dump video)
- ThermoHID - Reads temperature from TemperHID USB devices
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- Dropbox - I still prefer this for cloud storage although its plans are terrible - their lowest tier is inadequate and the next tier is more than I need and priced too high. Still, Dropbox's offline availability is appreciated for now. I am looking for a better cross-platform solution.
- Apple iCloud - Apple's cloud service. Used with my iOS devices.
- Tor Browser - The planet's most popular darknet, Tor promises a lot more than it delivers.. That said, there are occasionally interesting experiments and I support it as a censorship-proof, anonymity-protecting medium. To what extent it is robust against state actors is unclear. There is almost nothing on tor that interests me that couldn't appear on the surface web. The Internet's "wretched hive of scum and villainy."
- Google Hangouts App - Chrome needs to be running for the Windows app to work; I would prefer not to run this but have friends who insist on it. I would like to dispense with Chrome entirely.
- Discord - Modern many-to-many chat replacement for IRC (it also does multimedia, which I'm never going to use.) Proprietary and, as such, an accident waiting to happen should the company fold and take countless online communities with it. Forced to use this because others do.
- Signal - End-to-end encrypted messaging. This the application I wish everyone would use but getting people on to a single secure messaging platform is probably a pipe dream. What I want is for Signal to handle both encrypted Signal-to-Signal messaging as well as unencrypted SMS/MMS messaging by syncing with my phone, but this functionality is unlikely ever to be included.
- WhatsApp - Forced to use this because someone else does.
- HexChat - IRC client. The for-pay Windows 10 app is just a way for them to make donations easy. The free installer is the Windows 7 + 64bit installer.
- QuickSilver Lite - Mixmaster anonymous remailer client
- Angry IP Scanner - Fast Windows-based IP scanner
- Npcap - Packet driver for Windows (required by simh and others for network capability)
- SyncTerm - Terminal Emulator (to dial/telnet to bulletin board systems)
- Qodem - Reimplementation of DOS-era Qmodem terminal emulator (includes SSH and Telnet for modern BBSes)
- NetRunner - Modern terminal emulator for bulletin board systems. Telnet only, but clean, fast, and simple
- Mozilla Thunderbird - One of the few remaining desktop email clients, this works well especially with the Engimail plugin on the rare occasions I need to use PGP. Mozilla's lack of enthusiasm for further developing this application is alarming, and I am trying to reduce and consolidate my many Internet accounts as a result. Email is, of course, broken as an Internet technology (security-wise in particular), but we are stuck with it in its current form for the time being.
- VNC Connect by RealVNC - Currently uninstalled. I don't like the cloud's involvement ("cloud connections") with this as I only ever need it on my local network. This works very well to control my Windows desktop with a cell phone or tablet, but I am looking for a free alternative.
- Unified Remote - Turns mobile device into a remote keyboard and touchpad. Excellent application.
- Xnews - Still my preferred newsreader for Usenet. Lightning-fast. Usenet text groups are mostly moribund, but free access to them (just the text ones; no binaries) is still available via Eternal September to anyone who still has interest in them. Of all of the old Internet technologies, abandonment of Usenet makes me the saddest. As a distributed, non-proprietary, censorship-resistant medium, it is still quite usable for messaging.
World Wide Web
- Chrome - A fast and efficient browser, it is yet one more thing pulling folks into the Google ecosystem. Google has far too much power over the Web as it is and I am trying to move away from its products. That said, Google is ubiquitous and used for development and testing, and I rely on it to run the Hangouts application in my notification area. I have few firm reasons to object to Chrome on a privacy basis now, though I predict if privacy is eventually shredded and users are tracked and profiled on the client side, it will be through this browser, especially if and when Adsense and other Google technologies fall below a usage threshold based on adblocking.
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- Notepad++ - Fully-featured Windows text editor with syntax highlighting and a plethora of other useful features.
- LibreOffice - Free Microsoft Office replacement. Good enough for most things.
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Security and Privacy
- KeePass Password Safe - Free and open source password wallet. I am not going to pay a company to store my information on their remote server. That is simply out of the question. KeePass fills my needs and keeps me in control of where my credential databases are hosted.
- Veracrypt - creates encrypted containers (files) that can be mounted as drive letters in Windows. Used to store secure data and one of the successors to Truecrypt.
- Gpg4win - GnuPG for Windows. More useful than its critics say, and less useful than its biggest fans, PGP continues to perplex, alienate, and fascinate new generations of the privacy-conscious. Encryption less for the masses and more for the patient, though its critics wouldn't even grant that much.
- tcsteg - Steganographically emebed a Truecrypt or Veracrypt volume inside a playable video file.
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- Plex Media Server - excellent media server; works well with Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) - excellent free screen capture (video)/streaming software. Long overdue; now indispensible.
- DaVinci Resolve - Free, robust, but feature-limited video editor for Linux and Windows. I am migrating away from Movie Studio Platinum to this application. I still feel this, like other editors, can be more complicated than it needs to be for certain things, however there are a lot of good YouTube howto videos covering its more esoteric features. Have a strong feeling this will not be free forever, even in feature-limited form.
- ArcSoft Showbiz - For ezcap video grabber (VHS video capture)
- Handbrake - Video transcoder
- K-Lite Codec Pack - Codecs and filters not necessarily included in Windows by default
- Apple QuickTime - Need the viewer for DRM; need the codec for other things.
- VideoLAN Client (VLC) - Video viewer and streamer
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- Dimension 4 NTP Server - Proper NTP client for Windows. Windows whines about its native time service being deactivated but this is a standard NTP server which can use my LAN's NTPD as its time source. Keeps time accurate better than Windows's native time synchronization service.
- Everything - Fast, network-enabled file search for Windows. Windows should buy this and incorporate it into Windows 10. An indispensible replacement for Windows 10's anemic and fairly pathetic file search function.
- Realtek HD Audio Manager - Required to pipe sound card OUT into sound card record IN
- PuTTY - Windows-based SSH and Telnet client
- WinSCP - Excellent GUI-based SCP client for Windows. One of Windows's greatest pieces of free software. The ability to edit files remotely makes maintaining a website much appreciated. This page was probably composed in Notepad++ on Windows 10, and then moved to the web server you're reading this on via WinSCP.
- Bulk Rename Utility - powerful, free bulk file renamer with full regex support.
- CCleaner Free/Standard - critics of this application would point out that it has caused problems in the past (with Windows 10, if I recall), and that cleaning one's registry is not required, however on a few instances this has fixed some bizarre issues. I do not use it with any regularity, but occasionally cleaning up registry cruft (especially when uninstalling and attempting to reinstall something) fixes problems. It is sort of a last resort/nuclear option when I get exasperated trying to fix registry issues manually.
- CrystalDiskMark - Storage benchmark (SSD, HD, Flash drives)
- CrystalDiskInfo - Storage metadata / status / SMART lister
- Folder Size Explorer - Lists subdirectories with full size/disk usage of subdirectories.
- HWiNFO - Hardware information / system prober
- IsoBuster - Data recovery tool
- IZArc - Zip, unzip, and encrypt a wide range of archive formats including LHA, ARC, and ARJ
- TreeSize Free - Shows disk space usage in whole tree (including subdirectories)
- Folder2Iso - Turns any folder in an ISO
- MD5 & SHA Checksum Utility - Verifies file checksums
- NirCmd - Command-line Windows utility that can be used in batch files and scheduled process to do things like set volume, reboot, minimize windows, take screenshots, and much more. Very useful multifunction Swiss Army Knife utility.
- Open Hardware Monitor - Realtime hardware sensors (temperature, fan RPM, etc.) readout
- RawWrite for Windows - Writes disk images, including bootable floppy images
- Rufus - Makes bootable USB flash drives from ISOs (for installing operating systems)
- GUIformat - Formats USB flash drives as FAT32, even when they are larger than 32 gigabytes (required for my car stereo)
- SteamMover - Moves Steam installations to another drive
- TrIDNet - Scans and identifies file type from large database
- USBDeview - USB Device View; shows all connected USB devices and what they are (if known)
- Bluetooth View - Shows all Bluetooth activity picked up by receiver
- Passmark DiskCheckup - S.M.A.R.T. monitor for hard drives
- Icon Shepherd - Keeps desktop icons arranged and in position
- WinDirStat - Graphical hard drive usage explorer - Shows what apps and directories are taking up space graphically
- mkp224o - tor vanity address generator for Onion v3 hidden services
- horse25519 - tor vanity address generator for Onion v3 hidden services
- lonk_dl - Image mass downloader for Reddit by subreddit
- Sherlock - Finds online accounts on a long list of social networks based on username
- RedditScrubber - Deletes reddit history
- Magic Wormhole - P2P transfer files of arbitrary size from one computer to another via the command line. Also available in various Linux repositories natively.
- oysttyer - Auto-updating, console based Twitter client. Great to run on a passive display.
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