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Some software you just can't do without. Below are links to utilities that we find indispensible as well as some information on programs worth buying. Please respect shareware writers' agreements and register their products if you find them useful.

If you're experiencing problems downloading large files, some of the software mentioned below is available from Protech Systems. Contact us with any requests.

AcroRead7 Adobe Acrobat Reader v7.05 (20MB) is a free utility for viewing Portable Document Format files (PDF) in Windows XP and higher
AcroRead6 Adobe Acrobat Reader v6.02 (9MB) is a free utility for viewing Portable Document Format files (PDF) in Windows'98 and earlier
IrfanView IrfanView v3.98 (0.9MB) has to be the most efficient image viewer available - and it's FREE! Extra plugins are available here. Irfan Skiljan has done an excellent job of providing one small package that opens almost every concievable picture, movie, or sound file. Write and thank him!
Paint Shop Pro Paint Shop Pro vX, now owned by Corel, is an easy-to-learn and affordable graphics editor, capable of tasks associated with far more expensive products. The older Version 3 (1.9MB) is small and efficient for picture viewing and simple editing.
WinZip v10.0 WinZip v10.0 (6MB) is a convenient, Windows-based utility for handling zip, arj, Base-64, uu-encoded and other compressed formats. Zip is by far the most popular method of compressing files for distribution on the Internet.Those who prefer good-old version 7 may download it here.
vMPEG vMPEG (68kB) is the smallest, simplest MPEG viewer I've seen (68kB), for operating systems that don't come with their own MPEG viewing facility. I have no idea where it originates so, it's available here. Time sync is poor and really only useful for file preview purposes.
ZoomPlayer Zoom Player v4.51 (1MB) is a complete replacement for "Media Player". This tiny program plays most movie file types incl. MPEG-1 & 2, DVD, ASF, AVI etc. and includes fast and slow motion, zoom, skins. Other professional versions and skins are available from Inmatrix.
ICQ ICQ v5.1 (5.8MB) or I Seek You, is a very popular communications package that indicates when someone is online so that you can chat with them (type back and forth in real time). It also allows short notes to be left for an offline user, like a beeper message.
Skype Skype v2.0 (9MB) allows you to talk (and type, send video, transfer files...) to anyone anywhere for free.

Software Archives

The software listed above, and a whole lot more, can be download from some of the worlds most popular software archives.

CNet CNet can be a little slow but provides a comprehensive software search facility.
Tucows Tucows has more than 1000 mirror sites so it's easy to find one that's close and ensure quick downloads.
WinFiles WinFiles, renamed from the old, has a pretty interface and provides a wide range of software types for all versions of Windows.
ZDNet ZDNet allows users to search their huge software library as well as view information on both hardware and software.


A search engine is a computer who's job it is to search the Internet for documents containing words that you specify. Note that the documents it finds are not necessarily about the subject entered - they merely contains the word, or words, somewhere in the text. Some of the many search engines are listed below.

Some help is provided here for improving search results.

AltaVista AltaVista describes itself as the most powerful and useful guide to the Net - and I agree.
Ananzi Ananzi is sadly slow, considering it's right here in South Africa. Search results are quite limited too.
AOL Netfind AOL Netfind is quite comprehensive and neatly laid out. It's also surprizingly fast for a huge and busy site.
Excite Excite has a page that's so busy, it's hard to find the text box, but information is very comprehensive.
HotBot HotBot is a loudly colorful site that's a favorite with software seekers.
Infoseek Infoseek is a neat enough site with useful browsing facilities.
Lycos Lycos is another busy page with enough of links to get you lost on an information adventure.
Magellan Magellan is another search engine by Excite. Not the fastest site but neat and simple to browse.
WebCrawler WebCrawler is one of the longest running engines and excellent for finding obscure documents.
Yahoo Yahoo is an extremely popular site with many exciting facilities, if you can get in.


A FAQ - often pronounced faq ;-) is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions and, hopefully, their answers. My last AltaVista search for "faq" produced more than 35million possibilities so, they're pretty popular things. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology houses the official Usenet FAQ archive at This enormous collection can be quite daunting.

FAQ Archives The Internet FAQ Consortium provides a slightly more user-friendly approach to finding answers.

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