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Gizmo's Freeware / Tech Support Alert

No site does as good a job of helping you choose a freeware tool for a specific task than Gizmo's Freeware (otherwise known by us old-timers as Tech Support Alert).

The site is simply unrivaled in terms of recommendations for freeware, and if you ever find yourself asking what the best free windows utility is for a given task, it's *the* site to visit.

In each well-organized category, top alternatives are reviewed, rated, and ranked, and then discussed by all -- and reviews are frequently revisited and updated, which is a rarity.

In addition, Gizmo Richards himself has also long been a friend to freeware authors, helping to shine the light on new freeware tools, and a friend to us from the early days, helping to tell people about DonationCoder and our software -- and I am extremely honored to have had some of my tools recommended on the site.

I can't think of a better site to receive the first entry in our list of our Favorite Websites.  :up:

To see other posts on the DonationCoder forum that mention the TechSupportAlert website, click: here.

MakeUseOf is one of the better sites offering daily articles on various technology-focused ideas for living.  Like the similarly-focused site Lifehacker, MakeUseOf covers a wide variety of eclectic topics, including software and hardware gadgets, and they have featured a few of our tools on their website over the years.

MakeUseOf seems to be producing new content at a very rapid rate these days.  While this may make it a little harder to find the real stand-out items -- it does make the site a great candidate for daily exploration.

One of the nice new areas at makeuseof that we've written about before is their "guides" section, which has a ton of downloadable pdf guides on a wide variety of topics (free but you need to sign up).

To see other posts on the DonationCoder forum that mention the MakeUseOf website, click: here.

Over the last year I have found myself admiring the editorial staff at Ars Technica, more than once.

It's one of those rare news sites that manages to do a great job of balancing some lighter reading with some very informed and expert takes on breaking technology stories -- and they aren't afraid to step on some rather large toes when they need to.

It's one of the very very few sites that reports on business/industry issues without managing to come off like an unbearably obnoxious regurgitator of press releases.

What ArsTechnica seems to do better than anyone else is to combine general interest technology issues with an understanding of big business, and skilled writers who clearly know their stuff and are up on breaking news stories.

To see other posts on the DonationCoder forum that mention the ArsTechnica website, click: here.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun is my favorite website for reading about computer/video games.

It's a small site, run by just a handful of guys.  And what they do is written reviews of computer games.  They don't give out ratings and awards, and they don't have fancy multimedia stuff.

Explaining what makes Rock, Paper, Shotgun so great requires a bit of a exposition..

I have learned something about myself -- I don't really *ENJOY* playing computer/video games.  I used to as a young kid and I do sometimes still play them, but mostly when I do, one of two things happen.  Most often, I just don't enjoy it -- I just don't have the patience.  Occasionally I'll find a game that really captures me (Mafia2 for example).

However, while I don't actually enjoy playing video games much, I find I am fascinated by reading about them.

There are lots of reasons for this.  From a programmer's perspective, video games in many ways are the apex of pure coding challenges.  We're also at an amazing time where robust simulation is becoming a part of the core of game design, and where simulations are more and more treading on what was previously the domain of AI and Artificial Life research.  And it's becoming increasingly clear that video games can be genuine master works of fiction and art.

Which brings us back to the Rock, Paper, Shotgun website:

No other website does as good a job of writing so regularly and satisfyingly about the joys and failures and potential of video games (large and independent).

It's a bit hard to explain, but Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a reminder that some people just write well (and differently).  And that when you read reviews from people who have broader interests in the genre, you get insights that you don't get on a normal game review site.

It makes all the difference in the world if you are interested in reading game reviews not (just) to decide if you want to play it, but for the love of the idea of computer games and what they are capable of.

To see other posts on the DonationCoder forum that mention the Rock, Paper, Shotgun website, click: here.


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