Downloads Apps for Fun
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Do we have your attention?
App is slang for application, which is a shortened version of software application. Computer stuff divides into two general categories: hardware and software. Hardware usually costs money but sometimes software is free. Hardware requires physical resources to duplicate; a circuit board requires transistors, resistors, capacitors, processors, wires, and a whole bunch of other electronical stuff that you really don't want to know about. You can't pirate a PC. Well, you could, but it's commonly called 'theft' and it might land you in jail. Software, on the other hand, can be duplicated at almost no cost whatsoever. Once a software application is written (and hopefully debugged, documented, and tested), it can be copied and sent out over the Internet with no recurring costs to the authors.
Who downloads apps? Just about everyone. Internet surfers are constantly searching online for free apps that can be downloaded and installed on their PCs, MACs, PDAs, and wireless phones.
You want free stuff?
You can download free apps at download.cnet.com. CNet is one of the world's largest digital media companies. The good folks at CNet maintain a web site that houses thousands of free apps. Their repository accepts contributions from software programmers around the world and makes them available for download at no charge. I have submitted several apps to download.cnet.com; it costs me nothing and it's a great way to let people know about my work. My apps are free, the download is free, and everyone is happy. I hope.
CNet provides a feedback page for each downloadable app. My 'customers' can post comments, good or bad. Everyone else can read those comments and I can't edit them at all. A thick skin is necessary. One 'reviewer' noted that his computer crashed during installation of one of my apps. Obviously he blamed the author (me) but the truth of the matter is that I used an installation app provided by Microsoft; none of my code was running at the time. Am I blaming Microsoft? No. I am suggesting that it's impossible to reproduce the precise conditions under which the poor man's computer crashed. He probably had a virus, but I can't even remotely begin to speculate about the possibility that perhaps he might have had something wrong with his computer. Perhaps he was running Windows 95. I dunno.
How does CNet make money from this endeavor? Advertising, advertising, advertising. They are selling eyeballs. We software authors create content for them. The web masters at CNet consolidate our submissions into logical categories. They maintain the server farms that host our browsers. They verify that our apps contain no spyware or other malicious code. A few short years ago CNet was guilty of distributing just about anything that was uploaded to them. Their reputation may have suffered; who downloads apps that might be fraught with viruses? Many of us learned the hard way. Eventually CNet got their act together. Currently they 'guarantee' their downloads to be spyware free.
Although you can download apps from download.CNet.com that are free to try, some of the apps will cost you real money to 'upgrade' from the trial version to the commercial version. On the other hand, many of the apps are not limited in any way. Read the fine print carefully before you download. All the apps I have submitted to CNet are free and fully functional. In some circumstances I do provide a "donation" link that allows grateful users to send me a few dollars via PayPal, but no user is obligated to kick in even a penny.
Any computer aficionado who downloads apps should be aware of download.CNet.com. The site offers a huge repository of free software applications that are reasonably safe and always free to try. Many are completely free to use although some do cost money to upgrade to fully functional versions.
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