A Fond Farewell From Me


I’ve been writing about software for a long time now. Next week it will be precisely 35 years since I started doing so, as a writer on a highly popular computer games magazine in the UK. And when I’m not writing about software, I actually use it too. I do a lot of programming, and I spent almost 14 years in the IT department of a university.

The longer you work around software, the more you begin to realise that the price of a product is often a very poor indicator of its quality. Some of the best, most innovative software is being written for smartphones and mobile devices, and typically sells for less than $5. Some of the most complex, unreliable, buggy systems I ever used, where installation often required 2 people and took 3 days, costs tens of thousands.

There’s always been free software. Back in the 1980s it used to be called Public Domain. You downloaded it from online bulletin boards or you typed it in from the pages of a magazine. Some of it was great, but a lot of it was awful. Nowadays, public domain software is generally known as freeware or open source. There’s a huge amount of it around, encompassing everything from games to office suites to operating systems to video players and lots more besides. And yet the same rule of thumb from the 1980s is just as true today. A lot of it is great, but a lot of it is very poor indeed.

That’s why sites such as Gizmo’s Freeware, and all the volunteers that help to run it, have always been so useful. We help you separate the good from the bad. But ironically, the most useful role of the volunteers is the work that you never see and never hear about. For every piece of freeware I write about, there are typically 4 or 5 that I rejected. Maybe VirusTotal reckoned that the installer was dubious. Maybe the product simply didn’t work very well, or live up to its developer’s claims. Maybe it simply wasn’t something that I reckoned my readers would be interested in. And so it never featured as a Hot Find.

After about 8 years or so, I’ve decided to give my typing finger a rest and will no longer be writing this Hot Finds section. Rest assured that the section will continue just as before, with just as much great freeware. It simply won’t be coming from me. At least, not as frequently.

My sincere thanks to everyone who’s contributed suggestions to these pages. I couldn’t have done it without you. Here's to the future of Gizmo's Tech Support Alert, and the wonderful people that put in so much work behind the scenes so that you can have the best freeware.

Robert Schifreen

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Rob, thank you so much for all that you have done for us through the years! I remember the old days you talk about above and though I never progressed in my computer knowledge to the level that I could be an editor, I have been in the background benefiting from your work (and that of everyone else at Tech Support Alert). I've been around so long that I still have Issue #1 of PC Alert on my computer from 1998! In the government/non-profit world of operating on a shoestring budget, I don't know what I would have done if you all hadn't been there through my career. Many blessings for your WELL-DESERVED retirement!

Thanks for the great work for the site over the years. Truly enjoy Portugal. Went there late 1970s and loved Faro (flowers) on Med coast. Friendly, warm and many Brits then. Was right after the revolution so Ports were still all giddy and positive for the future. It's come long way. Enjoy.


I thank you for all of your years of dedication to finding shareware for all of us strangers all of these years.
You will be missed by all of your com poderes at Gizmo's and everyone have us save thousands of dollars through the decades of your finds.

I wish you a blessed retirement and only ask that you have a wonderful time living it. :)


You will be missed. God be with you.

Many thanks for all of the many useful articles and help you have given me over the years. Good luck in your retirement!
Many thanks also to the rest of the team.

Rob good luck in your new endeavor.I hope that the quality does continue, I really enjoyed receiving the daily info.


Many thanks Rob. It was pleasure to read news from you.

I wish you well and understand your desire for a queter life. Have been a fan of Gizmo since the sites' inception and have sent may of my readers here for help. Enjoy your well earned rest but know you will be missed.

Too much changes too quickly on the web, you've offered us stability for some considerable time. Many thanks for everything.

Well, gosh! I think I have commented two times, but, I read these all the time! I have received some great advice!
I'm sad. LOL
May you always be happy!

Happy trails Rob, please don't be a stranger, your contributions have been massive and you will be missed muchly, thanks for your part in making this site a Beacon in the Night..
Happy Easter mate. :)

Been a long run rob. Appreciate all the goodies you found for us. Peace, Prosperity and Health to you.

Thanks for those lovely comments. Much appreciated. The whole IT landscape is changing, and there are definitely some interesting times to come. Despite all the freeware mentioned on this site, I reckon the free program that most of us use most frequently is a web browser. It's certainly true in my case. And when I'm not using a PC and a web browser, I'm using my phone, which uses an operating system called Android. That's also free.

Rob, we can't thank you enough for your immense contribution to this site with the Hot Finds. Your contribution will be missed a lot here by all of us.

I can't imagine how you came up with Hot Finds almost everyday... it's just mind boggling for me. How much effort must have gone in by you, to search for these stuff to post everyday for the users. I don't know how you managed to do this.

We wish you good luck for your future, and with everything that you do. May God bless you.

Dear Rob,

what will we do without you?

You and your contributions have been an integral part of Gizmo's Freeware. Your articles were always on the spot, interesting and so valuable.
You have given the community so much. We hate to see you go.
Or may we have a little hope for more of you when we read "At least not that frequently"?
Anyway, we wish you all the best for whatever you do next.

Thank you so much!

Best regards,

Thanks George. I might still contribute an occasional entry if I happen to come across something that I find useful. Until a couple of years ago I actually had 3 "jobs". I worked at a university in the UK, I started an IT security business, and I was writing Hot Finds in my "spare" time! I now want to concentrate on the IT security business with fewer distractions, while also enjoying and exploring Portugal. My wife and I moved here a few months ago from the UK and there's lots to see. And a very difficult language to learn too!
Well good luck with the language. I guess we all have different learning abilities but I moved to Brazil 14 years ago and I can still only string together a few sentences in Portuguese. If it wasn't for my Brazilian wife of 12 years I'd have been consigned to the ex pat dunce's pile years ago. We did in fact almost move back to Europe last year (Portugal - Silves) but too many uncertainties with Brexit, the economic and migrant situation made us decide to stay here. MC - Site Manager.
The Portuguese people are generally so nice, and way too understanding about my lack of language skills. Not only do many of them speak enough English to get by, they frequently apologise for not speaking it better. Which makes me feel even worse.
I used to get very frustrated during our first couple of years here because of my inability to master the language but now I accept it just ain't gonna happen. :D Unlike Portugal and many other parts of Europe, English is not widely spoken here at all and it's virtually impossible to engage with any official function without having a translator. Same applies to banks and doctors/hospitals although there is more English spoken in the main tourist areas. 99% of Brazilians who do speak English assume I'm American and immediately launch into political debates about stuff I care little about until I'm able to reveal my true heritage. MC

Thanks Rob,One of my favorite goto sites of all time Thank you, Thank you Thank you. Best wishes for your future endeavours.

Remember that the site will carry on. There are scores of people who bring it to you, and who will continue to do so. I am/was just one of them.

Dear Rob,

Thank you for all of your hard work & dedication.

I sincerely appreciate your "finds" and fully understand what you've written about the evolution (or lack of) "free" software. All in all, I think there's a lot more good than bad-- even if the trade-off is a bit of a clean-up afterwards, as long as the program does as it claimed.

Best wishes to you in your new journey-- whatever that may be!


Wow. Although we've never met, I feel like I'm losing a good friend.
All the best in your future endeavours, sir.

It's been an honor Robert. Thank you for everything. I'll miss you.

You will be missed!

Kinda hope this is an april fools joke....no...well then, THANK YOU so very much for all that you have done! It is truly amazing how well you have kept up this site. This is the first site I check every day. I have used the recommendations extensively and recommend Gizmo's as the first goto site to anybody looking for ANY type of software. You will be missed and THANK YOU for such dedication and hard work!

Your insight into the products you review has been so helpful to us who are not so tech-savvy. You will be missed by all of us i am sure. Good luck in the future

Thank you!

Fair winds and Following Seas

Things on the web have changed so much and yet, as highlighted, have remained the same in many ways.
Thank you for the insight and dedication to help out so many visitors Rob!

What is there possible to say for such a great contribution Rob except many thanks and all the best with your future endeavors. MC - Site Manager.