If you want to add software to your computer, you can load the software onto your computer from the CD or DVD that it is delivered on, or you can download software directly from the Internet. Many manufacturers offer updates and even sell their software directly from their website or from a site that specializes in software downloads.
If you only want to try a particular program before plunking down your hard earned cash, many software manufacturers offer downloadable demos of their programs. These are usually free. They are intended only to show off the main features of the software, and tend to have many aspects of the software’s function disabled. If you want a complete version, you have to upgrade to a full version by buying the software at full price.
Avoid sites that promise free versions of commercial software. Aside from any issues of downloading software illegally, you will find that if you visit these sites you not only get no software, you contaminate your computer with ad ware and computer viruses.
Never download anything from emails unless you are positive the source can be trusted. Bear in mind that some viruses can make an email appear to originate from one of your contacts. Be extra careful.
There are a couple of dedicated software downloading environments worth knowing about. File transfer software allows you to exchange files over a network, such as a LAN or the Internet. File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is one form of file transfer software. The most popular these days is peer to peer (P2P). Both can be used to share files within a LAN or among millions of people on the Internet.
The difference between these two systems of downloading software is fundamental: FTP software transfers files from one computer directly to another over a network. To access file transfer, FTP users log into an FTP server and select the files they wish to download whereas P2P involves filed stored on individual users’ computers that is downloadable by other users on the network. Software like Napster, LimeWire and Gnutella searches for the requested files on these computers, called peers. Uploading files for download by other peers ensures that the community will be full of available files. Some software makes uploading mandatory, while other software doesn’t mandate anything but encourages you to contribute to a file sharing community with incentive systems.
Free file transfer software of both FTP and P2P types can be easily downloaded. Among of the more popular programs are FileZilla, an FTP application, and LimeWire, a P2P program.
Downloading files is a natural extension of our desire—and our need—to communicate. Communication is what humans, as a species, do. It’s why our brains are so big. It’s why we are able to make enough different sounds to be able to talk. Homo Sapiens are compulsive communicators. Today, communications is one of the fastest growing areas of technology. Think about it—cell phones, land phones, satellite phones, internet phones, faxes, PDAs, voicemail, email, faxes, online chat, SMS… the list just keeps growing and growing. At this point in our history, we can communicate just about anything to just about anyone, just about anywhere.