Saturday, February 16, 2008

Free Software

In my presentation the other night, I mentioned that some of the software I use is free. I decided to put together a list of the free software I actually use and discovered that I use a LOT more free software than I thought. Here's my list, with a little description of how I use it, and a link to the site where it can be downloaded:

1. PAF - Personal Ancestral File - Genealogy and Family History Program
2. Picasa - Picture organizer and editor
3. Ad-Aware - anti-spyware
4. CutePDF - create a PDF document from any other type of document
5. Spybot - anti-spyware
6. Folder Marker - Lets you change the color of the folder icons; great for organizing
7. iTunes - For reading Podcasts and downloading music
8. Google - I can't say enough about all the applications I use from Google. It deserves it's own list. Here's the link for a list of available applications, and then I'll tell you which ones I use often

  • Google Desktop - find files in an instant - unlike the Windows equivalent
  • Google Earth - Satellite images of the world
  • iGoogle - The opening window(s) in my browser contain news, genealogy blogs, weather and other things that are important to ME. Customized desktop.
  • Maps - directions, maps and times to get anywhere
  • Calendar - For keeping (and sharing if you want) family birthdays, appointments. And it's accessible on my iPhone.
  • Gmail - It's my default mail application. I get NO SPAM on my gmail account. Also very easy to manage mailing lists.
  • Picasa - Organize photos and make fairly sophisticated changes to the pictures. You can't clone out the trashcan you forgot to move from you picture, but you can change lighting and do MANY great things.
  • Blogger - This blog is through Blogger

9. PowerToys - Microsoft provided "extras" - I use the calculator and TweakUI
10. AVG - FREE anti-virus software. I use this on an older Windows 98 system. I actually use Nod32 on my everyday systems. Nod32 is not free, but I changed to it from the Norton's and MacAfees because of the system overhead those packages were placing on my computer. AVG has been a great free anti-virus package
11. Stickies - stickie note creation for your computer screen in any color and not just yellow. Place lists or reminders on your screen. I have five of them on my screen right now. -

The next two applications are not used every day on my system. I have downloaded them and played with them, and am impressed with them. These are two office product suites. Both contain word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentation packages, very similar to the MS Office Suite of products (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access and PowerPoint), however, these are FREE. I generally use MS Office "just because".
12. Open Office
13. Star Office - part of the Google Pack

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