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Owning a computer is just the start. You also need software to be able to work on your computer.Software can be expensive, however, there is an alternative to buying software – it is called freeware or shareware. There are many freeware applications that allow you to do almost anything – play games, develop slide shows, do word processing, manipulate pictures, track your finances, create music – you name it and there is probably some software out there that can do it as well as, and often better, than high priced commercial programs. This section aims to give you a starting point to access freeware that may be of interest. It is meant to give you an idea of the range and quality of freeware/shareware and we urge you to search the internet if you are looking for something special

 

Some Free Software Sites

Tucowswww.tucows.com

Freefiles.comwww.freewarefiles.com

ZNet Downloads: downloads.zdnet.com

Completely Free Software: www.completelyfreesoftware.com

The Freesite.com: www.thefreesite.com/Free_Software

Soft32: www.soft32.com

Nonags: www.nonags.com

Freeware: www.freeware-guide.com

Cnet: www.cnet.com

 

What Does It All Mean - Some Definitions

Freeware = Software that is available for free, usually over the Internet or from magazine discs.

Shareware = computer software distributed without initial charge but for which the user is encouraged to pay a small fee to cover support for continued use.

Trialware (also known as Demoware) =  is commercial software released for free in a version which is limited in one or more ways. Some of the most common limitations are:

  •  remains functional for a set number of days

  •  may only be launched a set number of times

  •  adds identifying marks to the output

  •  prevents saving of projects or files

  •  has some features disabled

 

Some Free Software and What They Do 
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  • Linux: The worlds most popular free Operating System and growing in popularity everyday. Does almost everything Windows does plus some more. Takes a little bit of getting used to but it is well worth the effort.
     

  • Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware: A great all-around spyware killer, Microsoft's free tool is quick, straightforward, and effective. Absent-minded users will like the ability to schedule regular scans, as well as the ease of frequently updating.
     

  • OpenOffice: This might just be the future of office applications. You get most of the tools included in that "other" office suite (i.e. word processing database, spreadsheet. presentation software), with OpenOffice.org being compatible with all standard file formats.
     

  • Audacity:For basic audio-editing needs, look no further than this open-source clone of Macromedia's much-ballyhooed SoundEdit16. It does pretty well anything you need in audio editing including conversions between formats.
     

  • Picasa: Picasa lets you scan your computer and connected USB cameras for images and organize them as chronologically sorted albums, complete with thumbnail previews.
     

  • XnView: Overhaul your images with XnView. Edit, crop, and add filters to your photos with this quick and nimble image editor.
     

  • Spybot - Search & Destroy: In addition to being one of the best pieces of software for removing invasive programs (spyware, viruses, Trojans etc), the added Secure Shredder function absolutely destroys troublesome files.
     

  • CutePDF Writer: Installing itself as a printer, this utility enables you to convert any printable document into PDF format. To make a PDF, you just press Print. How easy is that?
     

  • The Font Thing: To help you find and preview your fonts, The Font Thing groups fonts into collections, lets you browse them in subfolders as a single combined list, and displays sample text and individual characters in your choice of colors.
     

  • The GIMP: Word is spreading about this powerful open-source graphics program. The GIMP is jam-packed with professional features such as channels, layers, and tabbed palettes which let you do many of the things in more expensive programmes like Photoshop.
     

  • IrfanView: Taking pictures is only half the fun. IrfanView lets you assemble your images into a slide show, as well as offering solid editing options and multiple ways to preview images.
     

  • PhotoPlus: Palettes and tools allow you to work with layers and masks, animations, transparency, and special effects in the same manner as many more expensive programs.
     

  • Firefox: Internet Explorer's well-publicized security flaws have driven many users to alternative web browsers, Firefox prominently among them. Other advantages include tabbed browsing, fine protection against pop-ups, and an integrated Google search box.
     

  • Google Chrome: Another web browser - this one offered by Google
     

  • Audiograbber: CD-ripping applications aren't the most exciting programs in the world. However, this gem is so loaded with useful features that you might wonder how you've made it this far without it.
     

  • Winamp Full: Despite its slow fall from grace, this legendary MP3 player still packs a powerful multimedia punch. Its skinnable interface, video support, and expandable feature set keep it on par with its current crop of competitors.
     

  • VLC Media Player: With support for many, many video codecs, this free player helps you avoid the annoying necessity of downloading different programs for different video formats.
     

  • EvilLyrics; Never miss another sing-a-long with this simple utility that displays lyrics to your favorite songs. It's compatible with most popular MP3 players like iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player.
     

  • iTunes for Windows; What can be said about this industry-leading jukebox that hasn't been said before? A slick interface, a successful online store, library sharing, ripping, burning, and seamless integration with the iPod make iTunes a great asset to have.
     

  • SmartFTP: SmartFTP is an extremely useful FTP client, thanks to its customisable interface and intuitive drag-and-drop transfers. Best of all, it comes loaded with enough functionality to satisfy the novice and the expert alike.
     

  • WordWeb: Highlight a word on your screen and press the appropriate keys and WordWeb displays the word's definition, along with all related synonyms and antonyms. It's like installing a virtual English specialist on your PC.
     

  • TweakUI: Get beneath the surface of the Windows Operating System with this Microsoft-developed program, which lets you easily fine-tune aspects of your PC's appearance and behavior.
     

  • Free Download Manager: Totally free programs often force you to deal with poor quality interfaces. Thankfully, that's not the case with this management tool, which organizes, schedules, and resumes downloads, all from a well-designed and intuitive main window.
     

  • Skype: This VoIP application, which lets you make toll-free PC-to-PC calls, probably isn't as popular with phone companies as it is with the general public. The conversations won't cost you anything, but you will have to pay for a microphone or a headset.
     

  • Spybot - Search & Destroy: If any piece of freeware deserves the name of a would-be James Bond movie, this is it. In addition to removing invasive, dangerous and annoying programs, the added Secure Shredder function absolutely destroys troublesome and malicious files, even the ones that you don’t know are on your computer.
     

  • ZipGenius: With its great interface and ability to work with nearly any file format you throw at it, ZipGenius is one of the best compression applications anywhere.

 

 


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