Free Computer software

We are now into another year, and Christmas seems a distant memory. January is always a difficult month, with a very long gap between the December and January paydays, and an expensive holiday period in between. So I thought I would look at free computer software this month.

Just because software is free does not mean it is bad software, there are some very good free applications, and we will look at some of them now

Digital Photo Organiser – Picasa 2
From Google we have Picasa 2, in our opinion a must have for anyone with a computer and digital camera. It will help you organise, manage, and keep track of all those photos, and includes basic photo editing as well.

Digital Photo Editor – Paint.NET
Has all the usual photo editing tools including a “clone” tool so that you can remove the lamp post that always seem to be growing out of someone’s head on an otherwise perfect photo. Easy to use as well compared to some of the other editing tools.

Anti Virus – AVG Free
If you are a home PC user you can get a superb Anti Virus product totally free. Anti Virus protection is really important to have, but can be expensive. Now with AVG Free there is no reason not to be protected from viruses. In our opinion this product is better than many of the well known “paid for” Anti Virus suites.

Office software suite – Open Office
Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are just too expensive for most home PC users, and the cheaper “Works suite” from Microsoft is not compatible with documents created in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The answer is OpenOffice, in our opinion another must have program.

Email program – Thunderbird
The standard supplied email programs Outlook Express, and for Vista users Windows Mail, are very basic in functionality, and prone to crashing when you have lots of emails in your inbox or other folders. But the superior Outlook program is only available if you buy Microsoft Office. Why not try Thunderbird from Mozilla, it’s far less prone to errors, and the functionality is much closer to Outlook than Outlook Express.

Online Backup – Mozy Free
Mozy will give you 2 Gigabytes of free backup storage, and a program to automate the backing up of your data, in the background, across your broadband connection. Never worry again about losing those all important data files.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services


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