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My favorite Freeware

Updated on July 21, 2012

I love free stuff. Unfortunately, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is often the case with many things in life, and computer software is no different. Much of the free software floating around on the Internet is just plain old garbage. However, there is some great free software out there. Below is a list of my favorite freeware (the “technical” term for free software).

Open Office. Don’t feel like spending the $150+ for Microsoft Office? Try out Open Office! As far as I am concerned, this is the alternative to Microsoft office. Open Office is a suite of programs that allows you to do anything that can be done in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint. The interface is very similar to Pre-2007 versions of Microsoft Office (before the tabbed browsing), so much so that you may not realize that you are not using Microsoft Office. Files can be opened and saved in numerous formats, including Microsoft office formats. There are also tons of templates and extensions, which are also for free.

WordPress. WordPress is the blogging software that I use to write this blog, and is by far the most popular blogging software today. According to the WordPress website, there have been over 25 million downloads of the software. The website boast of the “5 minute installation”, and I must admit that is probably the truth (plus many web hosts have 1-click installations of WordPress, making installation even quicker and easier). The interface is simple and easy to use, and there are thousands of plugins and templates available for the software. If you plan on blogging or setting up a website, this is the software to get.

Mozilla Thunderbird. Many people are familiar with Firefox, Mozilla’s internet browser. Thunderbird is Mozilla’s desktop email program, and is a serious competitor to Microsoft Outlook. This is what I use to manage all of my email accounts. The interface is easy to work with, and the software loads quickly, even when loaded down with multiple folders and RSS feeds. Security features include S/MIME, digital signing, message encryption, and a built-in phishing detector. There are plenty of add-ins available to customize Thunderbird to do what you want it to do. If you are tired of the poor performance of Microsoft Outlook, give Thunderbird a try….you won’t be disappointed.

Google Earth. This is a whole planet mapping program from Google. The interface is simple and easy to use, and the maps are based off satellite mapping data. A very nice program.

AVG Antivirus, free edition. Lots of computers come with this antivirus pre-installed, and for good reason….this is one of the best, if not the best, free antivirus out there. While it does not do quite as good of a job as the paid-for version (which is pretty cheap anyway), it does a great job for the free price tag. If you need a cheap antivirus, check this one out.

Calibre. This is an ebook reader that has been around for a long time. The greatest thing about it is that it seems to be able to open just about any ebook format; most of the proprietary ereaders only open their ebooks. You can even convert books between different formats. If you want just one ebook reader for your pc, this is the one to get.

Thanks for reading my hub! Have a favorite freeware program? Leave a comment about it!


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