Monday, January 9, 2012

The 7 Best Free Software Programs Around in January 2012

It Costs No Money!

I am going to list my most favorite, most universally needed Free Software, that I think no home PC should be without, from Word Processing and Office Software, to Ripping and Burning, and from Anti-Virus to Voice over Internet. You're welcome.

The criteria are that the software is really great, that it is needed or can be used by a lot of people, and that you don't know how you got along without it before you got it. I don't care if it isn't as good in some respects as the commercial counterpart, just as long as it doesn't do anything bad, and is easy to use, and I don't care if it doesn't have as many bells and whistles, just as long as it does the things I need it to.

Here are my 7 Best Free Software Programs:

Picasa: Google's photo management, printing and light-editing program is an astoundingly useful piece of software that catalogs, edits, uploads, easily prints photos of all kinds. Indispensable for anyone who takes photos or has a collection. No real commercial competition at all.

LibreOffice: A functional clone of Microsoft Office forked from the open source software of Sun's Open Office, now Oracle's Open Office, that includes great workalikes for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access as well as Math, an equation editor, and Draw, what it sounds like. The Open Office people apparently didn't like where the product was going under Oracle, so they set it free, umm, Libre ... that's free ... in French ... or ... Spanish.

Imgburn: a truly powerful CD/DVD burning and ripping utility that does its job quickly, directly and easily. If you need to burn ISO files, make disc copies, or rip backups to disk, this is your utility.The software you really need rather than some bloated package like Nero or Roxio.

Freemake Video Downloader, Video Converter, and Audio Converter: These are really 3 (that I'm counting as 1 -- hey, it's my list) separate programs, but they are all free, and they all do a great job of manipulating your own or freely available content formats and ripping or burning it. You want to grab that YouTube video and save it in WMV or AVI format and burn a DVD of it? Freemake Video Downloader and Video Converter are your programs. No real commercial competition.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware v1.60: The one piece of free software that stands a chance of disinfecting your compromised machine after you have a bad case the internet flu, even when the infection has prevented EXE execution, blocked internet access and begun popping up demands for money every 20 seconds. A must.

AVG Free Anti-Virus: Rated 4-1/2 Stars by CNET, installs and runs in 5 minutes, doesn't bug you or require repeated license confirmation or that you endure pleas to upgrade. While there are arguably better for-pay programs, that doesn't mean this one isn't very good, or good enough for you. It is. It's free.

Skype: You know what it is. It's not only a free product, it's a verb. You can get a good HD webcam for 20 bucks, and your video phone calls will be free. What are you waiting for?

That's my list. Do you have a program that ought to be included?

Let me know!



PS If the link for the $20 webcam has expired by the time you read this check TechBargains or LogicBuy for something comparable

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