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Free Stuff

We like a bargain. Fortunately, in the area of software there are lots of great programs that are not only free, but are cool and can save us money. Here are some free software programs (with links) that we can recommend from personal experience.

COMMUNICATIONS

Skype - This program absolutely rocks. For less than $5.00 / mo. we have a US phone number and a UK phone number. Incoming calls are free, we call anywhere in the US and Canada for free, our friends in the UK call us for free and we call them for very cheap. Probably the best part is we can make great quality video calls to our friends and family...did we mention it was free?

ANTI-VIRUS

Avira - If you want to pay a large company an initial fee and then annual maintenance for pretty good software that slows down your computer and does an adequate job of protecting you from viruses, I guess that's OK with us. We prefer a product that is faster, less intrusive and more free. We've tried lot's of them but right now we like Avira because it is pretty consistently at or among the top AV software products in independent tests and because we think Germans make good stuff.

OFFICE SUITE (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, etc.)

Open Office - Remember WordStar? Probably not, but you probably know about Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Did you know there is a free alternative? We got tired of buying new versions and hassling-around with Microsoft every time we installed a new Operating System or bought a new computer so we decided to try Open Office. It is fully compatible with MS-Office and will be entirely familiar to anyone who has used Office. The template support is not quite as good as Microsoft's but for 99% of our work, it's perfect. Highly recommended.

E-MAIL

Thunderbird - Thunderbird is from the same people who brought us the Firefox web browser. It has the same email functionality as Outlook at a fraction of the cost (if 1 / 0 can be considered a fraction). We're using it exclusively. Thunderbird doesn't have Outlook's calendar functionality so we are currently testing a free product called EssentialPIM Portable which seems to be doing the trick.

DIGITAL PHOTO EDITING AND MANAGEMENT

Picasa - We spent last year in India and took a zillion photos (ask me how much I love my Nikon D40). Nothing we found can compare to Picasa for quickly getting photos out of your camera and onto the web. All the most-used editing functions are there and are really easy to use. Moreover, creating albums and putting them on the web for others or sending a couple snapshots to friends and family is a breeze. You might still want to have a sophisticated photo editor around to do some really artsy-fartsy work, but 99% of the time, we find Picasa is fit for the task. We aren't huge Google fans for reasons we won't get into here, but this program is great.

MORE FREE SOFTWARE

Snapfiles - We've been using this site for years as our first source for finding freeware to do just about anything we need. The site is divided into a "Shareware" and "Freeware" section. There are official ratings and user reviews of programs. Programs are virus-free and generally garbage-free.

Call us now: 859.536.4107
(Hours:
Mon-Fri 9am-5:30pm, Sat-Sun On-Call)
Email:  computers@crosbydrive.com 
921 Hammock Oak Ln, Lexington, KY, 40515

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