We seem to be inundated with “must have” lists lately. So I’ll jump on the bandwagon here. Your computer runs fine. Does almost everything you want it to do. Here is my “must have” list for programs to make your computer time more productive and accomplish more.
1. Open Office http://www.openoffice.org: If you can’t afford or aren’t willing to pay for Microsoft Office, this is a fine choice in Office systems. It includes replacements for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and a few others. Works very much like the M word system, and even saves in the respective Microsoft formats, as well as some of the lesser used formats, such as Word Perfect. True, it lacks some of the bells, whistles, and rarely used features of the respective Microsoft products, and it does not start up as fast, but for the price, I’m certainly not complaining. I’m typing this right now on Open Office and will send it to the editors in Microsoft format. FREE.
2. Google Chrome http://www.google.com/chrome: A web browser that will allow you to surf faster, safer, and even keep your bookmarks synchronized between your various computers. Awesome browser. It’s what I use 98% of the time here. NOTE: Keep Internet Explorer for now. There are certain sites like online games and a couple of banking sites that will not run in Chrome. Most will, but make sure yours will before dumping IE. FREE.
3. Irfanview http://www.irfanview.com/: A lightweight photo viewer and editor. It will do 90% of what you want to do with your photos. It’s no Photoshop, but will resize, switch formats, make color and contrast corrections and do slideshows for you. Great program. FREE.
4. Cute PDF http://www.cutepdf.com: Adobe PDF Reader is great at reading the Portable Document Format. But what if you want to make your own PDF file? Here’s your answer. It installs and becomes a virtual “printer” on your system, so you simply print your file to Cute PDF and everything comes out in a PDF. If you can print it, you can make it a PDF. FREE.
5. Trillian http://www.trillian.im: Chatting with friends is fun. But what if Mary’s on AOL, John’s on Yahoo, and Sally’s on Facebook? Instead of having all those chat clients open at one time, combine them all using Trillian. Also available for Android and your iPhone. FREE.
Notice I have not included any security software. I covered that earlier, if you search for my earlier columns, you’ll find my suggestions for anti-virus and malware software.
I’ll have more suggestions for you next time. In the meantime, enjoy your computer and surf safe.