Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Gifts to You

Tis the season for giving.

Sure you hear about free apps for your smart phone all the time but did you know that there are free programs for your computer too?

Here are some that I use and some that come recommended but I haven’t had to use yet... but might now.

  1. SketchUp - I’ve talked about it before and it’s still the best deal out there.
  2. Trillian - this chat program is a great way to combine all the different chat programs (AOL, MSN, Skype, Google+, Facebook) in one so you don’t have to load each program to chat with different friends.  It also has an app for your phone if you really can’t get enough chatting! Pidgin is another program like this that my husband uses.  
  3. Picassa - I use this program for organizing my photos uploading to their web site so I can see them on my smartphone without actually using space on my phone.
  4. CutePDF - installs a printer driver to print to pdf.  It doesn’t have all the functions of Adobe but it’s all I need.
  5. Jing - fun and easy way to capture either images or short clips from your screen.  It’s great for tech support when you want to send in the steps you did and don’t want to write each one out.  Just start the recorder and do it, you can even narrate.
  6. Evernote - I use this to take notes and capture web sites on my laptop, smartphone, or when I’m on someone else’s computer.  They all sync up so if a friend gives me a great recipe when I’m at her house I have it when I get home on my laptop. Now, there are people who say the DropBox is better, I’m tempted to download it and try but I don’t know if I can transfer my notes from one to the other and I’ve got a lot of notes.
  7. GIMP (Graphic Image Manipulation Program)  - If you don’t have PhotoShop you can get this one for free.
  8. CCleaner - cleans up the junk on your computer great if you are running out of hard disk space.
Here are some recommended ones that I’m going to try:
  • 7-zip - zips up your files
  • imgburn - copys files to a DVD - great if you have a lot of files to send to a client
  • teamViewer - online viewer of other peoples computer, similar to GoToMeeing but free.

BEWARE: Make sure you download these programs from their actual web site or a trusted site like CNet.  There are lots of hackers out there setting up fake versions of the populars free downloads with their own bad stuff on them.

I hope you can use some of these programs to life a little easier. 

From my family to yours I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
(Yes, we are geeks)