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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And your program is freeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!**

So you’ve bought a new computer – either you’re really pleased because you got a great deal and didn’t spend nearly as much as you thought you’d have to; or you went all out and bought top-of-the-line equipment – the fastest, the biggest…everything you could possibly want in a computer (and are feeling just slightly guilty). Either way, you’re happy you took the plunge and bought that new computer because your old one can now be relegated to its rightful role of doorstop.

But wait…where’s Microsoft Word? Excel? Photoshop?? Suddenly you realize you are not done spending…unless…

…you can use FREE programs!!

OpenOffice is a free version of Microsoft Office Suite. Try it at
Includes word processing, spreadsheet, database & graphics. Saves documents to your local computer.
Zoho.com & Google Apps (at
www.google.com/a) are free office suites that save your documents online, so you can access them from any computer.

Photoshop Express (at
www.photoshop.com/express) is a free photo editing program from Adobe that you use online. It’s a teeny tiny version of Photoshop - but you upload your photo to their site and do your editing online. It has some great editing tools but does not have an actual “resize” tool – however you can choose to download your photo back to your own computer in a smaller size.

For free photo resizing, I’m still recommending Image Resizer from Microsoft. The version for Vista is at
http://www.vso-software.fr/products/image_resizer/ and the one for Windows XP can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx.

PrimoPDF (at
www.primopdf.com) is a free online program that will convert many file formats to pdf files.

And don’t forget the security software – free antivirus programs such as AVG (free.grisoft.com) and Avast (www.avast.com); and free anti-malware programs – Ad-Aware (www.lavasoft.com) and SpyBot (www.download.com).

**A word of caution – if you’re going to use free software not mentioned above, research it before you install it. A simple web search should tell you whether other people have had trouble with bugs in the program or if it is infested with spyware. If someone you trust has had a good experience with the program that’s generally a good recommendation.


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