My favourite free apps

As the world of free applications continues to grow almost exponentially, I’m often asked what’s the best “free stuff” you can load up on a spanking new laptop. Well, as always, there’s no definitive list of what’s best because “best” is all down to personal opinion and preference. Well, not being one to sit on the fence, here’s a list of free stuff that sits on some of my machines

Spotify – I’ve blogged on this just about anywhere I can – if you’re into music you must have Spotify which is free so long as you’re happy to put up with a few adverts. Quite simply the best quality musicĀ  streaming out there and simplicity itself

Mozilla Thunderbird – remarkably there are people out that that hate both Microsoft (so no Outlook) and Google (so no Gmail) – go figure. Anyway, if you fall into that camp then take a look a Thunderbird. Its had a checkered past but now seems to have a new lease of life with powerful tools and extensions from the Mozilla family

OpenOffice – another one for the anti MS/Google brigade but actually its a really powefull (and MS compatible) suite of office applications.

MediaCoder – a superb video encoding and transcoding application with specific solutions for all the popular device types that can be downloaded as separate modules. ave to be everywhere at once, and are happy to be signed in automatically by a 3rd party app, then this is for you.

Paint.Net / Inkscape – excellent Photoshop and Illustrator clones. They may not have all the features of their grown up cousins but they’re freeeeeeeee

Comodo AV/Firewall – the Comodo Internet Security suite was recommended to me by a colleague and it knocks the free competition as well as the more established brands for six. Simple to set up, ad free and low performance overhead.

Picassa – even the anti Google fraternity have to give Picassa a go. Simple way to organise, share and edit your photos

Slingplayer – I know its not exactly “free” because you need a slingbox back at home but the player is a fee download. Full control of my SKY+ and other attached media devices from anywhere in the world with a broadband connection – don’t leave home without it.

I’ll add more as I remember but that’ll do for starters

Anyone wanna recommend some others – go for it

Windows XP – the OS that refuses to die

This one might have slipped by a few folks – I missed it originally – but it seems that XP is set to remain the OS that just wont die

Microsoft announced yesterday that it would contnue to offer the option to downgrade from Vista or Windows 7 (…. though I’m not really sure why anyone would want do that ) for either the first 18 months after Windows 7 is launched or until its first service pack is released

As reported in ….. “Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate customers will have the option to downgrade to Windows XP Professional from PCs that ship within 18 months following the general availability of Windows 7 or until the release of a Windows 7 service pack, whichever is sooner, and if a service pack is developed,” confirmed a Microsoft company spokesperson to ComputerWorld.

So, who’s gonna be the first netbook manufacture to ditch XP in favour of Windows 7 and start the funeral procession ? Anyone ?? No ???

Wikipedia 1 – 0 Microsoft

Microsoft today ran up the white flag in the battle of the online encyclopedias

“On October 31, 2009, MSN Encarta Web sites worldwide will be discontinued, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009…”

Interestingly they close with ……

“Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years. However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft’s goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today’s consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business.”

Is free and socially networked the only way to survive ?