We list some of the most useful free software out there.
Ahmed Ashiful Haque Google Desktop Search We’ve told you about this before when we ran a feature on all the desktop searchengines, but reminding you again just in case. Google Desktop Search has been around for a while and it’s quite popular. The software indexes all documents, web-pages, emails from Outlook, a wide variety of data files, from Word to PDF to Video and more. The search is very convenient to access too, just press Ctrl twice and a Quick Search Box pops up. When you type in your query, it searches and instantly shows results. Google Desktop Search is particularly useful for finding a file, email, bookmark, or browser cache based on the file contents. It indexes relatively quickly, and displays results in your browser in that familiar Google-search style. It’s also pretty accurate most of the times. The company recently released the version 4 of the software which adds a nifty sidebar tool, the likes of which Microsoft promised in Windows Vista. The sidebar gives users one-stop access to all kind of fun stuff, like email, weather, games, a note pad, and more. Get it at desktop.google.com Foxit PDF Reader What’s a PDF reader doing on this list? There’s Adobe Acrobat for PDF files, right? Well, Foxit is faster, smaller, isn’t a resource hog like Acrobat, and it doesn’t need to be installed. All that means that you don’t have to wait the 5-10 seconds it takes Acrobat to open a PDF, for one thing. The software can run straight from a CD or USB drive when in need; and that means you can bring the 2 MB Foxit Reader along with your PDFs, just in case the computer you’ll be using doesn’t have a PDF reader. Get it from http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php Picasa 2: photo manager Do you like (digital) photography? Do you collect wallpapers, digital art or photos? If you want to keep a digital library of images or pictures, you’d seriously benefit from using Google’s Picasa. It can organise all the pictures in your entire collection and make them all easily available as a huge library of thumbnails sorted by date and folder. You can also add stars, labels and keywords to sort photos. Picasa can directly import photos from a camera. With Picasa, you can also resize photos in a batch, apply effects, email, and publish to blogs and websites. Picasa also has a very useful backup feature which lets you easily backup your collection on CDs or DVDs. Get it from Picasa.com IrfanView IrfanView is a stupendously popular, free, stable and mature image viewer. It’s fast enough to replace the Windows Image and Fax Viewer, has enough features so that you’ll never think about ACDCEE again, and can resize images in a jiffy, so you’ll never
have to wait for Photoshop to load when you need to resize a photo. (Some say IrfanView’s resigning algorithm is the best out there, even better than Photoshop.) It’s also very small: the basic installation requires only one megabyte. Its 400 kilobyte executable can run without installing so you can always carry it on your USB disk or put it on the CD when burning a photo CD. You can also download a 5 MB set of plug-ins that brings support for all kind of files - flash, video, Photoshop, etc – to IrfanView. Get it at IrfanView.com Skype: Long-distance phone calls for free Skype is Internet telephony. That means long distance phone calls. Over the internet. For free. Skype is already hugely popular worldwide. It’s very simple to set up, works anywhere you can use a fast internet connection, and doesn’t cost anything. All you need is a microphone, a fast internet connection, and a computer. Just download the free software from skype.com, register for a free account at the site, get whoever you’ll be calling to do the same and call each other. This is particularly useful for folks who’ve got friends or family abroad. Trillian Trillian is an instant messenger that lets you connect to AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo!, MSN Messenger, ICQ or IRC. Trillian can show multiple chat conversations on a single window and save screen space. You can also easily sort your contacts. Get it from ceruleanstudios.com VLC: the video player of choice Video Lan Client is an excellent video player that supports all kinds of audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …). Came across a video file and both Windows Media Player and Quicktime went "Buh?" when you tried to play it? Trust me - VLC will play it. VLC can also convert video files, play videos archived in RAR files and videos that haven’t fully downloaded yet. It’s less than ten megabytes and available at www.videolan.org/vlc/ 7-Zip Archiving formats like ZIP and RAR are now so common and popular for so long, that Windows started having full support for ZIP from 2001. Anyway, if you’re still using WinZip, switch to 7-Zip. It’s better, faster and supports all kind of formats like ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR, CAB, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM and DEB. Get it at 7zip.org Don’t forget The fast, secure browser Firefox with cool features like tabbed-browsing (GetFirefox.com) or the even faster and more feature-rich Opera (Opera.com). The Mozilla Thunderbird email client that beats Outlook fair and square: both in terms of features, security and expandability (http://mozilla.org/thunderbird). OpenOffice, the free office application suite that’s an adequate substitute for Microsoft Office. It works with
all but the most complex Office documents transparently and has some unique features like automatic word completion and a powerful math formula tool. (OpenOffice.org). It never ends There’re just so many great free software out there, it’s almost impossible to try to make list of the best stuff. If you’re interested, head over to http://www.econsultant.com/iwant-freeware-utilities/index.html where you’ll get a giant list of more freeware programs. Yep - and they're all "extremely useful free utilities that do specific jobs really well and save time and money." For an even more comprehensive list, check out “The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities” at http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_46_free_utilities.htm