Five Free Software Programs Everyone Should Have
The first category is comprised of programs that are best of
breedócommercial or otherwise. This includes programs that are not as slick
as commercial products, but they're are easier to use or I prefer them
because of certain features.
Here are five of the best free software programs that I recommend
everyone should have.
VLC Media Player At the top of this list is the
VLC media player
from Video LAN Organization. It's an all purpose video player, which also
plays all audio formats. If VLC can't play a media format, then nothing
will. This program is the answer to all those error messages from Windows
Media Player, saying it does not have the codec or can't play something or
other. VLC not only plays all formats but plays them well. This is one of
the most important pieces of software you can have on your machine. And it
works on Windows, Linux, Mac and Unix boxes. Wow, it's a stunner.
Irfanview Next comes everyone's favorite picture viewer and
Irfanview from Irfan. It's the definitive viewer. Makes sure you also
download the plug-ins, too. It can read everything, including old Kodak .kdc
files, Adobe native files, and even TXT files. It will also play most movie
formats, as well as audio files. I'd advise you install it before VLC and
let VLC take the media files, though. The program has a lot of features and
is a great photo manager, but it only does minor photo editing, so you still
need Photoshop if you are serious about editing.
ImgBurn For those of you who like to work with ISO images and need
reliable ways to create and burn ISO images on and off discs effortlessly,
ImgBurn is the
CD/DVD burner utility you want. This kind of program is something
you do not realize you need until you start uploading or downloading ISO
images. Every other program is convoluted when it comes to this simple task.
ImgBurn sets all the variables automatically and logs its activities
Open Office If you can't afford Microsoft Office, then
Open Office will do. People who have been put off by Star Office in the
past could do worse than check out Open Office, which I use to write many of
my columns. I have been so impressed with the improvements in this product,
as it will carry the day for 90 percent of the Office suite users out there.
Microsoft Office is still king, but too expensive for many budget-minded
users. The word processor is as good as Word although Word has strong and
useful grammar checking and better mark-up/history abilities. The only other
real weak spot is the Excel clone, because it will not take a massive
spreadsheet, which is a serious drawback for number crunchers. But I suspect
that will eventually be fixed. This suite is a winner, let me tell you.
Audacity Finally, today's last recommendation, is a sound editor,
you are an amateur podcaster or someone who likes to work with sound files
but doesn't want to go pro with Cakewalk or the other professional systems,
this program is a little gem. It's a nice, feature-rich sound editor that can do almost
anything. And since it works on all platforms (as do most of the programs
I've listed), you can quickly download it for any machine you are on for
emergency editing when you aren't on your main machine.
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