Kim's Top 10 Freebies of 2011

1. Security Center
The most popular downloads of 2011, by far, were security programs - and that's what I like to see! Instead of filling up this entire list with security software, though, I'm going to link to my Security Center page. Here, you can find all the free security software you'll ever want.

2. Clean out your PC
PC-cleaning programs were also in high demand this year. Again, that's something I like to see. Regular maintenance can keep your PC healthy. This collection of popular cleaning programs was one of my listeners' favorites.

3. LibreOffice
Whether you're working at a company, running your own business or in school, you can't escape Microsoft Office. It's the de facto standard of productivity software. Unfortunately, it's also very expensive. This free alternative suite can do much of the same work and is even compatible with Office file formats.

Streaming online TV and movies hit big in 2011. Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and others paved the way. Of course, the selection on these services is still somewhat limited. If you want to watch TV programming from around the world, this program is what you want.

5. Internet Explorer 9
I haven't been a fan of Internet Explorer for a long time. There were much better, and safer, browsers around. With IE9, however, Microsoft created a fast, secure browser that rivals its competitors. If you are still running IE8 on Vista or 7, you need to update now.

When you think of photo-editing and graphics programs, Adobe's Photoshop is usually at the top of the list. However, unless you're a professional graphic artist, it's likely out of your price range. This powerful alternative can perform many of the same tasks, and it's free.

7. Firefox
If you're running a version of Internet Explorer other than 9, your computer is not safe. You're also missing the latest standards in Web technology. Firefox is one of the best alternatives available. It's fast, secure, customizable and, best of all, free!

8. Angry Birds (Chrome app)
This quirky game was a runaway hit on smartphones as soon as it was released. Apparently, you like it on your computer as well. Play it in your browser for free using Google's Chrome and the Chrome App Store.

9. Google DNS
Is your Internet running slow? It could be high traffic, a slow connection or possibly your DNS server. If it's the latter, you can speed up your browsing by switching to Google's DNS server. This Download explains how to go about it.

10. Project Gutenberg
E-readers are increasingly popular gadgets; you can carry hundreds or thousands of books around wherever you go. Of course, buying that many books will leave you broke. Fortunately, there are thousands of free and public domain books on the Internet. Project Gutenberg is one of the best places to find them.



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