June 26, 2010
In the next few days, I will review some of the best alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite. You might want one of the alternatives for…
…your kid’s computer
…your home computer
…your small business
or any time you’d use Office.
I will review some of the best free titles and web app Office alternatives including:
- Google Docs
- NeoOffice/OpenOffice (they are very much the same thing)
- Zoho Office
Some other alternatives include Docs.com, but docs.com requires a Facebook account to login, which I don’t have.
June 23, 2010
If you make a lot of presentations, videos, or any other multimedia items, you probably need more fonts than just what comes on your computer. Be sure to check the license on the font if you are using it on something commercial or widely-distributed. Here are some of the best sites to look at:
- 1001freefonts.com– has many categories of fonts for free Windows/Mac download, also can download 10,000 fonts licensed for commercial use for $19.95
- freemacfonts.com– has a reasonable collection of Mac-only fonts, but poorly organized, search box takes you to a paid fonts site- you have to click through the alphabet to see all the fonts
- fontspace.com– A unique font site that has 13, 524 and counting free Mac/Windows fonts that are user-submitted
If you are bored or adventurous, you could try your hand at making fonts with FontForge. It is a clunky X11 app, so don’t expect that you’ll have time to design all your own fonts.
June 20, 2010
Do you save money by looking for free, open-source alternatives to paid apps? Unless you have already heard of osalt.com, you will benefit in some way by reading this article. If you already look for free alternatives, this site will make it easier. If you don’t, this site will make it worthwhile.
OSALT.com centralizes an open-source software database and organizes it by related programs. Just search for a paid software title and it will list the free, open-source alternatives and what operating systems they work on.
Try it @ OSALT.com
June 17, 2010
If you’re reading this, I’m sure there’s probably been some time that you wanted to demonstrate something on your screen to someone else. It might have been a tutorial for your software, or a how-to demo.
Either way, you could have used Jing. Jing is a lightweight utility that allows you to capture screen videos to SWF format. (Unfortunately, the SWF has a Jing watermark/ad in it- you can remove this and add MP4 support for $19.95)
For some reason, it requires you to sign up for a Screencast.com account (free) in order to run the software.
It also allows you to capture PNG images (no watermarks on these!) and annotate them with its integrated tools. You can download Jing for free @ jingproject.com. If the little sun get annoying, you can switch it to a menubar icon in Jing’s preferences.
It works on Mac and Windows, but for Windows I recommend CamStudio.
June 11, 2010
One of the main reasons so many users hesitate before switching to a Mac is because so many of their favorite programs don’t work on a Mac. There are many popular solutions to this: VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, and the old VirtualPC. Unfortunately, these apps all cost money and require a license of Windows to install on them: more money. Today I will mention a few alternatives, some which require a license to windows, some which do not.
1. Virtual Box– Virtual Box is a free, open source alternative to the apps listed above. It is a virtual environment software just like Parallels and VMware Fusion. Virtual Box can also run Linux and ChromeOS if those interest you. I believe it also has a version for Windows.
2. Boot Camp- This is a little too obvious. It comes with all new Macs now, but its main downfall it that it requires you to reboot into your second OS rather than run it in a window.
3. Wine / Wine Bottler – For most, this is perhaps the best of all. It lets you open Windows apps on a Mac within the X11 environment. Wine Bottler can even convert Windows apps into Mac apps that run alone in X11. The main downfall is that this does not work for all Windows apps, especially new ones- it takes the company awhile to add support for them. Winehq.org is the main site for it, but for a Mac-friendly version that includes Bottler, I recommend http://winebottler.kronenberg.org. Best of all, its free.
June 3, 2010
Looking for free antivirus? In this article, I will cover the reasons you need to have antivirus, and the best free software titles to get.
If you use Windows, some of the best software titles are AVG Free Edition, Avast Free Antivirus, and/or Malwarebytes Anti-malware. Don’t install too many antivirus titles to your computer- this will slow it down and the programs will interfere with each other in some cases. Antivirus is especially important if you have Windows. Windows is the prime target for hackers and phishing scams. Even if you are careful on the internet, you could get a virus from a colleague, friend, or family member who plugs a flash drive into your computer. Additionally, you could install ThreatFire along with your other antivirus: It notices the general trick patterns that viruses use and detects them before a normal antivirus program even knows it exists.
If you use a Mac, you are not quite as vulnerable, but vulnerable nonetheless. I’ll put it this way: If you’re a hacker/virus maker, you want to steal someone’s identity or get money from the victim. More people use Windows than Mac, so you’ll get more money attacking Windows. Some still attack Macs though. That’s why there’s iAntivirus and ClamXav. On the iAntivirus download page, click the green button that says “Get Free”- you don’t want the blue TrialPay one.
Everyone should have antivirus- even if your computer doesn’t have sensitive information, you could unknowingly pass a virus on to a friend or coworker who does. Also, don’t fall for ads on webpages that say you have dozens of viruses or registry errors- they don’t know that for a fact and when you click on it to download the “fix,” it blocks access to the files on your computer and makes you pay to get them back. This a mostly a threat for Windows, but Mac users should be cautious too.
Tell your friends with the share button so they can protect their computers. Know of a virus or phishing scam you’ve noticed or been affected by? Tell me in the comments below.
UPDATE: I was recently linked to in a question about Google, and another antivirus software is VirusBarrier Express, which is on the new Mac App Store.