Useful programs

ComputerLong time since the last nerdy post.

Here below follows a list of useful programs that I have installed and actively use on my computer. Most of them are open source, so this could be useful for those who don't want to buy software, you'll realise that nowadays it is possible to do almost everything with open source or freeware programs.

All these programs are available for MS Windows. About the availability for other operating systems, please check their own websites.

OpenOffice (www.openoffice.org

It's almost a year that OpenOffice has replaced Microsoft Office on my computer. It does everything I need, that is it replaces Word, PowerPoint and Excel without any problem of compatibility, since it can save in its own format or in MS Office formats (.doc, .xls, etc.). Open source.

TextPad (www.textpad.com)

Text editor. If you are also a nerd, you will find out that this is one of the best text file editor, having a lot of useful features. Shareware.

Winamp (www.winamp.com)

The good old Winamp music player. I think it's the oldest program I have in my computer. Born as an mp3 player, nowadays it can play almost any type of music/video file. No need of Windows Media Player. It can also play Real Audio and Video (.rm, .ram) files, as well as Quick Time (.mov). For these formats you need to install the following plugins: for Real Audio install Real Alternative (you don't need to install Real One) and then Tara's Real Audio Input Plugin, for Quick Time install first Quick Time Alternative (you don't need to install Quick Time at all) and then add ;MOV to Winamp's DirectShow Decoder extension list @ prefs > plugins > input > in_dshow > config. For more information see the Winamp forum page about the most requested features/plugins. Freeware.

Skype (www.skype.com)

Well, the internet phone. Everybody knows it. Although I use it mostly for chatting with friends. It replaced the old ICQ. Freeware.

SeaMonkey (www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey)

This is my browser. Remeber the old Netscape? Remember the less old Mozilla? Well, this is the same but up-to-date software. It has just a new name. Why don't I use Firefox? Because I've always been used to all-in-one internet suites (that is, browser, e-mail reader and HTML editor in the same program). And, believe me, if you need to clean up messy pages of HTML code, you'll realise that SeaMonkey (same than Mozilla and Netscape) is faraway the best HTML cleaner.

The Gimp (www.gimp.org)

Image editor. The open-source answer to PhotoShop and similar. I don't do too much image manipulation, so I can't say what kind of features it is missing, but if you just use these kinds of programs for resizing images, change brightness/contrast, creating basic drawings with different layers and so on, this is best for you (most of all, it is free). 

Irfanview (www.irfanview.com)

This small piece of software is useful for image manipulation if for example you need to resize a lot of pictures, having a good batch processing feature. Perfect if you are used to take a huge amount of pictures with your web camera and then you realise they are too big to put them on the internet. Freeware.

Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net)

Digital audio editor. If you need to record your voice, music, radio, whatever you want. Open source.

7zip (www.7-zip.org)

The free alternative to WinZip. And also open source.

AntiVir (http://www.free-av.com)

A good antivirus. Free for personal use.

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