5 min read

Thursday 13 - Thirteen programs I actually use (and are free!)

In the last six months, I've become a free software hound. It all started with a post about free software. My eyes were opened to a whole world of free and fabulous software. I wanted to share with you some of the software that I now use almost every day. And it's free and fabulous!

Please note: ?I am not against people making money on their tools. I feel trapped by the endless updates. I don't like the fact that some of my favorite and fabulous programs were jacked up by the latest update.?

Thursday Thirteen - Free and Fabulous Software

Thursday 13 Free and Fabulous

1. Edit Pad Lite:?This is a simple text editor. I've used it for years. Pros: When you don't use it for a few minutes, it goes into your bar. I know that sounds simple, but I can't tell you how many times it's saved me. ?Edit Pad Lite Page

2. Free RIP:?I have a number of CDs that were created by people that Windows can't find the licenses for. Why? Who knows? So rather than carting my entire computer to bed so I can listen to my SleepTracks.com insomnia tapes, I used this program! Ta Da! ?Free RIP rips my CDs into WAV, MP3, Vorbis, WMA or FLAC. Free Rip page

3. Free Commander:?This program makes it easy to move files between drives or onto CDs. Again, this sounds very simple, but it's wicked helpful. ?Free Commander Page

4. Plurk:?Plurk is like Twitter only better. You can have conversations with people from around the world. I've learned so much about... everything. I've made great food from recipes, learned programming tips, received fabulous software hints and... wow.... I've received tremendous support when I've needed it - and given it when it's needed. ?Give it a try. If you like learning and talking to people, you'll love it. Plurk Page

5. Gmail:?I received my first piece of email in 1996. In 1996, email was a fun way to connect with people. Now? It's all about the business and spam. Sigh. Gmail has fabulous spam filters. I've been able to organize my email into different boxes that filter into "personal", "work" and "writing" categories. If you haven't tried it, you owe it to your life to get it. ?Gmail.com

6. GTalk:?This is a free program from Google. You can speak, computer to computer, with people around the world. You can also IM or Text message your friends. I use this program to keep up with clients and friends. GTalk Page

7. Google Calendar:?Why do I love this program? Google text messages me before every appointment at times I designate. So when I'm writing, I have time to return to the present. When you set an appointment you can email the person you are meeting. They confirm. After years of wondering if my client's knew they had appointments? This is a god send. Google Calendar Page

8. Skype:?I've had skype for a long, long time. But I've only used it for voicemail. For example, I used it when I was on the Colorado Trail to keep up with my voicemail. I've started to use it, this year, to contact people around the world via computer to computer. I've had fabulous conversations with writers. When my husband was in Mexico, we chatted a few times a day. All free. ?Skype Page

9. Avast and AVG:?I have these programs on different computers. I haven't had a problem with any virus or trojan with this caveat. I caught a trojan from a blog. Avast was on it immediately, but it took some time to get rid of the trojan. But hey, it's free. Avast?or AVG

10. GIMPshop:?If you know me, you know that I hate Adobe products. I know. I know. They are everything and forty bags of chips. (Hey, I hate Apple to... go figure.) Adobe products make me nuts. I started using GIMP sometime last year and couldn't figure it out. Recently, I started using GIMPshop. It has most of the tool bars as Photoshop, so it's familiar, easy, and phew, not Adobe. ?GimpShop Page

11. GNU Cash:?I've grown to despise Quicken. In a fit of desperation (read Quicken screwed up a years worth of household accounting when I'm trying to do our taxes), I found GNU Cash. Ahhh... Easy tutorials and very straight forward interface. Plus, you can download from your banks, etc. I am now in the process of setting everything into it. Go ahead, spend another $90 updating your Quicken. I'm using GNU Cash for my personal and business accounting. GNU Cash page

12. Other InBox:??This is a fabulous product. It's designed so you can make email addresses on the fly. For example, if I see a newsletter or an article that I want to read, but it requires and email address? I just use an other inbox address. I don't have to tell other inbox that I'm doing it. As long as I use my account, it goes to the right place. I use it for all my website contact forms. ?Ok, here's the true luxury --->it sends a summary of your email every morning<---- swoon! When you get hundreds of email a day, this is truly delicious! I have a beta release version, but the full version should be available very soon. Other Inbox page

13. Todoist:?This is a powerful project management/time management tool. I use it to track all of my websites and projects. You can set priorities (a la Covey) and hierarchies by project. For any busy person, this is a fabulous way to keep all of your "To Dos" in one place. Plus, there's a delicious check the box and disappear into history function! ToDoIst Page

What favorite free programs do you use? Leave them in the comments and I'll add them here!?


  • "This cleans out the PC?s registry way deep inside taking out all registry changes some programs leave behind. I?ve used it well over a year on three different PC?s flawlessly." The Walking Mark
  • "The one piece of free software that I absolutely could not live without is Note Tab Lite, one of the most muscular text editors I?ve ever used. They have a pro version, but I?ve never felt the need for anything more than the freebie one. Best thing about it? One click lets you substitute it for Notepad in Windows so that it becomes your default text editor" ?Cameleon at Coffee Break
  • "A free program I use is SparkPeople, which is like weight watchers but free." All Rileyed Up, Los Angelista
  • "I use ?SpyBot Search and Destroy. Oh, and Digsby! Yay for awesome free programs!" Mary?
  • "I?m hooked on Pandora and also on Just Hear It, which finds any song you want to hear." Los Angelista
  • "About the only one I use is AdAware. Amazing how much garbage it finds every week!" Heather at Word Trix

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