Make computing Cheaper; Download free software

Do you download software whether 'copyright' or 'copyleft' from the internet? If not, I suggest you do because there are a lot of free obtainable, high quality software that can leverage your day to day computing.

Open software (yes, these are the copyleft applications) can legally be obtained and used for free, the issue of cost and quality would seem an easy call. Obviously, nothing is less expensive than free.

Most Kenyans involved in computing would agree that any application is not without cost - such as maintenance and/or training.

Contrary to popular belief, these free software programs are not weaker versions with limited capabilities of their expensive counterparts.

Therefore, I would like to caution you on using pirated serials, activation keys and cracks. These illegal applications can corrupt your system and affect the performance of your computer hardware.

As a result, instead of downloading or buying illegal software versions and licenses, just search the internet for free full feature applications that can deliver and fulfill your computing requirements.

Here are some great pieces of software you can download for free on the internet today that I have used personally:

Ubuntu
 

Ubuntu is an African word meaning 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. Ubuntu is a community developed operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. Whether you use it at home, at school or at work Ubuntu contains all the applications you'll ever need, from word processing and email applications, to web server software and programming tools. Download and learn more at Ubuntu for human beings

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)


At last, Microsoft is listening. Their operating systems (Vista, Win 7) are now protected by MSE anti-virus. MSE provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple. Download and learn more at Microsoft Security Essential

Picasa 



Google does it again. Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes it easy to view, organize, edit and share the digital photos on your PC. One of the powerful options of Picasa is the possiblity to export your images without any html or javascript knowledge. It is a native application for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Linux. However, there is an iPhoto plugin and a stand-alone program for uploading photos in Mac OS. Download and learn more at Picasa

Prey

                               
They can run but they can't hide. Prey is an open source application that helps you track and find your laptop if it ever (God forbid!) get stolen It works in all operating system. Prey helps you locate your missing laptop by sending timed reports with other information of its whereabouts. If you need help in configuration of your device e-mail me via comments and I'll try to get back to you otherwise download and learn more at Prey

    

Portable Document Format is a standard for secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world.With cutePDF writer, you can create professional quality PDF documents for free. Unfortunately, it's currently available for windows operating system only. Download and learn more at CutePDF Writer 

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt  is a free open source disk encryption software. It works on all current versions of Windows plus Mac OS X and Linux systems. It lets you create encrypted vaults. To someone without the password, a vault is a file filled with meaningless jargon. But open it with TrueCrypt, and it becomes a virtual drive you can read from and write to, as you would any hard drive partition.

We all have files that need to be kept private — financial spreadsheets containing credit-card and bank-account numbers, confidential business plans, lists of clients, or maybe just something very personal.  

TrueCrypt vaults can use AES, Serpent, or Twofish encryption — three of the better encryption standards available for public use. If you use a strong password, no one else is going to get into that vault. Download and learn more at TrueCrypt

DropBox

Dropbox, an online file-backup, sharing, and synchronization service, is one of those simple applications that, once installed, quickly become an vital part of your computing process.

A small application that saves you immense amounts of time and effort. Once set up, Dropbox becomes just another folder on your personal computer or Mac, Ipad or any other computing devices. Your files are stored both locally in your Dropbox folder and online on the service's servers. Dropbox lets you back up, share, and sync any file merely by dragging the file into the Dropbox folder on your desktop. Any changes made to files in Dropbox are automatically updated in all other linked Dropbox folders in other devices, as long as you are connected (or when you reconnect) to the Internet.

Dropbox works with all versions of Windows, but interestingly its folder retains the classic Windows XP Explorer look.

Dropbox's charm lies in its simplicity. But simple does not mean limited — the service has a broad menu of features that make it an invaluable tool for managing files. The free Dropbox Basic lets you store up to 2GB of data in the cloud. Download and learn more at DropBox

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a free office suite software, much like Microsoft Office. It lets you import files from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and work on them and share them just as if you were using office. The suite can be used by windows, Macintosh and Linux end-users. Download and learn more at Libreoffice.

Calibre

Calibre is a free and open source e-book management program. Other than indexing you digital books, it also comes with its e-book viewer, a powerful conversion engine that easily switches between the majority of e-book formats, online acees to your collection plus many more features.

It is suitable for Windows, Mac or Linux users. What is especially helpful is that Calibre sorts books by number of attributes (title, author). It also automatically retrieves extra metadata online, from websites such as Amazon to add extra information to your books using existing information. If you are a stickler for detail, you’ll love this feature. Download and learn more at Calibre

Sand Boxie


Sand Boxie is a clever freeware program that provides a safe vault for you to install and test new software, run existing programs, or surf the web and if something bad happens it cannot affect your PC. Simply, install, access the control window and use it to run any program installed or loaded in your PC. Download and learn more at SandiBoxie

Zone Alarm
Zone alarm is a free personal firewall software that keeps inside and outside(internet) threats from getting into your computer; It is a 2-way application. Although, several operating systems have their own in-built personal firewalls, you may opt to replace them with a third-party software such as this one. It also offers security suite that protects your computer from viruses and spywares. Download and learn more at ZoneAlarm

Crawler Parental Control


Crawler Parental Control is also a free tool that allows you to control user activities on your computer. It controls children from accessing adult-oriented websites, which in turn endangers the security of your computer by attack from worms and trojans. Download and learn more at Crawler Parental Control


These free software programs are just but a few of what is out there. All you really have to do is search.

Tips on Search:
  1. Search for online reviews first to find out if it’s really a good application. 
  2. Make sure that the software has features that fulfill your requirements.
  3. Download only from the developer’s website or from those recommended on the software’s homepage.
How about you? What other free and high quality software do you use? Kindly share them below as a comment.

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