I’m a enthusiastic practitioner of "freeware," free software that is available for use without payment of any kind. I find that freeware is often created away from the "corporate culture" and is often more efficient and effective than it’s commercial counterparts.
I use Firefox for my browser, and Thunderbird for my email. I use Open Office instead of Microsoft Office– which includes the Open Office equivalents for word processing, data base, spreadsheets, and more. All of my college presentations and lectures have developed on "Impress" which is the Open Office version of PowerPoint.
I rip my MP3s with AudioGrabber. I have a multi-track digital recording system on my notebook computer called Kristal, which I’ve used to produce not just demos but at least one song currently getting radio play. I use CDBurner to burn CDs.
I create my PDF files with a program called CutePDF– it installs like a printer, and when I want to create a PDF I simply choose it as my printer and Voila! It works with any program, whether its word processing, desktop publishing, database, spreadsheet, etc. And, as you might imagine, I read PDF files with Foxit, which I find much more useful and quicker than Acrobat
Of course, much of the freeware in the computer world is like most of the computers in the computer world: it’s Windows based. But don’t assume that without checking, because many of these programs are also available for Mac. I know a number of you are Mac zealots (even beyond fanatics!). I even have a free software site for you: Mac Recon.
So the next time you need to do something with your computer that calls for new software, check for freeware before you spend a fortune at the software vendor. You might find something that works for you.