How to have bundles of free fun.
A COMPUTER is a fresh slate for getting organised, but buying and installing software for your new machine can really add up.
What if you could get most of it for free and it was as reliable as purchased programs?
Free software can be used, studied, modified, copied and redistributed.
From single- purpose programs to video phone calls, to more complex ones like installing a free operating system, there are a lot of alternatives to paying for software.
You may be content with Windows or IOS running on your machine, but free and open- source software developers prefer operating systems that they can alter, manipulate and improve.
Open source operating systems include GNU/ Linux ( www. gnu. org) and Ubuntu ( www. ubuntu. org. au), which both use the Linux OS kernel ( www. linux. org. au), but whatever you’re running, you can save bundles on free, downloadable programs available online.
Google Chrome is a browser- based operating system based on the Linux kernel that is designed for computer users who spend most of their time on the Internet.
It won’t run software itself, but web apps can be used in the Chrome browser to accomplish tasks such as word processing and media viewing, as well as online storage for storing most files. www. google. com/ chromebook
Microsoft Office is the top program for office productivity, but you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a free alternative such as Libreoffice www.libreoffice.org or Openoffice www.openoffice.org to do your word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and databases.
AVG Anti- virus Free is a reliable program for finding and removing malware on your computer or smartphone.www.avgfree.com.au
VLC Media player is a free and open source cross- platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD and various streaming protocols. www.videolan.org/vlc
Google Picasa is Google’s image and video manager and editor with an online component, Picasa Web Albums, that gives you an easy place to share pictures online. http://picasa.google.com
Audacity is an open- source audio tool for recording and editing audio files in different formats, including MP3S ( with a plug- in). www.audacity.sourceforge.net
Skype serves as a PC- to- PC audio and video calling phone and is always free. You only pay for Skype if you need to call landlines, send SMS messages, or want to get multiple people on a video conference. www.skype.com
MP3 Skype Recorder records Skype calls ( even those to landlines) to MP3 format. Calls can be saved in mono or stereo, in the bitrate you choose, with no limits to the length or size of the call or resulting audio file. www.voipcallrecording.com
Online back- up
Dropbox allows you to store your files online in an account starting at 2GB, which are also accessible on the Web and on smartphones, running IOS, Android and Blackberry.