Software I Recommend
People often ask me questions about computers, and often I end up referring them to a bit of useful software I have run across. It's truly staggering how much software is available for free on the Internet. You just have to know where to look! Below I have listed some of my favorites.
- Mozilla Firefox
For too long, Internet browsing has been dominated by the Big Blue E and the shoddy, non-standards-compliant coding behind it. But a worthy challenger has finally emerged, and his name is Firefox!
My favorite Firefox extensions:
- Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick - Allows Firefox to render pages with a myriad of options turned on or off to simulate various viewing environments. Without question, this is the one extension I couldn't live without as a webmaster. You only think I'm kidding!
- HTML Validator by Marc Gueury - Instantly validates the HTML of a page as soon as it loads and provides a summary report in the status bar.
- IE View by MozDev - When you finish your wonderful, standards-compliant layout see how Internet Explorer screws it up with a couple of mouse clicks!
- AdBlock Plus - Blocks banner ads from ever loading and consuming your bandwidth and screen real estate.
- Zone Alarm Firewall
Let the good stuff in and keep the bad stuff out. A firewall lets you control which programs are allowed to access the Internet and which Internet programs are allowed to access your computer.
Need a simple FTP client to publish your web pages or send resources to a remote computer. CoreFTP is simple to use, small to install, and free!
- Lavasoft Ad-aware
This is my malware nuker of choice. Easy to install, easy to update, and easy to run AdAware searches your computer for privacy-robbing cyber-nasties and cleans them fast. Just remember to keep it updated.
- Spybot Search and Destroy
An equally good malware destroyer, from what I hear. I haven't used it at all, but I've never heard a bad word about it. The uber-cautious have been known to run Spybot S&D and AdAware on the same computer for maximum protection.
Office / Productivity Software
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe's free reader software for their proprietary Portable Document Format (PDF).
- Microsoft Word Viewer
Need to view a Microsoft Word file but don't have Microsoft Word? Try Microsoft's free Microsoft Word viewer. It allows you to view Word files, but not edit or create them.
- Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer
Just like the Microsoft Word viewer above, except for PowerPoint files. It allows you to view PowerPoint presentations, complete with sound and animation, but not edit or create presentations.
Can't shell out $300 for the latest version of Microsoft Office? Try OpenOffice.org. It's a full office suit with word processor, spreadsheet, database, and presentation capabilities... and it's free! Do not attempt this download on a dial-up connection!
- JCreator LE
A free integrated development environment for the Java programming language.