Free Software That Will Make Your Computer Better | Bleader

Free Software That Will Make Your Computer Better

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OK, two more things about Black Friday:

1. What Athenae Said.

2. The only thing I'd add to that is how much media coverage has to do with buying stuff and how little of it has to do with taking care of and using what you buy well. That's why I love Lifehacker, and their periodic roundups of free software. For Thanksgiving they rounded up 61 great free apps; I can personally recommend the following:

* VLC. Quite simply the best media player out there. It has a tiny footprint and will play almost anything; it's much better at dealing with broken files than anything else I've ever used.

* CCleaner. Outstanding cache/registry cleaner. Use with caution, though.

* OpenOffice. Integrated PDF creation is a winner.

* GIMP. Not as intuitive as Photoshop, but almost as full-featured. Given how expensive Photoshop is, it's an outstanding substitute.

* Audacity. Lightweight, straightforward, very powerful audio editor. As I write this I'm ripping Shostakovich's 15th symphony (Melodiya/Angel world premiere, conducted by Maxim Shostakovich) from vinyl to mp3 using Audacity. I've also used it to save inaudible interview tapes.

* Ubuntu. Very user-friendly Linux release.

* Foobar2000. Lightweight, customizable music player.

* Songbird. Like iTunes except open source and less irritating.

* Sumatra PDF. Sooo much better than Adobe Reader.

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