Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Stop paying for software:
Readers offer more free software ideas

Sept. 12, 2010

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, The Post-Standard

   Here are 10 more free programs suggested by readers who were responding to my series called "Stop Paying for Software." (You'll find all the columns in the series at www.technofileonline.com/recent.html.)
   All of these are free. If you get confused by any of the sites and find a come-on for software that costs you money, don't fall for it. And please note that I'm not endorsing any of these beyond confirming that these reader choices are worth trying.
   -- SoftMaker Office 2006 for Windows, from www.softmakeroffice.com. Yes, you read that right -- this is a 2006 program. But it's got a lot of fans. Note that the folks who make SoftMaker also offer a paid version, SoftMaker Office 2010. You don't need it.
   -- Sylfeed e-mail program for Windows, Macs and Linux PCs, from http://sylpheed.sraoss.jp/en. This comes from Japan and has a lot of fans.
   -- Pixia and Phierha image editors for Windows, from www.ne.jp/asahi/mighty/knight. Pixia is the first (and still highly regarded) version of this photo editor, and Phierha is an improved version.
   -- Glary Utilities for Windows, from www.glaryutilities.com. The Glary software has been one of the top recommendations from Technofile readers. If you have problems with Windows -- and who doesn't? -- you should give this software a try.
   -- Doc Scrubber for Windows, from www.javacoolsoftware.com/docscrubber.html. Microsoft Word will tattle on you -- see www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec042510.html for details -- and one of the easiest ways to clean out all the hidden personal info in Word documents is Doc Scrubber.
   -- MRU-Blaster for Windows, from the same folks who offer Doc Scrubber, at www.javacoolsoftware.com/mrublaster.html. The Most Recently Used (MRU) lists on your Windows PC (there are many of them) show the stuff you've worked on or looked at lately. You have no real privacy when someone with an ax to grind (or a parental obligation) looks at those items. MRU-Blaster blasts them away. Use it every day for privacy.
   -- Displaperture for Macs, from http://manytricks.com/displaperture. Old-time Mac users probably remember how the display was curved at each corner on previous-generation Macs, before OS X. Displaperture brings that same rounded-corner look to modern Macs.
   -- FreeApps, a website that makes choosing and installing Windows freeware very easy, at www.freenew.net. I know from readers' letters that downloading and installing software can be a pain. The idea behind FreeApps is that a free program, the FreeApps installer, does all the downloading and installing for you. There's a good choice of freeware, too.
   -- FaxZero, an online fax service for Windows, Macs and Linux PCs (and any other device, such as an iPad, that can access the Web), at http://faxzero.com. You can send two free faxes a day, with a 3-page maximum length.
   -- Google Chrome, for Windows, Macs and Linux PCs, from www.google.com/chrome. My readers have recommended this Web browser many times. I use it whenever I want the most speed in browsing. I like the way Google keeps updating it.
   -- A bonus item: Grab, a screen-capture program that comes with every Mac. Most Mac users have no idea they have a great, customizable screen-capture program on their computer. Click the Spotlight icon at the upper right and type GRAB and press Return to run it.