Five Free Desktop Apps That Saves Time, Money & Hassles
There’re so many free applications available on the W3 – strong apps that rival the high-priced software that you don’t really need. Why bother spending few hundred bucks on an overrated app when you can get all of them without spending a dime? Here are five of my “must-have” favorites – all free, all useful and all just a click away.
1. Open Office
Open Office does most of what Microsoft’s Office Suite does, but it does it free. Open Office 3 is a robust bundle that includes a powerful word processor, a spreadsheet function, a presentations maker, a graphics controller and a fully-loaded d-base. Sound familiar?
If you want to pay $300 for Microsoft Office, be my guest. But why would you when Open Office delivers the same features at $0?
Open office docs are fully compatible with Microsoft formats. But Open Office is also cross-platform so it’ll configure on your Mac and frankly, I think Open Office has more to offer than Mac’s preinstalled suite (except the graphics tools, but that’s what makes Macs Macs – they’re ability to manipulate graphics.)
So unless you’re a graphic designer, Open Office delivers a full office suite, with a huge support network and even tech support. So, if you DON’T have an office suite, or you’re still running the original Microsoft Office from your collage days, a lot has changed, and you can upgrade free.
Snippy is a cool little screen capture app. Let’s say you find an interesting article or picture or post. In the past, you might make a screen capture and attach the whole page to send to a friend for a read.
Snippy simplifies screen capture by allowing you to snip just the part of the page you want to save or send. In the age of SMS and mobi, this is one tool you want to keep on your desktop and your cell. Hey, there’s only so much bandwidth to go around so save some with Snippy.
3. Sticky Notes
I solved my time management problem with this little freebie app.
Sticky Notes let’s me create virtual sticky notes that I place on my computer screen to remind to do this or call her.
Sticky Notes also makes it easy to identify high-priority and low-priority tasks using different colored backgrounds. Notes can be updated, tasks crossed off. Totally flexible.
Even better, once I’ve reviewed my notes for the day (or the next two hours) I can hide the stickies with a click until I need to know what’s next.
A free fix for folks with a lot on their minds.
LogMeIn delivers a bunch of features including remote access to your main system (a time save when you’re on the road a lot), home or small office networking (router required, but you can buy one for less than $30 that’ll cover your house or small office in the spare room), mobi connectivity to the home office and remote control of your system via cell, PDA or laptop.
Heck, you can log on from the client’s office to access his files for discussion – right on his computer. No more lugging a laptop around for tinny PowerPoint presentations. LogMeIn accesses files remotely so you always look good and sound good. This one’s a no-brainer for the sole proprietor who spends a lot of time in the studio or getting face time with local clients.
FileZilla is a free FTP (file transfer protocol) solution. So what’s it to you? Well, FTP services have a lot of uses for today’s techno-savvy user, and no, you don’t have to be a geek.
FTPs are most often used to transfer large files (graphics, video and audio, for example) quickly and safely. (Let’s face it, if you attach a 4 gig file to an AOL email the whole system will have a nervous breakdown.)
Using FTP systems, you can move multi-gig batches of data smoothly. But FTPs are useful for other reasons.
There great for offsite storage as long as they’re encrypted (sFTP) and FireZilla is hard-wired for security. It supports FTP, FTPSSL or TLS and SHH Transfer Protocol. In other words, all the safe and secure off-site storage free. Why are you paying Carbon Lock and these other cost-you-money sites for secure off-site storage when you can get it free. And secure.
Also, if you plan to use a free-standing blogging client like Bleezer or Flock, you’ll need web access. FTPs are ideal for hooking you in to the matrix without paying a web host.
I like FileZilla’s list of features, too: x-platform, drag and drop support, easy GUI, filename filters, a tonne of bookmarking options so you can find what you need fast.
Bottom line? If you make your living off your hard drive like a lot of us do, (me included) an FTP program like FileZilla is free insurance in case of catastrophic data loss, or the loss of your album of family pix. Using a free FTP client like FileZilla lets you sleep more soundly at night.
And you can send data by the tonne without a blip. Safely and securely.
I’m always on the lookout for free apps that make your web-based world a little simpler so stay tuned. I’m on the trail for free.