Monday, July 28, 2008

First install

There are a few free programs that I install on any MS Windows PC that I touch. The list that follows will include download links and a brief description. More details will follow in my individual posts for each program.

The very first program I install on every system I touch. It's an excellent multi-format compressed-file handler with a built-in file manager that has both single-pane and dual-pane view modes. This makes it much easier to copy or move files or install new programs. There are more fully-functional file managers, but 7-Zip does things that the others cannot. My later article discussing 7-Zip is here.

Mozilla Firefox
The Windows-integrated Internet Explorer (IE) web browser is an insecure mess. Firefox beats it on speed, security, and extensibility via add-ons; it's also much more standards-compliant than IE. There are occasional sites that still need IE, but those numbers are shrinking.

Another must-have. It's a flexible graphics-file viewer that can handle a broad variety of filetypes, especially if you add the plug-ins available as a separate download from the same sources. It also includes simple-but-useful graphics-file editing tools.


I like music. Windows can multi-task. If I'm on broadband, I like to go to SHOUTcast or Icecast and "tune in" a music stream while I work. WinAmp is an excellent player for streaming music and video, though I prefer VLC for video. Grab a few skins to vary the way it looks. My later article discussing WinAmp is here.

That's it for this installment. There's more to come!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ya gotta start somewhere!

I am starting this blog in support of my work with computer clubs, as well as a general desire to share the information I have gleaned over the last thirty years or so. The main thrust of this blog is the content covering free software under the Microsoft Windows operating systems, but I will include the occasional rant, hardware heads-up, and Linux reference. Much of the software I will be discussing is cross-platform, with versions available for both Windows and Linux -- and, often, other operating systems as well. I will point this out where it's appropriate.

I will start with the software that I consider essential, including my reasons for doing so. My next post will be a list of the first batch of programs, followed by a post on each program. I will do my best to provide links to download sources, detailed descriptions, and tutorials.

Later, I will discuss how to combine the use of certain software packages for specific tasks.

I have a number of web pages open to all, including my Yahoo! Groups Links pages and my Protopage links pages; I will make those available in the sidebar.

Watch this space!