Anyone who’s read my column more than once or twice knows I’m a long-time advocate of free software, which is why only eight of the 40 programs on my laptop are commercial products.
Those eight are applications that simply work better than any of their free competitors — I’m going to tell you about five of them, and why I still use them.
Yes, the Internet can be a dangerous place. But use smart computing practices and the right security products, and you can reduce your risk to very low levels.
What may surprise you is that safe Web browsing needn’t require very many computer security products, and you can put together an effective defense without spending a cent.
Critics have rightly questioned whether Google’s Chrome browser transmits too much data about user browsing habits to the company’s databases.
Although most of the reports of Chrome’s privacy issues are more alarmist than factual, problems do exist — but they can be effectively controlled by changing a few Chrome settings.
You’re probably familiar with Web-based apps such as Google Calendar and Flickr, but there are dozens of useful, though less-known, Internet apps available for free.
Some of these superb apps offer an excellent alternative to installing expensive, specialized utilities on your PC.
Just because a digital photo is poorly focused or blurred by motion doesn’t mean it’s a total loss.
Low-cost and free software can rescue blurry photos, once destined for the recycle bin.
Unexpected disk and processor activity on your PC is worrisome, but unexplained Internet activity is more troubling.
When a PC suddenly starts uploading or downloading data from the Internet, a bit of paranoia is perfectly reasonable — possibly your system is infected with a virus or other malware. In this report, I’ll give you some tips and tools for diagnosing unexplained Internet traffic.
When your PC suddenly starts churning away on its own without obvious cause, you probably wonder: Just what the heck is going on in there?
The possibilities range from the benign to the nefarious — from normal background maintenance to a hacker mining your system for whatever he can find. Here are some tips and software that can help you know exactly what’s happening.
High-end digital image editors such as Adobe Photoshop and the free GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) are overkill for someone who simply wants to enhance digital snapshots.
Two less-complex photo editors, targeted at average snapshooters, are much easier to use and produce outstanding results — for free!
Modern digital cameras take great photos, but the multi-megabyte size of each digital image often makes the photos too large to send as e-mail attachments.
Free software can work just as well as commercial tools for reducing the size of the photos and, with just a few mouse clicks, can prepare hundreds of images for easy e-mailing.
Dec. 3 Best Software
column, I showed you how to work more effectively by using keyboard shortcuts.
Now I’ll tell you about some operations you can perform with your mouse that can help you work faster with less effort.