So a few weeks back I decided to finally go legit on all the programs I use on my computer.
I’ve been using legit copies of Windows XP, Vista, and now Windows 7 for the past years and my conscience finally caught up and I decided to go legit on all my software including games. I’ve found that my system runs better and I get peace of mind knowing I get all the updates.
Well let’s start with games. I must admit that my desktop gaming (and even console gaming, I have a PS3) have declined in recent years I’ve been doing most my gaming on my iPhone actually. However there are some games that you can’t get on the mobile platform.
I bought a ton of classic LucasArts titles from steam (http://store.steampowered.com/). I also bought StarCraft2 from Blizzard (http://sea.blizzard.com/en-sg/) direct. So far those are the games I have on my system. Most companies sell digital copies and of course you can buy physical media as well.
Enough playing around let’s get on to the productivity and utilities tools. Most everyone uses Microsoft Office. It’s quite an expensive suite. Here’s what I use:
OpenOffice – freeware (http://www.openoffice.org/)
Office Live – free, web (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps/office-web-apps-FX101825822.aspx) – requires a live or hotmail account
Google Docs – free, web (http://docs.google.com) – requires a gmail or google account
For simple documents and spreadsheets these are good alternatives. What’s good about the web version of Microsoft Office is the UI is very similar albeit very trimmed down version. Another one you can use is Google Docs also a web based service. But what happens when you can’t get online. Well OpenOffice is there for you. Again it’s free and that is good.
Security, I’ve been using Windows Security Essentials it’s not heavy on the system and is provided for free by Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/
Windows does zip natively but what if you get other compressed formats like RAR etc etc. Well you can use 7-Zip which is free
Photo Editing – we all know that Adobe Photoshop is a very powerful tool but it does eat up a lot of resources as well as burns a whole in your pocket. For photo editing I use WindowsLive Photo Gallery (free in WindowsLive Essentials, will discuss this further later) and paint.net (http://getpaint.net)
As promised I’m going into WindowsLive Essential these set of apps used to be built into the OS but due to a lot of monopoly complains etc Microsoft decided to unbundle them. This is a great suite to download for your machine. I use WindowsLive Mail (to replace Outlook), Writer (for Blogging), Photo Gallery (for photo editing and viewing), Live Movie Maker (video editing), Live Messenger (for IM) and Live Sync (for cloud storage w/ SkyDrive), I don’t get the Family Safety and Toolbar components cause I don’t need em.
VLC Media Player is one of the best video players and it’s free from http://videolan.org
If you are a bit anal about your system you despise installing too many bits of software. One way to get around this is to use a USB stick to run portable apps. Right now I have a few that I run off my 4Gb stick because I don’t use them often enough to have them on my system. Go to http://portableapps.com
Another advantage to running stuff off a USB is you can have your data and the apps you use with you which means you can plug your stick to any Windows machine (in the hotel for example) and go ahead and work with the stuff you are used to.
So the bottom line is there are a lot of great tools to get things done without sacrificing performance.
If you have any more free (or cheap – I don’t mind paying as long as it isn’t too expensive and I use it heavily) hit the comments.
Thanks for reading and keep on computing!!!