Improve your bottom line with free software
The mantra around our office is "Watch the budget." One way businesses can save money is with free software. Here are some of my favorites:
» The latest version of Firefox, a powerful open-source browser, has just been released. It's a snap to use, easy to install and you can download it for free at mozilla.com.
What I like about the new version (3.0) is that it allows you to set the password manager to remember all the passwords and usernames in any form.
The privacy manager can also clean up cookies, your browsing history and cache and more without deleting the passwords.
The bookmark-managing process has been simplified and security improved.
» OpenOffice is an open-source office-software suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and other apps.
It is available in different languages and works on most computers. It stores your data in an open-standard format and reads and write files from other common office software apps.
It can be downloaded and used free for any purpose. Also, this is no fly-by-night software - it's owned by Sun Microsystems.
» Adobe Reader allows you to view, search, digitally sign, verify, print, and collaborate with electronic documents. To create PDF files, you'll have to buy Adobe Acrobat.
» There's a whole slew of cool Anti Virus Software programs available. AVG (free.grisoft.com) can scan files on demand, upon access, with a schedule, and via e-mail.
Its rescue component will help you recover from disaster. NanoScan (www.nanoscan.com) analyzes all processes running on your computer and will identify malicious programs. ThreatFire AntiVirus (www.threatfire.com) can detect malware by its activity and works as a companion to other antivirus software apps. avast! 4 Home Edition (www.avast.com) alerts you when it finds something suspicious, and its recovery database can help when a virus whacks your files.
» Firewalls and security software are a must have. Some freebies to consider are Zone Alarm Free (www.zonealarm.com); ShieldsUP! (www.grc.com), which hides your PC from the bad guys; and Comodo Firewall Pro (www.personalfirewall.comodo.com), which will also keep hackers away.
Some other security apps to consider are Hotspot Shield (www.anchorfree.com), a virtual private-network tunnel between your laptop and the router, which comes in handy at any Wi-Fi hot spot; and PC Flank (www.pcflank.com), which imitates malware attacks to make certain that your firewall can block whatever nasty stuff is being thrown at it.