The number 1 site for open-source, freely distributed software on the
internet. You might have to dig, but you can probably find just
about any software you might want at this site.
Gibson Security Website. You need to visit this site to test the
security of your computer. Many good security downloads here.
Essential Programs for Your Computer
- This HTML file gives you a complete run-down of
everything on your computer, including istalled hardware, software,
recent updates and software keys. If you haven't got a handy
place where all of your software activation keys are located, you will
not be able to re-install programs should you have to restore or
rebuild your computer's hard drive. This program will allow you
to print out all of this essential information as well as that
concerning the hardware manufacturers so you can find new drivers
should you need them. A must have.
An excellent firewall for every computer system. This program is
easy to set up and will block hacker attempts to contact and control
your computer. You really need a firewall for your system,
regardless of whether it is at home or at the office.
- Everyone needs a good antivirus program. This is
one of the best and it is free! AVG can be set up to
automatically update and run. Updates are free, unlike the
majority of other antivirus programs.
This is a nifty little program that can sniff out spyware, trojans and
any web site that tries to alter your computer. It can be set to
automatically block in coming cookies from sites that try to download
trackers on your system and will inform you if a program is attempting
to change your registry or startup. It can show you all of the
programs running on your system and can shut nonessential background
- This was originally Giant Antispyware but was acquired
by Microsoft. It works very well at sniffing out any form of
spyware on your system. The program is currently free and will
update automatically. Two more good choices for removing
spyware are AdAware
- Search and Destroy
This program cleans your registry, removing left over entries from
uninstalled programs. If you use it regularly, it will help keep
your computer running quicker and more efficiently.
CoffeeCup Free FTP
- This is a File Transfer Protocol program. It enables you
to transfer your own HTML pages to other sites, such as the academic
server. If you become proficient at building new pages for
classes and other purposes, this is the easiest program I have found to
get the job done from your home computer.
- You need a good backup program to insure that all of your files are
available in case your computer crashes. You should make and keep
at least three backups of your files and update them on a regular basis.
- A good CD and
DVD burning program should not cost an arm and leg. This free
program is comparable to Nero, the most popular commercial burning
software. I have both, and this program is just as useful.
- General Image
Manipulation Program. GIMP is an excellent image manipulation
program with features found in very expensive packages such as Adobe
Photoshop. It supports many plug-ins and can be used both as an
art program and for image file manipulation. This link
will allow you
to download a Photoshop front-end for the program.
- This is a free
Optical Character Recognition program. You can use this program
with a scanner to convert scanned text to true text files you can then
edit with your word processor. While no OCR is 100% perfect, a
good program like this can really get you out of a trouble spot if you
can't find computer files of an essential nature (such as exams), but
you do have hard copies.
- Don't want to
spend hundreds of dollars on software such as Microsoft Office?
This is an absolutely free office suite, including a word processor,
spreadsheet and presentation maker. It is compatible with MS
Office, so you can easily swap files between the two. This is a
very large download, so you will want to use a broadband connection to
- If you want to capture an image from your computer screen for
use in class presentations or to build instruction pages, this is a
good program to have. You can immediately send anything from the
screen to your printer or save the image for later manipulation and use.
- This is a file
compression program. Often programs you download are in zipped
(compressed) format. Programs such as WinZip are commonly used
for expanding these files, but once again, they are shareware and can
be expensive. Ultimate Zip is free and will uncompress most
you are like me, you have many passwords for the various web sites you
visit, such as e-mail and bank sites. It is very easy to forget
these. Password safe can keep all of these in an encrypted format
and will even generate new complex passwords for you.
- This program allows
you to capture the computer screen and then build flash files that can
be uploaded to your web site. You can easily make tutorials for
your students to teach them to use programs such as Blackboard.