Recommended Free Software List

My machine is overdue for a format and with that in mind I have put together my list of free software that I use daily. As a Windows user of many years I am still a creature of habit, but some of this software is Mac OS X/Linux compatible.

Ad-Aware SE PersonalAd-Aware SE Personal (Windows)
Still the most effective anti-spyware available for free. Lavasoft regularly issue update definitions which are a free download from within the program.

AxCryptAxCrypt (Windows)
AES-128 and SHA-1 file encryption. An easy way to encrypt files for restricted access. For users wanting access to encrypted files but not wishing to install any software, an install-free “viewer” can be downloaded, only 70kb in size.

K-Lite Codec Pack/Media Player Classic (Windows)
Easy way to solve all your codec worries and get a free media player in one hit. Media Player Classic has a built-in DVD player, support for AVI subtitles, QuickTime and RealVideo support. It can also be configured to play video files in a dual monitor setup.

Mozilla FirefoxMozilla Firefox (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)
Browser of choice. Fast, secure and has decent web standards support. I am particularly fond of Firefox for the ease with which extensions can be installed and managed. Some of my favourite extensions include Adblock which will let you block images, embedded objects, etc from entire domains/IP addresses and Web Developer, a powerful toolset which lets you quickly access technical aspects of a website. See DB’s Best Firefox Extensions for more.

Mozilla ThunderbirdMozilla Thunderbird (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)
A long-time user of Microsoft Outlook, I switched to Thunderbird once I ran out reasons not to. A sleek email client with the same inbuilt support for themes and extensions that Firefox has. Thunderbird’s adaptive junk email filter can be quickly trained to keep your inbox free of spam. I still haven’t found an easy way to export email and archive it to files but your email can be backed up under Windows XP by manually copying the mailbox store in Thunderbird’s ‘Application Data’ folder.

OpenOffice.orgOpenOffice.org (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)
Faced with forking out for Microsoft Office 2003 or lumping it with Notepad/Wordpad/Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, I turned to OpenOffice.org somewhat reluctantly. So far it has been stellar as I’ve transitioned from version 1.1 to 2.0. OpenOffice supports Office formats like .xls and .doc and will let you save to those formats as well. It is a rock-solid program and now includes Base and Impress, alternatives to PowerPoint and Access.

Also:
Audacity – record, edit and export audio (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)
Azureus – excellent BitTorrent client (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)
Crimson Editor – a text editor that just works (Windows)
CutePDF – free PDF maker (Windows)
dBpowerAmp – right-click ‘Convert To’ music file conversion (Windows)
FileZilla – solid FTP client (Windows)
Skype – top notch VoiP and instant messaging (Windows/Linux/Mac OS X)

Update (2007-07-21):
100 Open Source Downloads – (Windows/Linux/Unix/Mac OS X/Classic Mac)

Web stat tools and pinging

I’ve been looking for ping services and free web statistics tools for DaveUnderwood.com, below is what I’ve come across…

Free web statistics tools via contentious.com (updated):

http://www.google.com/analytics/
http://www.sitemeter.com
http://awstats.sourceforge.net/
http://www.webtrends.com
http://mach5.com/products/analyzer/index.php
http://www.tracewatch.com/
http://www.addfreestats.com/
http://bbclone.de/
http://www.trafficfile.com/
http://www.haveamint.com/
http://www.summary.net/
http://www.reinvigorate.net/
http://statcounter.com new

Unfortunately Google Analytics is invite only at the moment, sign up here.

XML-RPC Ping Services [codex.wordpress.org]

Blake Ross on open source marketing of Firefox

Sounds like an interesting Firefox session at Gnomedex.

Wired.com:

The conference espouses a bottom-up, audience-driven approach, making it an unpredictable if not outright chaotic affair… Discussion leaders included Blake Ross, of Firefox fame, whose presentation was upstaged by audience member…

ZDNet.com:

Blake then referenced the Firefox flicks project – and played a video called “Wheee!” from it that poked fun at Microsoft IE, which got a great response from the geeks in the Gnomedex crowd. However Dave Winer found it in poor taste, because it doesn’t address users. Dave asked: “what are you going to do for us?”. Dave said that he thinks Firefox will become just like Microsoft. Blake didn’t accept that – at which point a bit of a ‘Dave vs the crowd’ ruckus ensued. Chris Pirillo, Gnomedex organizer and host, had to step in and ask that the “conversation” be carried on later.

A final question asked about how Firefox will scale. Blake said that “I’m not looking to scale up to the size of Microsoft”. Overall a very interesting session, spiced up by Dave Winer and also Steve Gillmor’s interventions. The crowd was very much in support of Blake and Firefox, but even so Dave’s point that Firefox has to appeal to normal users instead of focusing on fighting Microsoft was a good one.