While Internet Explorer is included with nearly every Windows computer, other web browsers are available. We prefer Google Chrome. It offers a clean interface, various extension options, and speed. Some Chrome extensions we recommend: AdBlock Plus (used to block annoying 3rd-party ads and videos on sites you visit), Avast Online Security (helps protect you from phishing attacks and websites of ill repute), Google’s Keep My Opt Outs (prevents websites from generating personalized Google ads based on your cookies) and Read Later Fast (lets you make a list of websites to “read later”). Something else you can do in Chrome is sign in to the browser with a Google account. This will allow you to sign in to Chrome on other computers and sync your extensions, history, favorites and passwords automatically. This can be very handy if you use multiple computers and mobile devices.
Microsoft Office might be the “standard” for document creation but did you know that you can get other products that do the same thing for free? The OpenOffice platform has many variations but all provide similar programs to Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Publisher. Libre Office and Kingsoft Office are also both excellent alternatives if you need an office suite but don’t have a budget.
Picasa is free software made by Google. It’s a great option for photo editing for those who want something that isn't professional grade. It won’t rival Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but for a free program it provides some great options. If you need or want more advanced image editing tools, GIMP is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
Classic DOS Games--if you remember playing games on DOS, you can find hundreds of them here! Best of all, they’re free! You might think that because they’re old that they’re boring or too easy but try a few and be amazed at how challenging they can be. Two of Joe’s favorites are Monuments of Mars and Arctic Adventure.
Pinterest (think Pin + Interest) is a favorite of Tiffany’s. Tiffany loves to keep track of favorite blog articles, web sites, home decorating ideas, and recipes on Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual pin board. You can use it to keep track of thousands of web sites in an organized manner. It’s a wonderful tool!
LibriVox is free audiobook source that Tiffany enjoys. They have numerous recorded books that are in the Public Domain. You can search for your favorite author, book title, or just browse their catalog. It’s a lovely option for chilly days when you’d prefer to be inside with a cup of tea.
Opacity is a large photo gallery of abandoned buildings from the US and Europe. There are some amazing shots and locations to be found there. Each entry also includes a brief history of the location and historical shots when available.
The Internet Archive is an extensive library of Internet content. Ever wondered what a website looked like 10 years ago? Just enter the address at www.archive.org and see if they have it on file. It’s fun to see how the your favorite sites have changed over time. You can also find extensive collections of manuscripts, music and videos that have been uploaded by college libraries. The goal is to create a massive, online, digital library that anyone can access from anywhere.
Feedly is a blog reader program. Blogs are a popular option these days. While some people do personal blogging--journaling their thoughts or recording their lives for their own personal pleasure--others blog professionally on topics in which others find interest: health, organizing, pregnancy, politics, food, etc. For any topic you pick, there’s probably someone out there blogging about it. For people who enjoy keeping tabs on several blogs, Feedly makes it easy. You can use it for free, and subscribe to your blogs via Feedly. There’s an app you can download for smart phones, making it easy to take on the go.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about some of our personal favorites!
Do you have a question or topic you’d like us to address? Email and let us know!