Wednesday, January 14, 2009

PC Mag's list of the best free software of 2009 and the software that I use

If you have a few hours to kill, check out PC Mags list of the best free software of 2009. I can say that I have tried or used all of the software in their "Hall of Fame." If you don't have a few hours to check out everything on the list, you can at least check out the software that I have used this past year as listed below. I have designated the Apps that I use most frequently as a [TerenceOnline Power App]

Also, I would have added Jing to the list! What free software would you add?

Software from the list that I have used or currently use:

173. VLC media player
www.videolan.org/vlc
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
VideoLAN's open-source software plays back, well, just about everything. It can also serve up streaming video and music to other PCs on your network.

170. HandBrake [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.handbrake.fr
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Want to back up all those DVDs you own before they get scratched? This
open-source tool does full DVD-to-MPEG-4 conversion, which you can play
back later on media centers, even the Apple TV.


159. Netvibes [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.netvibes.com
Web
A personalized start page with an emphasis on widgets and feed readers, Netvibes also aggregates podcasts for you.
Read our review of NetVibes.


158. Google Reader
reader.google.com
Web | Mobile
After three years, Google's RSS feed reader is tops, not only mimicking the best of what desktop readers can do but also mashing up nicely with other Google services, like the iGoogle home page.
Read our review of Google Reader.


148. Ubuntu [HALL OF FAME]
www.ubuntu.com
Linux
The easiest Linux to install, now in version 8.10 (aka "Intrepid
Ibex"), not only is suitable for (somewhat knowledgeable) consumers,
but also comes with all the software you need to be productive.
Read our review of Ubuntu 8.04 .


145. Zoho [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.zoho.com
Web | Mobile
If there's a tool in the arsenal of office suites that Zoho doesn't
include, we can't think of it. Not all the Web apps are free, but those
that are—word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation app, mail,
wiki, and many more—all bring the goods.
Read our review of Zoho .


140. OpenOffice [HALL OF FAME] [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.openoffice.org
Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Solaris
Version 3 of the freebie office suite
ups the ante against Microsoft's hegemony, becoming fast and polished
enough to warrant serious consideration by all, especially small
businesses. It looks like MS Office 2003 (for those not in love with
the Ribbon interface in Office 2007) and has all the tools—except
e-mail—you'll ever need.
Read our Review of OpenOffice.org 3.0 .

139. Notepad++ [HALL OF FAME]
notepad-plus.sourceforge.net
Windows
Notepad++ is the standard by which all replacements for Notepad—that
weak little app that comes with Windows—are measured. It sports full
text styles, tabs, drag-and-drop, and super-speed and is suitable for
any coding or writing you can throw at it.


132. Google Docs [TerenceOnline Power App]
docs.google.com
Web | Mobile
If you're ready to move your work life to the cloud, Google's word
processor, spreadsheet, and presentation suite is ready for you,
complete with storage for all docs. It also comes with forms you can
fill out to gather data from outside.
Read our review of Google Docs, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

127. Adobe Buzzword
www.buzzword.com
Web
This online-only word processor
has one of the best-looking minimalist interfaces going, since it was
built entirely with Adobe Flash, and each page looks as good as any
formatted in Word.
Read our review of Adobe Buzzword .

124. Google Desktop
desktop.google.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Put the power of Google's search engine to work on finding your own
files. The software indexes in the background, while in the foreground
you get to put all the Google Gadgets (widgets) you like on your desktop.
Read our review of Google Desktop 4 (beta).


123. Yahoo Widgets
widgets.yahoo.com
Windows | Mac OS
The world's biggest collection of widgets—over 5,000 of the things—is
yours through Yahoo. Some are more useful than others, but with the
right combo your desktop can be an information powerhouse.

110. Meebo [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.meebo.com
Web | Mobile
When you want to avoid installing software
but still want to chat on all the major IM networks, Meebo is your site
of choice. Sign up for a Meebo account to access multiple IM networks
all at once and log all conversations.
Read our review of Meebo.

107. AIM [HALL OF FAME] [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.aim.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Web | Mobile
AOL's Instant Messenger is the most-used network in the U.S., and the
software—only the Windows version gets regular updates these days—packs
in as much as possible. You can access the AIM network with just about
any multi-protocol IM software.
Read our review of AIM 6.5 .

105. Splashup
www.splashup.com
Web
You don't even need to sign up to get instant access to this
Flash-based image editor with all the features (and more) that you'd
find in a downloadable app.

103. Picnik
www.picnik.com
Web
Picnik is the gold standard in online image editing these days: It
fixes photos without confusing users and works with a number of
photo-sharing sites, and best of all, you don't have to register to get
started using it—unless you want to save images online.
Read our review of Picnik.

102. Photosynth
www.photosynth.com
Web
Photosynth does so many unique things with photos that we gave it a Technical Excellence award.
It takes multiple photos, finds where they overlap, and creates an
almost 3D image; it can even make a 3D replica of an object from shots
at multiple angles.


99. Picasa [TerenceOnline Power App]
picasa.google.com
Windows | Linux
Few free programs come close to handling photos with the skill of
Picasa. Organize them, do quick edits (including red-eye reduction),
and share pics online or e-mail them to friends.
Read our review of Picasa 3, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

95. Google SketchUp
sketchup.google.com
Windows | Mac OS
If you're new to 3D but want to build worlds anyway, a free tool like
SketchUp is a great place to start; the latest version includes
"self-aware" 3D models so the app knows, for example, to resize a
virtual staircase by adding more stairs and extend a virtual fence by
adding more slats.
Read our review of Google SketchUp.


94. GIMP [HALL OF FAME]
www.gimp.org
GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) has provided Photoshop-like tools at no charge for over a decade.
Read our review of Gimp 2.4.7 .

85. Google Earth
earth.google.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
If you like Google Maps online, welcome to that same kind of action on
steroids. You can traverse the globe on its interlocking satellite
images, or reverse it and look skyward, even travel to the past.
Third-party add-ons continue to extend Google Earth's capabilities
beyond what our puny terrestrial minds can imagine.
Read our review of Google Earth 4.3, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

84. Geni.com [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.geni.com
Web
There's no easier place to plug in your family tree, and being a Web
app makes it easy to share with the rest of the family so they can fill
in the gaps.

81. Mint [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.mint.com
Web
Mint manages your money by sucking in data from all your bank, credit card, and other accounts, providing you regular reports on what you're spending and how to save.
Read our review of Mint.com, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

76. WinRAR
www.rarlab.com
Windows
We all know about compressing files with ZIP, but RAR is also quite popular; WinRAR will compress or decompress files in both.

71. Adobe Reader [HALL OF FAME]
www.adobe.com/reader
Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
Adobe's PDF reader is far from basic, with a number of extra features including online collaboration tools.

65. Filezilla
www.filezilla-project.org
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Slick and simple FTP that does the job, complete with drag-and-drop from local to remote or vice versa.

64. DownThemAll
www.downthemall.net
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Don't download just one item at a time from a Web page. As the name implies, this download manager for Firefox handles them all.


61. Skype [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.skype.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Easy to use for phone calls (free between Skype users, with a minimal
charge to call other phones), Skype truly shines when paired with a
high-end webcam so you can see your friends and family.
Read our full review of Skype.


57. Yahoo Mail [TerenceOnline Power App] -- I use this as a secondary email account and to gain access to Yahoo fantasy sports and Flickr
mail.yahoo.com
Web
Our webmail Editors' Choice embeds the Yahoo Messenger IM and RSS reader, works on the Web with any browser or operating system, and has more features than anyone could hope to master.
Read our review of Yahoo Mail, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

55. Thunderbird [HALL OF FAME]
www.mozilla.com/thunderbird
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
The Internet's top e-mail client from Mozilla is (of course)
extensible, but even without add-ons Thunderbird is simple-to-master
software for anyone with a POP3 or IMAP e-mail account.
Read our review of Thunderbird 2.


50. Gmail [TerenceOnline Power App] -- Could not live without this one! Not to mention, your gmail account opens up all of Googles free apps to you such as picasa, docs, calendar, reader, video, blogger, etc.
www.gmail.com
Web | Mobile
The current bellwether in Web-based e-mail is still
in perennial beta, but Google continues to innovate with additions via
the Gmail Labs. The searchable and ever-increasing storage (up to 7GB
now, up from 5.5GB last year) doesn't hurt. New themes make it pretty.
And you can use it to IM or even send SMS text messages to friends' phones.

45. Remember The Milk
www.rememberthemilk.com
Web | Mobile
This power to-do list site gives you many ways to get reminders
(e-mail, SMS, IM) and even more ways to create them, from Google
widgets to phone calls to IM bots.


42. Google Calendar [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.google.com/calendar
Web | Mobile
With multiple views, simple sharing, and seamless integration with
other Google products, Google's calendar, like most of its Web apps,
stands a notch above the rest.
Read the full review of Google Calendar.


38. Safari
www.apple.com/safari
Windows | Mac OS
Fast page load times are a hallmark of this browser, the default for
Mac installations and also available for Windows. Safari offered
private browsing before it was cool.
Read our review of Safari 3.1 for Windows.


36. Opera [HALL OF FAME]
www.opera.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
Opera can claim many "firsts"—tabs, speed dial, and more—and some say
the best. It remains a fast browser with a presence available on just
about any device in your digital arsenal.
Read our review of Opera 9.

35. Internet Explorer 8 Beta [HALL OF FAME]
www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer
Windows
This is a freebie you're probably already using in some form, as IE is
the most-used Web browser in the world. The latest beta adds fantastic
(if overdue) features such as a stealth mode, better performance, and
the ability to subscribe to "web slices" that are just parts of a full
Web page.


34. Google Chrome [TerenceOnline Power App] -- love to use this lightweight browser when I want to do a quick task on the internet such as email or access hulu.com
www.google.com/chrome
Windows
Everyone pays attention to what Google does, and when it made a Web
browser, the world noticed. And for good reason: This streamlined,
fast, secure software has true potential in the browser wars.

32. Firefox [HALL OF FAME] [TerenceOnline Power App] -- Like gmail, I could not live without this app. The available plugins make this app indispensible such as the scribefire plugin I am using now to write this post.
www.mozilla.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
Can't wait for the free update to IE8,
which promises an enhanced address bar and upgraded privacy
protections? In the meantime use our favorite browser. Firefox is
beholden to no one and extensible to the nth degree. Upcoming versions
will offer far more security and superfast JavaScript to make the
browsing experience even better.
Read our review of Firefox 3, a PCMag Editors' Choice.

31. Flock 2
www.flock.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
Flock 2 stresses the social along with surfing, integrating features
like RSS reading and Twitter and media access right into the browser.
Since it's based on Firefox, it can also use many of the same
extensions.
Read our review of Flock 2.

28. WordPress.com
www.wordpress.com
Web
You could install WordPress on your servers, or go right to this commercial, hosted site and set up a professional-looking blog in no time.
Read our review of WordPress.

22. ScribeFire (note: using it right now to make this blog post) [TerenceOnline Power App]
www.scribefire.com
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
This add-on for Firefox is a perfect tool for posting entries to just about any blogging software or service in existence.

15. Winamp [HALL OF FAME]
www.winamp.com
Windows
Still a primo MP3 player, Winamp is both customizable (it heralded the age of "skins" on software) and comes in multiple versions, including one that works with CDs.

10. iTunes [HALL OF FAME] [TerenceOnline Power App] Once you get into itunes, this app is essential.
www.apple.com/itunes
Windows | Mac OS
Do we have to explain iTunes as the (so far) ultimate media player, coupled with online store
and the primary way to get media—from music to video to games to
podcasts, which plays most file formats (except, unsurprisingly,
Windows Media formats)—and puts them on your iPod or iPhone? Probably
not.

5. Audacity [HALL OF FAME] [TerenceOnline Power App]
audacity.sourceforge.net
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
On a par with any commercial audio
editor, Audacity is the free sound editor of choice. The latest beta
(1.3.6) even supports MPEG-4, Dolby Digital, and Windows Media.


Thanks to my friend, Sam Parks, for directing me to this list.

4 comments:

sam parks said...

great post! i tried this app and i love it already:

1. Circle Dock
circledock.wikidot.com
Windows
Who says a dock has to actually... dock? To the side of the screen, that is. Circle Dock brings up a spiraling launcher interface with all the icons you want to click. Rotate it with the wheel on your mouse and change the skin to suit your desktop.

check out a screenshot of my desktop: http://screencast.com/t/SUkRHn2b1k

SBL said...

Great stuff! Nice list.

Regards,
SBL image manipulation

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