Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Must have free software for geeks

Are you a techie? Love gadgets? Computer expert? Like hacking and tweaking software and hardware? You're a geek. Believe it or not, you're pretty much like me. Okay now, let's not fight over the definition of a geek.

Here's a list of software (all free) for geeks, according to me. You can download each by clicking its name:

Firefox/Chrome: These top dogs in the web browser world are not only recommended for everyone, but also they are a geek's playground. If you use Internet Explorer and you consider yourself tech-savvy, think again, then think again, and think until you've got one of these browsers installed.

Notepad++: It's another must have tool for a geek. The Notepad included in Windows is fine. It's simple, full-featured for web design and it has everything a normal person needs. But you're a geek. You should have Notepad++. It has color coding assistance when you're web designing, it has more features and whatever you can think of. Oh yes, and it's open-source.

Dropbox: Wow, the perfect file synchronizing tool. It's the ultimate choice (especially for geeks, once more) for sync and backup. It's not completely free, but there are not many limitations. The free account gets a decent 2 GB of online storage, which you can expand with a fee, but I never felt a need for it. You can also get an extra 250 MB for completing the tutorial, and more free space with the instructions here. Dropbox is magical. You can upload any type of file, no matter what size (unless it exceeds the size on your account), and best of all, it behaves like any other folder on your computers, with the added functionality on constantly synchronizing.

7-Zip: WinZip is so old fashioned. It even isn't free. 7-Zip is little, light, and open-source, making it completely free. Windows comes with a fine file extractor. But it cannot extract the newer, better compressed file types. 7-Zip expands the capability by integrating with your OS and it can extract almost all kinds of compressed files. It's the ultimate compression utility.

ĀµTorrent: Hey, come on, torrents are not illegal. It all depends on what you're downloading. Torrents can be very useful for downloading large software, and if you are a geek, you need to know torrents. ĀµTorrent is the best torrent app out there. You need to have it. You may need it when downloading large open-source stuff, like OpenOffice, or large versions of Linux (see, I talk about only free software here).

TeamViewer: How can a geek live without this? TeamViewer, if you've never heard of it, is a remote access and remote support software. You can use it to impress friends, and/or help them when they're in trouble and need some of your geeky expertise. It's free for commercial use, and there are no limitations. When you have TeamViewer, you can easily tell the person on the other side to download a smaller version (or the full featured one) and you'll be able to use their automatically generated user ID and password to log in to their computer and find out the problem. I, personally, have never used it for remote access to my computer.

GIMP: The free open-source GNU Image Manipulating Program. This is arguably the best free photo editing tool and is (even more) arguably a good Photoshop alternative. Okay, Photoshop fans, don't clobber me for that. The only catch is (no, it's free, and full-featured) it has a slight learning curve. You may find Paint.NET better if you're not so much into photo editing (which I use most of the time).

CCleaner: The geek's choice in computer clean-up utilities. It can clean up all the gunk Disk Cleanup cleans, plus much of the stuff other apps leave behind. It can also clean the registry and work from a flash drive without any problems, for use on others' computers.

So, these were the very basic freeware a geek must have in his/her arsenal for everyday computing. Did I miss something important? Throw it into the comments, and I may add it into the list.