Friday, April 10, 2015

7 free computer things I couldn't do without

Time to give credit where credit's due. Here are a few of the things, free as in free speech and free beer, I got so accustomed to I couldn't live without anymore (well, almost). May the force be always with them. Amen.

1. Open source software

I've been an open source fan ever since I heard about its existence, back in the days when you had to stay up nights trying to get your monitor back up because something got broken again. (Or, more precisely, you broke it yourself because that's where the fun part was). I didn't even mind, I just loved the whole idea.
Now most open source software out there is as good as any other, and a lot more congenial. Actually, it's more than congenial, it's on ongoing revolution and anyone can be part of it.
Of the open source software I use, here are some programs/systems I couldn't do without anymore (not necessarily in order of importance):

  • Inkscape:
    awesome SVG (scalable vector graphics) editor, or, more simply put, a vector drawing program like Illustrator. Only this one is free, as in free speech and free beer, and adheres as much as possible to open SVG standards. It's more than mature, more than stable, and if you find any bugs, be cool and just report them (and don't pressure anyone afterwards, remember, it's all free and voluntary). Thumbs up for Inkscape. Inkscape exists for Windows, Linux and Mac. I make all my contemporary art drawings with it, and learn every day.

  • Ubuntu Linux

    needs no further introduction. It's absolutely fabulously great. I shouldn't even be talking to you if you haven't got it running on some computer somewhere. Or, maybe, on second thoughts, it's exactly you I should be talking to. Try it if you haven't already! I still have Windows on dual boot, but hardly ever use it. Ubuntu rocks!

  • The Gimp.

    Who needs Photoshop anyway. Get Gimpin'!

  • Libreoffice.

    A full suite that does most things MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint and MS Please-pay-my-big-yacht-you-sucker does for you, only in an endlessly better quality/price ratio, because it's completely and totally free. And it works! (Yes, it has its quirks here and there, but so do I so we get along fine).

  • Kdenlive:

    a full-blown and fully functional non-linear video editor. I'm not a video pro so can't tell you if it has all the features pro's would need, but as far as amateur editing goes, it has more than I can handle. A bit of a learning curve, but nothing you can't cope. Only for Linux.

2. Internet things

Some of the "computer things" I use aren't exactly installed on my PC (let's not get too technical here), but I couldn't live without them anyway. Here's a non-exhaustive list:

  • Lastpass:

    a fabulous password manager. One password gets you into your heavily secured vault that contains all other passwords, available online and/or offline. Lastpass doesn't even know your passwords, as they are already encrypted when they leave your PC. Apart from that, it comes with multi-factor security. The browser plugin works interactively on all pages where you can login, and can generate new strong passwords when you need them. And all that, for free, or for a ridiculously low price as a Premium user. Great stuff.

  • Flattr:

    I recently discovered the (micro)donation service Flattr. Basically, it's a great way to manage your monthly donations to all those cool projects and persons out there, without hassle. You set the monthly total and happily Flattr away, Flattr does the rest for you. And if you're a creator, you can put your Flattr button on your own site (like mine, above to the right ;) ). Cool.

  • to be continued/completed...

No comments:

Post a Comment