In the previous blog I wrote about some software that is ‘free’ (not stolen, unlicensed or dodgy software) that you can use for your own / home business. http://ictexecs.com/blog/2014/09/18/top-5-free-starter-tools-every-person-needs/. This blow provides 5 more free to us (some open source) essential software products to use. I use all these on a daily basis, they are great so give them a try. But which tools should you try out – simple start with the FREE ones. Where I have given a download link, this is to the official download site of the company that owns the software, use other sites at your own peril!!
Web Based email (Gmail, Yahoo mail and others)
Ok everyone has many email accounts for sending and receiving emails privately. One of the best is the Google offering, for no other reason than it gives you access to the Google applications for reading, sharing, translating emails and files. Get a Gmail account and start using these for your business as well https://accounts.google.com/SignUp
Two Alternatives to Microsoft Office
Without doubt Microsoft Office is the industry standard for word processing, spread sheets, presentations, database management, email and desktop publishing, with the products closely integrated and able to share files and formats. But it does cost so the Open Source Office software have come a long way, so choosing free software over expensive proprietary software doesn’t mean you’ll lose features and support.
2 of the best are known and most downloaded ones are Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Both tools provide word processing, spread sheets, presentations, graphics and databases as well as being able to open most file formats used by Microsoft. Apache OpenOffice is available to download from here http://www.openoffice.org/ while LibreOffice is available here http://www.libreoffice.org/. Of the 2 products I used LibreOffice as it has evolved quicker than others and has some great new features
Disk space in the Cloud
For no money you can easy store your file, etc. in the cloud. This means that is properly implemented you can safely store key personal and business data, keep it backed up and up to date and if you want share it and view it using only your browser. Yes you can use Google Drive apps to do this, but sometime you want to save or drop a file onto your PC or laptop and get the software to keep it in sync. The 2 best ones I use daily (for slightly different purposes are Dropbox and Box. Both now have had lots of investment thrown at them, and even large businesses can use the products to replace expensive servers to store and share data. For personal use you can use these for free (with some limitations on amount of data stored), but certainly try both. My preference is Dropbox for ease and simplicity of use, but Box comes a close 2nd https://app.box.com/
Keeping your PC or Desktop tidy
Microsoft produces some good (not great) software but I use Windows daily over the past 15+ years. But it does start to slow down considerably when you use as much as I do. Junk files appear all over the place, internet cache builds up, links get lost, all small problems but not good. Time to do some housekeeping. 2 great free for personal use are CCleaner and IObit Advanced SystemCare (IAS), both great and both highly recommended. Download from the companies that develop the software here https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download and here http://www.iobit.com/advancedsystemcareper.html. I have used both but slightly prefer IAS as it offers the best interface and most optimisation tools in a single package.
We are now well into the into 201x years so you will need tools to manage your social media work. TweetDeck is good but the best one (just now) is Hootsuite as it can handle most of the common social networks and bring all activities together. Read about it here https://hootsuite.com
In future I will continue to provide reviews and recommendations for other free technology tools.