You've just taken delivery of a new PC, and you're looking for some good apps to run on it. You'll no doubt have a few in mind, but before reaching for your wallet, check out these ten essentials, all of which we think you'll find darn useful - and they won't cost you a penny. RH Numbers OpenOffice 3.2 Many new PCs come with …
This kind of thing is useful, IIRC you've done a few other categories as well.
Not iTunes.. Want to slow your new PC down?
I prefer to take iTunes off as it's so bloated and wouldn't have it near my PCs, but then I'm not really a consumer of this sort of media. Surely there is a more resource friendly app out there... Any suggestions?
iTunes etc. as organizers, not sellers
The article is clear that iTunes' strength is in searching a world outside for media.
ITunes has consequently lost focus as as a media player for my existing files, and is no longer good at this, so I stopped using my Apple MP3 player and iTunes.
You could consider looking at Windows media player, especially because iTunes synchronises with it to some extent. I'd also like other suggestions for this. I used to use Realplayer as well, it also got wiped about 4 years ago for similar loss of focus.
Thanks for the good summary.
No Picasa? Seriously?
tsk, tsk, tsk
VLC???? Media player classic is faaaaaar better!
Too many rose tinted glasses over VLC
It's probably because people still see VLC as the video darling of the free software brigade. Little do they know the politics behind it (like VLC's creators trying to get video formats changed to suit their whims, resulting in odd playback issues with certain containers), nor the fact it's not the most reliable piece of software in the world.
I do use it for some things, but personally if you're using it for codec support then you'd be a lot better off ditching it and going for the CCCP codec pack, which even comes with Media Player Classic in case you've got a big bugbear against the present MS offerings.
Rose tinted glasses, or good user experience?
I've deployed VLC across three schools that I've worked for to replace bundled DVD / media players, and I've received not one complaint. It loads fast, plays everything you throw at it, and is easy enough for the less IT literate teachers (typically the ICT teachers) to use.
MPC may be great, but saying that VLC isn't will win you no friends.
Too true. A big "plus one" for CCCP here as the right approach to doing away with codec issues permanently.
Itunes --> Foobar
I saw foobar missing and oh no Spotify is not free anymore but I am the lucky earlybirds.
Foobar = Low CPU , excellent support for most audio formats including Flac and can be customised till cows come home.
Excellent round up
Karen's Replicator is very welcome news as is all the free guff in iTunes U. Faststone rocks, it's very powerfull for something so small and light. I have it set as the default image opener on my PC.
iTunes? Surely some mistake
iTunes = RealPlayer for the 2000's
It's not free software, it's malware.
iTunes, poor choice. Why would you want that on the list.
@ Bo Pedersen AVG? Are you serious? A couple of years ago maybe! Avast! wouldn't be so bad if it didn't self promote so much.
Security Essentials will likely be built around the excellent old product by Giant which Microsoft acquired, gets my vote.
Great article. But Security essentials??? Itunes????
Anything Microsoft acquired usually gets downgraded by them, like the great malware manufacturer they bought and windows defender then downgrade the threat level of the malware to be "Okay." It might have been great when Giant ran it, but as with all things M$ it gets put through the M$ logic mill which usually spits out crap, like home server, Vista and windows mobile, windows media player, IE8.
Personally as the M$ software is written so badly anything that protects that will be equally as badly written because it is the same culture, the same developers writing it. So I always prefer someone outside of the M$ 'logic mill' to create software to help me protect M$ software. Fresh pair of eyes can always see the problems so to speak.
And itunes? The dictionary definition of Malware should either say, Itunes, or MSN as the two great pieces of software that will kill and drain your PC of all it's life and never truly goes away.
iTunes on the wrong list
iTunes is a stinky pile of pooo, talk about resource hungry.
Flame away YOU ARE wrong.
Then it doesn't "Just Work"
If it sits there and waits for the tea to be ready before responding to your clicks and searches like it has to make reservations to Siberia - just in case your file is there - then it doesn't "Just Work".
Bloated + Resource Hungry + Normal wage earner's computer = FAIL.
What is the point of the brilliance of the dawn if you are not alllowed to open the curtains to see it?
Not sure about the installing part, but that looks like a list of the top 10 apps to be uninstalled when someone complains their PC is running like a dog.
There's a reason for iTunes
It may be a deeply annoying piece of software, and if you don't watch it you'll soon have Safari, Bonjour, and goodness knows what other Appleware all over your computer. But, it does give you easy access to lots of free podcasty goodness on iTunes, and also a pretty good music catalogue.
I had to find 7 songs for a recent Golden Wedding, including 2 from Jimmy Young (horror!), and some obscure Pat Boone film soundrack. I had to do quite a lot of searching, as they didn't know the names - but once I had titles they were all on iTunes. I'm still not sure if that's a good or a bad thing...
I was quite impressed, as I struggled to find them on other interweb sites. But perhaps my judgement is still impaired by the half hour of Jimmy Young shit I had to listen to in order to find which bloody song 'is called something about roundabouts'... *shudders*
On my list,
Firefox, Opera, AutoHotkey (Windows scripting and automation and text-triggered macros), 7-Zip, MyDefrag - and I use Adobe Reader: it's the one that most people write for.
Paint.NET, Notepad++, 7ZIP, Firefox, Comodo Firewall?
And WTF with iTunes. Id rather boil my scrotum than use itunes.
RE: dont forget
>>Paint.NET, Notepad++, 7ZIP, Firefox, Comodo Firewall?<<
+1 to these apps.. world-class stuff for nothing!
>>And WTF with iTunes. Id rather boil my scrotum than use itunes.<<
See keyboard.. haha
damnnnit,,, not again....
I only just got my new keyboard from last time it got a java lava soaking,,,
Hot water is all ready
You forgot AUSlogic disk defrag. Does the same job windows does in about 1/10 the time!
iTunes? Are you nuts...
It's the biggest load of bloated garbage ever created. Only an iTard locked into it with all his iProducts would ever use it voluntarily.
Use MediaMonkey or Foobar, or even Windows WMP11 instead and save yourself the gried of forever suffering the endless stream of new appleware that iTunes opens the door to.
iTunes is a pig! If you have an ipod or iwhatever, there are other products you can use to add or remove files from it, like floola.
"Apple's iTunes has to be on the list of free applications any new PC needs simply because of the wealth of media content it makes available"
this is a joke, right ?
70% - could do better
Itunes, security essentials,
Should have included:
1. Non MSFT Browsers: Thunderbird. Opera
2. Email client: Thunderbird
3. Last but by no means least in these days of 'emormo' hard discs
Setup disk for a dual booting partition with Linux Mint (due to all the stuff being built in). Most of the above available for that too
Nice list, but some (at least one) are "Free" as in 'Free for home and personal use only' eg: Karen's Replicator - from her site: "Karen's Power Tools programs are free for personal, non-commercial use. But if you'd like to use the programs at work, you need a paid license."
Also check out (Google is your friend):
deltacopy and grsync: Packaged, GUI-driven versions of rsync that can backup to local and remote locations via the tubes.
iReport: Crystal Reports (ish) without the dosh
Kompozer is a half-decent GUI HTML editor
7zip for most of your compressing and decompressing needs
Inkscape - the poor (but free) long-lost-cousin of Corel Draw
Dia - likewise for Visio
PDFCreator - Do you need a description?
Winsplit revolution - Windows desktop organiser
Jaangle does not appear to have an option to switch output source. Useless for those with more than one soundcard. I would add QTLite and RealAlt to that list plus of course a decent codec like ffdshow (Manually setup of course for the best results) and Matroska Splitter. Still VLC or MPC Home Cinema should do the job if you are too lazy to bother with it. Also don't forget things like Visipics for sorting and deleting duplicate images. I prefer XNView over Faststone purely for speed and ease of use. But Faststone has more options (Like dual monitor support).
That's always my no. 1 install. In fact, why no browser at all? Any of Chrome, Safari, Opera or Firefox is preferable to IE.
Open Office and iTunes definitely off the list
Of the 5 PCs I have at home, 3 have copies of MS Office on them (all work provided), and 2 I put Open Office on. I'm on the verge of removing Open Office and ponying up for MS Office on the remaining 2 machines. Why? I'm fed up of 2 things. One is constantly dealing with formatting differences in documents from work (or elsewhere) loaded into Open Office. The second, I'm fed up with complaints from my SO about her work documents not working as expected in Open Office - especially things like track changes etc. Certainly, the article's comment, "And it's fully compatible with its namesake too, able to open and save Microsoft Office documents" is definitely not true. It is not fully compatible and a lot of the more complex features just don't work properly. Furthermore, the spreadsheet offering is an order of magnitude worse than MS Office.
iTunes is a viral piece of crap. I actively hunt it out on any machine I come in contact with and de-install it. I don't want viral installs of other Apple CrapWare just because Saint Jobs thinks I might want to use those items. I also hate the resource hogging and poor user interface. Also, despite that piece of crap turning up on a number of my machines, I've never actually found a use for it. All my internet radio and media playback comes through my SqueezeServer (and network of SqueezeBoxes throughout the house). Incidentally, for those who think I'm a Windows Fanbois, my SqueezeServer runs from a Linux server - as do all my always on services.
I would add a couple of items to the list, although reluctantly. The first is Picasa. I use it as my image viewer on every machine bar one (which has PhotoShop on it for the serious photography). Picasa is a great image viewing piece of software, and also good for managing uploads and e-mails, and doing batch conversions of pictures if you can't be arsed to fire up PhotoShop.
The second, even more reluctantly added, is FireFox. I started using FF with version 1, and initially I swapped from IE simply because of rendering speed. The tabbed browsing, download window and search as you type are the features I liked the most after rendering speed. Unfortunately, stability, and the way it seems to routinely wreck your profile during upgrades, has made me seriously consider going back to IE. In fact, the only reason I'm not back on IE at the moment is because of the infuriating way that IE places some navigation buttons on each side of the address bar, and won't let you customise them. If they fixed that bug, and also had a decent download window and decent search as you type, I would now be using IE again.
Mate... it's FREE! =P
Of course Openoffice isn't gonna be 100% compatible with MS Office, it's fairly close (and doesn't have all those annoying GUI changes) and it's FREE! That's the whole point of the article - not everyone can afford to fork out money like that! (Mr average won't own 5PCs.)
I do agree with the points on iTunes and Firefox though, but please stay off the blue smarties =P
Re: Mate... it's FREE! =P
So's a bullet-shaped hole in the head courtesy of your nearest mugger; but I don't see anyone queuing up for one.
Point is, it's badly designed, poorly supported, and barely able to work with it's own format - let alone microsoft's, which sad to say seems to be the defacto for office and college. I'm as rabidly against MS as any other self-respecting IT professional, but even I have to admit that MS Office .. well .. works (yeah excuse the pun).
OpenOffice.org and iTunes
OpenOffice.org certainly does have its faults. But one must keep firmly in mind that it *will* get better and gain traction as it does so. I'm adminstrating a herd of computers in a corporate environment, and OpenOffice is taking over for a lot of machines. It has been running on the PCs exclusively for a while now.
I've never been particularly fond of "track changes" functionality, I find all of the implementations clunky. And if you think OpenOffice.org does it badly, clearly you have not tried using Microsoft's own office suite for the Mac! Enabling the tracking of changes on Office:Mac is asking for it--and ye shall most definitely receive! Actually, OpenOffice (or rather, NeoOffice) is a pillar of stability compared to Office for Mac. (Note that I've never run Office 2008 for Mac, nor do I intend to.)
The spreadsheeting function could be improved. It falls down when you get into doing "deep stuff" with formulas and charts. Yet I'm sure it will be.
It's good enough that the users can get along well with it in a production environment. OOo really does work 99%* of the time in an Office-centric world. One can't argue with the price. One also can't argue with the fact that doesn't have those *infuriating* ribbons in its UI.
iTunes...well, I get along with it. It's certainly more bloated than it ought to be, there can be no doubt. One does have to watch for the delivery of "helpful" Apple software via the software updater. But it'll do, and it's what most people are familiar with.
I administer a lot of Firefox installations running on different platforms in differing situations, with both clued and clueless users. Profile corruptions are pretty rare on this end--only one has ever taken place between when we started using Firefox (1.5.x) and now (3.6). If you're having problems with a Firefox profile becoming corrupt, I'd take the Mozilla Organization at their word and start questioning your add-ons and extensions. Failing that, I'd take a long, hard look at your computer to be sure it's as reliable as you think it is. I just don't think these happen without a solid reason...
* not a scientific figure, yet it still serves my point. Depending upon this figure in precision applications may cause telemarketing, headaches, nausea, printer fires, spontaneous computer explosion and other fun stuff to happen. Effects seen were similar to those using a placebo office suite.
MS office offers great value for money when you think about the sheer time you spend using it!!
Didn't I read that OOo's difficulties with MS formats
is a result of Office not actually bothering to follow them properly in the first place?
VLC over MPCHC??
Pidgen over Digsby??
Stone something or other photoviewer over Picasa 3??
I also prefer SumatraPDF over Foxit... but that is personal preference.
The other three?? Not just personal preference but only common sense.... VLC, Pidgen and Stonesomethingorother are just plain bad programs and outclasses by these counterparts.
- picasa (photo management)
- irfanview (best image viewer/convertor)
- HxD (hex/disk editor)
- Notepad++ (editor)
and stuff I'll never install:
- skype (sorry, SIP is the standard, not this closed source crap)
- itunes9 (bloatware)
- the suggested backup tool (Karen whatever): written in VB, no wonder is wasn't fluid!
You slag off Acrobat reader for being bloaty, and then include iTunes! Good grief man! I don't care how many other apps it lets you find in the "store" it's a resource munching, memory leaking pile of doodoo.
How you could include iTunes and not Firefox is beyond me.
My list would have a lot of yours, but would include Firefox, Filezilla, Vuze and Thunderbird.
For the power MP3 users out there, may I recommend MP3tag... It's very useful for those MP3 players/phones etc (and iTunes) that continually make a mess of the ID3 track details. Plus it's geek friendly so you can even tell it how to extract the track number, title and artist from the filename if it's already there.
More, and better, free apps
Try this site for some amazing freeware. I've only scratched the surface but The KM Player is a standout.
Nine great apps!
The first three apps I install on a fresh PC: Firefox, Thunderbird and Truecrypt. Web, email and file security sorted in minutes. The rest of the list is great, with the obvious exception of iTunes.
A couple more...
"Partition Wizard Home Edition" & "Macrium Reflect Free Edition" saved my bacon last week. All 3 partitions from my primary drive just disappeared after a reboot. Because I had a recent system image, made with Reflect, I just pasted that onto an old drive and then used Partition Wizard to get the partitions back on my main drive. I was up and running again in less than 30 minutes. I'd highly recommend both.
Oh, and although I like CCleaner, it's on my list of possible culprits, as I'd allowed it to "Wipe Free Space", not long before the parititions disappeared!
I hate Adobe Reader, but unfortunately Foxit and the other free replacements will NOT handle every PDF out there. Some forms, important to me, won't take text entry.
Glad you guys put in Karen's Replicator.
Just to agree with what has been said earlier. iTunes is going nowhere near my computer.
Installed it once. Wouldn't play my FLAC files and ran all sorts of nonsense in the background.
My Essential Additions:
Notepad++ (or PSPad)
Nice little backup utility, can be run from the command line to create scheduled disk mirrors.
A PDF Creator
CutePDF works for me...
Excellent burning software - this has to be installed
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