More than a mere rival to Microsoft Office, the open-source OpenOffice.org (for Windows and Mac) includes the powerful applications for creating text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, and databases that make it a serious Office competitor. It lets you edit basic documents and save them in a variety of formats, it's robust enough to handle equations and complex multipart documents with bibliographies, reference tables, and indexes, and on top of all that, it's extensible and uses less RAM than MS Office. What's not to love?
Some people like to know everything there is to know about what their PC is doing. Not me. I just want the dang thing to work, and when it stops working, I want the simplest, surest, fastest, and cheapest fix available, skip the details.
This puts me at odds with PC pros who believe there's nothing blissful about tech ignorance. Okay, I see their point, but there are a world of things I'd rather be doing than scrolling through Windows event logs.
Opera, that plucky browser publisher that is neither Microsoft nor Mozilla, has released Opera Mini 4.1 beta with promises of 50 percent faster page loading, among other claimed improvements. The thing is, they might be right.
Mini 4.1b is definitely faster than Mini 4, although actual speeds depend on your wireless connection and the kind of phone you're using. The standard page view loads up what looks like a large thumbnail of the page with images small but discernible and strangely crisp for their size. The "mobile" view presents the URL's information in a … Read more
Even in these days of cheap RAM, where you can get an extra gigabyte of the stuff for around $40 or so, there's not much you can do about must-have programs that leak memory short of seeking out an alternative. That doesn't mean you're tied to incessant program restarts and operating system reboots, though: a few useful programs such as RAM Idle LE, RAMBooster, and Instant Memory Cleaner make it their business to reclaim wasted bits.
RAMBooster is well-known to longtime Daily Download readers. We've featured it in our Windows Starter Kit and in a First … Read more
One of the most promising freeware programs of 2007 was Simplify Media, a plug-in for iTunes and Winamp on both Windows and Mac that lets users share their music collections with friends and themselves via the Internet. The application is expecting an official release in June, but until then you'll have to appease your appetite for music with these beta builds.
The program still eats a voluminous amount of virtual memory--near the 100MB range, on average--but if you're not using a lot of other system processes it makes for an attractive way to get your tunes across the … Read more
The last time Windows' System Restore failed on me, I didn't blink an eye. I gave up trusting Microsoft's own Registry safety net a long time ago. And considering the quality Registry freeware available, there's no reason you should rely on Windows to repair and recover from Registry-related problems. These four freebies will keep the Windows engine purring like a kitten.
Clear out the clutter with CCleaner Piriform's popular Windows-optimization utility includes a Registry-scrubbing component that clears out old application paths, ActiveX controls, shared DLLs, fonts, icons, and other Registry detritus. The program gives you the … Read more
For freeware productivity fans, March has ended like a lamb, not a lion. Microsoft Office replacement OpenOffice.org--download for Windows, Intel-based Macs and PowerPC-based Macs--and MS Word analogue and significantly smaller AbiWord have released updates that strengthen their functionality, expand their features, and ensure that they won't be rolling over to Web-based competitors anytime soon.
Redmond's MS Office is a behemoth of a program, but Silicon Valley-based Sun Microsystems' OpenOffice.org is hardly a lightweight. Currently, the update is only available for the Windows version of the suite, although updates for the Mac editions are expected … Read more
The more programs you have installed on your PC, the harder it becomes to find the one you want. That's why I've fallen in love with Launchy, a simple application launcher that saves you having to slog through your Start menu.
To use Launchy, you simply press Alt-Space on your keyboard, then type the first few letters of the program you want. For example, to launch Google Picasa, you'd type "pic" and then press Enter. (You may need another keystroke or two if other programs on your PC start with the same letters.)
Launchy also … Read more
There's simply no reason for any computer user to lose important data.
My hat is off to the tech companies that provide the hardware, software, and services we rely on every day. From Microsoft's Shadow Copy feature in Windows Vista (though only partially implemented in the Home Edition), down to the smallest Web start-ups offering free and easy online storage (though you have to pay for unlimited storage capacity), they have made tremendous strides in helping to keep our valuable data safe. Now it's up to us to take advantage of these great products and services.
For … Read more
As long-time fans know, Power Downloader is a gregarious guy. Modest to a fault, he just likes helping people. One of his favorite programs for helping computer users of all levels of experience is the freeware application CrossLoop. CrossLoop is a secure single-serving of remote access, but once it's given, the remote user has complete access until the connection is severed.
When PD runs the program, his PC is assigned a new 12-digit access code each time you start the program. The person he's helping also gets a new access code and then shares that with PD. Power … Read more