Today I have come out with a list of freeware that can accomplish everyday tasks without costing you a cent. Those software can be found easily from Google, and easily installed on your computer without a hassle. This is the first episode of the Freeware article series, I will compile more lists on the upcoming weeks or months.

This list was inspired by the article from Top 10 Free Windows Downloads. That was a good list, however, some software I don’t feel very useful, neither will make “your PC faster, stronger, more functional and productive”. So I have compiled another list of software that I use on a day to day basis. They are simply just my personal opinion, you might have different thought, please feel free to let me know, either via email, or by submitting a comment.

Mozilla Firefox

The award-winning Web browser is now faster, more secure, and fully customizable to your online life. With Firefox 2, we get improved tab browsing, spell checking, search suggestions, session restore, as well as improved security with automated update and protection from spyware

Firefox is VERY customizable. On addons.mozilla.org, you can download extensions and themes to make firefox look better and have more features. Extensions include the ability to block ads and adframes inside webpages, mouse gestures, and session saving. There’s pretty much an extension for every function you could possibly need.

OpenOffice

As the name suggests, OpenOffice is open to all users. It is free to download and free to use. OpenOffice can read and write most of the file formats found in Microsoft Office, and many other applications.

Crimson Editor

Crimson Editor is a freeware text editor, source code editor, and HTML editor for Windows. Many of the features and user interfaces are similar to that of EditPlus, which I use a lot, most noticeably Windows shell integration, tabbed document interface, syntax highlighting, multiple undo/redo, column mode editing, bracket matching, auto-indentation, spell checking, direct editing of text files in FTP and the integration with compilers. Unicode and various newlines are supported.

In addition, Crimson Editor supports the use of macros, which can be found in applications like Microsoft Office. The built-in calculator can evaluate simple expressions. Basic mathematics functions, like those found in the standard C library, and date functions are also available.

Not specifically a PHP editor, this versatile application enables syntax-highlighting for many languages, which can be modified for updates in the language, or added to for new languages not yet covered. One of the most useful features I’ve found in it is its built-in FTP client, allowing a developer to edit files directly on the target server, without having to make batch transfers. Once an FTP-based file is open, it can be saved regularly with Ctrl-S just like a local file, making debugging much quicker if the content of the server is only accessible via FTP.

Vim 7.0

Vim, which stands for Vi IMproved, is an open source, multiplatform text editor extended from vi. It was first released by Bram Moolenaar in 1991. Since then, numerous features have been added to Vim, many of which are helpful in editing program source code. Vim and vi are the most popular editors for programmers and users of Unix-like operating systems.

Vim 7.0 was released on 7th May, 2006. The main features added in version 7 are spell checking, code completion, document tabs, current line and column highlighting, undo branches and more. I have been using Vi and Vim since I started in the University, and I continuously using Vim on my everyday work. Vim has a steep learning curve, meaning learning is slow initially but once the you gets a grasp of the basics they progress quickly and their editing becomes more efficient.

AVG Antivirus

AVG Anti-Virus 7.0 has everything you need in an antivirus program: email scanning to include email attachments, boot scanning and auto updating of the virus definitions. From the basic interface, you can quickly do one of three tests: the Complete Test, Removable Media Test and Quick Test.

AVG Anti-Virus also has an Advanced Interface that gives you a nice view of the tests you can run, scheduled tasks, test results and more. This interface is more for advanced users. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will find it logical and easy to maneuver.

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm is designed to protect your DSL- or cable-connected PC from hackers. This program includes four interlocking security services: a firewall, an application control, an Internet lock, and Zones. The firewall controls the door to your computer and allows only traffic you understand and initiate. The application control allows you to decide which applications can and cannot use the Internet. The Internet lock blocks Internet traffic while your computer is unattended or while you’re not using the Internet, and it can be activated automatically with your computer’s screensaver or after a set period of inactivity. Zones monitor all activity on your computer and alert you when a new application attempts to access the Internet.

It comes with free version as well as commercial version, but the free one is more than enough for personal use.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, cross-platform e-mail and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The project strategy is modeled after Mozilla Firefox, a project aimed at creating a smaller and faster web browser.

You can download and install extensions just like Firefox does, one example of extension is the Mozilla Calendar which is based on iCal standard.

You can also download themes which are developed by other programmers to change the look and feel of Thunderbird. These packages of CSS and image files can be downloaded from the Mozilla Update web site.

That’s it for the first part, stay tuned and wait for the next episode to come.

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