Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Free PORTABLE apps

As I am doing some year-end cleaning on computers, either servers, desktops, notebooks and netbooks I would like to remind you about Free applications for your computers. I'm going to narrow it down to 2 tips.
#1 The best place for free applications is , For starters they have OpenOffice. OpenOffice is like Microsoft office for about 90% of the things you do in MS Office. The 10% that's missing is the interaction of the complex stuff from a MS document to OpenOffice. If you mostly work with your own documents, spreadsheets and presentations I recommend OpenOffice for it's functionality and price: zero!
They have other apps for so many things, games, education, security, utilities, internet, music & video, graphics and pictures. It's amazing how much free stuff is there.
But the best part of is that all the apps they have can be loaded on a USB drive and carried around with you and used on any windows computer. Or you can just copy them form your USB to a hard drive in your computer, No installation required.
Maybe I didn't explained it well last time around. Most MS windows applications require an installer program, usually in a CD or downloadable from the internet. Once you install it, you don't need the installer anymore. Except when you move to another computer, either voluntarily or due to failure of the first one. Then you have to hunt for those darn installer programs again. Mostly likely you won't find them.
Another scenario is like this: Your friend likes that word process you are using, you would like for him or her to use it. You can't copy your word processor to his computer. You would have to look for the installer program.
In the case of you don't to look for installers. Just copy your portable apps over and be done.
If you have a small, medium or large computer classroom, portable applications make it so much easier to have everyone set to what they need to do. Just copy the apps over and over. Those that have had to deal with this will understand the relief that comes from apps that are just copied in vrs having to install them.
#2 Dropbox. Your computer will some day fail. Accept it now. Hard drives are mechanical things that have a high lifetime but eventually they will fail. Accidents happen, a dropped computer is so common. How about stolen laptops or desktop computers? has it happened to you?
In any case, there will be a day when you will not have access to that computer that holds those documents, and pictures that you need so much. What do to?
Well, theory says you should back up your documents regularly. Back up where? how regularly? Backing up documents is a pain in the ass. Doing it regularly is even more of a pain.
Dropbox is a way to back up your documents and pictures to Dropbox's servers. If you have more than one computer it keeps all the documents syncronized between them so you don't have to wonder where you have that spreadsheet with your expenses, or the christmas pictures. Best of all it's all done automatically whenever you have an internet connection. When you don't have one it waits patiently until you do.
You can even view the documents on a tablet, or via web at Dropbox's site. So if you left for a trip without your computer you can still get them!
So you had the expenses all done and then you mistakenly delete the spreadsheet, opps! No worries you can recover it at Dropbox's site and get it back quickly. It keeps deleted document for 30 days after you delete them. It even saves several versions of the same document so if you mess your letter to Santa you can recover the previous version and go from there.
Even over a slow connection it's a great tool for individuals or teams to keep backups, syncronize documents and share them. Do I seem like a Dropbox convert? That's because I am.
Did I mentioned it's free? You get 2GB of free space to save all those important things that no computer support or insurance of any kind can replace.
If I have convinced you to install Dropbox, send me an email to iowesomuch at (you know it it's really written). Or put a comment below. I'll get you an extra 250mb of free space.
Ok enough slacking, gotta get back to work. I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you a debt free and Happy New Year.

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