Links To Useful Resources
There are several web merchants that sell older and/or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software at exceptionally low prices.OEM software is what usually comes bundled with your computer, sound card, or other devices, and doesn't usually have fancy packaging, but is in fact the same high quality software you would buy in a store. Older versions of software are often great buys. If the latest version of a particular software is, say, Suite9, you may find last year's Suite8 available at a fraction of the price of the newest software. The 2 shopping websites that I use the most are are NEXTAG and PRICEGRABBER. There are many, many more out there. We encourage you to use your search engine (Google, Yahoo, or whatever you use) to look for other "surplus" vendors. Good words to use in the search are OEM, outlet, and surplus. If you're looking for a specific product, try including the name of the product in your search query. Beware of any website that uses the term "warez" or any word with "warez" as part of the name, as this term refers to pirated copies of software.

Most of the following recommended resources are either free or almost free. However, if you download software, like it, and plan to continue using it, please go to the program's website and give a donation to the developer, so that he/she can continue developing and improving the program.

Firefox is a great alternative to Internet Explorer as a web browser. It's far better than Internet Explorer 6 and more easily customizable than Internet Explorer 7. Everyone should have an alternate web browser installed on their computer, in case their regular browser gets corrupted. But I think that once you start using Firefox, you will choose to make it your regular browser and Internet Explorer will become your backup browser.

Google Chrome is an extremely fast browser with a very simplified user interface that takes a little getting used to, but I like it and use it a lot.

Opera is another alternative internet browser. It is considered to be very fast, and doesn't take up much hard-disk space.

OpenOffice is a free alternative to the very pricey Microsoft Office.  OpenOffice includes equivalents of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as database and math applications, and best of all, it is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats (Word, Excel, & PowerPoint).

Very Useful Freebees

The following are links to websites where you can download some useful utilities - just click on the link. All are true freeware (see note *1) or in some cases shareware (see note *2). On most of the links, the download button is obvious, but in some cases you may need to scroll down the screen to find the download link.

    • Allway Sync - A good way to automatically backup files/folders, or to synchronize files/folders between 2 computers.
    • AveryWizard - Creates and prints Avery (and compatible) labels using Microsoft Word.
    • ClearTweak - Optimizes the fonts displayed on your LCD monitor to look their best
    • FoxIt Reader - An alternative to Adobe Reader, for viewing .pdf files, for all you non-conformists out there. It's faster and leaner than Adobe Reader.
    • Mozy and SOSOnline are online backup services that arefree for up to 2GB of storage, and then dirt-cheap for additional storage space. Carbonite is another online backup service and it's price is coming down.
    • Thunderbird email client - An alternative to Outlook Express which many believe is better than Outlook Express.
    • TweakUI and other MS Powertoys - Easily adjusts many Windows XP settings.

    Note *1 Freeware denotes programs that are entirely free - no strings attached, no time-limit.

    Note *2 The term Shareware originally designated programs are are free but requested that you pay for them if you continue to use them. Essentially, shareware is software sold on the honor system, which you can try for free and then pay for if you like it. More recently, Shareware is just another name for crippled or limited-time trial versions of a program.

DISCLAIMER:  Follow all recommendations at your own risk. While we believe that all products listed on this web page are completely safe to use, but we did not develop the product(s), do not know what possibly incompatible software and/or hardware is on your computer, cannot monitor that the installation instructions were correctly followed, and can take no responsibility for any problems you may encounter. Always back up your data files to a CD or other backup media before installing or reinstalling any and all software. Also, be sure to read the End-Users-License-Agreement (EULA) and/or README file(s) that accompany the software, to assure yourself that the product does not include spyware.