The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
This is an update to an article I wrote last year. Several programs I will write about in this new article did not exist when I wrote the earlier version. I have also since changed my mind for several programs as to which is “my favorite” as newer and better programs have become available. I have since found better ones than what I preferred originally.
This year, I purchased three new computers, an Apple MacBook Air (a two-and-a-half pound Macintosh laptop), an Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook (a three-pound Windows 7 laptop) and a Samsung Chromebook (a three-and-a-quarter pound laptop that runs the Chrome operating system). I purchased the three computers, running three different operating systems, so that I could test programs and then write about them in this newsletter. All three computers include a number of programs already installed, but they feel "incomplete" to me. Of course, I could run to a computer store and buy dozens of programs, but my pocketbook would complain. With the recent purchase of three new computers, there's very little money left over for software. The ChromeBook only uses cloud-based programs so I will ignore it for the rest of this article. With the other two computers, as soon as I installed them and made them operational, I immediately downloaded my favorite free programs.
I thought I would share my list of free programs in case anyone else would be interested in these high quality, reliable, programs. Every one of them is available free of charge although some may have additional versions with more capabilities that are available for a fee. In every case, the free version is a very good program by itself; none of the programs listed here are demo or "crippled" versions. They may have less functionality than the commercial versions, but still operate as very good programs by themselves. In most cases, I use only the free versions and am quite happy with them.
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