Free things I use...
First and foremost, right in your face is blogspot.com of course. A place (among many others) where I get free hosting. Since April, they’ve allowed me to have lots of page views – all without charging me anything (and there is no advertising either). The service was a bit dodgy at first but seems quite stable these days.
Coupled with blogspot is the little statistics counter – statscount.com – you see on each page. It is free (although I now use the paid service to get more details). For free (or for the nominal fee/month for a bit longer list of details – the last 1,100 hits instead of just 100) you get quite a bit. If you are blogging or hosting or whatever – check it out.
Another service I’ve used over and over is pollhost.com for free “what do you thing” polling. Simple, fast, lightweight – it just works.
A tool I cannot remember how I got along without – primopdf. Ever need a pdf file made from a presentation, a paper, a web page (when you need to save a web page, preserve the formatting but don’t want to have a subdirectory full of images and what not – or just to email the web page to someone “as is”) – whatever. Primopdf does it – and does it free. In fact, it was because I was using primopdf for the umpteenth time this morning that I am writing this.
Cannot forget the two biggies – the two applications I spend more time in than any others (although the next two are close contenders for the top slots too). Firefox and Thunderbird. Firefox is incomplete without these free extensions – ForecastFox, Adblock, Enhanced History Manager, IE View, StumbleUpon (this rocks), Tab Mix Plus, SwitchProxy Tool – and a new extension I’m testing but have high hopes for – I’ll talk about that some other day. In Thunderbird – which I use for both EMAIL and tracking RSS feeds (blogs), I’ve found the need for two extensions. I have to flip/flop SMTP servers frequently depending on where I am (behind the firewall at work – or not). Show SMTP Username does that for me easily. Related functionality with regards to my proxy server in Thunderbird is the Proxy Button – it just turns the proxy ON or OFF. Very simple, very needed.
Close runners up to these two however are gaim and putty. Gaim is what I use for instant messages – seems to be getting more of a communication path for me every day. Putty is just a really good telnet/ssh client. Between those four – that is where I spend much time (hey, you need putty to run sqlplus after all…).
Filezilla is probably the best all around ftp/sftp client I’ve used in a long time. Wish there was a linux version.
I’ve been using Konfabulator – on and off. I use one widget predominantly – a network traffic monitor. I’d be willing to switch – if only someone knows where to get the exact equivalent of xnetload for windows… I’d be very interested. No bells, no whistles – just up/down load rates and total transferred – that’s all.
I use autoruns from time to time just to see what evil little startup program snuck in (although with the MS anti-spyware, currently “free”, the need for this is perhaps declining). I used to use startup cop, but that isn’t maintained anymore. This does nicely.
Unison – which I’ve written about before is still definitely on the list.
VNC, it just rocks. Maybe I should have put this up with gaim and putty actually. I use it a lot to get to my Mac, Windows print server, and various linux boxes at home and work.
As for services – Yahoo Calendar, Yahoo Mail (although I pay for this in order to get a real mailbox and SMTP), Flickr for photos (but I pay for this now to get more space and more ‘categories’. You can do a lot for “free” these days. I was the “web master” (remember that term) for my daughters soccer team. In the past that might have meant getting a hosting service, renting space, designing web pages, manually doing a lot of stuff. In 2005 – I got them a blogspot account, a flickr account and a yahoo account. We had email, calendar, photo galleries, and a place to congregate and announce things and comment on them. It took about 5 minutes to get it all setup.
There are a couple of others such as FireTune for Firefox, Ypops, rlwrap but the above are the “biggies”. The list of “for fee” software I use would be a little longer – maybe about the same size (seems like everything for my Treo is “for fee” and much of it “a year at a time” which I’m not sure I like).
Anyone have anything to add? Someone want to try to talk me out of one that I use for something better (always willing to try)…