The Free Software Foundation

During the past few years a number of people have been caught out by the abrupt end of their free trial of Microsoft Office software.  Most have been blissfully ignorant of the messages that they only had a 60 day trial version, and once that ran out they lost access to all the documents they had saved.  One or two went on to buy Microsoft Office complaining about the cost of it, while others didn’t have the money to pay for it.  As someone who spends just about all day and night on computers I offered advice to those in this position to download OpenOffice – a free alternative to Microsoft Office, and one that would allow them to open at least some of the files they thought they had lost.  I did however download it for a couple of people who have used it many times since.

Recently the whole argument of free software has been brought to my attention as much of what is available has been developed into real alternatives to their paid counterparts.  I came across the Free Software Foundation which promotes both the use and development of free software.  In fact they state that the best way to support their not-for-profit organisation is to:

“…use free software on your own computer and advocate within your business or community for others to adopt it.”

Here in the UK and also in the USA where the recession still has somewhat of a stranglehold on business and commerce, free software could well be all many will be able to afford, if they can afford a computer in the first place.  The rise of the tablet computers, netbooks and smartphones has opened up access to the internet to many who would otherwise not be able to afford it, however, the importance of free software seems to be increasing as the cost of living takes away any spare money for paid alternatives.

Free Software

There are so many ways to get free software these days from open source to shareware and also trial software.  Probably the most comprehensive list I have ever come across is this one from Money Saving Expert, edited by Martin Lewis.  Included are a few office alternatives, audio packages, photo and image editing packages and more.  As I posted earlier if you are a student in a University that is signed up with Microsoft you can also access lots of free Microsoft packages.

Online storage is available from Dropbox, or use Googledocs, Windows Live, and more for free.

Learning XML Free

One of the modules I have opted to take this year at uni is Web Services.  Having had a hand in updating websites and creating a few, I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to look at ways I can learn more about one of the main voluntary work tasks that I “fell” into a few years back.  There are the usual requirements to do coursework, classwork, study for an exam etc etc.  As I have discovered the bulk of webservices all seem to centre around XML and applications.  Having done some digging around on YouTube I came across these videos from Adam Khoury.  If you get a chance they are well worth checking out.

I also did a bit of checking up on free xml editor programs and decided to go for CAM Editor, which I then downloaded to my computer so I can get on with the business of setting up XML files and validation files.  Hopefully I’ll even be able to write WSDL files which will work in the coursework that I am doing with a fellow student.  One thing is certain, I never dreamed I would end up doing any of this kind of stuff.  It never ceases to amaze me what God will do with our potential if we will overcome our fear and let Him.

When Your Computer Needs To Be Fixed – Cheaply

There are times that either you don’t have time to fix your computer, or it’s beyond your expertise and you need to call on a professional. If you live in Motherwell you can check out the PC Repair Shed at 115 Milton Street, Motherwell ML1 1DQ. Tel: 01698 266780 where your computer can be recovered with much of your data also being recovered for a fraction of the cost of many of the major PC Stores. However, if you live in Chapelhall, Holytown, Salsburgh and Calderbank why not check out JMC Computer Solutions who can assist with a variety of technical issues.

When You Forgot The Password…..

…so often we can just click a link that says “forgot password” and fill in our email address which lets whatever website we are trying to log into send us either our password, or let us change it to one that we should remember better next time.  How wonderful it would be if we could all use one simple password and know that all our information would be secure.  It would certainly make life a lot easier.  However, the one password you really don’t want to forget is the one that lets you into your computer.  Forget that and all you are left with is a problem.  Are you going to pay a lot of money to have your computer wiped and restored to factory settings, losing all your information in the process.  Find out how you can reset your Windows Password quickly and cheaply – sign up for my free newsletter here and I’ll show you a tool which can make all the difference to chucking away a perfectly good computer, spending a fortune to have your data recovered, or being able to unlock it within minutes.

Driver Update Nightmare

Windows updates, security patches and more are vital to maintaining security for our computer systems, but so often we ignore the importance of keeping system drivers up to date.  On occasion I have been called on by friends to help out when their computers have required to be recovered.  More often than not these people have not been able to provide the recovery disks that they got with their system.  Anyone who has to recover a system with any type of recovery disk or hard drive partition knows that trying to track down drivers manually takes time.  The good news is there are a few driver support programs which can help speed up the process.  Why not sign up for my newsletter for more information on some low cost and at times free tech programs which can help save you time and money.