As I write this article, we are about 2 weeks away from Christmas, if you’re reading this in the Big Glossy then Happy New Year to you. Last edition I wrote the first part of this article where I shared with you my top 3 apps for mobile phones/tablets – hope you tried them out.
This edition it is my top 3 applications for use on your PC/Laptop. They all have a free version, so there’s no excuse not to try them out.
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And the ones that got away…
Here are just a few other must have programs and utilities which I thought I’d add as well:
- Malware Bytes Free – this program should be in your arsenal of protection – run it now and again, it can sometimes find things that your anti-virus might not find, even AVG! Available for PC, Mac and Android – download page: https://goo.gl/OlkYiI
- Google Chrome (web browser) or Firefox – If you just use the web browser that came with your device (Internet Explorer perhaps, or Safari) then you are really missing out. Chrome and Firefox are not only free but particularly good, and fast! There are lots of alternatives to your stock browsing experience, why not give them a go. If you use Chrome on other devices your bookmarks, automatic form fills and passwords will synchronise too! Both browsers have lots of ‘plugins’ available allowing you to add things such as games, office applications, drawing programs and more (In the next issue of Big Glossy I’ll be writing about some of them for Chrome!). Download Google Chrome: https://goo.gl/XvfQm4 or Firefox: https://goo.gl/SdOLuD
- BitTorrent Sync – maybe you’ve heard of BitTorrent – this software is by the same people but allows you to synchronise folders and files across devices. Useful if you have more than one device, for example, a file you edited on your office PC you need access to whilst you are away with your tablet, mobile phone or home laptop – no problem if you’ve used this program. Make changes, and all your other copies are synchronised too! Download from: https://goo.gl/BQ37WN
- Viber – If you use Viber on your mobile phone you might be please to know that there is a version for PC and Mac – you’ll still get notifications on your mobile phone at the same time but its much more convenient to answer calls and respond and send messages using your computer – your keyboard is bigger for a start! Download from here: http://goo.gl/Fg4aQe
- In a similar vein, WhatsApp web allows you to WhatsApp on your computer – not really an application as such but a connected web-page so it actually runs in your browser – visit this link https://web.whatsapp.com – you will need your mobile phone handy to activate it!
Spanish Accents Capslock
If you have the need to type Spanish accented characters, or even just a quick way of getting the € (euro) sign, this is one of those must have applications. There aren’t really any special key combinations to remember, just press caps lock along with the key you want an accent for, so for ‘ñ’ hold down caps-lock key and press n. The euro sign, caps-lock and number 4 on the top row. Other keys ‘a’ -> ‘á’, ‘e’ -> ‘é’, ‘i’ -> ‘í’, ‘o’ -> ‘ó’, ‘u’ -> ‘ú’, ‘?’ -> ‘¿’ and ‘!’ -> ‘í’. It doesn’t really have a pretty user interface as it sits unobtrusively in your system tray (bottom right near the date and time) and is always ready to use.
You can download it from here: http://goo.gl/mULa7L
If you go with the USB version, there’s just one file which you can perhaps put on a USB stick and take it wherever and whenever! There are even versions for German, Italian and French!
emClient – e-mail program
Hate the interface for accessing your e-mail through your web-browser? Perhaps you use Microsoft Outlook at the office but can’t justify the cost for home use? emClient is a super alternative – it works very much like Outlook but IMHO (In My Honest Opinion) is better! It is a perfect compliment to your Google account especially if you have an Android based mobile phone or tablet, as the contacts you store are automatically synchronised between emClient and your phone – much easier to edit on your computer too! You can also synchronise your calendar too. The really good news is that for non-commercial use it is free and you can connect up to 2 e-mail accounts (you don’t have to have a Google account by the way!), but if you need to connect more, the full version is quite affordable.
You can download from here: http://goo.gl/Z2ANj0
Compliments your Android mobile phone contacts and calendar.
Other features include automatic rules for filing messages, automatic signature endings for your e-mails, maintain a task list, and online chat with your contacts.
AVG Free/AVG Zen – Anti Virus
If you’ve bought a new PC or laptop lately, chances are it came pre-installed with a trial version of some anti-virus software such as McAfee or Norton. The trial period varies from a month to a year, after which they stop working unless you pay an upgrade fee. Maybe you’re just ignoring the reminders, and if you are you might be exposing your computer and personal details to unscrupulous scammers and hackers. Protect yourself by downloading and installing the free version of AVG anti-virus (make sure you fully uninstall any non-operating anti-virus software first). The free version does a good job running in the background, protecting your computer, your web surfing, your identity and the e-mails you read. I always recommend this to customers who are without anti-virus protection and it’s what I’ve been running on our family PC’s for years. You can upgrade to the full version for even better protection at a cost of around €40 for one year. Once installed I recommend that you set it up to run a full scan on a regular basis, once per week or month, and should certainly run one once you’ve installed it.
Available for free on Windows (including Windows 10), Macintosh and Apple & Android mobile devices.