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Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

New PC

I finally had to give up on my three year-old Dell laptop. The battery no longer functions so it is essentially a portable desktop, it overheats and shuts down after a couple hours of use and some of the motherboard level functions no longer work (trackpad settings, power management, etc.).
I decided to go light, so I bought what is essentially a large netbook, the ACER 1810TZ. So far the little guy is just phenomenal--light, fast, stable, and with a usable keyboard. What I discovered that was interesting was that after doing the basic PC set-up (setting the usage parameters, removing Office and MS Works and IE, the usual stuff :) was that there are apparently 17 programs that I cannot live without. I therefore downloaded and installed the following software, which after many years of messing about with all sorts of packages have turned out to be the ones that keep me going:
  1. Firefox--I like Chrome better as a browser, but the extensions make Firefox an incredibly useful application (FTP, better security, Gmail improvements, productivity tools,...)
  2. OpenOffice--Unlike the MS Office suite it's stable, simple, and...free.
  3. Zone Alarm--Because you must have a firewall (free).
  4. AVG--ditto an antivirus; ditto that it's free.
  5. ITunes--for music and podcasts.
  6. Chrome--another browser that is lighter and faster than Firefox.
  7. Thunderbird--for offline mail; not as complete as Outlook but free and reliable.
  8. CCleaner--any Windows PC needs a tool to clean out all the crap that gets left behind in daily operation, and this one works very well. And is free.
  9. Celtx--an open-source package for formatting and writing scripts, graphic novels, storyboards, etc. (free).
  10. Paint.net--Excellent free image manipulation package; a 'Photoshop lite" that has more features than Picasa.
  11. Skype--ET phone home. For free. With video.
  12. VLC--Forget QuickTime and the Windows Media software, this plays all of their formats plus Flash and anything else. It's free.
  13. ReadPlease2003--Reads text out loud (sounds like GLaDOS :). Excellent to hear another voice reading what you wrote back to you. And... free.
  14. Tweetdeck--How I do my twittering. There may be better ones, but this seems to be fine for me.
  15. Sonar--For tracking story submissions to agents and editors. Just so much easier than a spreadsheet.
  16. DropBox--An amazing (and, of course, free) program that synchronizes files between different computers. In other words, up to 2 GB of storage in the Internet cloud for things that you are working on and don't want to lose.
  17. Mozy -- a net-based back-up system that runs in the background and prevents those horrible "oops" moments.
ACER in hand, I go forth boldy...

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Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

December 2011

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