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Free Software You Should Be Using

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re already fairly versed on the many free programs out there that are great for you to use (i.e. Firefox, iTunes, etc.). That’s why I want to share with you a few free programs and websites that you probably aren’t using right now, but should be!

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1. KeePass – This program helps you store and keep track of your passwords for nearly anything you do on your computer.  This program isn’t absolutely necessary for those of you that are using Firefox’s built in functionality, but this program takes things a step further. It’s great and easy to use! Check it out!

2. Pidgin or Meebo – Like most students, you likely spend a ton of time online. As you’re surfing, you’re likely using some sort of instant messenger to keep in touch with your friends. Pidgin and Meebo (web-based) makes things easier. They both allow you to login to multiple accounts (Yahoo, MSN, Google chat, etc.) all at the same time. The days of having 4 different programs all running at once are over!

3. GIMP - Gimp is probably the best free program out there that can compete (sort of) with Adobe Photoshop. Save your $300+ and use this instead of buying photoshop!

4. Open Office - You may already know about this one. It’s essentially a free alternative to Microsft Office. If you’ve been used to Microsoft, this will take some getting used to, but not spending $150 is worth that!

5. VLC Media Player – This program will play nearly any kind of video file you throw at it. If you’re like me, you probably aren’t a huge fan of Quicktime or Real Player. This easily takes the place of them!

6. OttoBib – This is a nice little site that makes writing up a bibliography much, much easier. It does all the work for you!

7. FreeMind – This program allows you to do what is called “mind-mapping” – which basically means brainstorming. It allows you to take ideas in your head and put them down on paper in a natural, readable layout. I used this a lot when preparing to write papers or when starting projects. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps your thoughts stay organized!

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About The Author

Mike is the owner and main contributor for Collegestudentsarepoor.com. Mike enjoys learning about personal finances and works hard to help college students make and save money in college.

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Comments (9)

  • Buy PSP Go

    Thanks for the list. I just installed Handbrake and it make me install the VLC player to work – it’s really good and supports a lot more formats out of the box than Quicktime etc.

  • Dyski

    I use openoffice too. Mike, does it crash so often for you too? I crashes at least twice a day on my computer. And it’s not the virus issue – my laptop is clean.

    • Mike

      I’ve never had any trouble with it crashing. Hmm. I’m not sure what that might be. Have you contacted the open office people about it?

  • Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com

    I use almost all of these.

    My addition: DropBox! It’s an awesome file syncing/online storage software that will save you on those days when you forget your flashdrive.

    I think the website is getdropbox.com! Check it out, it’s pretty much the coolest software I’ve ever used!

    • Elissa

      I think that google shouldn’t be underestimated for this kind of thing either. Googledocs is a great thing (if you have a gmail account, and it might be a reason to get one). It is a mold of word (basically..a bit glitchy though) and excel etc, but also can host files that you upload to it. Exponentially useful!

  • Aaron

    Ah, free software. I’m surprised that the list is so small. It’s probably a good thing overall as we don’t need more bulky free apps list on the internet ()r maybe we do since people aren’t catching on as far as we know).

    My criticism comes with Ottobib; the website’s auto citation doesn’t compare to Zotero, a free addon for Firefox that can do multiple citation styles, store backups of most any web based content, and it’s updated frequently to new styles.

    Ottobib focuses only on book content however, and a quick trial proved it incapable of audiobook ISBNs. Zotero requires you to fill in some information but then it’s right click and export.

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