- IDM - shareware - $39.95
This low cost text editor has such a powerful feature set and flexibility it has more than paid for itself the two times I have purchased it. Now if I could just get my employer to support a fellow Ohioan with some additional licenses for my co-workers.
I have been a loyal Opera supporter since version 6.01 and now that this alternative web browser is free I try to advocate it where I think it can be useful. Most of the extensions to the Firefox browser have been part of, stable and working in Opera for years.
- K-Lite Codec Pack
- Final Builds Site - free
The K-Lite Codec pack, and more importantly the Media Player Classic, Real Alternative, and QuickTime alternative pieces are mandatory items on any installs I do for friends or family. I haven't run into any video content that I couldn't play and this combination is a much more desirable option to installing Real One players and QuickTime players (which just maul your system, taking over everything) and dealing with the Windows Media player.
GAIM is a multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client, i.e. it's a somewhat bloated piece of software that replaces Yahoo! messenger, MSN messenger and AOL messenger (and other messengers), consolidating them and their bloat into one convenient place. I use it and try to keep family and friends using it, especially now that Yahoo! and AOL are getting more pervasive and annoying.
- Open Office
- CollabNet, Inc. and Sun Microsystems - free
Who needs Microsoft? Open Office is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute. Personally, I have no idea why colleges and universities force their students to obtain Microsoft software when the same functionality is available at a much lower cost (well, actually I do know why and it sucks).