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Tag: free stuff

Google Talk Guru

I was recently introduced to Google Talk’s Guru, a handy contact bot that answers all your instant search queries, like “Number of grams in pound” and “current weather in Honolulu.”

Just add guru@googlelabs.com to your contact list and you’re ready to start using it.

After The Crash: Installing Software

The worst part of dealing with a new (or newly restored) computer is installing all of the software that we need to actually get stuff done. If you have an Internet-connection and some anti-virus software, I recommend heading over to Ninite: a website that will create an all-in-one unattended installer to get all of that software you need.

Just check the boxes of the software you want, click get installer, then run the downloaded file. Ninite takes care of the rest. No clicking “Next” or anything like that.

I recommend:

Web Browsers

  • Google Chrome

Messaging

  • Skype
  • either Pidgin (if you use multiple chat services) or the single IM service you use

Media

  • iTunes
  • VLC
  • K-Lite Codecs

Runtimes

  • Flash
  • Java
  • .NET

Documents

  • Foxit Reader [beats the pants off of Adobe Reader]

Security

  • Essentials [if you haven’t already downloaded it, which should have been your first step…]

File Sharing

  • uTorrent

Other

  • Dropbox [a must if you have more that one computer]
  • Steam [if you’re a gamer, anyway]

Click “Get Installer,” which will download a single program that you can, when connected to the Internet, run and walk away from. All your selected software will be installed and when its finished, you’re new computer will be good to go.

Best of Free: uTorrent

uTorrent (read: micro Torrent) is by far the best application for downloading torrents. It is light-weight, runs on both Windows and Linux, and works better than most others I’ve used. While there are other BitTorrent clients available, nothing even compares to uTorrent’s performance.

Google’s Public DNS Servers

There have been a number of times that I was configuring a server/device/etc. and didn’t remember to write down the IP address of the local ISP’s name servers. Now, thanks to Google’s super easy-to-remember IP addresses on their public DNS servers, I won’t need to remember (or use) the ISP’s DNS server as my secondary name server.

Google’s running their systems on 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. Easy.

Best of Free: 7-Zip

Still paying for commercial applications WinZip or WinRAR? 7-Zip, an archiving application for both Windows and Linux, can open most popular archives and compress to ZIP, BZIP2, and 7-Zip’s own 7Z format.

The Best Things In Life ARE Free

Free

Chances are if you’re paying for a commercial application to get something done, there’s a free alternative that’s just as good, if not better.

Over the next week or so, I’m going to cover over 50 pieces of software that if you’re not using, you should be!

Free WiFi in Airports and Virgin Flights

From now until January 15, all Virgin American flights and the following participating airports will be offering free WiFi for the holidays:

  • Austin (AUS)
  • Baltimore (BWI)
  • Billings (BIL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Bozeman (BZN)
  • Buffalo (BUF)
  • Burbank (BUR)
  • Central Wisconsin (CWA)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Des Moines (DSM)
  • El Paso (ELP)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Fort Myers/SW (RSW)
  • Greensboro (GSO)
  • Houston (HOU)
  • Houston Bush (IAH)
  • Indianapolis (IND)
  • Jacksonville (JIA)
  • Kalamazoo (AZO)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Louisville (SDF)
  • Madison (MSN)
  • Memphis (MEM)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Milwaukee (MKE)
  • Monterey (MRY)
  • Nashville (BNA)
  • Newport News (PHF)
  • Norfolk (ORF)
  • Oklahoma City (OKC)
  • Omaha (OMA)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Panama City (PFN)
  • Pittsburgh (PIT)
  • Portland (PWM)
  • Sacramento (SMF)
  • San Antonio (SAT)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • South Bend (SBN)
  • Spokane (GEG)
  • St. Louis (STL)
  • State College (SCE)
  • Toledo (TOL)
  • Traverse City (TVC)
  • West Palm Beach (PBI)

Check it out while it is still available.