Open Office is free software that is compatible with Microsoft Office. The suite contains word, speadsheet, and slideshow applications. If you don't want to buy Microsoft Office use this.

UseFirefox instead of Internet Explorer. Firefox has tons of add-ins that you can add to the browser, and the tabbed page come in handing.

Thunderbird is an email program that is very similar to Microsoft Outlook. You can use it to sync multiple email accounts. Add-ins can also be used in Thunderbird to add compatibility for Pocket PC devices. Best of all the software is free.

Bitdefender is one of the better anti-virus/malware suites. The software integrates nicely with MS Outlook and Firefox. When I purchased the software I was able to obtain a three computer, 2 year subscription for $69.99. Not that bad of a price over Norton's or McAfee software suites.

Truecrypt is a very small piece of software that does amazing things. As the names implies the application encrypts data and than secures it in a hidden part of your hard drive that is password protected. The software is free.

Science oriented web forum. You can read and participate in various discussions such as Physics, Biology, Linguistics, Politics, Philosophy, Health & Fitness, etc.

Copernic has a free version of their software that allows you to search emails and files on your desktop or laptop. The application is better to use than Microsoft Search.

Keepass is an application that organizes and manages passwords for you. The software is free.

Digsby allows you to sync multiple instant messaging (AIM, Yahoo, gTalk, etc.) , email (Yahoo, MSN, gMail, Charter, etc.), and social networking (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. etc.) accounts into one application. The software is free.

Handbrake is an application that transcodes (converts) video to formats that can be used on computers and other mediums such as portable video players or iPhones. The software is free.

DVD43 is a free DVD decrypter that runs in the background and decrypts DVDs on the fly. The software is free. Technically it is illegal to decode DVDs, but many still use software such as this to make legimate backup copies of their movies.

Picasa is an application that allows you to edit photots and store them on online web albums. The software allows you to organize and share photos easily among friends. The software is free and provides you up to 1GB of storage which is more than enough if you resize your photos.

Gimp is an application that allows you to manipulate images. If you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop than Gimp is basically the free software equivalent. You can add layers, fix imperfections, change shading, etc. The software supports JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and GIF files.

News for nerds website. Has some interesting topics discussed.

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