Check out our guide to free business and home office software that will help you manage common computing tasks.
Free PC Security Software
From firewalls to anti-virus software, you could spend a fortune keeping their Internet-connected PC safe. Thankfully, there are a number of free antivirus programs that you can use to ward of malicious attacks and key loggers. The downside to using free software is that most vendors do not offer free technical support and some may require you to upgrade to a paid subscription to access all features. For a business, you should also make sure the license agreement does not prohibit for-profit use.
Free Office and Accounting Software
Free Web sites
The words “free” and “Microsoft” aren’t usually found in the same sentence, but Microsoft does have a free version of Microsoft OfficeLive Small Business. Office Live Small Business provides your company with everything needed to create a professional web presence for free, including easy-to-use website design and management tools, and 100 email accounts.
Free Conference Calling
As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But doesn’t any meal taste better when someone else pays the bill? In this case, the meal is conference calling, and the company picking up the check is Long Beach, Calif.-based Free Conferencing Corporation of America, which offers, as its name indicates, free audio conferencing through its online service, FreeConferenceCall.com.
So how does the company make money? The site offers a number of free services the newest is conference recording, more on that later as well as paid services and upgrades.
The free conference-calling service supports up to 96 people on a call, which can last up to six hours each. there’s no limit to the number of calls you can make, and that you don’t need to make reservations. You sign up for an account online by submitting your name and e-mail address. That immediately generates a dedicated phone number and an access code that’s good for 120 days. When the account expires, you must repeat the process.
Free Image Editors
GIMP was originally designed for Unix and Linux, however, GIMP for Windows can run on any NT-based version of Windows (NT4, 2000, XP or Vista). This free and open source image editor offers users a Photoshop-esque look and feel.
You can use GIMP for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. The Painting feature offers a full set of tools such as brush, pencil, airbrush and others. There’s also a gradient editor, blend tool and anti-aliasing. And, GIMP has manipulation tools for rotating, cropping and scaling, as well as a foreground extraction tool and multiple selection tools.
Another cool feature is the animation tool that lets you load and save animations in a convenient frame-as-layer format. The GIMP Web site offers new users visual tutorials, and a registry of plug-ins, scripts and images that the development community contributed that can be downloaded. Because GIMP is beta volunteer-developed software, support and updates may not be available, however GIMP works and works well. s
Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.
This article was originally published on December 18, 2009