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Thread: The Best Free Software of 2009

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    by Eric Griffith

    ( Note* I may have typo'ed some links, but the link to the whole article is at the bottom.
    Each heading is linked to the page in the article.)

    App Launchers
    ****************


    1. Circle Dock
    circledock.wikidot.com
    Windows
    Who says a dock has to actually... dock? To the side of the screen, that is. Circle Dock brings up a spiraling launcher interface with all the icons you want to click. Rotate it with the wheel on your mouse and change the skin to suit your desktop.

    2. ObjectDock
    www.stardock.com
    Windows
    Replace the Windows Taskbar and Quick Launch toolbar with this Mac-like animated toolbar of icons for all your programs. It comes with a few "docklets" for displaying info like the time, weather, and a Web search form.

    3. Launchy
    www.launchy.net
    Windows | Linux
    "Keystroke launcher" is a fancy way of saying "command line," but if you like to type rather than click for control—a practice that goes well beyond app launching—Launchy is your best choice.

    4. Quicksilver
    www.blacktree.com
    Mac OS
    Quicksilver does more from the keyboard than just launch programs. It can act on any item you can find or drag on your Mac. Quicksilver plug-ins add even more functions.

    AUDIO/MUSIC
    ****************


    5. Audacity [HALL OF FAME]
    audacity.sourceforge.net
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    On a par with any commercial audio editor, Audacity is the free sound editor of choice. The latest beta (1.3.6) even supports MPEG-4, Dolby Digital, and Windows Media.

    6. Banshee
    banshee-project.org
    Linux
    iTunes is riffed upon again, this time in a Linux-only option that supports audio and video, Android phones, and older iPods (but not iPhones or iPod touch... for now).

    7. EphPod
    www.ephpod.com
    Windows
    It does whatever iTunes does in Windows—syncing, playlists, iPod firmware updates, and much more, including moving music from an iPod to your new PC.

    8. foobar2000
    www.foobar2000.org
    Windows
    Basic playback of just about any audio you can imagine is foobar2000's calling card, complete with an iTunes-like interface.

    9. imeem (formerly Anywhere.FM)
    www.imeem.com
    Web
    If iTunes were entirely in the cloud, it would be pretty close to imeem (formerly Anywhere.FM). Upload your music collection and videos to stream from any device. Digital photos, too. You can share them with friends you make on the service.

    10. iTunes [HALL OF FAME]
    www.apple.com/itunes
    Windows | Mac OS
    Do we have to explain iTunes as the (so far) ultimate media player, coupled with online store and the primary way to get media—from music to video to games to podcasts, which plays most file formats (except, unsurprisingly, Windows Media formats)—and puts them on your iPod or iPhone? Probably not.

    11. Mojo
    www.deusty.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    When you and some friends install Mojo, you're ready for a unique sharing experience. Browsing and downloading MP3s from each other's iTunes music libraries is suddenly a very easy proposition. If it's a DRM file from the iTunes store, Mojo highlights them in red so you won't be bothered trying.

    12. Songbird
    www.getsongbird.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Mozilla's knockoff of iTunes is free, open-source, and supports just about every kind of music file you can imagine. You can even download embedded MP3s on Web sites to your permanent collection. Extensions add support for iPods and Web services.

    13. Screamer Radio
    www.screamer-radio.com
    Windows
    You can download an app or run it from the Web, but either way, Screamer Radio accesses and lets you record Internet radio in a number of streaming audio formats (Shoutcast, Icecast, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, and AAC).

    14. WavePad Sound Editor
    www.nch.com.au/wavepad
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    WavePad puts all the usual bells and whistles of audio editing and effects at your fingertips.

    15. Winamp [HALL OF FAME]
    www.winamp.com
    Windows
    Still a primo MP3 player, Winamp is both customizable (it heralded the age of "skins" on software) and comes in multiple versions, including one that works with CDs.

    Backup
    ****************


    16. DriveImage XML
    www.runtime.org
    Windows
    Make a replica—an image—of your entire hard drive for easy backup and restore later.

    17. MozBackup
    mozbackup.jasnapaka.com
    Windows
    If you're a big user of Mozilla products—including Firefox, Thunderbird, and SeaMonkey, as well as Flock and Netscape—use MozBackup to store your hard-earned settings and data like bookmarks and e-mail messages.

    18. MozyHome Free
    www.mozy.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    Don't even think about backing up: MozyHome will do it for you, in the background, for up to 2GB of data (you can pay to get unlimited space). Perfect for office docs, but you'll want to pay for more storage to back up pictures, music, or videos. Soon it will sync between PCs, too.

    19. SpiderOak
    www.spideroak.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    It's another 2GB of free online storage that backs up in the background, but SpiderOak goes Mozy one better by supporting Linux.

    20. SyncToy v2.0
    www.microsoft.com/downloads
    Windows
    This so-called PowerToy from Microsoft has the power to make sure folders across your multiple drives or even your home network stay fully synchronized.

    21. SyncBack Freeware
    www.2brightsparks.com/freeware
    Windows
    Set all the parameters and SyncBack will handle synchronization or backup between folders, FTP sites, or ZIP archives.

    Blogging
    ****************


    22. ScribeFire
    www.scribefire.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    This add-on for Firefox is a perfect tool for posting entries to just about any blogging software or service in existence.

    23. TweetDeck
    www.tweetdeck.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Don't restrict Twitter to just a column when this Adobe Air–based software can spread itself across your desktop with multiple columns. Each column can contain replies, direct messages, or whatever you specify. As with any tweet tool, the columns auto-update as new tweets arrive. TweetDeck stores all tweets that arrive while the app is running so you don't miss anything overnight.

    24. Twitteriffic
    www.iconfactory.com/software/twitterrific
    Mac OS| Mobile
    A small desktop footprint is the hallmark of this reverse-type Twitter app, great for reading and posting to the popular microblogging service. All the features you expect, and more, are there—even in the free version, which includes advertisements.

    25. Zoundry Raven
    www.zoundryraven.com
    Windows
    Finally, standalone software that gives Windows Live Writer some serious competition for the pro bloggers. It handles full WYSIWYG editing on multiple blogs and can run portably from a USB flash drive to use with any Windows PC.

    26. twhirl
    www.twhirl.org
    Windows | Mac OS
    A desktop interface for Twitter, twhirl requires Adobe AIR to run but makes it infinitely easier to keep up with tweets and/or twits.

    27. Ustream.tv
    www.ustream.tv
    Web
    Still the best way to broadcast yourself, live, across the Web. All you need is the webcam.

    28. WordPress.com
    www.wordpress.com
    Web
    You could install WordPress on your servers, or go right to this commercial, hosted site and set up a professional-looking blog in no time.
    Read our review of WordPress.

    29. Windows Live Writer
    get.live.com/writer/overview
    Windows
    This desktop software for blog posting is a favorite with the pros who want a WYSIWYG editor that also posts photos, maps, and other content.

    Browsers
    ****************


    30. Camino
    caminobrowser.org
    Mac OS
    Love Firefox but wish it was more ... Mac-ish? Camino solves that issue, offering "Mozilla power, Mac style." It has full support of Mac OS's Keychain, AppleScript, and all the typical Firefox goodies.

    31. Flock 2
    www.flock.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Flock 2 stresses the social along with surfing, integrating features like RSS reading and Twitter and media access right into the browser. Since it's based on Firefox, it can also use many of the same extensions.
    Read our review of Flock 2.

    32. Firefox [HALL OF FAME]
    www.mozilla.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
    Can't wait for the free update to IE8, which promises an enhanced address bar and upgraded privacy protections? In the meantime use our favorite browser. Firefox is beholden to no one and extensible to the nth degree. Upcoming versions will offer far more security and superfast JavaScript to make the browsing experience even better.
    Read our review of Firefox 3, a PCMag Editors' Choice.

    33. FoxReplace
    code.google.com/p/foxreplace
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    If you work in a lot of Web forms or Web apps like Google Docs, this Firefox add-on is a must-have. It can search and replace text in Web pages quickly and easily.

    34. Google Chrome
    www.google.com/chrome
    Windows
    Everyone pays attention to what Google does, and when it made a Web browser, the world noticed. And for good reason: This streamlined, fast, secure software has true potential in the browser wars.

    35. Internet Explorer 8 Beta [HALL OF FAME]
    www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer
    Windows
    This is a freebie you're probably already using in some form, as IE is the most-used Web browser in the world. The latest beta adds fantastic (if overdue) features such as a stealth mode, better performance, and the ability to subscribe to "web slices" that are just parts of a full Web page.

    36. Opera [HALL OF FAME]
    www.opera.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
    Opera can claim many "firsts"—tabs, speed dial, and more—and some say the best. It remains a fast browser with a presence available on just about any device in your digital arsenal.
    Read our review of Opera 9.

    37. OperaTor
    archetwist.com/en/opera/operator
    Windows
    Combine the portable version of Opera with the anonymizing service Tor (The Onion Router) and you get OperaTor, a bundle (including Polipo as a proxy) that keeps your surfing secret.

    38. Safari
    www.apple.com/safari
    Windows | Mac OS
    Fast page load times are a hallmark of this browser, the default for Mac installations and also available for Windows. Safari offered private browsing before it was cool.
    Read our review of Safari 3.1 for Windows.


    Calendar/PIMs
    ****************


    39. 30 Boxes
    www.30boxes.com
    www.30boxes.com
    An online calendar that actually looks like a calendar. The buddies feature makes sharing schedules and to-dos a breeze.

    40. Calgoo Calendar
    www.calgoo.com/calendar
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Think of Calgoo as one calendar app to rule them all: The software provides desktop access to Google Calendar and 30 Boxes, and syncs data with Outlook and Apple iCal.

    41. Doomi
    doominow.com
    Windows
    This simple to-do list app requires Adobe Air to run, and floats on your screen or rests in the system tray—the very model of an unobtrusive application. Future plans include syncing with an online to-do list.

    42. Google Calendar
    www.google.com/calendar
    Web | Mobile
    With multiple views, simple sharing, and seamless integration with other Google products, Google's calendar, like most of its Web apps, stands a notch above the rest.
    Read the full review of Google Calendar.

    43. Lightning
    www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/lightning
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Solaris | OS2
    Mozilla's calendar add-on for Thunderbird gives the e-mail client all it needs to take on all the features of Microsoft Outlook.

    44. Chandler
    chandlerproject.org
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    An open-source, sharable desktop to-do master, Chandler looks vaguely Outlook-esque, but it doesn't worry about communications—just tasks for those embracing the "getting things done" lifestyle.

    45. Remember The Milk
    www.rememberthemilk.com
    Web | Mobile
    This power to-do list site gives you many ways to get reminders (e-mail, SMS, IM) and even more ways to create them, from Google widgets to phone calls to IM bots.

    46. Remember The Task
    www.jashsayani.com/my-softwares
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    This Adobe Air–based app puts a small window on your desktop with one fantastic purpose: full-time access to your Remember The Milk task list.

    47. TaskFive
    www.taskfive.com
    Web
    Just five tasks a day? Take it as a challenge, not a limitation. TaskFive sports an elegant calendar interface, and you can enter tasks via Web, e-mail, or text message. Team to-dos will cost you, however.

    48. Yahoo Calendar
    calendar.yahoo.com
    Web
    An old-timer compared with many, Yahoo Calendar doesn't innovate a lot but provides solid features, shareable calendars, and synchronization with Outlook.

    Communication/E-Mail
    ****************


    49. eM Client
    www.emclient.com
    Windows
    Anyone familiar with Outlook or Thunderbird can master the basics of using eM Client freeware in no time. It already syncs with Google Calendar, and future developments will integrate social networks and IMs with your e-mail.

    50. Gmail
    www.gmail.com
    Web | Mobile
    The current bellwether in Web-based e-mail is still in perennial beta, but Google continues to innovate with additions via the Gmail Labs. The searchable and ever-increasing storage (up to 7GB now, up from 5.5GB last year) doesn't hurt. New themes make it pretty. And you can use it to IM or even send SMS text messages to friends' phones.

    51. gAttach
    www.gattach.net
    Windows
    Usually with webmail, you have to put attachments on a message after the fact. gAttach does it automatically when you select a file, or from within other apps like MS Word, all from the desktop. If you prefer Yahoo Mail, check out yAttach.

    52. Google Contacts
    hogi.a.orn.jp/en/gmcont.html
    Windows
    This extension for Thunderbird does one thing you need: It synchronizes contacts between Thunderbird and Google's Gmail.

    53. iContact
    www.dataload.com/icontact
    Windows
    Accessing your Gmail contacts is all the easier with iContact; it displays the normally browser-accessible-only list on your desktop and integrates those contacts into other communications software, like Skype.

    54. Simple Mail
    www.userlogos.org/extensions/simplemail
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    If you already have Firefox open all the time, why not have one of those tabs just for mail? The Simple Mail add-on puts a POP3/IMAP client right inside the browser.

    55. Thunderbird [HALL OF FAME]
    www.mozilla.com/thunderbird
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    The Internet's top e-mail client from Mozilla is (of course) extensible, but even without add-ons Thunderbird is simple-to-master software for anyone with a POP3 or IMAP e-mail account.
    Read our review of Thunderbird 2.

    56. Windows Live Mail
    get.live.co
    Windows
    Outlook Express has morphed into the modern-day Live Mail, ready to check POP3, IMAP, and webmail accounts when you're not using it to read RSS feeds or plan your calendar.
    Read our review of Windows Live Mail (Wave 3).

    57. Yahoo Mail
    mail.yahoo.com
    Web
    Our webmail Editors' Choice embeds the Yahoo Messenger IM and RSS reader, works on the Web with any browser or operating system, and has more features than anyone could hope to master.
    Read our review of Yahoo Mail, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    58. Zenbe
    www.zenbe.com
    Web
    Zenbe is a multi-account, Internet-based interface to check Yahoo Mail, Gmail, AOL, Windows Live, and POP3 messages. It throws in a shareable calendar, an address book, and other tools to make it extra-useful.

    Conferencing
    ****************


    59. Dabbleboard
    www.dabbleboard.com
    Web
    As simple as any whiteboard in a conference room, Dabbleboard's online app brings drawing and some real-time collaboration to your group.

    60. SightSpeed
    www.sightspeed.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    Now owned by Logitech, SightSpeed provides one-on-one video chat with unparalleled video quality, but more than two users at a time will cost you.
    Read our full review of SightSpeed 6.0, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice .

    61. Skype
    www.skype.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Easy to use for phone calls (free between Skype users, with a minimal charge to call other phones), Skype truly shines when paired with a high-end webcam so you can see your friends and family.
    Read our full review of Skype.

    62. Tokbox
    www.tokbox.com
    Web
    The Tokbox service turns your AIM buddy list into a videoconferencing buddy list directly in your browser. Separate apps make it work through Facebook or on your desktop. You provide the camera.
    Read our full review of TokBox AIR.

    File Transfer/Download
    ****************


    63. CrossFTP
    www.crossftp.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Built on Java, CrossFTP works and looks the same, no matter which OS you run. It features tabs for each connection, support for archives, and drag-and-drop transfer, and it comes in a free server version, too.

    64. DownThemAll
    www.downthemall.net
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Don't download just one item at a time from a Web page. As the name implies, this download manager for Firefox handles them all.

    65. Filezilla
    www.filezilla-project.org
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Slick and simple FTP that does the job, complete with drag-and-drop from local to remote or vice versa.

    66. FireFTP
    fireftp.mozdev.org
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Because it's a plug-in for Firefox, FireFTP behaves like any other tab in the browser, so you don't have to launch another application to transfer files.

    67. Halite
    www.binarynotions.com/halite-bittorrent-client
    Windows
    Instead of downloading an entire file, apps using the super-popular BitTorrent protocol break files into chunks and distribute them among several users. Free, open-source application Halite is a BitTorrent client focused on using as small of a memory footprint as possible.

    68. net2ftp
    www.net2ftp.com
    Web
    If you sit at a computer with no FTP software but need to upload a file, stat, this Web app comes to your rescue quickly as long as you have the server, username, and password information.

    69. Rightload
    www.rightload.org
    Windows
    Send a file to preconfigured FTP servers anytime you want with a simple right click. Rightload adds just a single line to the context menu, with fly-out menus for each FTP server you want

    70. uTorrent
    www.utorrent.com
    Windows
    Still the best—and smallest—BitTorrent client in existence, uTorrent will have you downloading big files in no time.

    File Viewers/Converters
    ****************


    71. Adobe Reader [HALL OF FAME]
    www.adobe.com/reader
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
    Adobe's PDF reader is far from basic, with a number of extra features including online collaboration tools.

    72. Foxit Reader
    www.foxitsoftware.com
    Windows | Linux | Mobile
    Frequently preferred over Adobe's own reader for PDFs, Foxit has a reputation for speed. What's more, it can annotate files.

    73. PeaZip
    peazip.sourceforge.net
    Windows | Linux
    It'll create ZIPs, 7Zs, TARs, ARCs, and more; it'll open those and many other archives too, including RAR. It can do so with AES encryption of your files, and even split or join extralarge files to make them easier to transport.

    74. Sumatra PDF
    blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf
    Windows
    The perfect PDF reader for the minimalist, with a super-simple interface and fast start-up time. Sumatra is perfect to carry on a USB thumb drive.

    75. Quick Media Converter (QMC)
    www.cocoonsoftware.com
    Windows
    If you're frequently converting audio or video files to different formats, keep this tool handy for (as the name suggests) quick media conversion to a number of potential formats.

    76. WinRAR
    www.rarlab.com
    Windows
    We all know about compressing files with ZIP, but RAR is also quite popular; WinRAR will compress or decompress files in both.

    77. YemuZip
    www.yellowmug.com/yemuzip
    Mac OS
    Sometimes unzipping a compressed file on the Mac makes a mess. YemuZip makes archiving and decompressing a simple drag-and-drop procedure.

    78. Zamzar
    www.zamzar.com
    Web
    Upload just about any file (under 100MB) and you can convert it to just about any format that makes sense. This tool even grabs online videos from YouTube and turns them into files you can use.

    Finance
    ****************


    79. Billeo
    www.billeo.com
    Windows
    Install the Billeo toolbar on your Web browser and add your accounts, and you'll get fast access to assistance with online shopping, online bill payment, and reports on your spending.
    Read our review of Billeo, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    80. Buxfer
    www.buxfer.com
    Web | Mobile
    Sign up (or use an existing AOL, Facebook, Google, OpenID, or Yahoo account) to get started with tracking shared expenses, so divvying up the bills at the end of the month becomes a breeze.

    81. Mint
    www.mint.com
    Web
    Mint manages your money by sucking in data from all your bank, credit card, and other accounts, providing you regular reports on what you're spending and how to save.
    Read our review of Mint.com, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    82. Wesabe
    www.wesabe.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Web
    "Part money management tool, part community," where info—your comments about your spending—is shared (anonymously) with the group so everyone can find value. Of course, Wesabe also helps track your spending and income.

    Fun/Home
    ****************


    83. eBay Desktop
    desktop.ebay.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    This app, which requires Adobe Air, looks like eBay replicated on your desktop, but for power buyers it adds special functions, like not needing to refresh the page and a clock synchronized with eBay's own.

    84. Geni.com
    www.geni.com
    Web
    There's no easier place to plug in your family tree, and being a Web app makes it easy to share with the rest of the family so they can fill in the gaps.

    85. Google Earth
    earth.google.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    If you like Google Maps online, welcome to that same kind of action on steroids. You can traverse the globe on its interlocking satellite images, or reverse it and look skyward, even travel to the past. Third-party add-ons continue to extend Google Earth's capabilities beyond what our puny terrestrial minds can imagine.
    Read our review of Google Earth 4.3, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    86. Home Inventory
    www.knowyourstuff.org
    Windows | Mac OS
    Insurance companies ask you to inventory your possessions prior to signing up for a homeowner's or renter's policy. Create a home inventory of everything you own on this site, a service of the Insurance Information Institute, and throw in digital pictures or even scanned purchase receipts to make sure what's yours is yours.

    87. Penzu
    www.penzu.com
    Web
    Hard to believe that in the age of blogging, some people still want journals and diaries they keep to themselves. Penzu is all about making that happen, online, with privacy as the first priority.

    88. Springpad
    www.springpadit.com
    Web
    Manage your life tasks with online notebooks filled with lists, photos, notes, and maps/directions you can share with the whole family. Perfect for tracking receipts, planning meals or trips, and getting your house organized.

    89. Timetoast
    www.timetoast.com
    Web
    Ever wanted to create a timeline for your site or a presentation, but couldn't decide what tool would best display the data? Wonder no more, as Timetoast adds this useful data with an attractive flair.

    GRAPHICS
    ****************


    90. Artweaver
    www.artweaver.de
    Windows
    If you want the freedom to paint, without the mess and without paying $359 for Corel Painter X, Artweaver is a good starter tool for artists.

    91. DestroyFlickr
    www.destroytoday.com/?p=Project&id=DestroyFlickr
    Windows
    This Adobe Air app puts Flickr on your desktop, but with a completely different interface. Why "destroy"? In the words of app creator Jonnie Hallman, "To destroy today is to make the most of the day—destruction as a form of creation."

    92. flauntR
    www.flauntr.com
    Web
    This online photo editor integrates with just about any picture service you can imagine, including Facebook and Flickr, and offers a suite of tools to manipulate images in ways specific to social networks and mobile handsets.

    93. FastStone Image Viewer
    www.faststone.org
    Windows
    Another image browser and converter that handles almost any file type, FastStone also has companion programs like the handy Photo Resizer, complete with a fast batch processor.

    94. GIMP [HALL OF FAME]
    www.gimp.org

    GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) has provided Photoshop-like tools at no charge for over a decade.
    Read our review of Gimp 2.4.7 .

    95. Google SketchUp
    sketchup.google.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    If you're new to 3D but want to build worlds anyway, a free tool like SketchUp is a great place to start; the latest version includes "self-aware" 3D models so the app knows, for example, to resize a virtual staircase by adding more stairs and extend a virtual fence by adding more slats.
    Read our review of Google SketchUp.

    96. IrfanView
    www.irfanview.com
    Windows
    Perhaps the ultimate image viewer (with some editing tools thrown in), the latest IrfanView (version 4.20) received a nice cosmetic update. It also supports instant video and audio playback.
    Read our review of IrfanView 3.85, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    97. Paint.NET
    www.getpaint.net
    Windows
    This student project–turned–freeware masterpiece puts the power of higher-end graphics editors in anyone's hands.

    98. Pencil
    www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    For the budding Chuck Jones at home, Pencil is a free way to get started in the world of traditional 2D animation–that is, draw each frame anew.

    99. Picasa
    picasa.google.com
    Windows | Linux
    Few free programs come close to handling photos with the skill of Picasa. Organize them, do quick edits (including red-eye reduction), and share pics online or e-mail them to friends.
    Read our review of Picasa 3, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    100. MobaPhoto
    mobaphoto-en.mobatek.net
    Windows
    Portability is the key here. This lightweight photo editor (only 1.6MB) puts photographs into great-looking photo galleries, and naturally has all the usual tools to fix red-eye, crop, and resize. It'll even batch-process images.

    101. Photoshop Express
    www.photoshop.com/express
    Web
    It's not the full power of Photoshop on the Web, but it does offer rudimentary editing, basic photo sharing, and 2GB of storage for your photos. Partnerships with sites like Picasa and Facebook make Photoshop Express fun as well as useful.
    Read our review of Photoshop Express .

    102. Photosynth
    www.photosynth.com
    Web
    Photosynth does so many unique things with photos that we gave it a Technical Excellence award. It takes multiple photos, finds where they overlap, and creates an almost 3D image; it can even make a 3D replica of an object from shots at multiple angles.

    103. Picnik
    www.picnik.com
    Web
    Picnik is the gold standard in online image editing these days: It fixes photos without confusing users and works with a number of photo-sharing sites, and best of all, you don't have to register to get started using it—unless you want to save images online.
    Read our review of Picnik.

    104. Pictomio
    www.pictomio.com
    Windows
    Handling all your photos with a simple but powerful interface, Pictomio browses in many styles—including a carousel mode similar to iTunes' Coverflow, which benefits from a good 3D video card—organizes shots, and creates instant slideshows. It will even handle audio and video.

    105. Splashup
    www.splashup.com
    Web
    You don't even need to sign up to get instant access to this Flash-based image editor with all the features (and more) that you'd find in a downloadable app.

    106. SUMO Paint
    www.sumo.fi/web
    Web
    Not every Web-based image editor can claim to be high-end, but SUMO can by carefully mimicking the look and feel of Photoshop, maybe a little too well. Try it before this free Flash app gets sued out of existence by Adobe.

    IMs
    ****************


    107. AIM [HALL OF FAME]
    www.aim.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Web | Mobile
    AOL's Instant Messenger is the most-used network in the U.S., and the software—only the Windows version gets regular updates these days—packs in as much as possible. You can access the AIM network with just about any multi-protocol IM software.
    Read our review of AIM 6.5 .

    108. Dexrex
    www.dexrex.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Mobile
    This add-on records your IM conversation transcripts and stores them online for later reading and analysis. It works with AIM,Digsby, Yahoo Messenger, and many others.

    109. Digsby
    www.digsby.com
    Windows
    Brand new this year, Digsby may be the ultimate way to stay in real-time touch with friends. It incorporates multiple IM networks, social networks (including Twitter), and e-mail and Web-mail notifications. You can even send mail through Digsby. Mac OS and Linux versions are promised soon.

    110. Meebo
    www.meebo.com
    Web | Mobile
    When you want to avoid installing software but still want to chat on all the major IM networks, Meebo is your site of choice. Sign up for a Meebo account to access multiple IM networks all at once and log all conversations.
    Read our review of Meebo.

    Interface Enhancers
    ****************


    111. AccelMan File Manager
    www.flexigensoft.com/accelman
    Windows
    As much a file viewer as a file manager, AccelMan's multiple windows offer up info galore on each file and its contents. The app can even play back media files when you don't want to launch another player.

    112. Desktops
    technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx
    Windows
    Desktops is a virtual desktop manager in a small package; the app is only a 62K download. Personalize hotkeys for quick switches between desktops.

    113. DExposE2
    devrexster.googlepages.com/dexpose2
    Windows
    This app is a Windows clone of the Mac interface treat Exposé, which makes opening and closing apps and getting to the desktop a fast process. Windows XP and Vista users can also set up DExposE2 to work on multiple monitors.

    114. Emerge Desktop
    emergedesktop.org
    Windows
    You think the Windows desktop looks too busy with that system tray, Taskbar, and Start button? EmergeDesktop does away with them all, replacing the Windows shell (the interface, that is) with the minuscule emergeTray. Launch apps with a right click, or couple Emerge Desktop with a launcher like ObjectDock.

    115. GreenPrint
    www.printgreener.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    Stop printing that extra blank page when you need a hard copy of a Web page, or for any printout. GreenPrint saves the paper, even letting you output a PDF sans the blank sheets. A tree somewhere will thank you.
    Read our review of GreenPrint .

    116. muCommander
    www.mucommander.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Mobile
    muCommander is unique: It's a file manager that looks the same on all operating systems. A standard dual-pane, it also has support for archived files, FTPs, and previews files.

    117. PlacesBar Tweaker
    www.ioisland.com/placesbar
    Windows
    Every time you open or save a file in Windows XP, the dialog box gives you a few select options, like Desktop or My Documents, to choose from in the Places bar. You can personalize that list with this tweaker, putting your most-used folders in the lineup.

    118. RBTray
    moitah.net
    Windows
    RBTray does one thing and does it well: It makes it possible to minimize any application you like to the system tray as an icon, rather than as a taskbar button, without even doing a full install (RBTray can run from a thumb drive).

    119. StandaloneStack
    www.chrisnsoft.com/standalonestack
    Windows
    Mac OS X Leopard introduced cool towers of icons to the interface, with shortcuts to frequently accessed folders, called stacks. Now you can put stacks in Windows as well. There's even an add-on to put stacks on the RocketDock launcher.

    120. Start++
    www.brandontools.com/content/StartPlusPlus.aspx
    Windows
    A nice addition in Vista to the Windows environment was the Start Menu's search box. Start++ turbocharges it with extras like online searches with results in the menu, and its own set of widgets and plug-ins (for example, displaying the weather is an option).

    121. TrayEverything
    www.winapizone.net/software/trayeverything
    Windows
    You've got a lot of applications open, but only so much space in your Taskbar... so why not minimize them directly to the system tray on the lower right-hand side of your screen? TrayEverything will do it for you.

    122. UltraExplorer
    www.mustangpeak.net/ultraexplorer.html
    Windows
    Another replacement for Windows Explorer, this one sports a command-line interface to go with the dual-pane view of files, plus a preview window so you can quickly check the contents of a file before opening it.

    123. Yahoo Widgets
    widgets.yahoo.com
    Windows | Mac OS
    The world's biggest collection of widgets—over 5,000 of the things—is yours through Yahoo. Some are more useful than others, but with the right combo your desktop can be an information powerhouse.

    Local Search
    ****************


    124. Google Desktop
    desktop.google.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Put the power of Google's search engine to work on finding your own files. The software indexes in the background, while in the foreground you get to put all the Google Gadgets (widgets) you like on your desktop.
    Read our review of Google Desktop 4 (beta).

    125. Everything
    www.voidtools.com
    Windows
    Don't need the extras? Everything really does just one thing in its small package: It indexes your PC in real time for lightning-fast search.

    126. Locate32
    www.locate32.net
    Windows
    The Locate32 project is all about indexing the contents of your hard drives and other storage to run fast finds on local data.

    Office
    ****************


    127. Adobe Buzzword
    www.buzzword.com
    Web
    This online-only word processor has one of the best-looking minimalist interfaces going, since it was built entirely with Adobe Flash, and each page looks as good as any formatted in Word.
    Read our review of Adobe Buzzword .

    128. blist
    www.blist.com
    Web
    Web lists (aka "blists") are little databases for all your data needs. The Flash interface makes this fast for newbies and powerful enough for everyone else. You can even put your blists on your blog or social network pages.

    129. EtherPad
    etherpad.com
    Web
    You don't even have to sign up to create a new pad, a shareable text document stored online for you by EtherPad. Don't expect fancy formatting, but do expect real-time, color-coded editing between all collaborators.

    130. Evernote
    www.evernote.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Mobile | Web
    Take a clipping of anything you see—online or off—for later reference. Built-in OCR makes text inside images searchable.

    131. GMDesk
    www.robertnyman.com/gmdesk/
    Windows
    Bring Google's Web apps to the desktop with this site-specific browser interface that requires Adobe Air. You'll have access to Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Docs just as you would in a browser, but GMDesk stays alive when your browser crashes.

    132. Google Docs
    docs.google.com
    Web | Mobile
    If you're ready to move your work life to the cloud, Google's word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation suite is ready for you, complete with storage for all docs. It also comes with forms you can fill out to gather data from outside.
    Read our review of Google Docs, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    133. Incollector
    www.incollector.devnull.pl
    Windows | Linux
    Note-taking doesn't have to hog the whole desktop, or even the whole browser window. Incollector runs in the background, letting you call up a new note page from the system tray when you want, tag it, and easily find it later.

    134. Jarte
    www.jarte.com
    Windows
    No one loves the Notepad included in Windows, and there are many replacements. Jarte goes most of them one better, being completely self-contained and portable (you can run it from a thumb drive!).

    135. KompoZer
    www.kompozer.net
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    This free WYSIWYG Web page authoring package builds on the abandoned Nvu project. It supports CSS, file management (including FTP), and tabs for multiple pages.

    136. Lotus Symphony
    symphony.lotus.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    IBM's entry into the world of office suites is based on OpenOffice, and is currently in beta for Mac and Linux. It covers the three big suite tools: word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets.
    Read our review of Lotus Symphony .

    137. LucidChart
    www.lucidchart.com
    Web
    Why make flowcharts complicated? This Web app goes back to basics with simple, black-and-white charts that anyone can make—and better yet, anyone else can easily understand.

    138. NeoOffice
    www.neooffice.com
    Mac OS
    NeoOffice comes with most of the same tools as the Mac version of OpenOffice but carries a more Apple-friendly look and feel.

    139. Notepad++ [HALL OF FAME]
    notepad-plus.sourceforge.net
    Windows
    Notepad++ is the standard by which all replacements for Notepad—that weak little app that comes with Windows—are measured. It sports full text styles, tabs, drag-and-drop, and super-speed and is suitable for any coding or writing you can throw at it.

    140. OpenOffice [HALL OF FAME]
    www.openoffice.org
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Solaris
    Version 3 of the freebie office suite ups the ante against Microsoft's hegemony, becoming fast and polished enough to warrant serious consideration by all, especially small businesses. It looks like MS Office 2003 (for those not in love with the Ribbon interface in Office 2007) and has all the tools—except e-mail—you'll ever need.
    Read our Review of OpenOffice.org 3.0 .

    141. SlideRocket
    www.sliderocket.com
    Web
    Promising more than PowerPoint and Keynote is bold, but this Web-only presentation tool seems to deliver the goods with amazing animations, support for embedded video, and 3D transitions between slides.

    142. SoftMaker Office 2006
    www.softmakeroffice.com
    Windows
    This free version is meant to entice you to upgrade to the 2008 version, but if all you need is basic text editing and a spreadsheet, you're set.

    143. Springnote
    www.springnote.com
    Web | Mobile
    Whether you want a personal notebook or a shareable group notebook, this wiki-based note-taking site could give Microsoft's OneNote a run for its money.

    144. Widgenie
    www.widgenie.com
    Web
    Sick of making meh-looking graphs in Excel? Visualize the same data through Widgenie and create a beautiful graph widget, even one with animation, that you can share online. Text clouds, artful presentations of the most popular words on a page, are always a favorite with bloggers.

    145. Zoho
    www.zoho.com
    Web | Mobile
    If there's a tool in the arsenal of office suites that Zoho doesn't include, we can't think of it. Not all the Web apps are free, but those that are—word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation app, mail, wiki, and many more—all bring the goods.
    Read our review of Zoho

    Operating Systems
    ****************


    146. gOS 3.0 Gadgets
    www.thinkgos.com
    Linux
    With its emphasis on easy access to tools from Google, it's easy to see why some think of this lightweight Linux—renowned for powering cheap PCs from Wal-Mart—as the Google OS.

    147. pure:dyne
    code.goto10.org/projects/puredyne
    Linux
    Consider this the creative Linux distro: Boot just about any Intel PC (even MacBooks) from a Live CD with pure:dyne, and you'll get instant access to free tools for editing audio, video, and images (many already in this story).

    148. Ubuntu [HALL OF FAME]
    www.ubuntu.com
    Linux
    The easiest Linux to install, now in version 8.10 (aka "Intrepid Ibex"), not only is suitable for (somewhat knowledgeable) consumers, but also comes with all the software you need to be productive.
    Read our review of Ubuntu 8.04 .


    Networking
    ****************


    149. AirSnare
    home.comcast.net/~jay.deboer/airsnare
    Windows
    Turn your Wi-Fi–equipped laptop into an info sniffer. AirSnare pulls down info on computers and game consoles and just about any device on the network, even delivering devices' MAC addresses.

    150. AirRadar
    www.koingosw.com/products/airradar.php
    Mac OS
    AirRadar goes beyond what the Wi-Fi utility in Mac OS X can do by showing extras like signal strength and the 802.11 network's channel.

    151. Axence NetTools
    www.axencesoftware.com
    Windows
    Want a quick look at everything happening on your home network? NetTools scans the network, and reports back on what ports are in use and the inbound and outbound connections. You can use it to test your networking connections over TCP or UDP protocols.

    152. GBridge
    www.gbridge.com
    Windows
    Set up a relatively painless VPN between computers for sharing and syncing files and folders, using your Google account as the connection point (though Gbridge is not affiliated with Google).

    153. InSSIDer
    www.metageek.net/products/inssider
    Windows
    Taking up where the venerable NetStumbler left off, InSSIDer is a Wi-Fi network scanner that runs under Vista and XP— even the 64-bit versions. You can use it to find out what's wrong with local 802.11 networks.

    154. LogMeIn Hamachi
    secure.logmein.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Set up a secure tunnel between two PCs using a virtual private network (VPN), just like the ones the pros use to access the server at work. Only this one is free.
    Read our review of Hamachi for Windows .

    155. NetSetMan
    www.netsetman.com
    Windows
    Stop using Vista's convoluted interface to change network settings. NetSetMan takes over and creates profiles for different networks you might connect with, changing your need for static or dynamic IPs, or hostnames or workgroups, on the fly. If you've got multiple network cards, NetSetMan is a huge help.

    156. Network Notepad
    www.networknotepad.com
    Windows
    It's more than a notepad: This software is specific to creating flowcharts of your network layout. Put in the IP address for each device and you can use the interface to quickly ping devices to confirm they're online.

    157. PrinterAnywhere
    www.printeranywhere.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Why print just to your printer? This utility lets you print to any printer on the Internet (through another PC with PrinterAnywhere installed), or you can open your printer to others.

    RSS Readers
    ****************


    158. Google Reader
    reader.google.com
    Web | Mobile
    After three years, Google's RSS feed reader is tops, not only mimicking the best of what desktop readers can do but also mashing up nicely with other Google services, like the iGoogle home page.
    Read our review of Google Reader.

    159. Netvibes
    www.netvibes.com
    Web
    A personalized start page with an emphasis on widgets and feed readers, Netvibes also aggregates podcasts for you.
    Read our review of NetVibes.

    160. FeedDemon
    www.newsgator.com/Individuals/FeedDemon
    Windows
    The preeminent desktop newsreader for Windows was recently overhauled to be faster and easier, while remaining extremely customizable to suit how you read feeds.
    Read our review of FeedDemon, a PCMag.com Editors' Choice.

    161. NetNewsWire
    www.newsgator.com/individuals/netnewswire
    Mac OS | Mobile
    FeedDemon's sibling on the Macintosh platform has updated its interface and more, and now integrates with several other Mac apps like iCal and iPhoto to help you share as well as read.

    162. RSS Bandit
    rssbandit.org
    Windows
    Directly sync this reader with your online feeds at Google Reader or NewsGator Online. You'll get fast browsing on the desktop, but still have access to your feeds over the Web using other PCs.

    163. Snarfer
    www.snarfware.com
    Windows
    It won't win awards for visual innovation, but Snarfer does provide simplicity. It's arguably the best way to handle straight-up RSS info gathering and reading, and it's available in over 20 languages.

    Synchronization
    ****************


    164. Dropbox
    www.getdropbox.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux | Web
    One of the few sync/backup tools to support Linux (Fedora and Ubuntu), Dropbox always gets kudos for its design and simple setup. Online backup space is free for up to 2GB.

    165. Windows Live Sync
    sync.live.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Web
    The replacement for FolderShare continues to do one thing and do it well: sync folders (up to 20) across multiple PCs over the Internet.

    166. Windows Live Mesh
    www.mesh.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Mobile | Web
    Microsoft's latest method for syncing folders on different PCs does FolderShare one better by including 5GB of online storage accessible from any PC, plus the ability to mesh special collaborative applications (like a group crossword puzzle!).

    167. Syncplicity
    www.syncplicity.com
    Windows | Mobile | Web
    Synchronize up to 10,000 files (or 2GB, whichever comes first) on up to two computers free. Sign up friends and you can add another 1GB per new user recruited.

    168. Mozilla Weave
    services.mozilla.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    A product of Mozilla Labs, Weave is meant to synchronize anything and everything related to Firefox among all the computers you use, plus extend some features to others for sharing. Registration is closed as of this writing, but should be back soon.

    Video
    ****************


    169. CamStudio
    www.camstudio.org
    Windows
    This open-source program for capturing videos of your screen turns what you do on your desktop, as well as the audio to go with it, into a movie, suitable for future demonstrations.

    170. HandBrake
    www.handbrake.fr
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Want to back up all those DVDs you own before they get scratched? This open-source tool does full DVD-to-MPEG-4 conversion, which you can play back later on media centers, even the Apple TV.

    171. Miro
    www.getmiro.com
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    Miro's a video player that promises to play back just about any video media file, organize files in playlists, and incorporate BitTorrent downloading to become a de facto PC-based TiVo.

    172. TipCam
    www.utipu.com/app
    Windows
    Another tool for capturing videos of your desktop, TipCam lets you take big, beautiful videos (up to 800 by 600 pixels)—you can even zoom in on specifics—and upload them direct to YouTube. Frequent users can get an account to store and display up to 250MB of video.

    173. VLC media player
    www.videolan.org/vlc
    Windows | Mac OS | Linux
    VideoLAN's open-source software plays back, well, just about everything. It can also serve up streaming video and music to other PCs on your network.


    Source ~ PC Magazine
    Last edited by Lady LoTL; 01-24-2009 at 03:25 PM.
    ...passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter...it and thereby always remain music.
    ~ Amadeus

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    peat moss's Avatar Software Farmer BT Rep: +15BT Rep +15BT Rep +15
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    Wow nice post , sometimes free is better . I like # 45 great idea , some of them I use others never heard of them till now .

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    john pal's Avatar )-_-( BT Rep: +1
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    yes it is. But most of the times is just a way to marketing a new product. More people will have access to the product since is free and that way the brand will have more impact in the consumers later when the pay version comes. well is a win win situation for both, consumers and owner of the product though.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Skiz's Avatar (_8(I)
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    I thought #11 was pretty cool, but if you're going to be swapping files, why do it through iTunes?



    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
    The FST Last.fm group

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    SonsOfLiberty's Avatar The Lonely Wanderer
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    There's always "always" a better "freeware" version of apps then there are of "shareware" apps, except Photoshop being the exception. Rocketdock, and AIMP (mp3 player) were not on the list, to say the least...never heard of em', Google

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    Frankthetank1's Avatar Über User BT Rep: +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25
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    45 is not free and should not be on this list. Because it costs $25 after trial is over. there are other apps that are free that do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
    Wow nice post , sometimes free is better . I like # 45 great idea , some of them I use others never heard of them till now .
    “Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life.”

    DO NOT RANDOMLY PM ME ASKING FOR INVITES!

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    peat moss's Avatar Software Farmer BT Rep: +15BT Rep +15BT Rep +15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankthetank1 View Post
    45 is not free and should not be on this list. Because it costs $25 after trial is over. there are other apps that are free that do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
    Wow nice post , sometimes free is better . I like # 45 great idea , some of them I use others never heard of them till now .
    A link would be nice .
    Last edited by peat moss; 01-26-2009 at 02:43 AM.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    brightsid's Avatar Larisssssssaaaaaaa BT Rep: +4
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    #76 winrar is shareware also
    We make a living by what we get,
    we make a life by what we give


  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Wow nice post

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Frankthetank1's Avatar Über User BT Rep: +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25BT Rep +25
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    I dont have a link but if you do a search in your iphone and view the reviews you will find its not free. Anyone know a good media converter? I used to know of one but havnt used it in years.

    Quote Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankthetank1 View Post
    45 is not free and should not be on this list. Because it costs $25 after trial is over. there are other apps that are free that do this.
    A link would be nice .
    Last edited by Frankthetank1; 01-28-2009 at 12:26 AM.
    “Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life.”

    DO NOT RANDOMLY PM ME ASKING FOR INVITES!

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