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Software recommendations

Here is the beginning of what will be my list of recommended software applications and operating systems. I actively use a majority of the software listed here and frequently work with the remainder. All of the software listed here should be adware, malware and virus free.

Open Source   Open Source - Software that is free to use, modify and distribute.
Free   Software that is free to use and generally doesn't try to install toolbars or other add-ons.
Free   Software that is free to use but will install a toolbar or add-on if a default installation is performed. Proprietary Software   Purchased software that I have owned and considered worth the money and mentioning.

−= Operating Systems =−

While over 80% of the PC's in use today use the Microsoft Windows operating system, did you know there are some great Open Source alternatives available as well? These Linux based operating systems will give your system most if not all of the same functionality that Windows provides, will most likely provide better performance and because the majority of viruses and malware is written to target the Windows operating system, you greatly reduce the chances of your system being compromised. These OS's can even run some Windows applications and games and are a great alternative to the expensive Windows operating system.

Ubuntu  Linux Operating SystemOpen Source
Ubuntu is a full featured operating system already used by over 20 million people world wide and will probably be the easiest for most Windows users to transition to. Ubuntu is very secure, very fast and will provide most of the same functionality as the Windows operating system.

Fedora  Linux Operating SystemOpen Source
Fedora is one of my favorites because it uses the newest code, applications and utilities being developed for the Linux operating system. Because you are using cutting edge code, problems can and do arise and some tinkering will probably be required. But if you want to learn about how an operating system really works, do a little programming and just get your hands dirty, this OS is a lot of fun!

CentOS  Linux Operating SystemOpen Source
CentOS is an enterprise class operating system based on the Redhat Enterprise Linux and is an excellent option for both small and large businesses alike. CentOS is secure, fast and highly configurable and has a 10 year support life cycle. This OS along with the abundance of open source applications available can accomodate any business's web, mail, fax and file sharing needs. This web site has been delivered to you by one of my custom built servers with the CentOS operating system, both working flawlessly 24 hours a day since 2007.

−= System Tools =−

Diskeeper  Microsoft Windows Operating SystemProprietary Software
If you want your Windows system running at peak performance, this is a must have utility. Your computer's hard drive is the slowest component in your system and making it even slower is the fragmentation that occurs on your hard drive. Diskeeper prevents and corrects this fragmentation so that data can be retrieved from your hard drive in the most efficient way possible. I recommend the professional version and while a little pricey at about $65, I feel the performance increase is well worth the money.

−= Virus Protection =−

Virus protection software generally comes in two flavors, the virus scanner only version and the full system takeover application with built in firewalls, advanced scanning and other features. I opt on the side of system performance and usually recommend just a single "real time" virus scanner and maybe a manual scan application or two just for double checking suspicious files.

Microsoft Security Essentials  Microsoft Security EssentialsFree
I've been using this application for a few years now and have been real happy with it. It uses few resources and happily runs in the background performing real time and scheduled scans, only bothering you when it's actually found an exploit.

Eset NOD32  Eset NOD32  Mac OS XProprietary Software
This purchased software is available in the virus scanner only (NOD32) and the full system takeover version (Smart Security). Of all the virus scanners I have tested over the years, NOD32 has been my preferred purchased virus scanner, it's quick, uses few system resources and doesn't over alert.

Malwarebytes  Microsoft Windows Operating System  Mac OS XProprietary Software  Free
Malwarebytes is a malware and virus scanner and removal application. It is free for the "manual scanning" version and only $25 for the "real time" version that automatically scans files as you access them. I prefer the free manual version, using it to scan files after being downloaded or to remove malicious software after an infection. As a removal tool, this application works best in Windows Safe Mode but you do have to remember to manually update the definition files on a regular (daily) basis.

−= Word Processing =−

OpenOffice  Microsoft Windows Operating System  Mac OS X  Linux Operating SystemOpen Source
This is the open source alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. OpenOffice has many of the same features as and can open some documents created with Microsoft Office. This is a great alternative to the very expensive Microsoft Office suite, but it does have a few drawbacks. The software is written in Java which tends to be a bit slow and macro programming can be complicated. But overall, highly recommended.

Notepad ++  Microsoft Windows Operating SystemOpen Source
I use this program all the time and it's great. Notepad ++ is basically the Microsoft notepad application that comes with the Windows operating system but on steroids. This text editor offers syntax highlighting, regular expression search and replace, a tabbed interface and macro programming. There is also an ample supply of plugins for this application to add even more features as you need.

−= Image Editing & Graphic Design =−

Blender  Microsoft Windows Operating System  Mac OS X  Linux Operating SystemOpen Source
Now this is the app! Ever wonder just how they do those special effects you see on t.v. and in the movies or how they create video games? Well they do it with software like Blender. Blender is a full featured 3D computer graphics application used for creating animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications or video games. This is a very complex application and will take quite a bit of learning but Blender is well documented and there are many learning videos available on the internet.

−= I have many more applications to recommend and will get them listed here soon =−