Programs you ought to download |

Programs you ought to download

by Tasha Gonzales

My name is Tasha Gonzales. I’m 22, a 2003 graduate of Carson High School, and a longtime Carson City resident – and I’m a dual-user.

That is to say, I use both Windows and Macintosh computers. I can’t help it – I absolutely love my Macs, which I use both at home and here at the Appeal, but there’s just some things you can’t do on them.

My boyfriend has long since guessed that when I gave him my PC when I converted to my MacBook, I had designs on the PC. Macs are definitely tops for video and graphics, but for computer gaming, you just can’t beat a PC.

So we have both in the house, and I have found some software that I sing praises of on a regular basis – all for free.

Windows XP

AdAware ( – Spyware software that downloads and installs automatically, without the knowledge of the user has become the PC’s bane of existence.

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Fortunately, Lavasoft has created a spyware detector that is one of the best free pieces of software available.

Avast! Antivirus Software ( – Avast! Antivirus is one of the best free applications you can download if you can’t afford Norton or McAfee’s virus scanners. In my opinion, it’s much, much better than either of those, anyway. There is a paid version of Avast!, but the free version offers premier virus protection and offers automatic updates and scans.

WinAmp ( – WinAmp’s Web site tells all who visit that it’s the No. 1 media player in the universe – and they’re right. WinAmp is the essential media player for anyone who has a personal computer.

It will play almost all formats and has an easy-to-use equalizer interface.

OpenOffice ( – As anyone who works in an office environment knows, Microsoft’s Office suite, containing Word and Excel, is the standard of the industry. OpenOffice is a free office suite available to anyone with access to the Internet, and it’s compatible with .doc and .xls documents.

Trillian ( – If you’re an Internet social butterfly, you likely have a variety of chat programs installed on your computer to keep track of your online buddies.

Trillian takes the best from all of them, discards the worst, and lets you connect to each network with one piece of software – all at the same time.


iGetter ( – If you do a lot of downloading from the Internet, iGetter is essential. It’s a download manager that allows you to … well, manage your downloads.

If works like a peer to peer program, only instead of searching for something with a vast array of users, you search for whatever you’re looking for, and when you find it, you point iGetter directly to it.

NeoOffice ( – If you use a lot of Word but don’t feel like shelling out the money for Microsoft’s Office for Mac suite, you can instead go to NeoOffice, which is the Mac version of OpenOffice.

Taco HTML Edit ( – Those of us who use Macs and also code Web pages without using an HTML editor, we know that the default Mac text editor, TextEdit, doesn’t get the job done at all.

Taco HTML Edit is free and easy to use.

CyberDuck ( – And when you’re done editing your Web page, you’ll need to upload it to your server – this is where CyberDuck comes into play. CyberDuck is a free FTP (file transfer protocol) program for the Macintosh’s OSX.

VLC ( – VLC is a media player, akin to the PC’s WinAmp. It’s not made by the same people but it is very similar in function. I prefer VLC to iTunes, OSX’s default media player.


Mozilla Firefox ( – Mozilla’s Firefox browser is easily the best browser available, and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. It eliminates most spyware and popups, and is just generally an awesome browser.

• If you have any other free software suggestions, leave a comment for me on my blog,, or e-mail me at