Applications that you should be using

There are a few applications that I would like to spend time talking about here for a minute.  They are applications that every single person on the planet should have installed on their machine.  Some of them are going to be slightly vague in description, but are all the same important.

VLC (VideoLan Client) – Mac, PC, Linux – Free

VLC is a phenomenal lightweight media player that plays pretty much anything you throw at it.  If a friend says to you check out this song,  VLC.  If someone bought a new digital camcorder and their computer cannot play it, VLC.  The little traffic cone icon will sit there quietly, not installing junk all over your computer and will save the day when you need it.  I have VLC playing back music on a linux computer in my garage that is from 2000, so on a modern computer, it is incredible.

OpenOffice.Org (OOo) – Mac/PC/Linux – Free

OpenOffice.Org is a productivity (word processing, slideshow presentation, spreadsheet, database, etc) suite.  What sets open office apart from options like microsoft word is the price tag.  OpenOffice can also handle and create files to work with the Microsoft offerings.  Essentially, unless you have a job that requires constant use of Microsoft products then you and your kids should be using OpenOffice.

A Standard Compliant Browser – Mac/PC/Linux – Free

This one really doesn’t apply to people on Macs or Linux.  There are quite a number of free, stable, open-source web browsers that are simply great.  Now on all platforms we have Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.  They are both wonderfully fast and secure browsers.  If you are looking for a simple to use browser that allows people to just type in one box to search and to type in urls chrome is the man.  If you want a highly extensible browser that you can load with themes and plugins and more themes, Firefox is the one.  On Mac I really like Safari (bonus that if comes on the computer) and there are some who like Firefox.  Basically the moral of the story is that as long as you DO NOT USE INTERNET EXPLORER, all is good.

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