Friday, December 23, 2005

The Best Things In Life Are Free (Or Nearly So)

Technology is amazing. There is SO much you can do, and do for free. Since I have a large family, the wife and I have very little money to spend on ourselves. So I have developed an obsession with free technology and computer tools.

Here are some of my favorites.

At the top of the list is G-mail. Google's free email service. Incredible. Throw away your ISP based email, I don't use mine any longer. I have moved completely to G-mail. Access mail from anywhere. The best spam filters. The best virus protection. The best interface. Over 2 gigs (that's right, GIGS) of storage. No ads on outgoing mail. Best of all? 100% free. If you are not a Gmail user, let me know and I'll send you an invitation. It's still not available to the general public, but I've been a beta user from the start and have hundreds of invitations I can distribute.

Firefox. If you are still using Internet Explorer, STOP! Really, just step away from the browser. Go here: and download the latest version of Firefox. It is SO much better than IE. You don't get the adware, spyware, and other trash so prevalent with Internet Explorer. I'm not just blowing smoke here, it's THAT good.

AVG Anti Virus. Are you still paying for Norton or McAfee subscriptions? While they are good products, there's a LOT of overhead, and also that damn money thing. AVG is free for non-commercial use. Download it here: AVG does not interface directly with Outlook Express, but it does with Outlook. And if you are using Gmail as described above, your virus problems are solved anyway. But this is a good product, and easy to use.

Ad-Aware and Spybot. Ad-ware can be downloaded at and Spybot can be downloaded at Both are indispensible at finding and ridding your system from adware and spyware. Both are completely free and easy to use. Of course, if you use Firefox, there is not much need for these...

Blogger. No further explanation is necessary.

Web hosting. Web hosting is so inexpensive these days it's almost free. (Begin shameless plug)I have a webhosting company, HomePage Webs. Your own web site can be had for just a few bucks a month (end shameless plug.) Your own domain name can be had for less than ten bucks a year, see for that. On this site, you can go to my blogger site,, or to my domain, The site is the same either way, although my domain is hanging up when loading today. And that's so simple to accomplish! Believe it or not, there's the single line of code to do that, but I haven't figured out how to escape code to post on blogger.
What this does is pull your blogger site into your home page. Your links take you back to the blogger site, but that doesn't matter. WAY cool. Let me know if you want the code to accomplish this.

I could go on forever about open source, freeware, and yes, even piracy and cracking. This stuff is what drives me today. I've become a geek. Sheesh! Who woulda thunk it?


jane said...

My goodness this post is just for me. I have G-mail & love it. Like you I rarely use the mailbox provided by my ISP. I d/l'd Firefox just last night & yes, I do love it. It's much faster than IE. I have DSL & now it actually feels like I do. I have had AVG Anti-Virus for over a year & also have a free spyware program, but found that it didn't get all the spyware. Now I have one I pay an annual fee for. And web hosting? I got my .com from & will take advantage of their hosting too when I go to that .com, in Jan. or Feb.
This will show my ignorance, of course, but I had no idea before if a GIG was large or small. Now, I'm assuming its very large.
Thank you for that wealth of information.

Mr. 12 Step said...

Firefox definitely !!!

I'm a strong supporter.

Good post Jon.