When it comes to freebies in the computer world – that is, the online world – it seems the sky’s the limit. We’ve spoken of freeware before: virus and malware protection, Skype phone and videoconferencing, various online tools and the like. But what about the rest of the universe of free stuff? Fun stuff? There’s lots of it out there.
First, there are all manner of games, whether you compete against yourself, such as with puzzles, or join an online community whereby you compete with other fellow enthusiasts. There are also discussion forums, debate societies and educational support forums.
If you are looking for everyday business software, consider low-cost fax software. Need core-business critical software? Office suites, such as those available from Google (document preparation, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, calendaring and scheduling, and so forth), are just a few clicks away.
Want to dress up your PC or Mac? Download some fun wallpaper, screensavers or system audio files to reflect your style or that of your business.
But what about video and music? Here, we have to be careful. There is an abundance of copyrighted material floating around, and we can’t advocate the download, use or re-purposing of that material. Having said this, YouTube is but one area of exploration for you to try out. Metacafe is another high-traffic video service. Want to talk about efficiency? Explore Traffic Geyser in making maximum distribution of your videos to the most popular sites with the most traffic. Top sites include Google Video, BrightCove, PhotoBucket, DailyMotion, iFilm, Lulu, Pandora and even StupidVideos.
In the case of music, consider sites such as jazz24.org or Google “free radio” – and pick your preferred genre of music. Music is quickly becoming a ready Internet universe for exploration. Jump into Pandora Radio, Slacker, Jango, live365 and a whole host of other popular “stations”. Pop your wireless device into a simple garage stereo and some speakers on the deck, and you can work all day in the lawn whilst listening to your favourite music, talk, sports, etc.
Got kids? Surf for free games. How about these enticing titles: Apple Shooter, Dark Orbit, Amateur Surgeon (for those budding doctors!), Rocket Toilet (don’t ask), or Impossible Quiz. For those who desire the “dark side” of gaming, there are games such as Buried Alive, Miami Shark, Rabbit Sniper, Casualty!, Gunblood and others. As in all areas of computing, be certain to assess sites and associated downloads for security. It is always advisable to perform scans after any sort of downloads or modifications to your computing environment. Participate only in trusted forums and discuss with others the worth of sites that you find interesting – what looks good at first glance, on the surface, may in fact be something you’d rather avoid. User forums are invaluable in your search for safe, virus-free sites.