Free very useful computer applications

I’m so impressed with some of the free computer programs/services I use I thought it might be useful to say something about some of them in case there are any readers of this blog who are not aware of them.

I must say at the start, I’m no computer expert though I have been using one daily for work since 1984, when I started on an Apple Euro II, long before PCs and Windows.

Of course you know the free WordPress. I paid for an upgrade only to register my username (grumpytyke) as a domain to reserve it; I set up the blog about four years ago but only began to use it in June this year but noticed one or two other people had begun to use my user name. Now it’s reserved and no-one else can use


So, do you know about ‘Dropbox’? This can be used with any PC though I use Macs. This post was prompted when I was scanning my test films yesterday evening, straight into Dropbox. I use a MacBook laptop for work but have an iMac at home, to which my scanner is connected. Dropbox is installed on both. So when the files go into the Dropbox folder on the iMac, they appear instantly or a short while later (time depends on the size of the files) in the Dropbox folder on the laptop (when they are connected to internet). You can then ‘share’ the file with anyone else for whom you have an email address and they have access to them. No more attempting to email a lot of large attachments. Great for sharing family photos and videos. I will not say more but it’s a great service and it’s free (though, as usual there are upgrades from the basic for a fee). You don’t have to install Dropbox to access a folder which has been shared with you, but if you do the ‘sender’ gets another 500Mb of free space. If you have installed Dropbox and connect a digital camera, you are instantly given the option to download the files directly into Dropbox so as long as you have a good internet connection, you really do not need to take space up on your own computer.


If you do use a Mac you will probably know about SuperDuper. This produces a ‘clone’ of your complete hard drive(s) from which you can boot up if your internal drive should fail. You boot from the external drive and it will behave exactly as the original. Far better than just backing up all your data or programs. When you replace the internal hard drive you just SuperDuper copy back the bootable version and all is as before. Again the basic version is free with upgrades for a modest fee.


Then there’s OpenOffice. Why anyone would buy Microsoft Office for personal use I don’t know. This free version will provide more or less the same facilities as Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Access and it costs nothing. I write my posts in it then copy and paste into WordPress.

So, if you don’t use them already, have a look at Dropbox and OpenOffice if you use a PC. If you use a Mac have a look at SuperDuper too.

I haven’t put the URLs for each of the above programs as a Google search will bring them up instantly.