Free Software 2014

After a recent discussion on the advancement of software development over the past decade, our conversation turned into the battle of what freeware we prefer. The list is surprisingly huge and if it wasn’t for some industry file standards, most of us were tempted to convert to purely open source or freeware programs. Instead of making this an endless list of all the software that was mentioned, we rounded off 15.

15 Basic Software (or CloudWare) for your Computer Needs:

  1. Backup – Macrium Reflect – Free Edition
  2. PC Cleaning and Optimization – CCleaner
  3. Uninstaller – Revo Uninstaller
  4. Anti-virus – Avast, Panda, and AVG all came up with no decisive winner. (Specifically Malware – Malwarebytes)
  5. Coding – Notepad++
  6. Archiver and Decompressor – WinRAR or 7-zip
  7. Audio Editor and Recorder – Audacity
  8. CD and DVD Burner Software – CDBurnerXP
  9. Image Viewer, Optimizer, and Basic Functions – IrfanView
  10. Image Manipulation – GIMP (Or Paint.net for a simple software was good capabilities)
  11. Video Viewer – Klite or VLC
  12. Cloud Space – DropBox
  13. Office software to use offline (if you like cloud apps use Google Drive) – Open Office or LibreOffice
  14. Music – iTunes
  15. Gaming – Steam (this is random, but Steam has a ridiculous amount of games and it’s a great way to discover indie studios. Free and Paid games.)

And there you go. We’ve successfully loaded your computer up with so much stuff that you might need to use that new uninstaller to get rid of whatever you don’t like. On a serious note, please look over terms and agreements. Many freeware will install adware, toolbars, and other 3rd party software onto your computer if you don’t uncheck certain agreements. This free software 2014 list should be a good starting point for you. Feel free to suggest things to us.

Microsoft Office – Word 2013 Lag Fix

WordI’m might be a year late in getting my Microsoft Office suite software updated to the 2013 version, but I finally did it. And as of right now, I like the interface better than the 2010 version. There isn’t too much of a change to the UI, but the aesthetics is different and has changed to a flat design. As for functionality, all of the things I use to format books or create documents are still there and in the same layout.

However, there was a major issue that I ran into while using this program. Before the fix I mention below, there was so much lag that I almost ditched Word all together. Google drive has issues with long documents but the lag Word was producing was horrendous. Thankfully, there is a solution.

The Word 2013 Lag Fix

  1. Open up your lovely 2013 Word program.
  2. Wait for the Start Screen to load (enjoy the flat design if you’re into that style) and click on the Blank Document option. Anything to get you to a new document screen will work. We need to get to the tabs.
  3. Once the document is loaded, click on File (in your menu of tabs) and then scroll down/click on Options at the end of the sidebar.
  4. Wait for the Options window to load. Click on Advanced on the sidebar (of the new options window).
  5. Scroll down until you fine the Display section.
  6. Check off the box: Disable hardware graphics acceleration.

Now you’ll have a Lag free Word 2013.

 


Update (10/01/14): I went back to word 2010. The new version was prettier, but the performance was extremely unstable on my computer. I also didn’t use any new functionality features, so there wasn’t much of a point to the upgrade. As for my computer, it’s Windows 7 with 4 gigs of ram — this isn’t by any means a beast of a computer, but it should be enough to run Office 2013 without issue.

5 Basic Steps to finding Web Hosting

5 Basic Steps to finding Web Hosting

One of the most important decision you can make for your website is in selecting your web host, this coming only second to choosing your actual domain name. This is an essential step that most people tend to overlook. I simply believe the reason that most people look past this step is because they’re in a hurry to brand themselves once they find their domain name and they’re rushing to put up something so that the Internet world can see. The sooner the better, right? This isn’t always the case, but it is however an entirely different article.

So with the plethora of Web hosting today, most people become overwhelmed when looking at all the different providers. Many people look at pricing and think that that should be the main factor. Even though pricing is an important and key element, there are many other things that come before it. So today I will go over the five simple steps in which I think most people should look. This list could be way more in-depth, but for the purposes of giving a simple guide, I’ll make it short.

Step 1, you must look at what your goals for the website are. By goals, I mean looking at the potential traffic that may come in the future or key features (ie. code support, database support, and etc.) that you may need. For example, if you have a website that’s for a local hobby group and you’ll never intend for it to go further than that, then it wouldn’t make sense to buy hosting that a medium level business that’s marketing statewide would buy. It would be a waste of money for you to do that in this particular situation.

Step 2, determining if the provider has a site builder if you don’t plan to hire a web designer and have no HTML knowledge at all. An easy site builder or a template Wizard will help you build a basic website. Going back to the hobby group that I was talking about earlier, if this is your situation, you need not much more than a site builder. However if you’re a corporation that is just blooming, a free template Wizard might not be the key factor in going with the web hosting company. In this situation I would suggest hiring a web designer and seo consultant to start off on the right path.

Step 3, you must also see is the company can offer you enough bandwidth and disk space so that your buying the correct amount of web hosting (not under buying or over buying). It is also wise to see that a company can also offer you bigger packages so that you can have the potential to grow within the same host provider down the line. Let’s say you have paid upfront for 3 years of hosting and you site goes viral after the first year. You’re just THAT popular. You want to be able to upgrade your plan to accommodate for your sudden popularity (aka. major traffic).

Step 4, check out the company’s customer service. I for one, personally hate calling a company’s help desk. I hate long wait times and I hate when I can never get a hold of the right person to help me. Good customer service is a rare find these days, and when the company has a good customer support system, I generally find them to be, overall, better companies.

Step 5, this is the most vital step in concluding which company you go. A simple Google search that will take you no more than 5 seconds, can save you days, if not months, of headaches later on. Simply go to Google and type in the web hosting companies name followed by the word “review”. I personally like to add on the words “review forum” so that I get more “truthful” opinions on message boards rather than ones that I find on review sites. Personally I’ve done the grunt work on reviewing many different web hosting companies and I find that two of them at this point stick out to me. I am sure that there are other great web hosting companies
that I haven’t had the pleasure of working with, but these are two web host providers
that I have personally worked with and recommend.

Small company recommendation:
StableHost
Here is a great 40% off coupon code to save you money: SaveMe40
Since you save more by buying for a longer period of time, you can get the most out of the 40% off coupon by locking in hosting with them.
These guys have a reliable service and are helpful. Tech support that is quick to respond is rare.

or

Bigger company recommendation:
HostGator

For Small Purchases use this $9.95 Off Promotional Code: 10OFFGATORCOST
For Larger Purchases use this 25% Off Promotional Code: 25OFFGATORCOST

I personally am not HostGator’s largest fan anymore. They are still a good hosting service, but I recommend them due to corporate reliability. What I mean by that is you won’t have the stress that your hosting company will disappear after a year or two. These guys have been around and they aren’t going anywhere.

 

Updated in June 2014 to reflect changes in recommendations

fix: android – There are no Android phones associated with this account

Problem:

Google Play doesn’t see the Android phone you want it to see when you’re on your browser. In my case, the phone would link to the Google Play store just fine. I could download apps and everything. But when I would view my account from a browser, there would be nothing there. Easy problem to fix? Yes. Annoying as hack to deal with? Heck yes.

Why this happens:

Caused by resetting the cache on Google Services Framework. At least this is what happened for me.

IMG_20130914_120354

Solution:

  1. Go into your phone’s Settings
  2. Select Apps
  3. Swipe over to view All
  4. Select Google Play Store (there could be two Google Play labelled apps, made sure you pick this one)
  5. Click on Force Stop
  6. Now you can click on Clear data
  7. Restart phone!
  8. Turn phone back on.
  9. Open the Google Play app.
  10. Select your account and Accept Terms

This is what worked for me, so hopefully it will work for you too. Make sure you pick “Google Play Store” and that you restart the phone. I tried these steps without restarting and it failed that time. Now, go enjoy your awesome android phone.

fix: hulu and lag (in Chrome)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve gone through your share of browsers through the years. I can almost remember a time where I could speak fondly over each and everyone of them.

My latest browser of choice is Chrome (by Google) and it’s actually not too bad. My biggest gripe with Chrome is really only when I watch hulu. It’s incredibly annoying to watch a movie and have the video lag (while, in my situation, the audio still plays).

The Solution:

1. Go to your Chrome browser’s URL bar and type “chrome://plugins/

2. Look for an entry labeled “Adobe Flash Player.” Thankfully, this is usually the first plugin listed. Now, you should see (behind Adobe Flash Player) the number of files associated with it. There should be 2-3 files here. If you don’t see the ability to enable or disable each individual plugin file, go to the top right hand side of the window and click on “Details.”

3. Look at the entries and find “location:” information for each one. You should find that one or two of the files has “Google\Chrome\Application\” as part of its location path. One file should be the flash file for your computer system and not a plugin specific to Chrome, this file location will have no mention of Chrome in it.

4. Now disable all the files (under Adobe Flash Player) that mention Chrome in its location path. You should have one Flash file enabled at the end.

5. Enjoy hulu lag free. Okay, that’s an assumption that you did this right and, also, that you don’t have your computer cranking overtime. In the end, sometimes it’s easier to revisit other browsers when you do certain things.