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Tricks & Tips



Sometimes you need the professional version of an application.  Sometimes you don’t.  Here is a list of alternatives we install for customers when they don’t need to spend to meet their needs.

Instead of Adobe Photoshop…
Try Gimp – Everyone knows the powerful name of Photoshop for editing images.  Gimp does almost the same job without the price tag.  If you need the advanced tools, give it a try.

Instead of Adobe InDesign / PageMaker…
Try Scribus – This desktop publishing software offers page layout and typesetting options for all your brochures, newsletters, books, and other publishing needs.

Instead of MS Office…
Try OpenOffice – Although MS Office is just what you need at work, you don’t have to buy the whole suite to open documents at home.  Yes, this will open and save MS Word and other Office applications very well.  Packed with many of the same options, I encourage you to try it.

Instead of Camtasia…
Try Jing – We use Camtasia for screen recording videos and editing.  The same company has a hosted solution called Jing that works well.  Or, also try CamStudio for recording what you see on your screen.

Instead of Norton (or McAfee)…
Try AVG – Both Norton and McAfee are my least favorite applications.  Well known to slow down a system.  AVG is free for personal use and nominally priced for the office.  It ranks #1 for protection, well above the competition on most websites.  Ours included.

Instead of GoToMyPC…
Try LogMeIn – GoToMyPC sure has a great marketing budget, but the same exact functionality are available with LogMeIn.  If you need want to login to your computer from a remote location, this is for you.  Need more options?  LogMeIn also has these in their professional version.

Why all the free options?
We’re asked that quite a bit.  Are they just as good?  Are they safe?   Yes, and two reasons might be:

  1. OpenSource:  This often refers to software code that is available to the public.  Volunteer programmers contribute across the world and collectively make it better.  They might add a feature for their own needs and it helps everyone.
  2. Free Software:  Some of the software above isn’t OpenSource, but the company may make it available in hopes to up sell you to their professional application.  Although none above, others (like Google) offer small ads for income while offering most of their product line at no charge.
    Read more here.