With all the great freeware applications out there, some users are keen to find a decent alternative to the large and very expensive Microsoft Office. Most people require nothing more than a basic productivity suite that enables you to open, edit and save word documents, create a spreadsheet and the occasional presentation. Luckily, LibreOffice 4.4.1 has it all. This hugely popular and comprehensive office package is completely free and ships with all the necessary components found in more expensive suites such as Office. Another bonus is that it is available for Windows, Mac & Linux users. There's a portable version available.
AbiWord 2.9.1 is now available. This basic, but competent, free word processor enables you to open and write Microsoft Word documents and is good enough for basic writing. However, how many of us need the full functionality that Word offers us, making AbiWord worthy of your consideration. Note that AbiWord v3 is out soon, a major upgrade.
Defraggler 2.06, from the developers of the highly rated CCleaner also receives a minor update. This useful tool, as the name suggests, is a freeware solution that enables users to defragment cluttered drives. Doing so can improve system performance and boost the time taken to start your PC.
For those looking something a little more comprehensive in the defrag department, there's O&O Defrag Professional 14.5.543. It offers a multitude of different defrag options to suit all types of users, and does so in a clean and uncluttered environment. It ships with five different defrag methods and is more than capable of organising the most neglected drives.
This week also sees the release of Returnil System Safe Free 3.2, an ideal utility for anyone wishing to test new or unstable applications within a secure environment. Install and test software you've downloaded, then leave this virtual system without leaving a single trace on your operating system.
For Mac users, get the latest version Skype. The brand new v5.2 boasts several updates over the previous version. New features include support for group video calls, screen sharing during video calls and more. The latest version also enables users to manage calls more efficiently with the new call control bar. This unique feature gives users the power to see what¹s going on with the video window, while still toggling amongst other applications.
Another highlight is Airfoil for Mac and for Windows. This superb little application enables you to stream your audio from non-Apple applications to your AirPlay device, whether this is an Airport Express, Apple TV or another PC/Mac. Stream audio from the BBC iPlayer, the radio to a set of speakers, audio from your web browser and even to multiple devices. Ideal if you need to stream audio across the office. Airfoil for Windows 3 has just been announced. Recommended.
With the major browser developers seemingly desperate for you to use their browser, why not take a look at at something a little different. Maxthon, which uses the same engine as IE, is a popular replacement for many. The latest version Maxthon 126.96.36.1990 contains a number of improvements and fixes and may be worth giving a go if you're bored of the Firefox's and Chrome's of this world.
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