Recommended Software - Office/Productivity

Mostly office and productivity software, with the exception of Linux Mint which is a full blown Operating System (OS) plus programs.

OpenOffice

OpenOffice screenshot

 

OpenOffice Homepage

Need Microsoft Office Professional but can't stomach the $450 price tag? Give OpenOffice suite a try. It has good compatibility with Microsoft Office files including the ability to open and save in MS Office format. OpenOffice has come a long way in recent years and has evolved into a worthy (and free) replacement for MS Office. We especially like the non proprietary Open Document Format used as the default file format. Why lock your information into a proprietary data file?

Keepass Password Safe

KeePass screenshot

 

KeePass Homepage

These days it seems everyone is expected to remember dozens of account sign ins and passwords for day to day activities. KeePass is an encrypted password safe, stored on a USB thumbdrive, that provides access to all your accounts and passwords through a single master password sign in. It includes a powerful password generator and will copy complex hard to type passwords into the clipboard so you can simply paste them in.

ProcessExplorer

ProcessExplorer screenshot

 

ProcessExplorer Homepage

ProcessExplorer will appeal to computer nerds and control freaks who want to know exactly what is running on their computer at all times. It's like the Windows task manager on steroids. We use it to track down crappy software which is slowing down a computer and interfering with useability.

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt screenshot

 

TrueCrypt Homepage

TrueCrypt brings simple and secure data encryption to the masses. We've been testing it for years and have never once had a problem with data loss or corruption using this software, even for very large encrypted containers. TrueCrypt supports the encryption of entire hard drives, thumb drives, etc, as well as mountable disks stored within single files called TrueCrypt volumes. We use TrueCrypt for all our encryption needs because we don't trust proprietary encryption software. TrueCrypt is open source so it will always be supported and available.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint 10 screenshot

 

Linux Mint Homepage

Windows and Mac users owe it to themselves to try Linux Mint on their installable Live CD. Backup your computer first though because you'll be tempted to blow your current OS away and replace it with Linux Mint. Seriously. This is Linux like it should be. It supports everything you need to do out of the box, and everything just seems to WORK. Plus it looks absolutely gorgeous and has a fabulous software manager where you can install new (and free!) software with a few clicks. Linux Mint also comes in several flavors suitable for older computers with limited horsepower.