With names like Writer, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, you might not think that Kingsoft's WPS Office has a lot of imagination. Who cares? They work great and are all part of one program, not three separate pieces of software. The free version seems to do it all, mimicking the look of Microsoft products, even with a ribbon interface. It also comes with 1GB of cloud storage and has mobile versions for phone- or tablet-based edits. You'll have to view some ads to use it for free. It also offers a PDF to Word Converter Tool for Windows and Android.
LastPass is great, but LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Premium is good enough to earn its own 5-star rating. And don't let that word "premium" fool you, this software for logging in is free, albeit with some paid upgrades available for $1/month. LogMeOnce's claim to fame is to be utterly "passwordless." While you can go with a master password, the selling point is to use your smartphone (or tablet, whatever you always have with you) as an authenticator—primarily by using the fingerprint reader built into most modern smartphones (photo login is a paid feature). It's browser-based so it works the same on all desktop systems.
Ubuntu updates yearly, once majorly and once with just fixes. But each iteration brings new tools and developments. Last year the Linux distro even made the leap to tablets; that after trying to power smartphones in 2015. The latest version for desktops and laptops comes with a full suite of software (including LibreOffice), access to thousands more (and many free—just look for the penguin icon throughout this story). It's the Linux of choice here at PCMag, for it's one that is easy to master by just about any user.
A hacked webcam is the stuff of horror movies: Most desktops sit in bedrooms or living rooms, and there are lots of intimate moments that a stranger could see. Laptops move around, and a stranger can watch your entire day transpire, anywhere the device is opened up. Worse, you may not have any idea that your computer’s camera is being used as an invasive periscope. Hacked webcams are notoriously hard to diagnose.
Most of us who work in sales, spend our time educating ourselves with books, programs and coaches. We get all badass at sales and then face the ultimate problem: no one to sell to. I’ll show you nine ways you can get free leads from sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media site. Social media leads are the best leads there are. They are ready, real and easily engaged.
With mobile apps and a Google Chrome browser extension—and that's it—Chrome Remote Desktop more than rivals even TeamViewer for providing plenty of remote access between systems (you can't use it to control a smartphone or tablet, however, only PCs). You can connect to all your computers and devices that are on the same Google account, or get a code from others for a true remote session. You don't even have to have the browser running to get access to the PC. What's lacking is file transfer between systems, but you can get around that using Google Drive.
Do you use professional-quality software like Illustrator or InDesign? Here’s where you can get accurately dimensioned templates. All of your familiar functions will still be available, and you can place frames wherever you need them for text and images. You’ll also find the dimensions of a wide variety of label formats on A4 – the efficient way to make your own templates.
Put the PrtScn (Print Screen) button to actual use. LightShot is a tiny utility that takes over that button. Push it and you can pick what part of the screen to turn into a screenshot, plus annotate with tools like text and arrows. It's also available for leading web browsers to capture what's on a page. Once captured, you get choices to save to a file, the clipboard, the cloud, social networks, or to just search for similar shots in Google.
Your local library isn't just a place you go to find a new novel without paying for it. Libraries subscribe to a number of different business directories, which makes them a perfect place to get leads for free —especially for B2B salespeople. These directories aren't limited to resources like Internet reverse lookups, although such a tool can be very useful if you're looking for business leads. Many companies make it their business to organize information about both the company and their consumers. This information is compiled into a huge database, and this database is pure gold for any salesperson looking to create a new lead list.
Something to always watch for: crapware installers. To make ends meet, many creators of otherwise great free software, or the services that offer the programs for download, bundle in things you don't want. Worse, the installation routine obfuscates the steps, so you provide the unwanted program tacit permission to be installed. For more about how to spot and avoid this problem, see How to Clean Crapware From a New PC, and check out the Uninstaller section of this very free software collection.
Free Software is the original term for software that respects freedom, and there are important reasons why this terminology continues to be used today. Free Software connotes freedom, and when translated there is a clear distinction between freedom and price. In French, Free Software becomes "logiciels libre", "software libre" in Spanish, "software libero" in Italian, and "Fri Software" in Danish.
Google Drive has morphed over the years to become the official place where you store your cloud files for use with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Drive's online and mobile equivalents to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). But it also doubles as a sync service on the desktop, a la Dropbox or OneDrive, storing any kind of file, with apps for access to those same files on mobile devices. Throw in the office suite aspects and the 15GB of free space online (shared with other Google services), and you've got a real winner, worthy of a 5-star rating.
Thus, free software means that computer users have the freedom to cooperate with whom they choose, and to control the software they use. To summarize this into a remark distinguishing libre (freedom) software from gratis (zero price) software, the Free Software Foundation says: "Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of 'free' as in 'free speech', not as in 'free beer'". See Gratis versus libre.
This last point, which allows the software to be sold for money seems to go against the whole idea of free software. It is actually one of its strengths. Since the license allows free redistribution, once one person gets a copy they can distribute it themselves. They can even try to sell it. In practice, it costs essentially no money to make electronic copies of software. Supply and demand will keep the cost down. If it is convenient for a large piece of software or an aggregate of software to be distributed by some media, such as CD, the vendor is free to charge what they like. If the profit margin is too high, however, new vendors will enter the market and competition will drive the price down. As a result, you can buy a Debian release on several CDs for just a few USD.
Many people new to free software find themselves confused because the word "free" in the term "free software" is not used the way they expect. To them free means "at no cost". An English dictionary lists almost twenty different meanings for "free". Only one of them is "at no cost". The rest refer to liberty and lack of constraint. When we speak of Free Software, we mean freedom, not price.
Google built Hangouts into its services as a replacement for the Google Talk messaging service, but Hangouts adds voice and video calls. It's unique for this roundup in that it doesn't require an installer, it just works in your browser (though getting the Chrome Extension is recommended). It's perfect for talking to other people on Google—you can get up to nine people in a video chat, all for free.
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