Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free stuff

This week I’d like to talk about free stuff on the radio. That’s free as in beer – I won’t be worrying about the ideology, just about what sort of software and services that ordinary people can use without paying money.

Please feel free to put suggestions in the comments!

posted by colin at 9:12 am  


  1. Pegasus Mail – made here in NZ and way better than Outlook.

    Comment by Peter Lynch — 30 March 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  2. I make no claim these are usable by “ordinary people” :)

    Evernote – – Note taking software, works across Windows, Mac, iPhone and Web.

    Dropbox – – Sync and share files across Windows, Mac, Linux and Web.

    Good old Google Mail + Apps for domains.

    AirNZ’s mPass iPhone app. Free download, track flights and cool boarding with a barcode.

    Free episodes of The Daily Show:

    Thunderbird. Free and way better than Pegasus and Outlook. :)

    Handbrake for Mac, transcoder for video – – Encode your DVDs to watch on your iPod/mobile.

    NetNewsWire – RSS feed reader for Mac –

    Skype! Free calls!

    Comment by Sam — 30 March 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  3. Our family (including my self admitted computer illiterate wife) uses the linux distro openSUSE 11.1 with the KDE4.2 desktop. So far everything we have ever needed over the last several years is packaged with it: openoffice, financial software (kmoney), games, firefox, music player which includes easy ipod sync. and podcast download (amarok1.4), personal information manager including excellent email, contacts, feeds, calander, journel, etc.etc. (Kontact), all purpose media player (vlc) and so on. It works well on our three computers, relativity easy to install. Brilliant support through the 15,000 people that belong to the opensuse online forum. It looks great and if you have a modern pc the 3D desktop effects are spectacular. Duel boot with Windows if you can’t quite let go… OH! and its all completely FREE (as in beer). I find I have an urge to help out in the forums as I understand more, report bugs, etc. but I suppose that’s what it is all about… Go to:

    Comment by Steve — 30 March 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  4. Some useful links here

    Comment by Lawrence D'Oliveiro — 30 March 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  5. I guess most of the listeners will be Windows users, so perhaps you need to cater to them.

    Is there a decent free antivirus software for Windows? AVG used to do one.

    The best browsers are free; Firefox, Chrome, Opera.

    OpenOffice is a free alternative to the expensive suite from that other company.

    VLC is an excellent video player, handles many different codecs, and available for Windows, Linux, etc.

    Or, go the whole hog, have only free software on your computer; Linux! It is a little different, so takes some learning, but a must for anyone serious about computing (even if only on a part time basis) and great for those who want to tinker or learn more about computing.

    Comment by Peter — 30 March 2009 @ 8:36 pm

  6. We love Adempiere – just like SAP but open source and free!

    Comment by Ben Milsom — 30 March 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  7. I strongly second Evernote, Dropbox, Gmail, NetNewsWire (or presumably FeedDemon for Windows) and Skype.

    I’d add Google Earth, Stellarium for anyone even slightly interested in the night sky, and Twitterific for Mac users.

    Comment by Miraz Jordan — 31 March 2009 @ 7:41 am

  8. People that enjoy Stellarium might also like to travel further with Celestia

    Comment by Matt — 31 March 2009 @ 9:37 am

  9. provides really easy scheduling of meetings, kind of like crowd sourcing: it’s a great way of finding the time that everyone can meet without going backwards and forwards normally required.
    Perfect for committees, groups etc.

    Comment by Stuart Barson — 31 March 2009 @ 10:21 am

  10. give out free facebook app hosting on solaris with 2 Quad-Core Xeons, un-metered bandwidth, 1/32 of CPU usage. 512MB ram and 10GB space

    who wouldn’t want that?

    Comment by Brenda — 31 March 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  11. Firefox, and all the wonderful free add-ons in the directory at

    Wikipedia. :-)

    Comment by Seth Wagoner — 1 April 2009 @ 10:50 am

  12. has heaps of free music downloads

    Comment by Brenda — 1 April 2009 @ 10:54 am

  13. How about some free books?

    Comment by Lawrence D'Oliveiro — 1 April 2009 @ 11:26 pm

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