Category Archives: Tools

Free Software

There’s no doubt that for major applications, commercial software can be the bast choice.  If you need office applications, there is a company that begins with M that makes an excellent office suite.  For graphics creation and editing, a company that begins with the letter A makes the applications that are arguably the best for professional use.

However, there are some good free choices for many applications that can do all or most of what the commercial apps can do.  Here are some of my favorites:

Screen Shots and Screen Videos

  • CamStudio — Provides a tool to make quality screen videos for demonstrations that is equal to professional tools that cost money.
  • PicPick — My new favorite for screen shots.  It also has basic editing and annotation tools.  This is a great tool for anyone who makes instructional manuals.
  • MWSnap — My former favorite for screen shots.  It’s still a great tool even though it’s a bit dated.  It works with Windows 7 and 8 plus older versions.

Text Editors

  • Notepad++ — This is a great editor for anyone who needs to edit text.  For batch files, VBScript, and even simple SQL scripts, this editor provides colored syntax and the ability to script some editing functions.  This is the editor I use the most.

Other editors like VIM and Emacs may be more powerful, but have a much more significant learning curve.  If you already know how to use them, though, they are available on nearly every OS.

More free software yet to come . . .

Text Editors

Every Tech Guru needs to edit text files from time to time. Here are some of the tools I regularly use.

Text Editors

  • Windows NotePad: This is the application that is in Windows and has been since the beginning. If you need a text editor on a machine that isn’t your own, this is probably going to be the easiest one to find.
  • Notepad++: This is my go-to application when I need to edit a text file. It’s free and available as a portable app that can be included on a thumb drive.  You can get it at notepad-plus-plus.org.

For the Linux/Unix gurus, here are some editors that you probably already know about.

  • Emacs: This is the Swiss army knife with the entire Swiss army attached as far as text editors go. I have only dabbled with Emacs, but it runs on Linux, Unix, Windows and OS X, and it seems to have more capabilities than any one person could ever learn to use. There are several versions of Emacs for Windows, but the GNU Emacs version seems to be the closest to the Linux/Unix version. You can get it at: Download Emacs.
  • Vi (or Vim): Linux/Unix people get pretty opinionated about whether Vi or Emacs are the best editor in the known universe. I have dabbled with both and Vi is hard for me to get my head around, but it’s proponents swear by it. You can download VIM here: Download VIM.
  • Nano or Pico: These are minimalist editors but they are easy to understand for people who are not already Linux/Unix experts. In other words, when I have to edit something in Linux or Unix, I use one of these because I haven’t spent enough time to learn Emacs or Vi.