Tag Archives: Abiword

New Windows 10 box

Mark wrote about this as well this weekend but I decided to upgrade his laptop this weekend.  His laptop runs Windows Vista and while it does a not bad job of it, it would need some more RAM to handle Windows 10.  I was pricing out the memory and the license for Windows 10 when I noticed that OTV had some Lenovo ThinkCentre desktop computers coming off lease that had way more power and were less than the Windows 10 license.  Not only that but they included a copy of the 64 bit version of Windows 7 (which of course upgrades to Windows 10).  The machine will handle a total of 16 gb of RAM so that was a plus as well.  I’ll add some more memory to this summer.

I picked that up with a $15 Logitech keyboard and mouse and took it home.  We had an extra monitor in the basement but as I go to grab it, Wendy and Mark tell me that  they threw it out in a cleaning purge.  Excellent.  So it was back to OTV where they had a 19.5 inch monitor on for $50.

Still it was cheaper than upgrading Windows and the RAM.

So we got it going, connected it to the interweb, and then used Ninite to download and install the freeware programs like Evernote, Dropbox, Google Chrome, Apple iTunes, Spotify and other programs.  The one thing I didn’t download is Libre or Open Office which I have come to believe are some of the most bloated pieces of software available.  Instead I was going to download AbiWord and have him use Google Sheets for a spreadsheet but I was in London Drugs where they had Corel WordPerfect Office Home and Student on for only $34.97.  It’s not Microsoft Office but it is a lot better than Libre Office in terms of speed and features.

This is off topic but I thought I would take a moment to mention how much I miss Lotus Smart Suite which included Lotus 1-2-3 but more importantly Lotus Ami Pro (later called Lotus Word Pro).  While I am it, I also miss Microsoft Works which I did an awful lot of writing on.  I really miss Works suites.  I wish someone would do one again.

The last bit of freeware software I put on his computer is Serif Publisher Starter Edition.  It is designed for beginners and gives him far more control than either WordPerfect or a word processor will give him.

I am kind of careful about fonts.  So many collections of freeware fonts have commercial fonts in them.  Years ago a graphic designer I know realized he had some illegal fonts in his collection and purged them and then put together some excellent freeware font CDs.  I installed them and then added some excellent commercial fonts that I have the license for.  He isn’t into page layout of print design but if he ever is, he will have a nice system for it.

I love my laptop and have no problems with it but the joy of a full sized keyboard and an almost 20 inch screen was pretty awesome as well.

The upgrade to Windows 10 took overnight to download but once that was done, it was good to go this morning.  Am always amazed at how powerful machine I was able to get him for so little money.  I grew up with DOS and then Windows.  After 4 years with a Mac and OSX, I like being back with Windows and the PC world again.

Essential Windows 7 Downloads

New computer means that I get to go through the process of installing new applications as well as some old favorites.  In case you are wondering, here is my list of essential Windows software downloads.

Office and Productivity

  • Open Office (free) with some excellent extensions that are now available.
  • AbiWord (free)  When I write I like a word processor that gets and stays out of my way.
  • Gimpshop (free) Based on Gimp but it has a Photoshop style interface.  It’s not quite Photoshop but it’s not $600 either.
  • Paint.net (free) another wonderful and free photo organizer
  • Picasa (free) Google’s photo organizer.  The nice thing is that allows me to easily backup all of my photos.
  • Microsoft Photo Story (free)
  • Windows Movie Maker and some add ons (free)
  • Windows Live Writer for blogging (free)
  • FreeMind (free) I have started using mind mapping software a while ago and it has helped me organize some things in my mind and also for others.
  • Google Sketchup (free) It’s another software program that isn’t a necessity but I enjoy playing with when I need to create some plans for around the house and or at the cabin.


Web Design

  • KompoZer (free) In March 2007, KompoZer was featured on Download.com’s round up on the best free alternatives to Adobe CS3, where it was favorably compared to Adobe Dreamweaver.


  • CC Cleaner (free) I just started to use this but I like it better than EZ Cleaner.
  • EZ Cleaner (free)
  • PDF Creator (free) Since I use Open Office which does a good job of publishing to PDF, I don’t use this a lot but every once in a while I need a PDF from a different program and this does a great job.
  • Fox It Reader (free) So much faster than Adobe Acrobat that it is ridiculous and should make Adobe ashamed of themselves.
  • AVG Free (free) It does daily updates, is free, and stays out of the way a lot better than other anti virus programs out there.
  • Defraggler (free) I started to use this as I find it faster and more thorough then Windows Defrag.
  • Recuva (free) Wendy and Mark tend to delete things and then empty the Recycle Bin or things like that.  This counters their best efforts.
  • Audacity (free) Basic audio editing
  • Dropbox (free) I love Dropbox.  I have it installed at home, work, and on both laptops.  Instead of always looking for a thumb drive, I transfer up to 2 gigs at a time with Dropbox.  If you aren’t using it, you have no idea how useful this service really is.

Media Players

I do use a bunch of web apps like Gmail (and Google Apps) and Google Reader.

Google Chrome vs Windows 7

Google Chrome OS Screenshot

I awaited the news about Google Chrome OS today with some interest to see if it was going to provide me with some guidance over whether I should finally give up Windows and move to Chrome OS.  The advantages of Chrome can be found in the video below.  It’s faster and really optimized for the web which is cool as I spend probably 90% of my time on the web now.

Windows 7 Screenshot That’s the kicker, I spend probably 90% of my time there but even with my laptop, a netbook, or even my iPod Touch, I spend some pretty critical time offline (click here to see my list of essential Windows applications) and I just can’t myself giving them up, even on a netbook.  Giving up Photoshop (or even Gimp), the Flickr Uploadr, AbiWord, Open Office, or even iTunes isn’t high on my list of priorities.  Yes I keep a lot of my photos and e-mail in the cloud and we are highly reliant on Google Apps at work, I just can’t imagine giving up desktop apps, even on my iPod Touch for the sake of more speed in bootup.  In fact, I wonder if Google OS’s main competition won’t be my desktop or notebook computer but rather the iPhone/iPod Touch from Apple.  Around the house we go days without logging into my computer at home because of the easy and convenience of my iPod Touch.  I can blog, Twitter, and check e-mail from while while reading the New York Times and the Globe and Mail (btw, the Globe and Mail app is WAY BETTER than the New York Times app).  It’s just so much more convenient and so much faster than firing up the old Dell.  Yet at the same time, when I need to get some work done offline, I need that too (like when I am at the lake, on a plane, or in a place that doesn’t have wifi – which even in downtown Saskatoon, there are places that aren’t wifi enabled, despite the best efforts of Saskatchewan Connected!). I will pay for Windows or find a Linux version to run.  Since we are an iPod family, it will probably be Windows for the foreseeable future.