Geek Girl’s Software Pack

Geek GirlOver the years, I have brought all kinds of free software and open source software to your attention. There are many software options that can make your life a lot easier AND you don’t have to pay for them!

The Geek Girl’s Software Pack includes what I consider to be a solid set of free software that every computer user should have installed on their system – whether they are computer beginners or experts!

openoffice-logoOpenOffice provides excellent Word, Excel and PowerPoint equivalents that are fully compatible with the Microsoft file formats. It is easy to use and has extensive support, including free templates. It also comes in a portable version for your flash drive.

pidginChatClient01I’ve said it several times and my opinion hasn’t changed – Pidgin is one of the best multi-client chat protocol programs on the market. I can chat with my friends on AOL, MSN, Yahoo, GChat, and many more – without having to run 2-3-4- or more chat clients at a time. It is also customizable and open source, so you can tweak to your heart’s content or use free plugins to add additional functionality. Pidgin is also available as a portable application.

IZArc provides support for most compressed and encoded file formats in a easy-to-understand interface that doesn’t annoy with popups or oddly phrased questions. It is powerful and puts the control back in your hands when it comes to compressing or encoding files.

dopdfdoPDF is the replacement PDF creator to my first love, PDFCreator. doPDF, unlike some other PDF creators, is Vista compatible and has a straightforward interface that makes it easy to create PDF files from almost any file on your computer. It doesn’t require Ghostscript and the installation is fast. Click print, select the output directory and watch your PDF open in seconds!

FileZilla is a fast, feature-filled FTP program. Not only is it a quick install, but when you upgrade, it uninstalls the old version for you, but saves your settings! It also comes in a portable version for your flash drive.

MediaMonkeyGoldMusic lovers will love Media Monkey. It is a great alternative to iTunes or Windows Media Player – and it comes with skins, good support and a customizable interface. I use Media Monkey to manage my growing music collection as well as transfer files to and from my iPod. Plugins and the upgraded (pay) version make this program even more powerful – but out of the box, it is more than enough for the typical user. Read my full-length review of MediaMonkey – “Organize And Manage Your Music Collection With MediaMonkey” –at MakeUseOf.

CCleaner keeps my computer running fresh and clean – with clean and easy to use interfaces and the strength of an industrial sized computer junk cleaner! I only run CCleaner once or twice a week, which is often enough to help clear off the cookies, temp files, etc. and keep my laptop running smoothly.

foxitFoxit Reader won a place in this lineup because it is fast, easy to use and powerful. It does exactly what it’s description says – reads PDF files – and does so quickly! By the time Adobe Acrobat Reader had loaded, I had already finished reading the same file in Foxit Reader! Foxit Reader also comes in a portable version.

IrfanView is probably all of the photo editing/viewing software that most of us need – you can crop and resize photos easily.This is one of the few times where most of us would say, “less is more.” If you need more functionality, there are free plugins that can be installed.

AudacityScreenI record my podcasts with Audacity. This program is provides the functions I need to create a podcast – but it is wrapped in an easy-to-use interface and comes with excellent customer support. You can also use Audacity to record internet radio, other sounds and create ringtones. Audacity also has a portable version, so you can create podcasts and recordings anywhere!

And last, but definitely not least, is Firefox. I mention Firefox a lot here at ultimate geek girl because frankly, Firefox ROCKS! It is customizable with plugins and add-ons, it comes in a portable version for your flash or external drive, and it has a large community of followers that offer support from around the world!

Anything you’d include or exclude on this list? Let us know in the comments or send me an email!

This special feature, Geek Girl, appears every Monday.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


  1. Nice list Ellie ! Almost all of them are my favorite too.

    By the way, have you tried Digsby ? Read my post on it here:

    You might consider ditching Pidgin for it 😉

    Abhijeet from Jeet Blog’s last blog post: Become A Gmail Productivity Master With GTD Inbox

    • I have tried Digsby. It is pretty cool! I definitely want to play around with it more in the coming weeks — and I *might* become a convert!

  2. Awesome list! I use many of the above mentioned apps.

    Haris’s last blog post: Cat Emoticons For Yahoo Messenger

    • I think FREE software is the best! :)

  3. That’s a pretty nice list, although I have to tell you that if you’re not scared of a little experimentation… you might wanna consider linux :) unless you have already… but I just get the feeling you’re running Vista…

    still.. nice list, but I will never know of half of them :)

    brat’s last blog post: Why are you, lady?

    • I have been checking out Linux – mainly the Ubuntu that you can run off of a CDROM. I guess I need to sit down while I have a few days between semesters and look at it further. :) I think Linux is great – my older, albeit nerdier brother introduced me to it long long time ago! send me an email with some Linux programs or distros to check out. :)

  4. Yeah I use most of that stuff too. I haven’t used Audacity in like 5 years so I’ll check it out for Podcasting, does it allow you to record more than 2 tracks? I’m kind of partial to background music.

    Which reminds me, for all of your filler music needs.

    Rashid Z. Muhammad’s last blog post: PODCAST: Superman that Train (Commentary / Rants) – 2 comments

    • Yes, I was able to mix two tracks successfully. The directions were pretty straightforward.

  5. Really nice list of software – yes you can record as many audacity tracks as you could want… I did a short tutorial round about here: just in case anybody is interested… (it’s two pages – I haven’t got round to creating a PDF yet – maybe I could do it with goPDF??) I did it primarily to show how you can use a pro mic with your PC, but there are some nice USB condenser mic’s available now…
    I still wanna try Linux, but when am I gonna find the time?

    Jay’s last blog post: Appeal for help in Beverly Hills

    • Definitely, you can make it in doPDF! I “print” files in doPDF several times a day – easy and fast!

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. » Blog Archive » Blogs Worth Reading: May 08 06 08