It's Okay to Love Freebies

Everyone loves the word "free," but when it comes to your computer, you have to be careful. Some of the free stuff out there can bog down your system and do more harm than good.

Everyone loves the word “free,” but when it comes to your computer, you have to be careful. Some of the free stuff out there can bog down your system and well, do more harm than good. Recently, I’ve found some wonderful free things for your computer; some are utilities, and some are purely for fun. All are definitely worth talking about.

Your Media

Track My ShipmentsNow this next one is almost too good to be true. If you’re anything like me, you’re busy and you end up shopping online a lot. Track My Shipments does something really incredible. You take your “we have shipped your product” e-mail to track@trackmyshipments.com. No more tracking headaches, this site automatically tracks your shipments with all the major shipping companies and keeps you up-to-date (via e-mail and/or SMS text messages) on each shipment's status, location, and any delays. It's as simple as that! The service is completely free.

WebReader

One thing I absolutely love is WebReader by FreeRange, a program that allows you to read news and RSS feeds on your phone; it is a full offline reader, meaning you do not need to be connected to the internet to view it. WebReader will even work in “flight mode.” The goal of WebReader is simple: to do for Internet content what BlackBerry did for e-mail. WebReader brings the Internet to your fingertips, giving you access to the websites you want, wherever you happen to be, and without making you wait. Download and try FreeRange WebReader today.

Your MusicSlacker

For music lovers, there is Slacker. No matter what your music tastes may be, within about 30 seconds of first arriving at this Internet radio site, you can be listening to your pick of a huge number of potential stations. If you start with one of the pre-made stations, you can toss bands you don't like from the line-up. Pick an artist station, which adds similar bands to an artist you search for, and you can also mix in your choice of artists. Choose favorite songs to hear them more often, and skip those you don't like (up to six songs per hour for the free level of use). Add in more fine-tuning options for each station, such as whether to lean toward lesser-known music or top hits, plus a downloadable software player that can run without a browser, and you'll like this hard-working slacker.

Jango

Then there is Jango, a free social music service that lets you create your own custom radio stations and share them with friends and others who like what you like. Just type in what you want to hear and your station will play the music you want along with similar favorites of other Jango users who share your taste. You can customize your stations further by adding more artists and rating songs.

You can also tune in to any other station playing on Jango. As you listen, your player will show other people listening to the same artist. You can "tune in" to any song they're listening to, message each other, or share your stations with others. Or just go to any Artist Page to see all songs by that artist at any given time. It’s totally free and you don’t have to download anything, which is very nice.

You can locate people's profiles by browsing the "people" section, or check out the "Like-Minds" (people with the most similar music taste to you) on you Jango Home. Or check the faces in your player. Wherever you see a user picture, you can check out their profile, tune in to their stations (and send them a "thank you" when you're done), send messages, or simply ask them to become your Jango friends.

Your ComputerBuzzword

Here is a word processor within a word processor. Welcome to Buzzword, the breakthrough online word processor from Adobe. Buzzword is currently in preview and free to use. Built on the Adobe® Flash® platform, Buzzword looks and behaves like a normal word processor, but operates inside a Web browser. A version for the Adobe AIR platform is in development.

With Buzzword, you can:

  • Access your documents from any Internet-connected computer
  • Work together with others to create, comment on, revise, and publish your documents, without the need to e-mail documents back and forth
  • Avoid editing and reviewing conflicts, since everyone works with the same version of the document, and View and edit your documents exactly as others will see them, and exactly as they will print.

DropBox

Finally, check out DropBoks, a little website that allows you to securely store your files online. No bells and whistles, just simplicity. Your account has 1GB of storage space. You can upload/download files (any format) as large as 50MB. Your files are encrypted, authenticated, and secure. It's free, though they will soon be offering the option to upgrade your storage for a small monthly cost.

SkyDrive

Need to store things online? Try Windows Live : SkyDrive. When you sign in to Windows Live SkyDrive, for each folder you create, you choose who has access to it. You can add new folders, rename them, or change who has access at any time. They give you 5GZB of free space. Windows Live SkyDrive works well on any Windows or Macintosh computer with Firefox 1.5 or higher,or Internet Explorer 6 or higher.

What are some of your favorite sites?