REAL NICE FREEBIES

Michael Breitung photography

If you think new programs are a tad expensive, how about some free ones. Can’t beat the price.

— “Kingsoft Writer” looks just like a previous version of Microsoft Word, before they added a “helpful” ribbon along the top which just confuses the blazes out of many people. If you can stand to be without the Microsoft logo, Kingsoft Writer is free from KingSoftStore.com.

Zamzar.com will freely convert one kind of file into almost any other. You can turn an Adobe PDF into a JPG image, for example; then you can edit it. Click once to make a file that will play on an iPad or iPhone. Turn a Windows Media file into a Flash file. If you do that, Mac users can see it with a plug-in. This all worked well for us.

Windows.com is offering free Nature images for Windows 7, from the studio of photographer Michael Breitung. These are among the best wild nature shots we’ve seen, all taken in America and Europe. The photos have been enhanced with special effects that give them a kind of “painterly” style. He uses Lightroom and Photoshop, both from Adobe, for the special effects. To use the Nature theme as your desktop wallpaper, right click the main desktop screen and choose “Personalization.” You can find out where each photo was taken by going to mibreit-photo.com.

–“Gimpshop” from Gimpshop.com is a free alternative to Photoshop with nearly three million users. It’s like “Gimp,” a fairly well known Photoshop alternative, but the layout resembles Photoshop more closely.

NOTE: We had a problem with this: We could not download the program, which gave us a message that it may be blocked by our firewall. We use BullGuard for our firewall and malware protection. If that is the problem we are not willing to disable this excellent protection. But if you don’t have BullGuard, you may be able to download Gimpshop with no problem. There is a version for both Mac and Windows.

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