The Top 6 Software Applications for Fun, Entertainment and Gaming

These computer and Internet things aren’t just for work, you know. We can (and should) have some fun with them. Ok, ok, so many of us are guilty of goofing off more than working sometimes. But nevertheless, it’s important to balance work with play, and with that in mind, we present a quick list of software applications (and one primarily hardware product) that you can have a lot of fun with.

Of course, all of these apps can be and are used for some serious business. Additionally, with the exception of 1 item, these are all free software downloads or services that are available for the leading operating systems today including Windows, Macs and Linux.

1. Facebook

Top of the list today is easily Facebook. Addictive to many, Facebook’s one-stop site for staying in touch with your friends, family and colleagues, is also home to thousands of applications itself. Those applications span the gamut from connecting with your friends, keeping track of birthdays, staying on top of your favorite tv shows and of course, games. Lots and lots of games.

2. Skype

A free (for basic services) VoIP-based video chat application, Skype rules the roost in this category and it’s one of the many ways in which we’re taking the future for granted, for the future is here. Sure, the video and/or audio quality isn’t always great, but think about this: you ‘Skype’ with your mom, and she knows what it is and expects you to video call her now!

3. Twitter

Twitter, the micro-blogging/status update service, has become the latest go-to location for entertainment. No longer do marketers or breaking news dominate the tweets. Actors and comedians now frequently use Twitter, and while it is a new challenge for everyone, some like Conan O’Brien for example are proving that they know how to make people laugh even with a 140 character limit.

4 and 5. Firefox and Chrome

Yes, Web browsers. What’s fun about them? Granted they don’t really have very many extensions/plugins to play games in the way that the Facebooks, iPhones, and Xboxes of the world, but where else do you really watch YouTube videos, re-runs of TV shows you missed on Hulu, or play Flash-based video games on any of thousands of websites? In your browser of course.

If you’re on a Mac, you can also use Safari to great effect, but remember that Firefox and Chrome both can be extended and tweaked via the thousands of extensions, apps and themes available, most for free.

6. TiVo (DVRs in General)

Not a primarily a software program that runs on your computer, but how much fun is having a digital video recorder (DVR) like a TiVo to record your favorite TV shows and movies and then watch them later? Don’t you now wish you could hit pause or go back 10 seconds in real life too? TiVo and others like Dish Network also include Web-based interfaces so you can program your boxes even if you’re not at home directly controlling the box with its remote control.

Ok, enough reading – go fire up your favorite app, relax and have some fun.

Get the Most From Your New Computer With These Free Software Programs

Remember how excited you were to buy a new computer? You can’t wait to get it home, and set it up. You check out all the programs that came with the computer, but there’s a problem. One by one, you find out that these programs are “free to try”. They usually come with a 30 day trial period. After that you have to pay a yearly fee to use the program. While others will have a one-time fee. The point is that these fees are not cheap.

Consumers purchase computers for various reasons. They all have tasks that they want to perform on their computer. Only to find that it’s going to cost hundreds of dollars more to perform these tasks. Well I’ve got good news for you. There are absolutely free software programs available that will do everything that the paid versions will do. If you know where to find them.

I’ll show you how I find free software. The first thing I do is head over to download.cnet.com. This is a well established and trusted web site. On the right column of the home page you’ll find the category, “Most Popular Downloads”. This list of downloads is a great place to start our search for free software.

As I’m writing this article the top 2 most popular downloads are anti-virus programs. This is a perfect example of the types of software that were looking for. Because as you set up your new computer you find that your anti-virus program is only a free trial. Here were looking at two free programs. Which one will we choose? This will require a little bit of homework.

Each software program that’s listed in the “Most Popular Downloads”, has a review page. You will find all the information that you need on the review page. At the top of the page, you can read CNET’S review. Next it will be the company’s review of their product. Finally, we want to read the reviews written by computer users who have installed (and used) the program on their computers.

These reviews are rated on a 5 star scale. Also the reviewers list the pro’s and con’s of the program. Based on the reviews, I don’t have to guess if this software is good or bad. They will give the product a thumbs up, or thumbs down. I also count how many stars they gave the product. This is why I trust this website.

But we are not done yet. We need some more information that’s located on the review page. Look for the heading “Quick Specs”. And look at the price. We want “free”, not “free to try”. Next look at the operating systems the program will work on. Make sure your operating system is on this list. Finally we can see how many people have already downloaded the program. This lends some credibility to the program.

After looking through the “Most Popular Download” list, I found a few of my favorites were missing. I always use “Open Office” for creating text documents. This is a complete office suite, that includes powerful applications for making text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, and databases. This free software will save you hundreds of dollars. Use your favorite search engine to find Open Office.org.

Do you need personal finance software? “jGnash” is an open source personal finance manager. It will help you monitor and keep track of your accounts including investments. If you need personal, and small-business financial accounting software, try “GnuCash”. Just use your favorite search engine to find jGnash, or GnuCash. Using these free, alternative programs, will save you a lot of money.

Top Websites to Download iPod Music – Make the Right Choice

Looking for the top sites to download iPod music online? Finding them is not a tough task if you know what aspects to take into consideration and what constituents make the website a great source for downloading iPod music.

Reputable paid membership websites where you can download iPod music to your heart’s content at a low fee paid only once, are where your search should start. The priority is given to them, because with these sites you know that each file you download is legal, of good quality and free from harmful spyware, adware and viruses. But the benefits of using these sites to download iPod music are not limited by this only.

Every well-established music download website will have a huge selection of songs, making it possible to find virtually anything you could fancy. They also make sure that the process of navigating the site, downloading and using media software, which is usually provided as a part of the package, is as simple as one can get. In case of any minor problem their customer support is quick to respond and give full assistance.

In your search for the best website, make sure to check the customers’ testimonials and independent reviews by other sites. The word of mouth spreads faster than any advertisement. The safest way is to choose the site, which has proven its good reputation and has a large number of members – simply because so many people can’t go wrong.

To make your choice a little easier, here are a few popular websites where you can download iPod music at a low one-time fee or on subscription basis:

Feed My iPod

Another cool site with equally huge file library and full service for your iPod. Download iPod music and other iPod stuff at a very low monthly fee or a once-forever membership fee.

iPod Downloads Pro

With over 95 million files ready to download on your iPod, this site is where you will surely find just anything you could dream about. Download iPod music within seconds and listen it straight away – the files are ready to use and don’t need converting. A life-time membership or a yearly subscription is available – a great value for your money.

My iPod Music

One more great place of best quality – hassle-free and secure. Constantly updated database ensures you can get the latest of the latest albums and songs. Advanced free software allows you not only to download iPod music, but also convert the file format to iPod-compatible one and transfer them to your iPod easily and quickly.