101 Fabulous Freebies
Entertainment Software and Services
Google Picasa Forget the clunky image gallery software you got with your digital camera. There's no easier way to organize, touch up, and share photos than Picasa.
Irfanview For basic image editing, file format conversions, and the like, simple-to-use Irfanview is your best bet. It installs quickly, doesn't take up much room on your hard disk, and supports a huge variety of image file formats.
The GIMP If you can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on Photoshop but still need sophisticated image-editing software, consider the GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka the GIMP. It features an arsenal of image tools for retouching, layer-based composition, and more.
Pandora Don't play the same song until you're sick of it. Enter the name of an artist or song you like, and Pandora will create a custom "radio station" for you that plays similar music, right in your browser. This service makes surprisingly good choices, and it uses your feedback to refine them further. And if you get tired of one station, you can just create a new one.
ITunes We don't call iTunes a slick music player just because it works with our beloved iPods. Its user-friendliness redefined the market, and it's still the easiest-to-use audio player and CD ripper going.
Kristal Audio Engine Need to record a demo tape of your garage band? Kristal is your mixing deck. But you'll need some audio engineering expertise to make the most of this sophisticated audio mixing and sequencing platform.
Audacity This simple sound-file editor can import audio files in a variety of formats and can export them as .wav, MP3, or Ogg Vorbis files. It's a snap to use.
Google Earth Turn the globe into your plaything. Like some cybernetic angel, you spin the Earth, tilt it, turn it upside down, or zoom in to take a closer look at almost anything: New York City, the Grand Canyon, or your own house.
Celestia When the world seems too small after all, launch Celestia. You can zoom through the solar system--and beyond--for real-time or accelerated views of planets, moons, comets, stars, and even the Hubble space telescope. Heavenly.