MDS Computers: Mike Recommends...

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The computer world can be a tricky place. Here are some of my favorite programs, services, and websites.

  • Firefox Web Browser -- Similar to Internet Explorer (the program through which you would view this webpage if you don't already have Firefox). The advantage of Firefox is, since it has been built from the ground up by a large organization of online volunteers, it is immune from more than 90% of the malicious stuff floating around ready to infect your computer (i.e. adware and spyware). It's also extendable and configurable in ways that Internet Explorer simply isn't. PS: if you want to help me out, click the button at the bottom of one of my pages to "get Firefox with Google Toolbar". I use Google Toolbar myself, and recommend it to people even when I have nothing to gain. But in this case, I might get a little kickback if enough people download here.

  • -- Do you need all the functionality of Microsoft Office, Excel, and Powerpoint, but without having to pay a king's ransom to Microsoft every few years? Check out OpenOffice, developed by a collaboration between Sun Microsystems (the famed makers of Java) and a community of volunteer developers.

  • AVG Free Antivirus -- Tired of being nagged to pay money for virus protection? Try AVG antivirus, they give away the personal edition for free!

  • Dreamhost Web Hosting -- Want to publish a website? need a good online provider to share lots of files with friends and family? Dreamhost is cheap -- $10 / month includes free domain registration (i.e. you can pick your own website name, just like mine here!), plus loads of disk space and usage per month. Also, if you refer friends to it, you can make some money to use towards your cost of membership.

  • Gmail -- Google's answer to e-mail upped the ante for everyone else on the internet. They offer 2 gigabytes of e-mail storage, unbeatable spam filtering, and free mail forwarding. Plus they're coming up with new features all the time (such as chat). If you would like to sign up and need a referral, you can feel free to e-mail me and i'll send you one (and no, i don't get paid for this, hehe)

  • NewEgg -- need computer parts? with fast shipping? Newegg is unbeatable in selection and quality of service.

  • WinAmp Media Player -- possibly the best music player for Windows systems, it can handle a wide variety of formats, and is quick and easy to use. And unlike other "quick" or "real" players out there, it doesn't constantly pester you to "buy the upgrade". Also it doesn't install any spyware to your system, and won't slow things down.

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