Archive for category Computers

Free Antivirus for iOS

iOS antivirus is a new concept to me. However, as one of the top two mobile operating systems it is inevitable that it will be targeted by malware and viruses.  No matter how remote the prospect of an infection might seem it is always better to err on the side of caution and defend in depth.

Remember to protect both you iPhone and iPad.

There are other companies that make antivirus apps for a fee but I’m focusing here on the free stuff by reputable firms.


Avira – Free antivirus. German firm that has a good reputation.

Lookout – Free for iPhone. Reputable company.  I do not know if this will also work on iPad.

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4 Free Office Suites for Your Computer

Below are a list of free replacements for the expensive Microsoft Office suite. W = Windows, M= Mac, L=Linux.

LibreOffice – W, M, L. A fork of OpenOffice. This is the office suite that comes with many linux distros. It can read/write most MSOffice formats. Contains 6 apps. Considered the most actively updated suite. I use this on my Linux computers.

OpenOffice – W, M, L. A solid 6 app office suite. Well supported, even IBM contributes code to this project.

NeoOffice – M only. A Mac OS X only office suite. 3 apps – spreadsheet, word processor and presentation. More Mac-centric interface. I still use this on my Mac. Mac installer.

Calligra Suite – W, M, L. Linux is the best supported port. Count’em, 8 apps in one suite! Office apps, graphics app, and project managment app. I have not tried this.  Don’t let that dissuade you, since it is free download it and give it a spin.

A lot of people think they are stuck with the high cost of MSOffice, or they think they have to stick with Windows or Mac OS X because that is what MSOffics runs on.  Well you can use any OS and have a free high powered, full featured office suite no matter what.


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Secure Browsers for Windows

Honestly, the OS (operating system) probably matters more than your browser for security. Windows is hard to secure and you would be better off running Linux or Apple OS X if you want security.

There are two things you need to look at for browser security: 1. how good is it at keeping out bad guys and malware; 2. is the browser phoning home private information about you to it’s maker or some third party, where that info becomes a temptation for governments on fishing expeditions.

Here are my choices for relatively secure Windows browsers:

Comodo Dragon – I like this better than Google Chrome. It is very similar to Chrome but does not phone home to Google. This is basically Chrome without Google looking over your shoulder.

Ice Dragon – also by Comodo. This is Comodo’s security enhanced version of Firefox, and allows you to use Firefox extensions.

Epic Privacy Browser – (available for Windows and Mac) I will refer you to the website to explain what Epic does to protect your privacy. No system is bullet proof but this is a step in the right direction.

Opera – my old standby.

Note: All browsers can be made more secure by turning Java script off.

No browser is 100% secure. With Windows always use an anti-virus program to protect your computer.

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Finding Free Ebooks and Textbooks

Everybody likes to get something free.  Here are some good sources for free and legal ebooks on the internet.


Free Ebooks for Kindle:

Amazon has new Kindle ebooks that are available for free for one or two days.  Not surprisingly, some enterprising souls have started blogs to point out the free Kindle books each day.  Here are two that I like:

Ereader News Today – I follow this on my Facebook feed each day and I have gotten lots of great books for free.

Pixel of Ink – Another outstanding free Kindle book blog.


Free Ebook Archives:

There are a heck of a lot of free ebooks, both fiction and non-fiction that were published before 1923 and are therefore in the public domain.  Below are several good archives for these ebooks.

Feedbooks – Feedbooks has books for sale, but they also have quite a few free public domain and self published ebooks.

Project Gutenberg – 39,000 books. All are free and had been previously published by established publishers. – 29,000 books. Back when I carried a Palm PDA this was my favorite archive for ebooks. Because it can convert your ebook to so many formats this is a very handy archive for those who have either a Kindle or some other ereader which may use a different format.


Free Textbooks:

Text Books for Free –  Links to a lot of free textbooks.

Wikibooks –  Free, community edited textbooks from the makers of Wikipedia.



Text Archive at –  While not the most user friendly site in the world, has a lot of ebooks, textbooks and documents.  You just have to dig for them.

Calibre (free software) –  Calibre is management software for your ebook library.  It helps you search and sort your ebooks, convert them to different formats, sync ebooks to your devices, and more.  Very handy to have once your collection grows.  Ebook readers and ebook file formats come and go and Calibre can keep your entire elibrary readable over the long haul.

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Free Antivirus for Android

Android smartphones have become so popular that the badguys are now gunning for them with viruses and malware.  There is a lot of debate as to how effective antivirus programs really are for Android. My feeling is that half a shield is better than no shield.

Surprisingly, much of the malware for Android comes from malicious apps users download right from the Android app store.  Your best line of defense is to stick with official apps from known, reputable firms.

Free Android Antivirus:

AVG –  I used this on the Android phone I had for about 6 months.  It always worked in the background but it showed up in the notification bar that it checked each download.  I never had a problem with it.  They make an Android tablet version that is worth checking out.  Your tablet should be protected too.

Avast! –  A reputable firm. I have no experience with this product.

Lookout –  I have not used this product. But since other firms compare themselves to Lookout that gives them some credibility.

Avira – German. Free.

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Free Antivirus for the Mac

The bad guys are starting to target Apple Macintosh computers running OS X.  As of this writing, I am not yet convinced that the average Mac user need pay for AV protection.  However, I would not run my Mac today without having at least a free antivirus program on it.

WARNING: Be aware that there are Mac trojans masquerading as virus scanners!

Here are some free AV programs for the Mac from trustworthy companies:

1. Avast! Free anti-virus for Mac –  I have not used it but Avast’s Windows AV is excellent. Good company.

2. Comodo anti-virus for Mac – has a good reputation.

3. ClamXav –  a Mac version of the Win. open source antivirus program.  This has been around for years and is gaining in popularity.

4. Sophos Free –  Sophos has a pretty good reputation and they are a reliable company.

5. Avira – German, Free.

So what about your personal recommendation?  I currently use iAntivirus free from PC Tools on my Macs, however as I write this  they have a “Coming Soon” blocking page up for a new version so I cannot recommend it until I see it.

Note: there are many paid antivirus programs from many reputable companies available.  Most are expensive to buy and renew.  I have used several paid programs and had trouble removing them after they had expired which is something very unusual for software running on Mac OS X. Personally, I would try one of the above, free programs first.

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Free Antivirus Programs for Windows

Most new computers come with a limited free trial of either Norton or MacAfee anti-virus programs. In my experience these market leaders have become bloated and rather expensive.  You can get excellent AV protection for free.

You must protect your PC!

WARNING: There are many websites distributing free antivirus programs that are actually malware and/or spyware!  The AV programs I have listed below are ones that are legitimate.

Here are a few good free anti-virus programs for Windows computers.

1. AVG Free Edition –  This is my favorite of all the free AV programs.  I have used this for years and currently have it running on my Win 7 desktop media center.  I think the paid version is slightly better but the free version is excellent.

2. Avast! – I have used the free edition and I know others who have been very satisfied with it. Avast free always tells you what it is doing. While this is reassuring it can also be a bit intrusive. I suspect the paid versions are quiter and more in the background. It’s not quite nag-ware but you know it is there.  Still very good AV protection.

3. Avira – I hear it works but I have not used it.

4.  ClamAV – This is the open source AV engine for Windows.

5. PC Tools Antivirus Free – I have not used the PC version of PC Tools AV, but I do use their Macintosh OS X version so I know they are legit.

6. Comodo AntiVirus – has a good reputation.

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