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Free Programs, Software & Education
Old 03-20-2011, 11:33 PM   #1
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Free Programs, Software & Education

Don't want to spend $$$$$ on 3D software, or Microsoft Word, or Photoshop, or college courses, or or or? It always seems like there are openly and legally free alternatives. I've ran into quite a few that I've tried, and still use most of them.

A vector art program (scalable art that doesn't lose resolution as it shrinks or grows):
Inkscape. Draw Freely.

A free basic 3D program for drafting, modeling, architecture, spaceships, game design, comic books; it seems like it's found use everywhere:
Google SketchUp

An outline program that I just discovered. I'm having a lot of fun using it though:
Main Page - FreeMind

An alternative to Word:
OpenOffice.org - The Free and Open Productivity Suite

Another free 3D program (one that's responsible for this incredible looking short movie with a really stupid story yXC0oyIA):
blender.org - Home

West Texas A&M's incredibly detailed math tutorials. I lived on this site right before shipping off to nuke school as a refresher course:
WTAMU - Virtual Math Lab

It seems like at least some manage to turn their free stuff into profits or the ability to continue their work through donations, sales (like Blender), or offering professional versions over their free versions (like Sketchup).

Anyone else have any that they know about?
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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We think alike ....look here for free online education links.

Free Brain Food - looking for free online education
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:10 AM   #3
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Well, you sure have the education part covered!
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
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The GIMP has almost all of the features of Photoshop and Microsoft's Paint.net is also a pretty good photo editor with a bit more ease of use.

For a fork on Open Office that is not tied to Sun try Libre Office.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:42 AM   #5
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I just found these while trying to find if there were any worthwhile outlining and organizing programs available (the FreeMind program in my first post). This has some interesting stuff that I've been playing with. An e-book reader, an organizer for budding or professional writers, a tracker to keep time on projects, a few other things from a programmer and science fiction author from Australia:

Spacejock Software
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:58 AM   #6
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This has some interesting stuff that I've been playing with. An e-book reader, an organizer...
Ray Kurzweil has a free eBook reader for Windows at Blio.com.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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For a Photoshop replacement, try Serif.com

This is a European company, you'll be able to download one of their earlier versions that is as full of features as Photoshop. It doesn't include the option to output as PDF, but you can compensate for that by downloading cutepdf at cutepdf.com.

Once you install cutepdf, you can output any document as a pdf file when sending it to your printer.

I use both.

-- Rita
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:10 PM   #8
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Anyone else have any that they know about?
Well, of course there's Thunderbird for archiving my GMail on my own hard drive.

Lightning seems to be a pretty good tickler list, and the beta2 version finally has a printer feature. (Spouse and I enjoy going over the list of things we're not doing while we're dallying over a weekday restaurant lunch, so hardcopy is required.) I'm going to have to try to port over my Google Calendar file.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:24 PM   #9
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More links to free online education on Bogleheads.org—I'm linking the whole thread in case people add more links later. Disclaimer: I haven't looked at any of the links myself.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:24 AM   #10
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Check out Khan Academy for a ton of really good videos on all kinds of stuff. Its the biggest collection of free teaching guides I've ever seen. Really amazing what he has done.
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:33 PM   #11
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Alice.org is a 3D tool that can be used to create animations. It has been used to teach computer programming in schools. I have downloaded it, but never got around to trying it out.

I use mythtv as my DVR and have been very happy with it. If you peruse the forums and choose your hardware wisely, it isn't that hard to make work. mythbuntu.org has a version that is built into the Ubuntu distribution of Linux.

Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) is very cool sound studio for the pc.

I love most google.com tools especially picasa3

Great thread. I must try out freemind & I love Khan academy!
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