Category Archives: Free Software

PDF Documents

Have you ever heard of the file extension called PDF? Well, this stands for Portable Document Format and was originally used by the Adobe company in their software packages. PDF files are almost like a photograph you can not just simply open the file and edit it the way you can with other documents.

Using PDF also allows you to export your document to this format so that it can be read on any computer. You see, with computers, we all have our own fonts (writing styles) and pictures and editing software. Not everyone has the same packages and some times you can not open your document on another computer. PDF allows you to use this format so that it can be read on any computer and it will look the same as well.

Although created by Adobe, there  are many software packages out there that will allow you to convert your documents to PDF file formats. The best and most widely used FREE version is called CutePDF. What this does is that it creates a “fake” / virtual printer on your computer called CutePDF so you do not have to open a program and then convert it. All you have to do with any document you want to convert is print it to this printer. The computer will then ask you for the location and file name. It then creates the file ready for use / to be sent out. That easy !

CutePDF can be found at www.cutepdf.com or you can click on this LINK to download the application directly.

Virus Software

What is a virus? A computer virus is a computer program specifically designed to make copies of itself and infect a computer. The term is also used for malware, spyware and other programs like those used to steal personal or financial information from unsuspecting internet users. Lets look at this a little closer:

 

  • Malware – short name for Malicious software. These are designed to affect software that you are using and change its behaviour, gather information or exploitation of information found.
  • Spyware – monitors what you do on your computer using your keystrokes so your passwords to internet banking and shopping sites can be stolen with ease.
  • Worm – a form of malware that “worms” its way into your computer searching for passwords, sensitive and private information.
  • Trojan Horse – as the name suggests, this virus seems to be a program that will allow you to do something like send mass emails to your friends and families but in fact, it does something else in the background like spy on you.

There are a few different types of viruses and illegal programs that can infect your computer. To remove a virus, is as simple as installing an anti-virus program and making sure that you update it once in a while. Why do you need to update? Viruses are written almost daily and anti-virus programs need to be updated as to how to recognise a new virus. As soon as a new one is found, the virus protection companies get to work in creating a method of finding these viruses. If they find a way to remove the virus without harming your files, the virus can be “cleaned” and the program is safe again. If this cannot be done, the infected file is moved to a location on your computer so that it does not affect other programs. In most cases, this is quarantine and the anti-virus software will recommend that you delete this file completely.
Remember also that with all anti-viruses, your entire computer should be scanned at least once a week.

If you are looking for a free anti-virus / anti-malware program, try these sites:

Send your questions about software / hardware to techknowhow@qubicle5.com

Open Source Software

If you are like most people, you search online for free items. From software to give-aways, vouchers and free gifts when you purchase something. During your searching, have you ever come across “Open source”. Do you really understand what that means?

Open Source refers to when a company willingly provides anyone with a copy of their source code. Source code is the recipe for a program or application. This allows anyone to use the source code and create their own add-ons and additional functionality for the software freely. Most open source software itself is free. You can download the application from the proprietor’s website and install it without needing to pay a cent. Now – you ask – why would a company do this? Well, its simple – by allowing all IT professionals in the world access to this recipe – they in-evitably obtained comments or assistance in how to make it better. They inadvertently were getting free advice from the entire IT  world.

Send your questions about software / hardware to techknowhow@qubicle5.com