15 Fantastic and Free Computer Programs

A few months ago I took a computer repair class sponsored by our local adult education department. It was a lot of fun taking apart and fixing computers. I also picked up quite a few tips on free software that can be helpful to rid your computer of viruses, malware, or simply speed things up.

Along with what I learned from this class, I have also been keeping my own list of free computer programs that I use and can recommend. This all came together today for the purposes of this article that will share my favorite free computer programs with you.

Open Office

Most people need something along the lines of Microsoft Office Suite. This includes Word, Excel, and Power Point. Several months ago when I purchased my new laptop I noticed that the Microsoft Office Suite was not included. I wanted the lowest price on the laptop and I got it but it did not come with this ‘must have’ software. A friend recommend Open Office as a free alternative. I downloaded it and like it so much I have added to my desktop computer. I have found this program for me to actually be better than Microsoft Office (which can cost hundreds of dollars based on what version you buy).

Viruses & Malware

One of the procedures I learned in the computer repair class was to start by running the free program Malwarebytes. It has a funny name but the first time I ran it on my own desktop computer it found several hundred problem files. After cleaning out these files my computer ran at about double the speed. I saw numerous computers brought into class that were fixed using just this one program.

There was a debate in class about which free anti-virus program was better. AntiVir and AVG each had about a 50% backing by students in the class. I have been using AVG myself for several years and have always found it worked very well. One thing that was surprising is how negative the instructor was about McAfee, Norton, and other costly anti-virus programs. In fact, there were computers repaired in the class by simply removing McAfee or Norton and installing a free anti-virus program in place of it. Not that I am quick to conclude there is a conspiracy here, but I found it odd that these paid security options seemed to actually do a very poor job of cleaning out and stopping viruses. One would assume that if you pay for something it is better than the ‘free’ option, but that was not the case here. *** Very important: Never have more than one anti-virus program on your computer at the same time. You can have Malwarebytes (which is a malware program) and one anti-virus program of your choice (such as AntiVir or AVG). In my case, I run AVG and Malwarebytes and have deleted all other antivirus and malware programs.

Speeding Up Your Computer

Another little jewel I picked up from my class was learning about C Cleaner. This program is installed to your desktop and every few days you simply click on it and it will clean out all of the junk files taking up memory in your computer. I use it about every two to three days and it only takes a minute or two to speed things up for me.

Password Managers

At this point in my life I have so many passwords to remember that I am about to lose my mind. Of course, you are not supposed to make your passwords easy for others to guess but how do you remember them yourself? Try a free password manager program. Not only does it keep track of all of your passwords, it helps you to create passwords so tough that no one can guess them.

KeePass.info

KeyWallet.com

MyWallet.net

Free Website Software

WordPress has become my favorite software for building websites and it is 100% free. Not only is the program free but there are thousands of already built designs and features that can be downloaded at no cost. If you want to build a website from scratch I would recommend the free program Kompozer. I use Kompozer quite frequently when building and editing HTML pages for my various websites. Again, I dumped a paid program for this free one that is actually better overall and easier to use.

WordPress Free Blog site offers aspiring writers the ability to start their own blog for free.

Internet Browsers

My favorite browsers are Firefox and Google Chrome (both available as free downloads).

Desktop e Mail Clients

The makers of Firefox offer a desktop e mail manager called Thunderbird that is fantastic. A second free option is Windows Live Mail.

A Bonus Pick

I have already given you fifteen, so consider this one a bonus. I have had more problems over the years with remnants of a computer program staying on my hard drive even after I ‘uninstalled’ it. This can really create major problems. The solution is a free uninstaller called Revo which will do the trick to get a complete uninstall done.

I hope you enjoy this list and share it with your friends! Please post a link to your favorite free software in the comment section below.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris Editor-In-Chief ChristianMoney.com

8 Things To Do If The Insurance Company Uses A Computer Program to Value Your Personal Injury Claim

In an insurance claim after an accident, if the insurance company is using a computer program to come up with settlement offer, there are some things you can do to help get a better offer.

1. Ask the adjuster how they are coming up with their numbers- specifically if they are using a computer program. (Many companies use “Colossus”).

2. Make sure your doctors document your symptoms. This can be tough because you don’t control what the doctor writes. However, consider bringing a list of symptoms or problems with you to your doctor appointment. The insurance adjuster inputs this information into the computer program.

3. Tell your doctor any activities (often referred to as “activities of daily living” or “ADLs”) that have been affected since your accident. Again, consider bringing a list to your appointment. These are important because the computer program used by the insurance company will give you ‘points’ or value for activities affected.

4. Resist the temptation to give the other person’s insurance company a medical authorization. It’s more work for you, but you should get your own medical records. When you submit them to the adjuster, highlight all of the symptoms, ADLs and other references you believe are important. Remember, the computer program is only as good as what the adjuster inputs into it. Highlighting will increase your odds.

5. Hire a lawyer. Most computer programs, and the insurance companies in general, value the case higher if you have a lawyer – because they know you are more likely to get a higher result (without a lawyer, you are not a threat to file a lawsuit, which increases their exposure).

6. If you have received an offer, consider submitting additional information along with a request that the adjuster run a re-evaluation.

7. If you have aggravated a previous condition in the accident, discuss that with your doctor. First, it’s being honest, which you should do anyway. Second, the insurance company will likely do what’s called a claims index search anyway to look for previous accidents. Third, and most important, computer programs such as Colossus actually give you ‘points’ for aggravation of a condition.

8. Make sure, whether you are submitting your own records or not, that the insurance adjuster has the billing records for your treating medical providers. In most states, including Pennsylvania, these are called HCFA 1500 forms. They are important because they contain the diagnostic billing code used by the doctor or medical provider and the computer program gives points for those.

Computer Programming Degrees – How to Find an Accredited Technical School

A computer programming degree can lead to a career in the publishing industry, securities, commodity contracts, and financial investments, computer and electronic product manufacturing, utilities, chemical manufacturing, telecommunications, and scientific and technical services. Computer programmers may earn anywhere from $38,460 per year for entry-level positions to $106,610+ per year for
top-level positions. Most top-level professionals have a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science.

To get started on a career as a computer programmer, you should enroll in an accredited computer science program or business program with a technology focus. You can earn your bachelor’s degree in computer science by enrolling in any number of traditional or online programs. A number of traditional colleges offer on-campus, blended, or 100 percent online programs, while others may offer traditional programs with a small percentage of classes available online. Top online colleges such as University of Phoenix and DeVry University offer computer programming degrees 100 percent online.

Before enrolling in any program, whether on-campus or online, you should check to make sure the program is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Ed.gov). The top accrediting agencies for both traditional and online schools include:

-Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
-Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
-Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
-Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
-Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)
-New England Association of Schools and Colleges (regional)
-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)
-Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (regional)
-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)
-Western Association of Schools and Colleges (regional)

In addition to making sure the program is accredited, review the curriculum and admissions requirements. All computer programming degree programs should have a similar curriculum requirement. Traditional computer programming curriculums are still the standard in the academic world. All programs should require official transcripts, an admissions application, official test scores, recommendation letters, and an application essay.