I made this list mostly so I'd have links to all these sites in one place, but perhaps someone out there will find them of use.


While my computer does use Windows, I make every effort not to use Microsoft software for anything else. Cuz it's crummy, and shot full of security holes. Here are a few alternatives to the Usual Suspects.

Chrome and Firefox
Unless you really take the plunge and use Unix, these are two good alternatives to struggling with "Internet Exploder". Both are available for free. I personally use both at different times, but Firefox is my main choice. I recommend adding NoScript, AdBlock, BetterPrivacy and Flashblock.

Or if you want to forego pictures altogther, there's this option as well.

I use an absolutely ancient copy of this, cuz it keeps working. Production on new versions has long ceased; link now goes to Mozilla's Thunderbird.

Again, my ancient choice for FTPing computer files. The company's still around, but no idea how well their newer stuff works.

Spiffy little utilty that goes through your hard drive and wipes out any spyware or ad-tracking programs you may have picked up during your websurfing. Just be sure and keep it regularly updated.

What I currently use to listen to online radio stations.


Fast free image-and-video viewer. Covers a wide variety of file-types.

Paint Shop Pro
Good low-cost alternative to Adobe Photoshop; all of my artwork is created with this program. It's now owned by Corel and I haven't been impressed with the version I tried. You can find JASC-made versions on eBay.

Crimson Editor
A nifty little writing program, free and with more features than Notepad or Wordpad.

Foxit Reader
For reading PDF documents.

A free program for doing your word processing and database work.


Dwarf Fortress
Losing is fun!

A great, free, 'explore-the-dungeon-and-kill-monsters' game. Promotes planning and strategy over hairtrigger joystick action and fancy graphics.

A difficult but fun platform/resource-management game. Comes in free and pay versions.

Alpha Centauri
This Civilization spinoff is still one of the classics. The fine folks at have it legally available for cheap!

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All contents 2015 Robert M. Cook
Last Updated August 29, 2015.