Saving Money

Everyone likes to save money. The question is how to do it. In the computing environment you have to keep up with a lot of new information. If you (or someone else) don't have the time to keep up, then you are left in the dark.

There are 2 areas in which to save money, 1) when you buy the computer and 2) when you go looking for software to run on the computer. You will always pay someone to do this, either you pay yourself or you pay someone else.

In order to save you have to know where to shop and what to shop for.

When you decide to buy a computer you can go to a local store, travel to another city or go on the internet. While shopping at a local business helps the local economy, you will not get the best value and selection for your money.

You can buy computers with a name brand like Dell, Compaq, HP etc or you can buy without paying for a name. Meaning that if you buy a cadillac instead of a chevy you will be paying for a name and looks. Good when buying a car, perhaps not so good when buying a computer.
Just as you can buy a used car that is fully functional you can buy a used/refurbished computer that will work just as well as brand new.

So where do you shop? You can try internet sites like Tiger Direct, Price Watch or similar sites. Get some current computer related magazines and look at the ads and visit their web sites. You can get good computer systems (no monitor) for about $300.00 to $350.00, or less if you get a used/refurbished system.

Now that you have got your computer it is time to look at the software you are going to run on it.

Almost all of the computer software you buy (actually license) is meant for use on one computer only. Some people will knowingly install licensed software on more than one computer, or even borrow the software from someone else to install it. There is a class of software called 'open source' that will allow you to legally install it on multiple computers without violating the terms of the license agreement. These tips are aimed at open source software replacements of commercially licensed programs. With that said, let us begin.

You are most likely going to need an anti virus program. There are many different ones available. You can get just an anti virus program or you can get a full suite of programs to protect your computer. One thing that almost all of these programs have in common is that you have to buy (license) it initially and then pay a yearly subscription fee to use it. There is a free anti virus program called clamav available from ClamWin. This is a fully functional anti virus program in use at many large corporations and universities.

If you use your computer on the internet then you can encounter popups, spyware, malware and other kinds of nasty suprises. A lot of this nastiness comes onto your computer thru your browser, primarily Internet Explorer. You can prevent this from happening by downloading and using the FireFox web browser. If your email is loaded with spam then you can use the Thunderbird email client to filter the spam into a junk folder for easy management. Or you can get the integrated suite from here

If your business has many different individuals all receiving email and have anti virus and anti spam software, then you should consider a consolidated email server that will scan all incoming and outgoing email for your business.

Many computers are used for office functions like word processing, spread sheets and the like. This generally means Microsoft Office. Depending on where you shop and what version of the program you get this can cost several hunderd dollars. And you need to buy (license) a copy for each computer. A fully compatible and free replacement for MS Office called Open Office is available from Open Office. The city of Austin, Texas, has adopted Openoffice.org software, the state of Massachusetts is also going the open office route along with others.

There are many open source programs available that are just as good (or better) than their commercial equivalents. Following is a list of some of these.

GnuCash Finance Accounting Software.

Turbo Cash Finance Accounting Software.

PDF Creator Printer Manager. Easily create pdf documents from any program.

GIMP Photo Manipulation Program.

Xara Xtreme Fast and Versatile vector graphics.

Inkscape Scalable vector graphics.

Blender 3D Design and rendering system.

QCAD 2D Computer aided design and drafting.

Scribus Desktop publishing suite.

Audacity Free cross platform sound editor.

Along with software to power your business there is also a wealth of games available.

Celestia A True space simulator.

FreeCiv Competitive multi user resource planning game.

BZFlag 3D Team Battle tank strategy game.

Flightgear High quality flight simulator.

Battle for Wesnoth Real time strategy team game.

TuxPaint a Fun Paint program for kids.

ktoon A 2D Animation program.

To learn more about this and other ways to save money contact UP Merchants.