recommendations

We recommend the following free software:

Firewall
Zone Alarm (protects your computer from intruders/hackers)
> At least use the Windows Firewall (part of Windows)

> USA Today article "Unprotected PCs could be hijacked in minutes"
> Your router will act as a firewall as well

AntiVirus
AVG (protects computer from viruses; auto updates; easy interface)

Spyware/Adware (Pop Ups) Removal
Malwarebytes
(first line of defense)
Spybot Search & Destroy (will make pop-ups history)
Ad-Aware(use in combination with Spybot)
ComboFix (works on Windows XP only; be careful)

PDF File Reader
Foxit PDF Viewer (loads super fast; free alternative to Acrobat)
CutePDF Writer (let's you save documents as PDFs; you will need the Free Converter software as well)


File Compression
IZArc (good alternative)
>Windows XP comes with a built-in zip extractor

Operating System
Windows 7 Professional (not free; the Professional edition has Remote Desktop which allows you to connect to your PC from other locations & has built in encryption; extremely important to keep it up-to-date)
> If you want to test out a free alternative operating system, I suggest you give Ubuntu a try

Productivity Suite
Open Office(free alternative to MS Office)
Microsoft Office 2010 (free 60 day trial; student/teacher can be installed on up to 3 PCs; it's very important to keep it up-to-date)

RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE

communication

Email
Gmail (web-based; nothing to download; accessible anywhere)
>Simply the best SPAM protect, plus many extra's at no charge.

Large Attachments
YouSendIt (allows you to send files up to 1GB straight from their website by uploading the file to their server and letting the recipient then download it)
MegaUpload (max 1GB)

Instant Messaging
Google Talk (a must-have when using Yahoo mail)
> I don't recommend MSN Messenger anymore, because of too many unknown users trying to add me as a "buddy."
> AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is fine if you must use AOL, but I prefer Google Talk.
> If you're using Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and AIM, you can replace all applications with
Pidgin, which allows you to connect to all services using just one application.

VOIP (Voice over IP)
Lingo (not free, but for around $30 per month, you can make unlimited calls to the US, Canada & Western Europe - mention my name and business email address (contact me if you don't know it), and you'll get a $25 credit toward service along with the first month free)
Skype (excellent quality PC to PC calls when using a headset & microphone, plus free calls within the US & Canada)

Fax
eFax (receive faxes in your email via a free fax number; no expiration, but limited to 10 faxes/month)
K7 (free fax number in 206 area code (WA); delivered to your email inbox; expires in 30 days unless fax received)

shopping

Online Shopping
Buy.com (free shipping on most items, great prices
Amazon (sells practically anything; free shipping on many items)

Brick & Mortar Shopping
Best Buy (easy return policy; easy rebates)
Staples (easy rebates, return policy, and price matching make this store one of my favorites)

Deals
Fat Wallet
SlickDeals
Spoofee
Coupons
Got Apex
Savings Center
ConsumerNow
Deal Hunting

Price Comparison Shopping
Price Grabber(the first place I'll check)
Price Watch (computer/electronics related)
PriceScan
Deal Time
MySimon
BizRate
Froogle by Google
Epinions (read users opinions on practically any product)
Consumer Reports (not free, but great independent ratings of all sorts of products - free through many local library internet sites)
Yahoo! Shopping (good overall site)
Gas Price Watch
Gas Buddy

Computer Research
PC World (the first place I'll check)
CNET (check editor's reviews and user ratings)
PC Magazine (comprehensive listing)

House Values
Zillow (you must check out this site)
Property Shark
(good place to view consolidated information)
Domania
(find out what houses sold for in your neighborhood)
Nassau Property Assessment (see pictures & data on homes in Nassau)
Terrafly (view your home area from above)
Google Maps (satellite views)
Google Earth (program that allows you to zoom in on most properties in the US)

Travel
Expedia (usually I find the best prices here)
Yahoo! Travel/Travelocity
Johnny Jet(scans the web for deals)
SeatGuru (find out where the best seat on a plane is)

your own website

Web Hosting
Google Apps for your Domain (plenty of free and ad-free web space; 25 email accounts of 7GB each included, accessible via Gmail or Outlook)
100webspace (100MB of free and ad-free web space; email included)
1&1 ($4 per month, 10 GB storage, 300 GB transfer, domain & 600 email addresses)

Domains
1&1 (What we use, $9 per year, which includes free masking & 1 free email address & unlimited forwarding)
GoDaddy ($11 per year, used to use it for my business site; email is extra)

tools

Remote Access
LogMeIn(connect to your desktop from any browser without changing firewall settings)
Tight VNC
(connect to your desktop through any browser anywhere in the world)
DynDNS(a lot easier than finding out your IP address)
DeeEnEs(reports your IP address to DynDNS, so you don't have to figure out what it is)
IP Chicken or IPAddress (find out what your IP address is)

Remote Backup (Synchronization)
Windows Live Sync (formerly FolderShare, free synchronization of files on 2 separate PCs)

Recovery

Ubuntu (free Linux bootable CD - download image and burn CD with imgburn, then boot PC from CD)
Knoppix (similar to Ubuntu)
Ultimate Boot CD (many utilities, such as memory tester, disk wiping)

Online Storage
MegaUpload (your files are NOT private, though)
GMail Drive
(have your gmail account show up as a drive on your PC, in effect giving you 2GB+ of storage)

Browser
Firefox (less vulnerable to attacks than Internet Explorer, and much more customizable)

music, video & photos

Music/Video Player
Windows Media Player(allows me to use my shortcut buttons on notebook)
VLAN (plays practically all formats and great for converting CDs to MP3 files)
Real Alternative(allows me to play real files without being tied to Real Player)

Ripping CDs
Quintessential Player (convert wave files on CD into MP3 files, which take up less space)

File Sharing
Azureus
uTorrent

MP3 Player
iPod

CD/DVD Burning
imgburn

DVD Copying
DVD Shrink(you'll need Nero for burning DVDs)
DVD Decrypter(copies DVD to your hard drive - great for trips with your laptop)

Capturing Audio & Video Streams
SDP(capture live or streaming media - choose SDP Receiver from the product and info pull down menu))

Live TV online
wwitv

Digital Photo Prints/Sharing/Albums
Snapfish(let me know if you're interested and I'll show you how you can get some free prints)
Shutterfly (great for sharing pictures with friends without requiring them to sign up)

Photo Editing
Gimp (FREE Photoshop alternative; visit download page, and scroll down for Windows installer)
Picasa (FREE alternative to PhotoShop Elements)
Adobe PhotoShop(for the expert - not free; fairly expensive)
Adobe PhotoShop Elements(for the novice - very easy to use, but not free)

finance

Accounting
Quickbooks (free online edition for up businesses with up to 20 customers)

Aggregated Financial Overview
Yodlee (see all your financial & frequent flyer accounts on one page)

miscellaneous

Utilities
Internet Speed Test (don't forget to click the top left button)

PC Pitstop (check your computer settings; measure your download speeds)
Optimum Online (my Internet Service Provider has a speed check; $45-50/month)
Verizon Online DSL ($14.95 per month is an inexpensive alternative)
Codestuff Starter (find out what programs start up when you turn on your computer)
Konfabulator (just download and install it, you'll see why it's on the list)
VCom System Suite (not free; keep you computer running by fine tuning it)

Other
Fight Parking Tickets
SleepTracker (wake up alert by using a watch that tracks sleep patterns and wakes you up at the right time)

SERVICES

Wireless Telephone Service
Verizon Wireless

Home Telephone Service
Lingo($21.95 per month plus taxes & fees, so about $30, you can make unlimited calls to the US, Canada & most of the western world - mention my name and business email address (contact me if you don't know it), and you'll get a $25 credit toward service along with the first month free)

Credit Card with Rewards
American Express Starwood ($1 = 1 point, which can be converted to 1 mile at almost all airlines, plus receive 5,000 bonus miles for converting 20,000 miles; no annual fee for the first year, then $45, but if you call to cancel after the first year, they'll likely wave your annual fee)

Banking
Citibank (great online banking; personal accounts)

Frequent Flyer/Rewards Program
Starwood Preferred Guest (allows you to convert to practically any frequent flyer program, best when used with their Amex card; most flexible program)
My Points (collect points that can be converted to miles or gifts at numerous stores by clicking on links in email)


RECOMMENDED HARDWARE

Desktops/Laptops/Servers
Dell

Wireless Router
Linksys WRT54G (proven to be reliable)

Digital Camera
Panasonic DMC FX-150K

Mobile Phone
Blackberry

Digital Video Recorder
DirecTV DVR (the best $5/month you'll ever spend, the best integration if you have DirecTV
TiVo Upgrades (add more storage space; e.g. extra 114 hours for $250)
DIY TiVo Upgrades (not for beginners; for the cost of a hard drive)

TUNE UP

Repair & Service

Is your computer not functioning the way it should be? I can help.
Drop off your computer and for $300 I'll have it working the way it should be.

Contact me for more details:
Voicemail 212-560-1100
Fax 1102
Yahoo Messenger dutchtel
Skype dutchtel
Email: info (at) dutchtel (dot) com

Or request live remote support