Slow and Steady

Posts Tagged ‘freebies

As I said the day I got my laptop, I downloaded a few sites from recommendations. I thought I’d do a little update in how I’m finding them a month later.

First of all, I had to slap myself for forgetting an important programme… Skype! I can think of a few people I couldn’t speak to without it.

Abiword – I changed to openoffice because Abiword didn’t have a thesaurus. I’m happy with it, and looks so much like Word I forget I’m not using it. I can save documents in Word format, so it’s really handy.

Thunderbird – It took me a few goes, but I got it up and running, and I love it!

Workrave – I have to say, I haven’t played around with the settings, so I haven’t really used it as it was annoying me.

Picard – Took it off, it didn’t work for me at all.

Media Monkey – It is a good music player. I still haven’t learnt all the features yet though. I’ve just made a few playlists.


A few weeks ago when I stayed at my flat to get away from the world, I decided that when I move back, I’m going to utilise all the secondhand furniture that it is possible to get nowadays.

Last night, I was sitting on my bed, and felt the base drop and break. When I laid down, my legs are a lot further down than the rest of my body. I’m sure that it will be no surprise when I say my back and neck are very stiff and painful this morning.

I immediately started to look for a new one, as a bed is really important for the health, especially as my neck and back aren’t 100% anyway. They were all really expensive, then I remembered my decision to look at second hand goods first.

I was dubious about using a mattress that someone else had used, until I remembered that I used to stay in hotels for work weekly, and they definitely didn’t change the mattress when each guest checked out!

The first place I had a look at is Freecycle and there were a couple of beds in my area, but they were doubles not singles. Next was Ebay, there were none in my area, that would be ending today. Gumtree didn’t have anything either, and I was starting to think I was going to have to shell out for a new one.

Then I remembered that my old flatmate gave her furniture to charity, there was nothing wrong with any of them, but she was downsizing.

So I went to the  Oxfam site. Luckily there is a furniture shop not too far from my home. I phoned them up and they had 3 single beds in store. I got my dad to give me a lift there, and found a comfy looking bed (they were all stood up, so no chance of trying it before buying), for £24.99. It has storage underneath, which is something the old bed didn’t have.

I’ve just woken up from a nap on it, and I’m very pleased with my purchase.

They had some lovely items, and will definitely be using it when I move back home.

I’m posting on my lovely new laptop. A proper keyboard, this is true bliss.

I want to say a big thank you to Mark from mcscom. He handled my order with a lot of care, and after the problem I had with the first order, he checked every screen I was interested in until he found a matte one. It’s a refurb, but has a 3 year Dell Warranty, and I cannot see a scratch on it. I much prefer to buy an older product that was highly rated, than a newer product that is cheaply made.

I’m going to spend the evening pimping my laptop!

I’ve taken off all the rubbish that comes preloaded, and downloaded my essential programmes. I have also taken some tips from The Simple Dollar blog and MSE about essential free software.

My Essential Programmes

I downloaded Firefox of course. There is no reason to ever misspell anything with the dictionary plugin and I absolutely love the fab autopager plugin for infinitive scrolling.

When it comes to Anti Virus I’ve never had any problems with Avast, so no need to change a good thing. To clean up all the left over bits of software junk etc, I use CCleaner. It also lets you disable what opens when the computer boots up, so it can run faster.

The next thing I downloaded was VLC. It plays  movies from any region, so I don’t have to bother with wmp at all.

To make minor changes to pictures, reduce red eye etc, I use

Robocom is something I downloaded when I was entering competitions, and it was so handy I’ve kept it on my computer. You can fill in forms with one click.

Recommendations I’m going to try out

Abiword– I don’t have Word, and Microsoft Works is as much use a chocolate teapot. This is supposed to be a good alternative.

Thunderbird– Now I should be really ashamed to admit this, but I have absolutely no idea how to use Outlook. I’ve never worked in an office, and I’ve always used hotmail, gmail etc so thought it unnecessary.  For the little something I’m working on, I need to use it. I thought that as it’s a Mozilla tool, and I can add plugins to it too, I can’t go wrong.

Workrave – It locks the computer down so you can take a break, have a stretch etc. Sometimes I don’t realise how much time I’m wasting browsing for important things online, so this will hopefully keep me focused.

Picard – Now I have a lot of salsa cds made by DJs etc, and when I’ve put them on my hard disk, they are nameless. This piece of software apparently analyses it, and puts a name to it. I’m looking forward to using this.

Media Monkey Now I no longer have an ipod, I’m going to experiment with a different player.

So as you can see I have lots to do!

Any 3 magazines free. No purchase necessary.



Aulelia, this one is for you!