Who doesn’t like a freebie? And this one is fun.
Just head over to your local Starbucks and grab a small card called “Pick of the Week.” You will find these cards on the Starbucks counter near the straws, sugar, and creamer. On the card you will find instructions for downloading the free song from iTunes and a download code. Songs include the type of music that you hear in Starbucks – jazz, independent artists, guitar music, etc. If you visit every week, you can accumulate quite a collection of free music.
Besides songs, these cards also offer free apps, TV shows, book samples and other content from the iTunes store.
You can also bring your laptop or other device with you to Starbucks and connect to the Starbucks Wi-Fi where you can download the Pick of the Week from the Entertainment section.
Where do you go to get free WiFi? Here are come great ideas.
The Internet has spawned an abundance of free programs. Last week, the word “free” even became associated with Microsoft Office, a suite of programs that has long been one Microsoft’s biggest cash cows.
Yes, you can now create documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote without having to purchase the programs. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are the most-used programs in the Microsoft Office suite. They are used for creating word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. OneNote is a free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration program, which is useful, but not as popular.
In all my years in the tech world, I have never know Microsoft to give away one of their Office programs. Now, however, Microsoft is facing immense pressure from Google and others who have free programs similar to Microsoft Office. Google has an online version of Office called Google Docs and there are at least three other competing office suites being given out at no cost.
So Microsoft has joined the fray. Their new free suite of Office applications are entirely Web-based. That means that you can create documents in any of these programs only when you are online. The programs themselves reside on the Internet. Now, that is not all bad. It means that you can access the programs as well as your documents, from any Internet-connected computer. You can also give others the ability to view and change any documents you choose. So it is perfect for collaborating with others. The documents that you create are stored at Microsoft’s online storage called SkyDrive. Microsoft offers every user 25GB of online SkyDrive storage space for free. You can also download any documents that you create to your own computer.
Using Microsoft’s Office on the Web is easy. If you use Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, the interface will be familiar so there will be no learning curve. In fact, only the basic functionality is given, so these programs are really easier to use than the full versions.
To give you an idea of the difference, let’s take Word, Microsoft’s word processor. The full 2007 version has eight tabs with things like “References”, “Mailings”, and “Review”. The average Word user never even looks at these tabs. The Word Web App version has only the three most used tabs: “Home”, “Insert”, and “View”. These three tab give you everything you need to create an average word processing document.
In order to use these new Web-base Office applications, you simply surf over to http://office.live.com,type in your Windows Live name and password and click on the logo of the program you want to use. If you use Hotmail or any other Microsoft online product, you probably already have a Windows Live account. If not, you are given the opportunity to set one up. Again, there is no cost for this.
In my testing, the Web Office programs work quite well. The only caveat was that all of the documents are saved with the new file extensions that Microsoft uses for Office 2007 and 2010. The names for these documents end in “x”, like .docx, .xlsx, etc. This doesn’t matter if you will be sharing the documents online by inviting people to view them. If, however, you are going to save the documents to your computer and then sent them to someone, that person would not be able to open the documents with older versions of Office unless they install Microsoft’s Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office system.
Feel free to test Microsoft’s new offering. You may also want to try the competing products. Google has a free online suite of office applications called Google Docs. You can use it by visiting http://docs.google.com and signing up to get a free Google account. Like Microsoft, Google offers free online storage for your documents.
OpenOffice.org 3.2 is a full-featured set of Office-like programs that are also free. These are not online, but can be downloaded directly to your computer and used at any time. They are available at http://www.openoffice.org.
IBM Lotus Symphony 3 can be downloaded at http://symphony.lotus.com. Like OpenOffice, it is downloaded to your computer and can be used even if you are not online.
Zoho is a group of free online programs that are available from http://www.zoho.com. Zoho has a large selection of productivity tools in addition to their Office-substitute applications.
All of the above mentioned suites of programs include a word-processor, spreadsheet, and presentation product. Some include additional programs like database and drawing programs. Each gives their programs unique names. For instance, OpenOffice has Writer which is a substitute for Word, Calc for Excel, Impress for PowerPoint and Base for the Access database. Google calls their programs Documents (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel), and Presentations (PowerPoint).
When you think about it, these are fully-functioning intricate programs that we can get for free. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there certainly are some great free programs right now. You will want to be sure to check them out.
Using the Otterbox to protect my iPhone was a great idea. I was able to let my grandson play with it without worry. The Otterbox really gave me peace of mind. I didn’t even flinch when he ran around the room playing with the Light Saber app. And he thought the case was great. He said he knew I would pick a pink case!
His favorite iPhone apps were:
LightSaber which lets you pretend you’re Darth Vader
Lite Bowling, which is just like playing Skee Ball
ChimpsLite, a quick little game
DrumKit Lite, which lets you play the drums
BTW, all of these are free apps! i have had my iPhone for almost a year, and I am still amazed by what it can do….. make phone calls, surf the web, and now — entertain the kids, as well.