** I just added 11 more Free Toys and Downloads that you can read about in a post entitled, Free Toys and Downloads List 3
1. Cam Studio- If you want to produce screen cast videos, then Cam Studio is a tool worth looking at. It's open source and it's free. The main commercial product in this category is Camtasia Studio, but at $300 a pop, it's a major investment.
Screencasts allow you to record everything on your desktop (or a portion of your desktop) as you narrate. It's great for video tutorials to show people how to do something on the computer. My free videos are all screen casts and you can view a sample by visiting my video sign-up page to see how screen casts work.
Cam Studio will even convert the huge AVI video it records into bandwidth friendly SWF file. However, there is no editing feature which really what makes Camtasia worth the $300. There are a few good programs between this free one and the $300 one, but for the price, Cam Studio is a great tool for simple screen casts.
2. Thunderbird- Do you have free e-mail service through G-Mail, Yahoo Mail, or others. While they are great, you may at times wish you had an e-mail program that resides on your computer, but Outlook is out of the question. If so, then Thunderbird is an alternative worth looking at.
Thunderbird has the security and junk filters you want but it stays stays lean. It allows you to choose add-ons to help you pick the features you want rather than bloat the program by stuffing it with all the features you don't want. It also integrates with your online e-mail services, so you can feed them all into Thunderbird helping you to centralize your accounts for greater productivity. With a robust support and user forum, it's really worth checking out.
3. Gimp- Wish you had $700 or more to spend on Photoshop? If you're looking for a less costly solution, Gimp offers one for free. It's another open source program that is gaining in popularity and growing more savvy with each release. The user community is large enough to have you-tube videos showing you how to do just about anything you want to do with Gimp. If you're new to this type of program, the learning curve may still be steep, but it will be with Photoshop as well.
4. FreeMind- Here's one that I have not used, but was recommended highly by more than one person. It's a visual and graphic way to organize and and classify ideas. It's supposed to be a great way to create and organize a project or conduct brainstorming opportunities. I would love to hear from more people who have used this java based software. It sounds intriguing to me.
5. Google Desktop- Here's one I absolutely love. Imagine being able to find any e-mail, file, document, picture or anything stored on your computer by simply doing a Google search. Now you can. Google has taken it's web crawling technology and made it available for your computer. The program "crawls" your computer just like Google crawls the internet. Then, you enter your search terms and Google Desktop brings up the most likely results of files stored on your computer. You can filter your search by e-mails, file type, or even web history. You literally may never loose another file again, no matter how old it it or in what obscure folder you placed it in.
6. The Literary Machine- Here's a concept mapping program aimed at authors (particularity novelists or anyone doing research). It's a way to organize your thoughts and seems to run along the same line as the Free Mind program listed above. If you really get into organizing, exploring and manipulating creative data, then this may be the download for you.
7. Jer's Novel Writer- Here's one for the Mac users. This program is a simple word processor for authors that contain the following features:
Margin Notes, Automatic Outline, Database, Full Screen Mode, Bookmarks Separate formatting options for print and screen, A panel for general notes lets you keep track of story issues and ideas, Word count, More accurate page count estimates
(Above taken from website)
From what I read on other sites, this looks like something that Mac Authors may want to look into.
8. Coffee Cup Free Zip Wizard- Has your WinZip expired? Want a free alternative that does a great job at zipping and unzipping files? Then check out Coffee Cup's Free Zip Wizard. As they say, "Zipping and Un-Zipping has never been easier!" While on the site, check out their other free tools.
I hope you find a program or two that you can use. If you find others that you think authors should know about, feel free to share them in the comments field. Remember to check out Free Toys and Downloads For Authors for other free goodies for authors.