When it comes to free software, you probably know the old favorites: OpenOffice, GIMP, CCleaner, Avast Free Antivirus, and so on.
But let's not overlook the new. Kingsoft Office 2013 remains my favorite free Microsoft Office alternative, and within the past week I've heard from no fewer than three developers offering new freebies of their own. Let's take a look at what you can get for nothing:
DVDVideoSoft Free Video Editor
So you recorded your kid's graduation ceremony on your smartphone, and now you need a way to trim all the excess footage. This lightweight, basic video editor helps you do exactly that, cutting away unwanted scenes while preserving the quality of the original video (i.e. no re-encoding).
Free Video Editor will automatically detect scenes within your source file, and it displays an audio waveform so you can see at-a-glance details of the accompanying audio.
Like I said: pretty basic. But if you just want simple editing without the expense of complexity of commercial video editors, this looks like a good place to start.
EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free
Like it or not, at some point you're going to have to give up your Windows XP machine. And whether you're moving to Windows 7 or Windows 8, the hassle lies in migrating all your stuff from old PC to new.
EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free will move applications, settings, and data between two PCs connected to the same network. (It supports all the modern versions of Windows, so you can go from, say, Vista to 8 or even 7 to 7.)
The free version limits you to two applications; if you want to migrate more, you'll need Pro ($39.95). Personally, I think you're better offer reinstalling apps on the new machine anyway, so tap this utility for everything else: settings, photos, documents, etc.
WonderFox DVD Ripper Speedy
Most DVD rippers take a looong time to do their job, so I was pretty skeptical about this one. It's not only free, it also promises to convert a disc to video in just 5 minutes. So I popped in my copy of "The Avengers" and put it to work.
Alas, even with the Quality slider set to "low quality/high speed," the utility took considerably longer than 5 minutes. In fact, after 15 minutes it had completed only about half of the conversion. What's more, this freebie ripper offers just one output format: MPEG, which is fine for viewing on, say, your laptop, but no good for mobile devices.
To access over 150 more output formats, you need WonderFox DVD Ripper Pro, which costs $39.95. But if MPEG is your end goal anyway, the free version gets the job done easily and effectively -- but hardly at a rate I'd call "speedy."
Bonus deal: Holy iTunes discounts, Batman! For what promises to be a limited time, the iTunes Store is offering The Dark Knight Trilogy (HD) for $15. That's $5 per movie for "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight," and "The Dark Knight Rises." Personally, I thought the last one blew, but the first two are gems. And those prices are what you'd usually pay to rent these flicks, not own them.