The best things in life are free. How trite. I think the best things in life are free things that don’t suck from a company that gets picked on a lot. Don’t worry, I’m not standing up for Microsoft. They’ve got broad shoulders and can take care of themselves.
You should know, however, that Microsoft isn’t just about money. They do provide an awful lot of free software that is really cool! So I went digging on their site and sniffing around for some free Microsoft software and here are 3 cool programs I didn’t know Microsoft had.
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not a fabric of the cloth variety. What they’re talking about is a window management application. Essentially, it replaces the function of the minimize button on the top right of your window.
With Scalable Fabric installed, if you click on the minimize window, the window merely shrinks and moves to one side of your desktop. If you drag that window towards the center of the screen, the window gets bigger until it becomes full size. Vice-versa as well.
The program does make some annoying noises, but those can be shut off. Really, it’s something you have to try to really understand. However, as always, here are some pictures!
What this shows is how the large window scales down when moved to the periphery and scales up when moved to the center of the screen. You can also set the boundaries for where this scaling begins and ends. That’s what the blue square represents.
The usefulness of this is limited. However it meets a specific need by keeping your window’s content visible on your desktop. Yes, this feature is available in operating systems newer than XP, yet this is a nice add on for XP and earlier versions of Windows.
If this free Microsoft software was used on all PowerPoint presentations, we might not have the saying Death-By-PowerPoint. People would find it much easier to add audio and video to their PowerPoint through the time-line editing feature.
It works much like any basic movie editing software would, like Microsoft MovieMaker. So you can have music spanning several slides, and have a richer visual experience. This product is also ideal for creating stand-alone presentations that don’t require you to be there talking.
A person could create a kiosk-style presentation and leave it running on a computer or monitor for the public to see. That’s a good thing, because to get someone to develop a presentation in Flash or other methods is terribly expensive compared to doing it yourself in this freeware.
I could see this being ideal for a small-business owner or village, or any other organization with a limited budget. A presentation with this could really raise your profile.
This free Microsoft software application is like a mini-version of Microsoft Money or Intuit’s Quicken for free! If you have XP or Vista, you can download this great free app to help you with your small business. It can integrate and share data with Microsoft Outlook, Access and Excel.
What I find really exciting is that I can use this with eBay and PayPal to list items I want to sell as well as create the invoices for the customers. Apparently you can process credit card payments too, but I didn’t venture into that feature. If you need to share your books frequently with your accountant, you can also do that through Office Live with this package. Incredible really, for free software.
Now, think about this. Microsoft, the world’s most successful IT company and creator of dozens of filthy rich people made and distributes this software for free. These programs can increase your productivity, market presence and profitability. Maybe they couldn’t make money off of Scalable Fabric, but certainly the other two could be sold for at least $40. No, Microsoft does give back. So, maybe I’ll back off on the trashing of Redmond’s finest – at least for a little while.
Do you use any other freeware from Microsoft? If you do, I’d love to hear which ones and what your opinions are on them. Drop me a line in the comments below!