Assorted Software Stuff, Hardware, And Technology... (Project A.S.S.H.A.T.)
Tough economic times right now. So don't spend too much money on big technology purchases. (instead, be like me, and spend too much money on lots of small technology purchases). Here are my thoughts on good places to start...with lots of free stuff thrown in as well.
New Computer: Before you rush out and spend $2000 on a computer because they have a catchy song in the commercial, think about why you need a computer. If you're like me, you probably use it primarily for web surfing, email, etc. If you're not an online gamer or Photoshop junkie, consider a netbook (and see "picnik.com" below for your Photoshop jones). I just bought an Acer Aspire One for $249. Yep, 250 bones for a totally functional (and cool) computer.
- 1GB RAM
- Intel Atom 1.6 GHz Processor
- 16GB of Solid State Memory. I doubled this for 28 bucks with an SD card... super silent with no spinning hard drive or whirring fans.
- Windows XP Home (full version). WiFi, Webcam, 3 USB ports, 2 SD/Memory Stick ports
- 8.9" screen - tiny!
- Surprisingly usable little keyboard. (warning, try some out at Best Buy...some of these little netbooks have awful keyboards)
- Lots of people run Linux on these Netbooks, and I may try to install it at some point.
- The perfect email, web browsing, & Skype machine at a great price.
Also, i searched online and found a $10 coupon for buy.com. If you're buying stuff online and there's a spot for a promotion code at checkout, take the time to search for a coupon.
SO, once you have your new machine...or if you want to trick out another laptop or, (gasp), desktop, try these great, free, recessionista-friendly software tools:
Rocketdock: if you have Mac Envy like I do, but don't want to buy a f#@ing Mac... This is the tool for you. Definitely the coolest piece of software I own... and it's free. Check out the video after clicking the link.
OpenOffice: Let's say your 60-day free trial of MS Office expired...or you're just all about the open-source movement... or you're just sick of Microsoft. You should try OpenOffice. It's basically a free (and legitimate) impersonation of the Office Suite. As for the quality of the impersonation... I'd say it's worse than Dana Carvey doing Johnny Carson, but way better than me doing Carvey doing Carson. "That is some wacky, wild stuff. I did not know that." See? That sucked.
Make sure to download Word ("Writer"), Excel ("Calc"), PowerPoint ("Impress"), and others if so inclined. All the documents are completely compatible with the original Office software, so you can work back and forth between them with little or no issue. It's rad. And free.
Google Chrome: Have you tried this yet? It's a very different approach to the web browser, and it is reportedly faster than IE, Firefox, and the other browsers out there. And it's, you know -- free.
picnik.com This is a web-based photo editing tool that's really easy to use... and free. You'll be surprised with just how much you can do with this. And you don't even need to register or anything. Just go to the site, upload your photos, and create a mash-up of The Recessionista making out with the dude from Law and Order.
Then sell it to her!(A.S.S.H.A.T. BONUS)
pandora.com/ Props to my wife for turning me onto this site. Free streaming radio that lets you create your own stations in a really cool way. Pick one or two of your favorite artists, then let Pandora suggest music for you all the live-long day. You'll be surprised at how smart the suggestion engine is -- I play Ben Harper and Pandora suggests Fugazi? weird... but cool. OK, I made that one up, but you get the point.
istockphoto.com/ Amazing photography submitted by people all over the world and available for very cheap. Use it for your website or blog... or buy higher-resolution images, print them out at Kinkos, and throw them in Target frames. Without doing any pesky math, I'd say you could get yourselves some awesome framed artwork for 20 bucks or so.
A.S.S.H.A.T. BONUS: you can upload and sell your Picnik'd pics of the Recessionista in compromising positions with celebrity Silver Foxes. (free)
Bit Torrent: Don't use this. It's a totally illegal way to get really awesome free music and movies. Don't use it. It's bad. And free. Check it out. No, don't.
Has anyone noticed what has happened to the price of Flash Memory lately? You can get a ridiculous amount of storage for very cheap now. Check this out... 16GB thumb drive for 29 bucks. I feel like this was how much you'd pay for a 1GB drive like a year ago!?
On a related note, i just recently bought a 16g SD card for $27.50
Enjoy... and post comments with any other recessionista-friendly deals you've found on the interwebs lately.
Recessionista Tip of the Day: Negotiate! This is a common theme here at Recessionista Roadmap, but worth reiterating. I know of one Recessionista who just had both of her dogs groomed for the ten dollars more price of one, because she told her groomer she could not afford both. Whether you are at the store, the salon, or at the gym, make sure to ASK, to BARGAIN, and to NEGOTIATE.* Businesses want your business badly, so utilize your power and get yourself some deals.
*Might not be the best idea with policemen though, especially if you are pulled over for speeding for the 19th time.