Useful software

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Page initially expanded from Mark Vening's computer corner for the InSite newsletter, distributed by Stephe Mayers for the YWAMer's in Western Europe.

Another page that might help you is Windows Computer setup guide.

YWAM's it Website

A new joint project from Reef to Outback (YWAM Townsville, Australia) and the International Chairman's office that has some very helpful articles on it and very resourceful people in it:


Just What Can't Google Do? Many of us remember when Google was nothing more than just a simple search engine. Well, to be truthful, it has never been 'simple' but one of the most advanced ways to search the current crop of 25 billion web pages in under 1 second. But is Google more than just searching? In a previous article I talked about Google Earth and friend of mine from Switzerland, Peter Reusser, has flagged up another very useful Google offering.

Google Calendar is a mechanism for people to easily share Calendar information. Outlook and other software will do this, but you often need an expensive piece of software (such as 'Exchange') to do it - and, very often, a computer connected to the internet as a server to run it on. Simply stated Google has removed all of this and offers users a free solution to their shared Calendar needs. Browse over to and a simple step-by-step process leads you through the set-up of your Online Calendar. Peter tells me that King's Kids in Switzerland have moved onto this system and have found it to be great. I have tried it and found it to be compatible with Outlook, transferring a large calendar across in minutes. Very simple, very slick.

Google is at the forefront of internet gadgetry and I recommend a look at their Google Product Page at Maps, Sketchup and Picassa are amongst my favourites as well as Desktop and Video. I really don't know what Google are going to do with all their wealth and influence - but let's pray for blessing and wisdom and that Jesus followers are throughout the company bringing as much Godliness into this amazing entrepreneurial business as possible.

Google also offer an online Wordprocessor and Spreadsheet Docs and Spreadsheet which allow you to collaborate with others online on documents. They read and write Word and Excel plus the increasingly popular suite.

Microsoft Office

  1. Leading office suite offered by monopolist corp.
  2. Features for collaboration!
  3. Can get it cheap... Watch out for licences
  4. Beware pirate copies
  5. Alternatives for price
  6. Limitations of .DOC and .XLS formats

For MS office users struggling with opening OpenOffice documents there is now a plug-in solution that opens and saves the formats from within MS Office.

  • (see Neooffice for the Mac OS X native version)
  • Free
  • community developed software
  • Multilingual (Welsh even!)
  • 90% features of MS office
  • Great Powerpoint module
  • Fantastic support for .DOC and .XLS formats (and the other way round: MS Office Plugin)
  • Weakest feature currently the Spreadsheet modules
  • Very simple and powerful PDF creation utility
  • Few templates and no clipart or fonts included


Free online email marketing suite for sending newsletters and managing lists.... mailchimp

This does a great job at helping you create great looking html email newsletters. 


PDF or Portable Document Format is created by Adobe. Alternatively you can use PDFCreator to print into a PDF file. Linux and Mac may have this function already included in the Print dialog.

File Conversions

A good site for conversion tools for images, audio, video and documents is Convert .doc to .odt and post them here!


A Blog is a contraction of Web Log and is like a diary or editorial that is simple and easy to update, often requiring little or no technical knowledge. It has many advantages over traditional websites that are static in nature in that the software on the server keeps the pages up to date and offers the most recent information to the viewer and provides easy archived access or search tools for the past blog entries or 'posts'.

Interactivity is allowed for with comments. Also multiple authors can work on the same blog, with or without central approval. In fact there are many many options that allow authors to concentrate on writing not technical issues.

There are variants on blogs with picture blogging or video blogging and of course

A great advantage of blogs is that the design is easy to change and most services come with a great choice of looks and colours which are changed with a few simple clicks of the mouse.

Good free blogs:


  • Simple and effectice YWAM centre website. Good to display lots of news. See: for a website created in a blog.
  • Keeping in touch with outreach teams. There is a very immediate feel when someone on the field makes a post.
  • Positing your thoughts and ponderings to the world: good to use for YWAM leaders to communicate to others. Perhaps the Insite newsletter could benefit in moving to this!

Some handy 10 virtual commandments for bloggers! [1]


RSS is used to reassemble news, new articles etc. from several sites to one single location. There is a full article on this helpful technology on this page: RSS

Free Productivity Software

Operating Systems

Desktop Software

  • KDE - a fabulous desktop for users of Linux
  • gnome - alternative for KDE preferred by some Linux users
  • Firefox - a secure and fast and standard compliant web browser that has provoked Microsoft to update its Internet Explorer program and produce version 7
  • Thunderbird - the excellent email program that goes with Firefox. Spam filter and spelling included!
  • Scribus is a Desktop Publisher which has very high quality PDF output. The program is highly usable and under rapid development.
  • Inkscape is a superb vector graphics editing program. A good partner to Scribus.
  • Krita is only available for KDE at the moment but is a great bitmap editor like Photoshop and offers CMYK editing.
  • The Gimp photoeditor is another leading free bitmap editor. It is considered highly despite a lack of the higher end CMYK editing facility.
  • Freemind is a Mind mapping program. See also Kdissert, a mind mapping tool for KDE (Linux)
  • Treesheets is a free outliner program. It is like a one dimensional mind mapping program.



Open Font Library Project are making available great clipart and fonts for ANYONE to use. Dafont also has many free fonts, for personal use and/or commercial use.


The the Open Clip Art Project is great. However, use Google Search to search it, otherwise you don't have an immediate preview.


stock.xchng has many free photos, but every photo has its own licence.

Other Media

For more photos, music and even videos that can be used free of charge, search with Creative Commons.