Here is some free software, with a high nift factor:


Audio Tuner – for tuning your guitar, ukulele, violin or other musical instrument using your PC or Mac.

Audio Tuner Mobile – for tuning your guitar, ukulele, violin or other musical instrument on your Windows Mobile, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry or Java device.

Crossword Puzzle Solver – solve all kinds of word puzzles with this free software, and you get a fast, convenient offline dictionary.

Chord Finder – look up chords for your guitar or ukulele. Offline and online versions available.

The following are highly recommended, but don’t have anything to do with Supernifty.


Thunderbird (e-mail client) – Thunderbird is great. It’s easy to backup and has many add-ons available for it. There’s also a portable version for sticking on your USB key.

Firefox (web browser) – Firefox is great. There are many nifty add-ons.

As a developer, both these products are easy to extend. In comparison, extending Outlook or IE can be nightmarish.

TrueCrypt (file encryption software) – TrueCrypt is great. It keeps an encrypted file which can be mounted as a filesystem. Backup your sensitive data securely by backing up the file.

7-Zip (compression software) – this freebie handles all the main formats and you don’t have to put up with WinZip always asking you to register.

AVG (anti-virus) – seems the other main contender for free virus checking is Avast. I find AVG less intrusive and irritating.

Locate (file locater) – I find windows search to be awful. And Google’s too. This one is great for finding files. (image editor) – This is a great free image editor. Infinitely better than Windows Paint, very easy to use. Impressive.

Inkscape (vector graphics editor) – Excellent free vector graphics editor. If you need resizable graphics for printing, logos, diagrams, etc, then this is a fine option.


CamStudio – Excellent free screencasting software. Generate AVI or SWF and publish your demos or tutorials.

Windows Movie Maker – This movie editor comes pre-installed with Windows and is hidden under accessories. Intuitive and easy to use if you just need to add titles, credits, and clip a few bits here and there.


vi (text editor) – So this may not suit everyone. But I love it. It’s the fastest, most powerful text editor and I always install it. These days vim comes with syntax highlighting, spell checking and all the other mod cons.

Eclipse (IDE) – powerful, extensible and flexible. In contrast, Microsoft Visual Studio? So much pain… Intellisense? That has got to be a joke.

SVN – SVN is a fine CVS replacement and version control system, despite what Linus says. And the tortoise client integrates seamlessly into Windows Explorer.

VirtualBox – Here’s an opportunity to keep a whole operating system in a window, available to be paused, backed up and copied as required. Performance is good, it’s stable, a bit fiddly to do some things, but overall, recommended … and free.

Network Tools

putty (telnet replacement) – this is the essential SSH client for secure communications. The tunnelling capabilities mean you can secure most intrinsically insecure services.

nmap – impressive network analysis tool. Great for figuring out what the crap is going on with firewalls and ports.

wireshark – another great network analysis tool. This one has a graphical interface and is top for looking at data going through your network.

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