The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Useful Downloads

This is a compilation of useful open-source or freeware software that is highly recommended to maximize your productivity and facilitate many of the tasks you will be taking over the course or your senior project. All software has been tested and verified to be spam and virus free for your confidence and comfort.

Free Screen Capture Utility
Free Brainstorming/Outliner/Mind-maping tools
Free Digital Editors
Free HTML/Text Editors

Free Screen Capture Utility

Three recommendations here: The first is PrintScreen [1]. It's a prime example of the KISS principle. It does exactly what I want, in the way I want while avoiding the trap of providing lots of useless and confusing features. It's the little things that count like making the hot key PrtSc so I don't have to remember it, and automatically sequentially naming the output files for multiple screen shots.

A second recommendation is Screen Hunter [2]. It's a commercial product but the "lite" free version is excellent, offering more features than Gadwin at the cost of a little added complexity. It can save in .jpg, .bmp or .gif formats.

Also highly recommended is FastStone's Screen Capture [3] It doesn't require installation and yet has more features than you could ever want including the ability to capture scrolling screen shots across more than one screen page.

[1] Gadwin PrintScreen

[2] Screen Hunter Free

[3] Fastone Screen Capture (last free version)


Free Brainstorming/Outliner/Mind-maping tools

This software category is maybe the one you are least familiar with. However I strongly advice you to given these programs a try.

All of the programs listed here are extremely useful to organize ideas, take notes, and even maintain track of the progress of your projects, assignments, etc.

My favorite one is Freemind [1]. It is great to organize and maintain structure over complex ideas. Ever since I discovered it, I have used it for almost every assignment or job activity I have had.

Another great alternative , and probably the most popular is KeyNote [2]. KeyNote is used by screenwriters to draft screenplays, by medical doctors to keep patient databases, by developers to store source code snippets - and to everyone it serves as a place to put all the random pieces of information that have no particular structure or relationship to other data, and do not fit easily in task-specific applications such as word-processors, databases or spreadsheets.

Finally, you can also consider NeoMem [3] as an alternative. It's not really a dedicated outliner but is rather more of a general purpose note taking program

[1] FreeMind

[2] KeyNote

[3] NeoMem


Free Digital Editors

A good report or presentation must have great visual aids to convey your message. I strongly recommend that you learn to use any of these programs. I learned to use photoshop in my freshman years and I have used it ever since, to enhance my thesis, my research posters, reports, any any other assignments that require conveying a message. Believe me, It will come in handy in this course and in any other future classes or jobs assignments.

If you are an experienced photoshop user but can't afford the price, you will love all the free features of GIMP. There is also a version called GIMPShop which interface is modified to make it look very close to photoshop.

If this is your first time with a program of this kind, gimp might not be the best option for you. Its learning curve has proven to be very steep for noob users. That is why for other less experienced users I recommend Paint.net [2], an amazingly sophisticated piece of work from computer science students at Washington State University.

[1] The GIMP

[2] Paint.net


Free HTML/Text Editors

When in comes to website creation there are usually two schools of thought: those who use dedicated software such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage, and those who consider themselves as hardcore coders and use a simple text editor for their creations.

For those adventurer codes I recommend PSPad. It is behaves as a your regular windows Notepad on steroids. It is a general purpose programming editor with html syntax highlighting. Saying you use PSPad for your html coding scores you immediate points for technical machismo :>)

[1]PSPad

Text editors are fine for programmers or those who really want to learn how to code raw html but most users have no interest in this.

The closes free program that matches all the features and functionalities from professional applications is KompoZer[2] This is my top recommendation for newbies. It's a full featured WYSIWYG.

Another good alternative is Evrsoft First Page 2006 [3]. As the names indicates, this program is a bit outdated, it still has a lot of features for beginners which should suffice for the requirements of your project's website.

[2] Kompozer:

[3] Evrsoft First Page 2006: