CSC 442 - ECCE - Section B
Internet and American Life
University of Illinois at Springfield
Spring 2014
Prof. Burks Oakley II

Prof. Oakley's recommendations for FREE software that you should install on your computer:

Firefox - A browser that is a great alternative to Internet Explorer.  Features tabbed browsing, a pop-up blocker, and better security than IE.  Available at:

Themes for Firefox - A great way to customize the look of the Firefox browser.  Themes are available at:  One of my favorites is Aeon Big.

Adobe Reader - Software for viewing and printing Portable Document Format (PDF) files.  This software is essential for CSC442, since all of the research studies from the Pew Internet Project are available only in PDF format.  Available at:

Ad-Aware - A spyware removal tool.  Spyware can track your surfing habits, send this data to a third party, profile your shopping preferences, hijack your browser start page or pages, alter important system files, all without your knowledge or permission. The security and privacy implications of these exploits should be quite obvious!  Available at:

Spybot - Search & Destroy - Application to scan for spyware, adware, and other malicious software.  A good complement to Ad-Aware.  Available at:

1-Click Answers - A dictionary, thesaurus, and more.  "With a single click on any word or phrase on the screen, 1-Click Answers delivers valuable real-time and answers on demand, including encyclopedias and dictionaries, thesaurus, ..."  This tool is extremely useful in finding the definitions of unknown words - just "alt-click" on a word and up pops its definition.  Available at:

iGoogle - A personalized version of Google that can be enhanced with gadgets - a customizable AJAX-based starting page. Its features include the capability to add web feeds and Google gadgets.  Check your news, calendar, e-mail, stocks, RSS feeds, and the local weather all in one place -- super convenient!  Available at:

Audacity - Audacity is free software for recording and editing sounds.  It is very useful in producing podcasts.  Audacity can import audio files in a number of formats, mix tracks (for example, voice and music), and save in various formats, including wav and mp3.  Available at:

iTunes - Useful for its feature to subscribe to RSS feeds from free podcasts — audio delivered over the Internet to your computer automatically — then listen at your convenience — anytime, anywhere.  Available at:

McAfee SiteAdvisor - SiteAdvisor software is an award-winning, free browser plug-in that provides safety advice about Websites when you need it - before you click on a risky site.  Available at:

Skype - Software for voice communication via the Internet.  "Peer-to-peer" (P2P) telephony - for free!  Free unlimited worldwide phone calls to other Skype users.  Fantastic voice quality.  My Skype contact name is "burksoakley" (all one word, no quotes).  Available at:

VirusScan Software - Virus protection software site-licensed by the University of Illinois (requires you to login to the site using your UIS NetID and password).  "VirusScan protects your PC, files and email address book from high-risk viruses, worms and trojans like Bugbear, Slammer, Code Red, Nimda, SirCam and Nicehello. Easy to use and always on guard, VirusScan automatically checks for virus updates and software updates, so your protection is always up-to-the-minute."  Available at:

Picasa - Software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the photos on your PC.  Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your new digital photos and sorts them into albums organized by date – it even assigns names to the albums.  And since this is a Google product, you can quickly search through all your pictures for certain file names.  Picasa also makes advanced editing simple by putting one-click fixes and powerful effects at your fingertips.  Available at:

Password Safe - A software tool that allows the user to keep usernames and passwords for different accounts in a single secure location (accessed using one secure password).  Clicking on each account copies the password to the clipboard.  Latest version available at:

Post-it® Software Notes - A digital version of the classic yellow Post-it® Note.  Use this software just as you would use regular Post-It® Notes — but have the notes appear on your computer's desktop.  Available at:

SharpReader - SharpReader is an RSS aggregator for Windows.  Great for subscribing to RSS feeds from blogs, Flickr,, etc.  Available at:

Dropbox - Two gigabytes (2 GB) of online storage for free; access your files from any networked computer, drag-and-drop interface on the desktop; shared folders allow several people to collaborate on a set of files.  Available at:

Recommended Hardware:

Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 (and Mouse) - I highly recommend this wireless keyboard and wireless optical mouse; it is sold as a package unit.  It features "one-touch multimedia keys, customizable hot keys, and optical mouse accuracy -- all in a comfortable, ergonomic design."  Cost was $49.95 from the Microsoft Online Store as of 19 December 2012.  

Western Digital - My Passport 1TB External Hard Drive - Super large capacity storage, very small size.  This unit uses a USB 2.0 connector.  Great for backing up your computer's hard drive, and for storing digital audio, video, and photos.  Cost was $99.99 at BestBuy as of 19 December 2012 [just under 10 cents per gigabyte]. For additional information, check out the BestBuy website.

Last Updated 2 January 2014 by Burks Oakley II (

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