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The best free home & education software

Get something for nothing.

By Mark Sikes

(9/20/05)

The best things in life may be free, but most software isn`t. Limited functionality, annoying adware, and pesky nag screens mean even most "free" software isn`t actually without cost.

Don`t give up, though--some gems are out there. Here is a m??lange of absolutely free applications from Download.com`s most eclectic category, Home & Education. With global satellite images that zoom down to street level, Google Earth has serious time-waster potential. Is your vocabulary in need of some serious upgrading? WordWeb lets you look up any word on your desktop with one click. If geography is your thing, Seterra`s many quiz and game options will keep you entertained for hours. MediaMan will have your cluttered collection of books, DVDs, CDs, and video games organized in no time. Need to turn meters into feet or Celsius into Fahrenheit? Quad-Lock Unit Converter can handle all your conversion needs.

Google Earth

Unleash your inner cartographer. Google Earth offers amazing global-satellite images down to the street level with street names, restaurants, bars, and other information.

WordWeb

Need another word for thesaurus? WordWeb is a nifty desktop app that gives you instant word definitions, synonyms, and antonyms.

Seterra

What`s the capital of Moldova? Is Moldova even a country? With a host of quiz and game options, Seterra will get your subpar geographical knowledge up to speed faster than you can say Chisinau.

MaxType Lite Typing Tutor

There`s no place like home row. With a slew of fun testing features, MaxType Lite Typing Tutor will have your typing speed revved up in no time.

Quad-Lock Unit Converter

How many stone are in a bushel? Quad-Lock Unit Converter will make quick work of all your measurement conversions.

Genealogy Finder

Is your family tree looking kind of sparse? Genealogy Finder will help thicken up your foliage by giving you quick access to a host of great genealogy resources.

ERMster

P2P for your recipes! ERMster lets you search for and share great recipes with friends. It even offers chat functionality so you can collaborate with your culinary coterie.

MediaMan

Get your media house in order. MediaMan lets you organize and catalog all your media, including books, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, and video games.

iDaily Diary

With an intuitive interface, iDaily Diary makes keeping an interactive, multimedia journal on your desktop a breeze. Beware of nosy siblings.

Desktop Weather by The Weather Channel

Auntie Em, Auntie Em-- it`s a twister! Instant access to current temperatures, forecasts, and severe-weather alerts makes Desktop Weather worth the free registration.

 

For the 21st Century, We need intuition - by Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.

 

In the aftermath of September 11th, many people claim we face a new world. Yet what I see is not a new world, but a need to become aware of what the world has become. The nineteenth century brought the Industrial Revolution, which changed the way we did things. The twentieth century introduced not just change in how we do things, but change in the rate of change.

In the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, you could plan a career and hope for security. People were advised, "If you choose Profession X, or learn Skill Y, you`ll always have a job." As a high school student, advisors said, "If you can type, you can always work. We will always need secretaries." I remembered this advice when, a few years ago, a CPA told me the partners of his Big Six firm are typing their own letters and memos. Three partners share a single assistant.

Some people remain in the time zone that ended more than two decades ago. A former academic colleague shared concerns about his children: "I want them to major in a technical field so they can always get a job." His oldest child is fourteen. By the time she enters the work force, technical skills may be taken for granted, and universities may no longer offer the tenure that constitutes his own security blanket.

So what`s left? Flexiblity and intuition. Flexibility means being a free spirit, being willing to take risks and make moves because they feel right, not waiting until we are forced by circumstances. We need skills to roll with the punches, not skills that can be used only when the ground beneath us is firm and solid.

Intuition means sensing that, "This move isn`t right for me," or, "I will need a job change soon." We need to rely less on rules and external process and more on, "The emperor has no clothes. I don`t care what everyone else says. I know?"

The airline world is beginning to realize that their procedures were based on assumptions that were turned upside down. They taught their employees to follow the rules. In the aftermath, people began questioning: "The rules won`t work here." Well, I think the rulers aren`t working in a lot of life domains that rely on procedures: health care, justice, education and more. Those sectors ultimately will be transformed, not just revised with a new layer of rules and assessments.

My own writing and coaching are based on those twin principles of freedom and intuition. I`m working on a book about intuition and invite you to share previews in my classes, coach and forthcoming ebook. I believe in celebrating freedom and recognizing intuition as the number on power tool to tunnel under career walls. "Let every day be Independence Day."


Cathy Goodwin, PhD, is an author, coach and speaker. She helps clients make their move to career freedom. To receive her free ezine, send a blank email to subscribe@movinglady.com. Her website is http://www.movinglady.com.

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