o s
nearlyFreeSoftware for Win8†††††
nearlyFreeSoftware for Win7†††††
nearlyFreeSoftware for WinXP†††††
help for Vista†††††

a n d r o i d
free programs†††††††††††††

h o m e†††p a g e s
computing for nothing?†††††
recommended sites†††††††††
contact me††††††††††††††††
d o n a t i o n s
My hope is that everyone who reads this site saves some money and gets a more reliable computer from the advice on it.

If you feel this site is worthwhile a donation will help cover some of the expenses.

Email and Paypal information is available in the 'contact me' link above.
s o u r c e
I don't normally keep copies of programs on this site - instead there are links to the download pages of the copyright owners. This means you always download an up-to-date version of the program. While I don't have any use for continual updating (change = trouble) it seems reasonable to start a new install with an up-to-date version.

The exception to this rule is if I can't find the original author's site.


††††i n t r o d u c t i o n
I grew up with computers.

I'm now 62 years old and was at university when computers were the size of houses. In my first job my computer could (just) sit on a bench. I was in my mid twenties when the first personal computers arrived from IBM. Over the years PCs have become wildly more powerful and gradually smaller. From desktops to laptops to notepads to netbooks to tablets to mini-tablets to phablets and smartphones.

For most of that time computers have really been an engineer's toy. It took a lot of knowledge to operate a personal computer. Only Apple had anything resembling a GUI for the common man. And they priced themselves out of most of the marketplace.

Indeed the programs and operating systems from most manufacturers ran from tens to hundreds and even thousands of Pounds. Personal computing has ever been neither easy nor cheap.

Until now.

About six months ago I replaced a tottering Windows 7.8 phone with an Android 4.1 phablet. It absolutely knocked me sideways:
††††o††††I was amazed by the capability of the tiny 5.5 inch screen and 4-core 2GHz processor.
††††o††††I was bewildered by the number of programs (apps) available for it.
††††o††††I was astonished by how well the user interface worked.
††††o††††I was surprised by how cheap it all was.

Indeed only two weeks ago I found the user manual on the machine and discovered I was only using a small part of its facilities. After six months of ownership the thing still never ceases to surprise and delight me (I can't help feeling I've said that before).

††††C o s t s
Getting Started
Not being hyper-rich I usually wait for a model replacement to be announced and then snout round for bargains on the old model. On this occasion I found a Galaxy Note II Fast (N7105) for nothing up front and £26pcm (UKP) for two years. This didn't seem like a huge bargain until I saw the prices on the Note III. The contract included several thousand texts with unlimited data and a bit of phone time.

The N7105 is a 5.5 inch phablet with a stylus. The stylus is very handy for writing text (I like Graffiti Pro), makes precise use of the screen much easier and keeps fingerprints off the screen. The N7105 has a 4-core 1.8GHz processor, 2GBytes RAM and 48GBytes of non-volatile storage. There's enough processing power to run everything without delays and with lots of fancy graphical transitions.

Android is supplied with a collection of apps which cover a multitude of uses. Millions more are available, the choice is staggering. But here is where the premise of this website may change.

Most of the apps on Android are available for nothing. But that doesn't make them free. They are mostly adware and will flash advertising at you. This is bad for two reasons:
††††o††††Advertisments are how malware gets onto Android systems.
††††o††††Its damned annoying.

All is not lost though, you can usually pay for the apps. This removes the adverts. Unlike previous systems prices are very reasonable ranging from pennies to pounds (UKP). Typically prices are 50p to £2, the most I have ever paid for an app was about £8 (UKP).

Of course all of this works over the internet. Without doing a lot my system can easily clock up 2GBytes per month. If you watch streamed movies or TV you can cost yoursef a fortune. The best bet by far is to find a contract with unlimited data bandwidth. In any case watch your data usage like a hawk.

††††C o n c l u s i o n s
Cheap, easy computing? Yes it can be if you keep an eye on your data useage. There are other potential problems which we'll get to later.

But as a computer, a phablet with Android is the Personal Computer for the 21st century.

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Last update: 25th June 2014

Site & Contents Copyright © 2001-2014 Gerry Parnham BSc - All Rights Reserved

t h i s††††p a g e

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c o o k i e s
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the bullshit
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the truth (afaik)
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