A list of software that I either recommend, or use myself. Usually I spend ages exploring and trying alternatives, so hopefully this list might save somebody some time. Check them out ...
XAMPP provides a single install of the Apache webserver, PHP, and a SQL database (MariaDB, prev MySQL) — all configured to work together. A useful control panel allows you to control the individual programs.XAMPP from Apache Friends
Core FTP LE
Been around a long time, but still being updated, easy to configure, and all I need. A handy "upload if newer" function makes maintaining a website efficient.Core FTP LE
Free Office Suite (Windows)
Softmaker Freeoffice 2016. They've done a very good job with this. It looks like a slightly older version of MS Office - not such a bad thing. Impressively Textmaker includes output to .pdf and .epub (I am curious to see if the epub output passes muster because the world is crying out for a cheap and effective epub generator — fingers crossed).
IMPORTANT: in Windows 10, you need to R-Click the Textmaker icon in the taskbar, then R-Click on "Textmaker 2016", then click on "Properties", select the "Compatibility" tab, check the box against "Run this program as an administrator" and click "OK". Only then will it work properly. (Maybe the developers were running with Admin privileges so missed all the issues ordinary users would face).
Setting the default font and size (you probably don't want "Times New Roman 10 pt"). Select menu item "Format" > "Character", choose a better font and size and click on "Set as Default" button. You can then set your default file format in "Tools" > "Options" > "Files".
Finally, customise your menus. I added "refresh stats" button and "word count" to the main top menu. I also removed the "Thunderbird" icon etc. It was straightforward and leaves me with a very pleasant and focussed word-processor. I'm now wishing I hadn't shelled out for MS Office.
What's missing? Well, you can preview, open and edit .docx files, but you will then have to save them as .doc. You will need the paid-up version for docx saving. Fair enough, these guys have families to feed!Softmaker FreeOffice
Windows Native Programming
MS Visual Studio Express - Visual Basic (or C# if you prefer) for Windows Desktop. Free registration. Puts the fun back into programming - very close to my beloved Delphi 7 which just won't cut it any more. The desktop is still the working hub of Win 8 and will be around in Windows for a long time.Download ... it's the Express one you want
Adobe Lightroom. Once you have learned your way round the annoying bits of the interface you will enjoy a very powerful and capable non-destructive raw image manipulation tool. HOWEVER ... to the dismay of the hobbyist photography community Adobe has introduced a rent-your-software pricing model called Creative Cloud. On their website it would be easy to miss the fact that you can still buy and own a standalone version.
So, on the Adobe website. Click on "Menu" then "All Products". The list includes LR which will give you Full and Upgrade options for the standalone product. (Going any other route will give you the distinct impression than a Creative Cloud subscription is the only option).Adobe Lightroom