Desktop, Mobile and Browser Tools I use every day. And they’re all FREE! (Well, mostly free.)
There is no way I could manage all of this tech without taking advantage of the efficiency this technology and the Internet offer. Automation, security and comfort play a very big part in way I use my technology and rate at which I adopt the new stuff.
I’ve got myself a smart watch for example, a Samsung S3 Frontier to be exact. It’s an amazing piece of technology, but it doesn’t quite offer so much convenience that I’m ready to completely ditch my regular old watches. Watch for my review on the S3, it’s a damn fine piece of machinery.
See below for my favorite pieces of the Internet and technology that I use to make my life easier. By the way, we do some consulting and it might just include the setup of your Internet of things. Try us.
First, I’m a Windows user. I don’t really care what operating system you use these days. Paid or free, most operating systems are as capable of as every other operating system. Having said that, some of my desktop tools might not be up for consideration among you Apple headed Penguins.
If you don’t know what Spotify is, you’ve been living in what could only be described as a purgatory of sound. New music to the world, new music to you, and sounds for every single possible occasion, mood, or context, Spotify brings a whole new chapter to listening to YOUR music. I choose to go with the premium option, I can’t be without it. You can have it on your desktop, in your browser and on your mobile devices (iTunes).
Please stop torturing yourself. If you’re using Windows, download Chrome. If you’re using any Mac OS, download Chrome. I’m going to list a whole bunch of cool extensions for Chrome down below, you don’t want to miss out on those.
Clean Up: CCleaner
By the time I finished this up, CCleaner was reported to be installing malware. Luckily I hadn;t updated to the infected version before I got word.
Just in case you need to erase those searches for you special someone’s upcoming birthday surprise. Or if you need to cover up what you’re really looking at….your undying love for Steve Buscemi, you’ll probably want to get CCleaner. CCleaner will clean up all of the wonderful bits and pieces of yourself laying around the computer. Get your browser and desktop cleaned up with CCleaner free, and stay clean with the paid version.
URL: h tee tee p colo slash slash nope dot com
Malware Protection: Malwarebytes
Even the cleanest of us get a random piece of malware every now and then. Kept that pesky CCleaner stuff off my pc! It can sneak through a number of ways, even from some of your most trusted sources. Malwarebytes free will help you get on the path to cleaning up and ridding yourself of any malicious software. It’s really light as well, so no bogged down computers to stay safe. Once again, I pay for the good stuff and Malwarebytes is keeping all of my computers clean and safe in real time. Can’t tell you the last time I had an issue.
Antivirus Protection: Bitdefender
Bitdefender is the peanut butter to my jelly that is Malwarebytes. Both of these security officers keep my pc clean as a whistle and protect my data. Bitdefender is an antivirus software that protects all aspects of my computer’s security. Firewall, antivirus, data protection and encryption as well as clean up options. Bitdefender offers a comprehensive suite that can include services like CCleaner and Malwarebytes, and I use them all.
Secure Internet Traffic / VPN: Private Internet Access (PIA)
The final piece in my defense arsenal is my VPN, virtual private network. I use PIA to protect all of my incoming and outgoing Internet traffic from all of my devices, desktop, tablet, and mobile phone. Using masking and encryption, PIA protects all of my sensitive data from any prying eyes. While this one isn’t free, at $40 a year you can’t afford not to have a VPN like PIA.
Most of the tools above are free, but I pay for premium versions of much of the software I put to use every day. I need to give a shout out real quick to some of my favorite, not so free, desktop tools:
- Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ve been holding it down since you came up on the block. Much love. Now that I don’t need a loan to get your latest version, I feel so much closer to you.
- Microsoft Office 365, you know what’s up. Ever since my clients have been able to use all 500 older versions of you, it’s been hard. Way to bring it all together.
Chrome Browser Tools
Let me be clear, I use all of the other browsers because I have to. In order to make sure my client’s website looks its best to most everyone, we view and test your site in as many environments as possible. Having said that, I choose to use Chrome for everything else. It’s lightweight, free, compatible with pretty much every site I’ve ever visited and full of features and customization. Below are a few of my must have extensions for Chrome.
I’m not exactly sure how people go about using the Internet without this most valuable of tools. LastPass is literally the last password tool you’ll need to worry about. No exaggeration, I have thousands of passwords I need to be able to recall. Granted some of those are only once a year when a client forgets that ever important GoDaddy password when they need to renew the domain. LastPass works in every browser, on every OS, and on every device I’ve ever needed it for. Well worth the $12 annual fee for premium features.
Chrome Store: https://goo.gl/rj0lS7
Want to get around your browser a little bit faster? Mouse gestures allow you to do some advanced actions with a simple flick of your wrist, maybe a few flicks. Close tabs, open tabs, switch focus, or create advanced macros that happen with a few strategic mouse gestures. Well worth a check out if you want to save yourself some time in the browser and spend way too much time navigating a dozens of tabs. These plugins can be finicky, but crxMouse has been solid and my go to for some time now.
MightyText and/or Hangouts
MightyText is an amazing service that allows you to text from within Chrome. You can sync all of your text conversations and images, get notifications for all apps on your device and more. They even have an awesome power view in case you’re a power texter and need that multitask feel. But….
I switched to Google’s Project Fi not too long ago and Hangouts does the trick for me. Not only does it sync all of those conversations, but I don’t even need my phone with the Project Fi and Hangouts. Trust me, it’s happened a couple of times but coupling LastPass and Project Fi and I can access all of my communications from anywhere via a browser. UPDATE: I switched back to Verizon because I live in the woods! Better service for this area comes to Project Fi, I’m going back.
Right Inbox is a paid for app that I use within Chrome for Gmail. I can schedule emails set reminders to revisit the email, add notes, and set the email to reoccur. Cannot tell how much this has helped with sending those late night emails with the hopes that no other reasonable person would be working at the same time as me. Simply set it to send the following morning and look like a champ when you’re up bright and early sending emails at 5:00am.
So you need to copy a link, share it or simply regurgitate it to someone insisting on writing it down, but it’s about seven billion characters long. What to do? Go ahead and get the shortener that we all run to via a Google search right inside Chrome. If you’re like me and use your browser profile, Google URL Shortener will save these links for you to access at a later date. Very useful tool.
So there’s a few of the tools I use pretty much every single day. I couldn’t work or play on the Internet without most of those free or freemium pieces of software. I’ve got a few more I can tell you about as well, no one wants to read about all of it here. Call me! I’ll tell you all about my office.