It’s been a while since we talked, how has it been?
Everyone enjoying summer?
So, today, I wanted to share with you a number of free tools that had made life easier for me 😉
Most of them are cross platform, and some have premium options which I found I didn’t need.
So, here it goes.
1- EPUBReader & Kobo ebooks : For all the bookaholics out there!
So technically these are two tools: The first, EPUBReader, is a Firefox addon which I’ve found invaluable. I read a lot of books, and you won’t believe the number of sites allowing legal epub downloads of great books especially those precious classics like the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Pride and Prejudice. EPUBReader lets you set up a library, and bookmarks your progress. It also connects you to the wealth of free books on project Gutenberg.
Since I also enjoy long bus rides and silence lunches with my smartphone reading, I’ve been on the lookout for a great mobile tool. Kobo has a good ebook app for this, it allows you to buy and download books from their library, and to import epub format of your own books bought/gotten elsewhere. This tool can be downloaded for your pc as well, but I didn’t much like their windows version.
Both tools allow you to change font size and bookmark progress. With Kobo allowing you to take notes and quotes, as well as build shelves and reading lists.
The one thing I don’t like about either tool is that there is no cross-devices sync of page position or imported books :p. Maybe one or both will think about it.
2- Evernote and Evernote Clipper: Loose nothing!
Another duo, both from the same provider. Evernote is a note-taking app that lets you build your library of different notebooks and capture ideas in all all formats (files, images, sounds). The clipper is a browser addon so you can save anything you may stumble upon online from website bookmarks, full articles, screen shots and selections, directely into your Evernote account.
The basic account is synced across all devices and platforms and you don’t have to worry about loosing your moleskin again.
Evernote also has a set of other useful software you might like to check out on their site.
3- Google Keep: For the smaller tasks.
I use Evernote to classify just about every note-worth-taking thing. Research for my writing projects, my academic projects and the fun tidbits the internet has to offer. Sometimes however, you need something small, for smaller tasks. For example I like to keep a to-do-list which I can consult and modify on the run anywhere. GoogleKeep has that extra little thing that lets you do this. Comes as a sticky-note system, with color codes and label classification, it’s very helpful for those things you don’t need filed in precise folders for the rest of your life.
Comes synced on your web browser, pc, or mobile app through your Gmail account.
4- Inbox for Gmail: Gmail made pretty and handy.
Speaking about google apps and accounts, here is the new mail client for your Gmail.
I first met this one as a mobile app on my Android phone. Didn’t like it much at first, but then they said they had a web app which I felt was a lot easier to get used to.
The application had been in constant development ever since. Treating your mails as a to-do-list and a set of reminders you can stick important mail to the front, bundle the rest into folders, and assign as ‘done’ those you’re finished dealing with. You can also snooze the ones you wanna take a look at later. You can also create reminders that arrive into your Inbox as desired.
Material design and fun to use, it changed my idea of Gmail completely. It has its buggy days, but that’s because it’s still being worked on. I think it might be the future of Gmail.
Try it out, and of course you may continue using the regular Gmail in parallel with Inbox for as long as you want.
5- Google Calendar: Plan your life!
Yep, I’m a Google girl 😉
This free app comes either as mobile or web-based. They gave it a fresh look on android and I love it. Set out reminders, schedule your day, week, month and year. Share calendars and invite people to events. And the absolute new? Goals! Wanna set out time to exercise? set out the goal on your calendar and it’ll help you keep up!
6- Dropbox & GoogleDrive: Take everything, everywhere!
Two simple, awesome file sync. My favorite between them is. Drobpox. Its sync is fast and the app is reliable and stable. Dropbox comes with shared folders, sharing links and previous versions enabled. The free account however is small if compared to Google’s 15GB GoogleDrive/Gmail/Calender combo.
You can use either or both. They are easy, just set up the folder, put your stuff in there and keep it connected to the internet. Changed device? Need something from the computer but don’t have it with you? just login on your phone or another computer and it’s waiting for you. I can’t tell you how many times it saved me.
I recently bought a new computer. Downloaded the needed apps, and didn’t need to move a single file. It was all there in my Dropbox and Drive.
I mainly use Drive to keep my photos and other large files, while my PDFs and ongoing academic work is on Dropbox.
7- Notepad/Gedit : Simple as it comes, handy as it should.
I’m a writer. I love writing.
But like most people with this creative interest, my editor (my evil brain) likes to make things hard.
Best solution? Skip on spellcheck and grammar correction. Forget formatting and font sizes and styles.
Just type away your first draft, then worry about everything else later.
To achieve this I’ve tried a number of tools. FocusWriter being a lovely distraction free option. But they were all too… nice.
They kind of felt fancy to me.
So I went back to the advice a teacher told us about programming in college; use Notepad!
It comes with your windows installation, or download the great Gedit (works on both Windows and Linux). I’m sure Mac OS comes with a basic similar.
Simple and minimalist, you can write it all in one file, and have it synced on Dropbox or Drive in small .txt format.
And that’s all for today folks! Did you like my list?
What are your ‘Can’t do without’ apps and tools?
Catch ya later,