General Tech Recommendations & Reviews

App / Service Reviews

Add dates to all below:

How to Put Free Ebooks on Your Amazon Kindle — Dec 15, 2015

Set RSS reader in Chrome:


When setting up Gmail on iPhone, manually change settings to delete, not archive messages. And use trash as archive folder, NOT All Mail!

Opera Standalone Email App: Faster than Chrome & Firefox (esp. on older hardware) (as of 2016/11): Only 5GB storage (1/3 of Gmail’s 15 GB), Better IMAP folder handling than Gmail, Built-in Skype (no file x-fer, video/audio is glitchy and requires extra plug-in) | Remember to turn on authentication for SMTP, in addition to SSL for IMAP and SMTP

WindowsLiveMail IMAP configuration:

WindowsLiveMail 2012, POP3 (setup wizard default) causes your own mail to always be blocked as unknown sender, in IMAP, you get duplicate sent messages or none. Recommended settings don’t help:

WindowsLiveMail: Pros: has nice autocorrect and doesn’t limit # of accounts. Also works well with Windows’ Send to > feature; shows visited link color (useful for Spam)

Cons: Somewhat slow and contacts mysteriously disappear from lists. Also unofficially unsupported, “Recovered Items” handling is a total mess and it somehow uses its own font rendering w/ no Mac Type support; No manual sorting

Thunderbird | Pros: Account Wizards; FWD as attach, Inline editing; Built-in IM, no MacType issues, includes IM (FB, gTalk) | Cons: No contact sync; Poor UI (ugh, tabs; weird lack of margins; too many right-click options); significantly more sluggish than WLM; 55 MB; no AIM chat; no manual sorting

Essential PIM: Small download (12mb), but super annoying in trying to get you to upgrade to paid features

EM client: is faster than WLM w/ decent UI & partial MacType support, but doesn’t support autocorrect, IM also doesn’t either, as Trillian does (though it doesn’t support special chars like apostrophes, as with WLM. Also, it’s visually ghetto. Best at moving messages from IMAP-IMAP.

Opera Mail Performs pretty well, UI not quite as good as WLM, surprising lack of preferences; no MacType issues, but has no FWD as attachment (deal breaker), no autocorrect, no contact sync; Doesn’t allow moving messages from one IMAP account to another :-\

MailBird: Great interface, performs well, large install (117 MB) doesn’t allow inline editing or FWD as attachment :-\

Outlook 2007: So old, terrible interface, clunky as hell, manual IMAP message purging, no good import options, no syncing, Doesn’t work with, etc. etc.


How to make RescueTime work in Opera

Task Management

Wrike: Only supports 5 users free, no mobile web support; GANTT charts not free; haven’t found obvious advantages over Asana

Trello: Recommended for Agile/Kanban. Otherwise, no clear benefit over Asana.

Asana: 15 free users? So-so UI, sluggish w/ no more mobile web support; Sub-tasks are awkward; Task description formatting problematic w/ no simultaneous updating.

Basecamp: No dependencies, no relation of tasks to calendar

Google Drive & OneDrive: too hard to delete things permanently (trash seldom if ever empties, creating potential duplicates!), limited/crappy interfaces, hard to organize via folders. OneDrive also syncs as it copies files, which is slow & inconvenient

Trillian: annoying ‘buy me’ notices, but performs well, no Skype. Note: you must enable ‘less secure apps’ for Google Talk support:

Digsby: No Skype, often services crap out

Adobe Digital Editions: Not used because it’s bloated, laggy, cumbersome, no syncing

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC — Horrible interface, 189MB installed!!

DoPDF: — Lightweight PDF creator


Web Design

CoffeeCup HTML Editor: Good freeware solution, includes built-in FTP/site manager sans side-by-side view. No WYSIWYG support.

Kompozer: based on discontinued NVU? FTP jenky

OpenElement: Web-based template weirdness; Requires Visual C++ SP1 :-\

BlueGriffon: No built in FTP, automatically wraps text :-\

uTorrent for Windows: Ads everywhere, buggy

qBittorrent: So far so good

Atom (BitTorrent): bloated, sluggish

Deluge: Doesn’t seem to support grabbing individual files from torrents

GoToWebinar: sux, requires downloads 🙁

Dreamweaver CS4: Buggy as hell on Windows 8/10. CS5/.5 is OK.

Adobe GoLive: Sluggish, doesn’t support PHP! Ugh.

BeyondCompare FTP:

JibJab as of 2015–03–03: Paid site, almost totally youth-oriented

To Disable Annoying Repeating SMS Alerts in iMessage on iPhone: Go to Settings->Notifications->Messages> (Scroll Down) Set Repeat Alerts to NEVER.

It’s simple. You will never receive a “Repeat Alert”. Some people tend to ignore their messages because they are busy, etc. that’s why default setting is you will receive one “repeat alert”.

Swift Key — as of 03/05 doesn’t work well with iPhone

Google Hangouts — Use browser extension for whatever your primary browser is b/c otherwise you will miss notifications. Unlike 3rd party clients, supports SMS, which supports emoji unlike the Google Voice extension, but you need the app installed for txts to go to your phone 😞

has UI related issues (on Windows 8, at least), apparently was the first release to do away with PSD Explorer preview Icons
CS4 seems to have corrected the Windows 8/10 UI issues.


Alien Skin Exposure X (not free):

GIMP: Cannot open all newer PSDs, interface sucks, huge, bloaty. ( ) Super small & efficient, can open some newer PSDs without Photoshop w/ the plugin. Sluggish in Windows 10

MS Office: Huge, bloated, expensive.

SoftMaker FreeOffice Apparently No longer free? Easy, lightweight. Just requires online registration. Formatting differs from official Office more than Google Docs, still can’t use to make complex PDFs, etc.

WPS Office: Free, Chinese-spawned alternative, pretty sluggish & clunky at times, though better than OpenOffice.


HootSuite: Free version only supports posting to 3 accounts 😞. 100 accounts = $10/mo

Buffer gives you 5 (1 per service) free, up to 12 for $10/mo

GitHub for Windows Client (a/o 2015–01): Bloated, sluggish, oversimplified UI. Doesn’t work well with BitBucket, generally horrible.

SourceTree for Windows: Extremely sluggish w/ lame UI.

SmartGit: More zippy, slightly confusing UI, requires JRE — Sync eBooks free among devices

CopyTrans—Manage your iOS library without iTunes:  Download iTunes drivers

iTunes older versions:

Audacity can be used to boost audio levels:

Windows Movie Maker: Best iMovie alternative for novices. Weak file format support, tho :-\

OpenShot: Extremely Buggy

Shotcut & Lightworks: For serious pros only
*Lightworks only exports to Vimeo 1080 and YouTube 720 for free!*

KdenLive: Fully free & OpenSource, but no installer & fussy, but pretty good!

VSDC Free Video Editor: (freemium, buggy)

Avidemux (HORRIBLE, Basic, free. Horrible UI)

VideoPad: Not bad, but not worth $

Premiere: MASSIVE, overly complex, so bloated.

Turn your old PC into a Chromebook by Installing Cloudware

I needed to do all the steps Here