Digital Tools Reviewed

Digital Tools We Recommend Using … And Those We Don’t

(Dates to be added to all below:)

How to Put Free Ebooks on Your Amazon Kindle — Dec 15, 2015 | NOTE: Sending via email generally works for mobile devices, but not desktop. However:

Personal documents can be “sideloaded” into Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac. Personal documents are not supported on Kindle for Windows 8. PDFs and personal documents converted to Kindle format can be sideloaded by doing the following:
Kindle for PC:
1. Click on Documents or My Documents folder on your personal computer.
2. Click My Kindle Content.
3. Drag and drop supported document into My Kindle Content.
4. Open Kindle for PC. Personal document will appear on Home screen.

Please use the steps given above.

Set a default RSS reader in Chrome:

Web Browsers

Vivaldi: Very fast & comparable to Opera, but lacking key features & compatibilities, most notably with Google Drive Apps. Perhaps slightly less stable.

Messaging Apps

Line: As of 2018-09, native Windows app is most modern & feature-rich, but can be cumbersome, with ugly fonts. Windows Store and Chrome versions have cleaner UI, but are lacking features, such as message replying. Chrome version is most limited, requiring its own window to be open and active, or signs you out!


Create a Toolbar “Bookmarklet” To Send URLs By Email From Chrome/Opera

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 Authoring

Dreamweaver CS4: Generally unstable on Windows 8/10. CS 5/.5 is OK, but has issues with WYSIWYG and includes.
CoffeeCup HTML Editor: Freeware, includes built-in FTP/site manager. Interface is a bit sluggish in Windows 10, no split-screen in FTP client. No WYSIWYG.
OpenElement: Very sluggish, strange web-based templates; Requires Visual C++
BlueGriffon: No built in FTP, automatically wraps text :-\
Adobe GoLive (Discontinued): Sluggish, doesn’t support PHP.

BeyondCompare File Comparison Tool | Supports FTP

uTorrent for Windows: Ads everywhere, buggy
qBittorrent: Less ad-infested
Atom (BitTorrent): bloated, sluggish
Deluge: Doesn’t seem to support grabbing individual files from torrents

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.

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 (Windows 7 & Earlier): Was the best iMovie alternative for novices, now discontinued. Weak file format support.

Microsoft Photos (Windows 8, 10). Hands-down the easiest

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


Have you subscribed to our free posts by email yet?

If not, simply enter your email below (Which we will, of course, never distribute!) for our free email digest to subscribe to our headline topics:


If you have, you should see a link above to customize the digest to include exactly which topics interest you! (Free registration required)

%d bloggers like this: