Opera: Faster than Chrome & Firefox (esp. on older hardware)
Vivaldi: Very fast & comparable to Opera, but lacking key features & compatibilities, most notably with Google Drive Apps. Perhaps slightly less stable.
Related: How to set a default RSS reader (Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi)
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!
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”.
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 😞
Multi-platform Instant Messaging
Friendly (iOS): Pros: Typically smaller than messenger (maybe around 150 mb installed), includes passcode lock, much less of a privacy risk
Cons: has its own ads in social networks plus theirs, requires background refresh enabled to get notifications (which disabled in power saving mode), no stickers or reactions, typing is sluggish
Trillian: annoying “buy me” notices, but performs well, no Skype. Note: you must enable “less secure apps” for Google Talk support or use App PWs
Digsby: No Skype, often services randomly fail.
When setting up Gmail on iPhone, manually change settings to delete, not archive messages. And use trash as archive folder, NOT All Mail!
EM client: Decent UI, but unlike Windows Live Mail doesn’t support autocorrect, IM also doesn’t either, as Trillian does (though it doesn’t support special chars like apostrophes, as with Windows Live Mail. Also, it’s visually bland. Great for moving messages from one IMAP mailbox to another.
MailBird: Nice modern email app which unfortunately only supports one account for free
Windows Live Mail (Discontinued)
Pros: has nice autocorrect and doesn’t limit # of accounts. Also integrates well with Windows’ Send to > feature; shows visited link color (useful for clicking multiple consecutive hyperlinks) | IMAP configuration | Note: Update required for Microsoft account compatibility
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
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
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
MailSpring: Nice modern client, which unfortunately lack support for Calendar & Contact Sync, unlike EM Client
Hiri: Very interesting concepts, but only works with Outlook/Exchange accounts at present
Essential PIM: Small download (12 mb), extremely obnoxious in trying to get you to upgrade to paid features, which allow for cloud sync (not free)
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 Live.com, etc. etc.
Email Service Providers
Outlook.com (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
Regardless of which provider you use, you may wish to Sync Your LinkedIn Contacts with Gmail, Outlook, etc.
File Backup, Synchronization & Sharing
Mega (Free): Gives you the most storage for free of any free service & has great pin-protection from their mobile app
Google Drive & OneDrive: too hard to delete things permanently (trash seldom if ever empties, creating potential duplicates!), clumsy layout, hard to organize via folders. OneDrive also syncs as it copies files, which is slow & inconvenient
uTorrent for Windows: Ads everywhere, buggy
qBittorrent: Less ad-infested
Transmission: Windows version still in development. Best all-around prospect for most.
Atom (BitTorrent): bloated, sluggish
Deluge: Doesn’t seem to support grabbing individual files from torrents
LastPass – Sluggish and somewhat clunky, but has good support for most modern devices across major platforms.
Bitwarden – Faster than LastPass, but mobile app doesn’t support iOS 10 & individual sites can’t be locked as of 2019-04. Also no auto-login.
Swift Key (Microsoft): As of 2019-03-05 doesn’t work well as with iPhone as Google’s Gboard
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. Slightly simpler than 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
Microsoft Office Suite: Huge, bloated, expensive.
Microsoft’s Office.com (Online) (freemium)
SoftMaker FreeOffice: Comparatively easy & lightweight vs MS Office. Requires free online registration.
Formatting differs from official Office more than Google Docs does & therefore can create file compatibility issues.
WPS Office: Free, Chinese-spawned alternative, pretty sluggish & clunky at times, though better than OpenOffice.
Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office/Word
As most are already well aware, Google offers the most popular option today with Google Docs, now part of their Google Drive suite, which includes the most commonly used features of Microsoft Office and lets you save in Word format, as well as exporting to PDF, among others. You just need a free Google account to use it, which can be easily created if you don’t already have one.
Another strong free alternative today is Microsoft Office/Word Online, which operates with OneDrive, and offers a similar experience to Google Docs. It also includes the added benefits of slightly faster performance, and the ability to work with local files in Word (docx) format by installing OneDrive.
One of the oldest free alternatives to Microsoft Office is a program called Open Office, which is a full-featured program like Office that is installed on your hard disk. Like Google Docs, it can open and save to MS Office format, but it also has its own format, so you’d just eventually become comfortable with saving to the different formats, which isn’t too hard, just takes some getting used to. Here’s the link to download the latest version of OpenOffice:
OpenOffice – If most of what you need is simple word processing, we tend to recommend Google Docs as a first choice, but if you need all the
advanced features, OpenOffice is probably the better bet.
One we don’t recommend is: AbiWord – Buggy, bloated, cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Word.
CoComment – Keep track of all the comments you leave on disparate websites!
How to Put Free Ebooks on Your Amazon Kindle (2015-12) | NOTE: Sending via email generally works for mobile devices, but not desktop. However:
Adobe Digital Editions: Not used because it’s bloated, laggy, cumbersome, no syncing
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC — Horrible interface, 189 MB installed!!
DoPDF : Lightweight PDF creator
Mobile Phone Sync (iTunes Alternatives)
MediaMonkey – Most usable iTunes alternative with good Pod-catching and Apple / non-Apple device sync support. Poor UI.
CopyTrans – Separate apps for each function with an ‘app manager’, only 2 are free. Separate download for iTunes driver if not installed.
Dreamweaver CS4: Generally unstable on Windows 8/10. CS 5/.5 is OK, but has issues with WYSIWYG and includes.
Adobe Brackets: No WYSIWYG, but does include a live-preview feature
Amaya (by W3C) (Free): WYSIWYG
PageBreeze (Free): WYSIWYG, includes built-in FTP support
OpenElement: Very sluggish, strange web-based templates; Requires Visual C++
BlueGriffon (Freemium): No built in FTP, automatically wraps text :-\
Google Web Designer (Free): Tool for creating interactive HTML5 designs, esp. for ads. Not an html editor. Slow to open, bloated, sluggish.
Dynamic HTML Editor (Free): Very dated, projects-based (doesn’t directly open web pages). Strange absolute positioning system.
Adobe GoLive (Discontinued): Sluggish, doesn’t support PHP.
CoffeeCup HTML Editor: Free, includes built-in FTP/site manager. No WYSIWYG. Interface is a bit sluggish in Windows 10, no split-screen in FTP client.
Aptana Studio: Powerful IDE, includes built-in FTP, but no WYSIWYG
BeyondCompare File Comparison Tool | Supports FTP
- CS2 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.
Adobe Photoshop Express (Free): Very basic image editing
Alien Skin Exposure X (not free)
GIMP: Cannot open all newer PSD files, poor layout, large & bloated, but 100% free!
How to Make GIMP Replace Photoshop – Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop as your primary image editor.
Image / File Management
Adobe Bridge CC (Free): Manage all your images in one place.
Duplicate Cleaner – Horrible for Photos
Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder – No date in comparison
Duplicate Photo Finder – Deleting files requires paid license
Social Media Promotion
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
Overdrive.com — Sync eBooks free among devices
iTunes older versions: https://support.apple.com/downloads/itunes
Audacity can be used to boost audio levels: http://audacityteam.org/download/
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: http://nchsoftware.com/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
Apple/Mac and iOS-specific
AppTrap – OSX’s equivalent to Windows’ ‘Add/Remove Programs’ utility.
WMV Components for QuickTime – Enables native WMV playback support in Mac OS X.
GlimmerBlocker – Free cross-browser AdBlocker.
iOS: To prevent deletion of email in the iOS Mail app, go to Settings: iOS: advanced: remove from trash: never
Some older apps we don’t recommend bothering with
BookIt – Enables you to ‘sync’ your bookmarks across multiple browsers, but not as well as xMarks.
BookmarkSync – Enables cross-platform bookmark syncing, but manages bookmark locations poorly, making it an impractical solution.
Classic FTP – Asks to confirm every single upload. Fugu is vastly better.
LimeWire – Even for those who happen to be using this for legal purposes, we rarely discover software that causes major sluggishness in OSX, which this product does notoriously well.
Macintosh Explorer – Fails to provide a noticeable improvement over the Finder.
PathFinder – Sluggish, bloated. Poor implementation of dual pane file manager, which doesn’t function the way it does in Windows Explorer.
Proteus – Sluggish, less features than Adium.
Camino – Performs reasonably well, but lacks basic features found in Firefox, such as Extensions.
ACDsee Mac – Efficient app, but unfortunately lacks many useful features of the Windoze equivalent.