Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free stuff I use

I work in computers. So there are some things I use that have a free version or that are low priced.
Today I wanted to talk to you about some of those free things that some people are still amazed when I talk about them:
1) Google Voice: Free calls to any US number PLUS your own US number in almost any area code so you can also receive calls. Drawback? you have to have your computer on or get a complex setup like the one I have at (which is free up to 2000 minutes a month)
2) Dropbox: If you have important documents on your computer you have to know something: One day your computer disk will fail and you will loose all of that. Hopefully it will fail in a recoverable way, but most probably the vibrations and heat will make it die suddenly and definitely. You could pay an online backup service $50 a year or so (Carbonite) to back up all stuff on your computer. However if you worry mostly about documents, pictures and the like you can use the free version of Dropbox. They give you 2gb of free storage on their servers.
As an added bonus if you install the same software on other computers and use your own account, your documents will be constantly syncronized among all of them. So if you have a laptop, a desktop a little netbook or even an ipad or iphone, once you put a document on your Dropbox folder it will be available from all the other devices or from their website. and you can even share it with friends (vacation picture or the like). I have to say I don't know how I kept my sanity without it before.
If you do decide to use Dropbox please put a comment below so I can give you 250mb of extra storage as a referral bonus to you.
3) Portable Apps. I hate installing software on my computer. Some I just HAVE to install but given I choice I prefer software that just runs right away without adding menus and stuff to my computer and auto launching when I power it up. In comes Portable apps. These cool applications of all kinds only need to be put in a USB memory stick and you can use them on any windows computers. Or for a double punch you could put them on your Dropbox folder and have them quickly available wherever you go without even having a USB to carry!
4) : For inspirational stuff that makes you feel like we still have a chance to make this a better place I urge to you watch the presentation on It's amazing to see the things they have to offer. You might not agree with Bill Gates or Al Gore on their beliefs of how to better the planet, but they are just two of thousands of presenters that can open your eyes to wonderful things. I can't recommend it enough as an inspirational/motivational site.
5) Twitter: I use it to track newssites like cnn or local newspapers. It's so easy and quick to read that in a few minutes I get a general picture of the news of the day without ads, popups and all the extra stuff that bogs one down. IF I do want to read further I can click on the link and read the whole report.  Succint and to the point. gotta like how a 140 character limit draws out the creative writing.
6) TeamViewer. If you ever wanted to go back to check something on your other computer located far away, you need teamviewer. Allows you to remote control all computers that have it installed, also transfer files to and from it. If you provide computer support or want to receive it, it's a really simple tool to avoid having to move to get the support needed.
Let me know if you liked any of these. They are all free and they all have great value to me and I hope to you as well.


wolfie_cr said...

OpenVPN, one of the best pieces of software that I have ever seen, I don't know if you do linux but if you don't ...this software alone is good enough motivation to start, I got in here a long time ago via lagringa's blog

glad to see you are back into blogging and even better to see your advances in paying off your debt.


La Gringa said...

OpenOffice, which does pretty much everything that MS Office does and is completely free. You need one extra step to save a document as a MS Office document but well worth it to me. I don't use pirated software and I don't want to pay for MS Office. It's available at and I find it much more intuitive than Office which has gotten ridiculously complicated.

I'm also glad to see you blogging again. I always enjoy your articles (via email subscription) even when I don't get around to commenting.

Have a Feliz Navidad!

PS: Hi Wolfie! I've missed you.