Sunday May 31, 2020

Updated: October 8, 2020

Quick survey on what’s coming:

  1. Learning languages.
  2. Internet (casual).
  3. Internet, Wi-Fi, networks, etc.
  4. Internet (web-apps).
  5. Productivity, work- & life-hacks, workflow optimization.
  6. Writing, blogging, etc.
  7. Multimedia, video, music, etc.
  8. OS customization.
  9. Recommended developers.

Learning languages.

  1. Aard 2 (a multi-dictionary) (Android, desktop (as a Java web-app))
    Why?

    1. It’s free (hard to find a good and free dictionary platform).
    2. You can make it look as You please - to a high degree (via user style sheets).
    3. It makes learning a fun: tap on the app’s logo to learn about random dictionary item :) .
  2. Anki (memorize things) (Android, Apple, GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. I’ve been using it for years now and am convinced on its effectiveness.

read posts on this app

  1. GoldenDict (a multi-dictionary) (Android, GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?
    1. It’s free (hard to find a good and free dictionary platform).
    2. One of its features You might call contextual live definitions: double-copy a selected word and You’ll instantaneously see its definition within a pop-up window.

Internet (casual).

  1. Backup and Sync (Google Drive) (MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. Chances are well that You already have a Google account, therefore this cloud service may be a reasonable choice, allowing to easily share, backup and synchronize files between a variety of devices, out of the box. If You use, however, Your Own web-hosting service - I highly recommend an alternative solution - which is much faster than GDrive: FileRun (web app) with NextCloud (the app to use on a PC/smartphone/etc.).
  2. Brave (web browser) (Android, GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s noticeably faster and lighter than Chrome, while still Chromium-based (so You can still use Chrome themes & extensions).
    2. Ad-blocking works really well.
    3. It puts a strong emphasis on privacy,

read posts on this app

  1. Download Navi (download manager) (Android)
    Why?

    1. A very nice Free/Libre download manager :) - the only one which has managed to convince me to stick with it. What I especially like in its case is that it can resume downloads and reserve space for downloaded files.
  2. F-Droid (app store) (Android)
    Why?

    1. It does not force You to the newest version of apps (as Google Play does).
    2. There are many surprisingly neat apps out there.
    3. It has dark theme.
  3. Handy News Reader (RSS reader) (Android)
    Why?

    1. Thanks to this app You can define precisely what are You interested in.
    2. It has a special notification reserved for articles of Your choice (those which You find important enough to be notified as soon as they arrived).
    3. It has the most powerful content-cleaning mechanism I’ve ever seen (it can automatically remove not only ads, but other things like ‘related articles’, author’s bio, etc.).
    4. It allows to read full articles off-line.
  4. HFS - HTTP File Server (file sharing) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Share/access Your files remotely without a need to upload them to the cloud first.
  5. jDownloader (download manager) (GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can scan websites for things to download.
    2. You can download YouTube videos (including whole playlists).
    3. You can manage downloads on remote computers (via a dedicated website).
  6. NewPipe (YouTube alternative) (Android)
    Why?

    1. You don’t need a Google account to access YouTube.
    2. In one place You can view, listen to or download YouTube videos, SoundCloud music - and multimedia from other platforms (there are a few of them).
    3. There is no ads :) .
    4. You can install this app on a smart TV :) .
  7. NextCloud (backup and synchronization) (Android, GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. It works way faster that Google Drive/Backup and Sync.
    2. Under Android You can choose which folders should be automatically uploaded to the cloud.
  8. Pidgin (multi-protocol messenger) (GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s an incredibly light and fast app to chat with Facebook Messenger friends and many other sources (protocols).
    2. If someone is gonna to chat with You, a new message window may pop up even before that person send the message.
  9. SoulSeek (file sharing) (GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s a good sharing network where You can find mostly all kinds of music, but sky’s the limit: You can find many other things there, too (like e-books, apps, etc.).
    2. You can easily grab whole albums by right-clicking a single song, then choose Download containing folder.
  10. The Bat! (e-mail app) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This is a geek-friendly ;) extremely powerful e-mail client; a sky’s-the-limit kind of an app.
    2. Highly customizable interface.
    3. Extremely customizable message templates.
    4. Backup all the app’s settings and/or messages and restore it from a single file.
    5. You can read RSS just like another messages.
    6. You can set a random quote of Your choice within signatures. manage messages on a server without a need to download them, and many, many more.

Internet, Wi-Fi, networks, etc.

  1. Connectify (turn Your PC into a hotspot; » download) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s extremely easy to use.
    2. You can share both Internet connection and non-Internet LAN.
    3. Do not upgrade the app if You want to maintain a fast and seamless experience (read more here).
  2. FTP Server (FTP client) (Android)
    Why?

    1. To turn on a server just tap on a home screen widget :) ! (once turned on, its name changes into the server’s address) » so no need to launch the app :) .
    2. Thanks to this app finally it is possible to switch between internal and external (SD-card) storage without a need to re-establish the server on the mobile device side (to do so, just create two users within the app: each for particular storage - and set up the users also on Your desktop FTP client side).
  3. MAC Address Changer (MAC addresses) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It allows to easily change the MAC address of a Windows PC.
  4. SendEmail (send email from a command line) (GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. Thanks to this tool You can, for example, make Your PC automatically send an email every time it has been launched.
  5. Stunnel (data encryption) (Android, Windows)
    Why?

    1. This piece of software may help You with various topics. In my particular case at some point my e-mail client had not been able to access mail via SSL (GMail via The Bat! Pro 9.0.12 32-bit) - thanks to Stunnel I could make it work again, routing mail traffic through Stunnel (before it could reach GMail servers).

Stunnel is no longer available for 32-bit Windows, here You are the latest 32-bit release :) .

  1. TCPView (TCP traffic analysis) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Detailed insight into current TCP traffic of Your PC.
  2. Windows 10 Firewall Control (firewall) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Fast, straightforward and simple.
  3. WinSCP (FTP client) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It allows to drag’n’drop files between regular windows and its own. FTP never has been so convenient :) !
    2. It allows to put a desktop shortcut initiating a connection of Your choice.
    3. You can easily change file permissions.
    4. You can go pro and automate several things.
  4. Wireless Network Watcher (network scanner) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This is the most reliable and credible network scanner for Windows I’ve ever encountered - the only one which has never failed to detect any device throughout my network (both wireless and wired).

Internet (web-apps).

  1. Ajax Chat (chat platform)
    Why?

    1. It’s a lightweight chat platform, a good one if You don’t need much customization - or You are well familiar with HTML and CSS to perform it by Yourself.
  2. BlaB! AX (chat platform)
    Why?

    1. It’s very neat and free chat platform. Seems much better than Ajax Chat.
  3. Chrome Remote Desktop (remote desktop) (Android, GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. Although it’s not as convenient as TeamViewer, it’s free and pretty easy to use.
    2. The whole thing stays within Chrome, i.e., no need to install any additional app (if You are the person who connects to remote desktop, You don’t even install anything within Chrome itself, the only thing You need is to enter the code (on this website) from the person with whom You’d like to connect).
  4. FileRun (Your Own cloud)
    Why?

    1. It works significantly faster than Google Drive, therefore it’s a great relief one I’ve switched from one to the other :) .
    2. It is much easier and intuitive than Google Drive (or Backup & Sync) app.
    3. You can set up specific synchronization policy for each device.
    4. You can create multiple users with their own custom access level.
  5. Podcast Generator (podcast platform)
    Why?

    1. It’s very easy to host and manage Your podcast, with the appropriate RSS feed automatically generated.
  6. TextPattern (CMS)
    Why?

    1. It is significantly lighter, faster and more intuitive than WordPress.
    2. Friendly learning curve :) - to figure out how to design Your Own custom template from scratch is pretty easy.

Productivity, work- & life-hacks, workflow optimization.

  1. AutoHotkey (tasks automation) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This app opens an extremely wide doors for improvement of various tasks and actions You often perform. It’s hard to point out a particular example, because this is a sky’s-the-limit kind of an app - here You can learn more about several ways it helps me.
  2. Cygwin (GNU/Linux terminal under Windows) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can use many GNU/Linux terminal commands under Windows! :)
    2. You can use many of GNU/Linux apps under Windows :) .
  3. Dexpot (Exposé and virtual desktops for Windows) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s extremely customizable and powerful app which may bring a fresh look&feel into Your computer usage.
  4. Git (backup) (GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can create backup “snapshots” of Your work at each point of its development You consider worth it. Then You will be able to reverse to any such a snapshot (for a moment or for good) at any given time.
    2. It makes using GitHub much more convenient and incredibly fast - for example, You don’t need to log in into Your GitHub page every time You want to send something to Your repository. In fact, You don’t even need to open a web-browser! :)

here You are my (as less technical as possible) experience with Git, described in details

  1. GoodSync (backup) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This is the only backup app I know which has never let me down, while remaining lightweight and fast. Learn a handful of neat backup ideas here » .
  2. MacroDroid (tasks automation) (Android)
    Why?

    1. You decide what Your mobile device is capable of :) .
    2. It can make Your life much easier. There are numerous examples of harnessing it - this is definitely a sky’s-the-limit kind of an app.
  3. Meditation Assistant (track & share Your meditation sessions) (Android)
    Why?

    1. This app had helped me to turn meditation practice into habit.
  4. Microsoft To Do: List, Task & Reminder (a to-do list) (Android, iOS, MacOS, GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. There are surprisingly many things regarding which this app makes a big difference - read more here » .
  5. Unified Remote (remote control Your Windows PC) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can turn Your smartphone into a touchpad.
    2. You can directly control many things, including a whole bunch of Windows apps.
  6. Watch 4 Idle (PC idle time-related actions) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This fantastic tool allows You to ascribe dedicated actions initiated either once Your PC enters the idle time or leaves it. Here You can learn about one of many possible ideas to harness this concept.
  7. WiLMa (workspace management) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can restore Your preferred windows positioning and sizes by one keyboard shortcut (!).
    2. You can save multiple workspaces, each serving different purpose.
    3. It supports multi-monitor environment.
    4. Read posts on WiLMa » .
  8. WinSnap (screenshots) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It greatly facilitates taking screenshots: press a keyboard shortcut and screenshot will be taken and saved within the desired location.
  9. WuMgr (Update Manager for Windows) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Finally You are free to decide in details how and when Windows updates should be performed :) .

Writing, blogging, etc.

  1. Calibre (e-book conversion and management) (GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?
    1. It allows You to convert books between various formats.
    2. It is possible to highly adjust the final result by applying a set of rules to modify the book “on the fly” (e.g., remove headers and footers, as well as page numbers, etc.).
    3. You can convert books lightning-fast without even running the app - just perform a simple command via terminal (e.g., ebook-convert bookFileName.epub bookFileName.pdf) - remember to restart Your computer once You’ve installed the app, for such commands to work.

The app is no longer available for Windows 7 - the latest ver. for this OS (3.48.0) is here.

  1. LibreOffice (office suite) (GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows)
    Why?
    1. It is much lighter and faster than commercial office suites.
    2. It’s highly customizable (e.g., a few different interfaces, icon schemes; You can set Your preferred colors and fonts for many details).
    3. It is free/libre, therefore ethical.
    4. You are always provided with the “newest and greatest” version, without a need to extra pay for the update.

here You are all my current posts on LibreOffice

  1. Markor (Markdown editor) (Android)
    Why?
    1. A nice, handy, free/libre, feature-rich Markdown editor for Android :) .
    2. To switch between editing and viewing mode is very easy and convenient: just swipe left or right :) .
    3. You can use Your Own fonts!
    4. The editing mode is pretty customizable, visual-wise.

Here You can read how Markdown has changed my life as a textwriter, blogger, etc.

  1. Notepad++ (text editor) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. This text-editing app has many tricks up its sleeve, both for bloggers and programmers. Learn more about it here and here.
  2. Open Live Writer (text editor for bloggers) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Write, format and publish blog posts** within one single app** (for WordPress, Blogspot, TextPattern and more).
    2. You can use it for other purposes also, e.g., editing and/or updating the already existing websites (not necessarily blogs).
  3. PureText (paste text always in a plain form) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It may be of a great help if You work with text a lot - it allows You to ensure that the pasted text will be pasted in its plain form, regardless of formatting it has carried. Read more about it here.
  4. Sumatra PDF (i.a., PDF/ePub viewer) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It’s remarkably lightweight, handy and useful in the same time.
    2. It remembers what and where You’ve read.
    3. It allows to browse documents in tabs.
    4. It’s highly customizable, therefore You can freely set up Your preferred way for this app to look (including dark theme of Your design).
    5. You have one app for .pdf’s and e-books, instead of two separate apps as usual.
    6. It also supports other file formats, such as ePub, Mobi, XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR).

Multimedia, video, music, etc.

  1. Audacity (sound editor) (GNU/Linux, Mac, Windows)
    Why?

    1. A nice free app which allows to achieve most of common audio-editing tasks.
  2. AudioSwitch (multiple sound card management) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. You can easily switch sound cards via a simple keyboard shortcut.
    2. In addition You have nice visual effects for volume control - including this s.f.-like :) .
  3. HardDiskOgg (recording tool) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Once You add Lame encoder, the app enables You to very easily record audio directly to .mp3.
  4. KMPlayer » download (media player) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It can remember the position of listening/watching separately for each and every file.
    2. It works on older PC’s where other video players often fail to play smoothly or fail to play at all. (checked with the version listed under the “download” link above - I don’t recommend to upgrade it to the newer one)
  5. Kodi (media center) (Android, GNU/Linux, Windows)
    Why?

    1. It makes watching movies and videos on a PC a pleasant and convenient experience.
  6. LameXP (free multi-format audio file converter)
    Why?

    1. If You need to convert audio file from one format to another, this is the easiest way I know to handle it (You can do it faster than with Audacity :) ), including many details available to adjust, if You like to :) .
    2. It has a pleasant, cozy, surprisingly positive aura within :) .
  7. Mp3Gain (volume normalizer) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It allows You to set equal max. volume level for Your music collection, without loss in quality.
  8. Mp3tag (mp3 tag editor) (MacOS, WIndows)
    Why?

    1. A great tool which allows You to easily insert tags/metadata into an .mp3 file (coverarts included).
  9. Picasa (picture viewing) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Although it had been abandoned by Google, it still works well (at least under Windows 7) and I don’t know any better picture viewer than this one.
    2. It presents pics pretty nicely :) - meaning: darkening all but the picture while full-screen preview, and animated changing its scale.
    3. One if its handy features is that it allows You to locate any currently displayed pic on the disc.
  10. Screamer Radio (e-radio) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Listen to and download music and radio stations from all over the world.
  11. TAudioConverter (audio converter) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. Convert (to) audio files between various formats.
  12. WavePad (sound editor) (Windows)
    Why?

    1. It may be a good alternative to Audacity, although it isn’t free - but had served me well for a long while.
  13. Winamp 2.9 (music player) » download (Windows)
    Why?

    1. My favorite music player for decades now, given if no newer than 2.9 ver. (further releases are definitely bad, resource-wise) - see how nice it may look.
  14. Virtual Audio Cable (record music/sounds from Your computer) (MacOS, Windows)
    Why?

    1. This is a relatively easy way to record any sound from Your computer, e.g., via Audacity mentioned earlier on.

OS customization.

  1. KLCK (Android lockscreen from scratch) (Android)
    Why?

    1. Posts on this app »
  2. KLWP (Android UI from scratch) (Android)
    Why?

    1. Re-invent Your Android experience. Explore the examples here.
  1. NirSoft
    Why?

    1. Small, fast, portable, and highly useful.
  2. NTWind Software
    Why?

    1. It puts a special emphasis on usability and feature set.
  3. LeeLu Soft
    Why?

    1. It delivers high quality freeware utilities, system tweaks and freeware arcade games.
  4. WinTools
    Why?

    1. A bunch of highly useful, making Your life easier, Windows-related tools.
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