7 May 2008

List of useful tools and websites

Posted by walterheck

Since I don’t have much to report about my life at the moment, I decided to compile a list of all the programs and websites I use in my everyday life. Jump to find my list of 35 websites and programs that will make your life so much easier. I have tried to keep it as international as possible, so I left out some useful dutch websites.


  1. Bitdefender: Antivirus and firewall
    Although BitDefender is not free, I have paid the small license fee to be protected for 2 years. In these times where virusses and hackers are flourishing, it’s good to know you are safe from these attacks.
  2. Keepass: Keep a list of your passwords in a secure place – Free!
    Do you ever go to a website and know you have signed up there before but cannot remember teh password or user name you used? Keep track of your passwords with this tool and that will never happen again. Your passwords are heavily encrypted, so even if someone manages to break into your computer (or one of yoru family members or friends is behind your computer) you don’t have to wrry about a thing.

Browsing the web

  1. Firefox: the “better and safer browser” – Free!
    This webbrowser is a bit more secure than internet explorer. Not because it has less security leaks (the number is more or less equal to Internet Explorer) but because most hackers target internet explorer users.
  2. FlashGet: Speed up downloading and organise your downloads easily – Free!
  3. FlashGot: FireFix addon for FlashGet – Free!
    Use this little addon for FireFox to connect it to FlashGet
  4. Filezilla: Simple but powerful FTP Client


  1. LunarPages: Huge amounts of cheap webspace, easy to set up for dummies
    Anyone can set up a website with this provider with two clicks. You need no knowlegde of websites to do it. You can set up a photo gallery, blog, forum, webstore or many other types of websites with just a few clicks.
    1500GB storage space, try using all of that!
    Disclaimer: if you sign up for this webspace, please use this link here as it will earn me some money. I am however not recommending them because of that. I am recommending them because it is a great deal and very easy to use for your personal or business needs. I have a two year contract with them, running this and a few other website and keeping all my pictures there for only 4 EU/month. And it is even cheaper now (thank you devaluating USD 🙂 )

Digital camera / photo management

  1. Picasa: copy pictures from your camera and keep them organised – Free!

Travel related

  1. Couchsurfing: Find friends, intercultural experiences and free places to sleep at home or on the road – Free!
  2. Google Earth: Check out the other side of the planet without leaving your computer – Free!
  3. Google translate: Translate what you don’t understand – Free!
  4. Lonely Planet Forum: ask questions to experienced travelers – Free!
    Many questions that would take you days to research online (or you would maybe never find answers to), will be answered here while you wait by experienced travelers or even locals. Very valuable to prepare for a trip
  5. Google maps: check out maps and route descriptions anywhere in the world – Free!
    To search for a route from point A to point B, use a search like this: “San Francisco to Homer, Alaska”. Works perfectly in many countries in the world (thoguh not all of them). Try drag and dropping the route to force it to go through specific towns or use specific roads

PIM: Personal Information management

  1. GMail: Organise, send and receive all your email – Free!
    GMail is google’s solution for email. I find it has several big advantages I haven’t seen in other webmail clients: A lot of space, completely free, possibility to receive your mail from other POP-accounts in your GMail inbox, possibility to receive your email in Outlook or other offline clients through POP or IMAP and a superior search function to search through all your email. Also, your email will always stay online, even after you download it to your local computer in Outlook. This way, you always have a secure backup of all your mail.
    Some of you may be using the email address from your internet provider. I highly discourage that. If you ever switch providers (e.g. you move, you find a better deal or your provider goes bankrupt) you will lose that address and will have to go through all the trouble of telling all your friends to update their address book.
  2. Google docs: create documents, spreadsheets and presentations – Free!
    Forget buying that expensive Microsoft Office. Forget slowing down your computer with it. For most users, the functionality of Google documents is more than enough. In addition, you will never lose a document again since they are all stored online.
  3. Google Calendar: Keep track of your appointments online – Free!
    Includes support for sending you a free text message on your mobile phone to remind you of an upcoming appointment
  4. Google Calendar sync: Keep your online calendar in sync with Outlook – Free!

Instant messaging

  1. Trillian: use MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, AOL instant messenger and Jabber all from one program
    Still in alpha stage, but already the most powerful tool to connect to all your instant messenger networks
  2. Skype: make free or low-cost calls all over the world – Free!
    The best tool to keep in touch with your friends from other countries. Skype to Skype calls are free, and skype to normal phone calls are very cheap.
  3. Meebo: MSN, ICQ, Google Talk from any computer in the world – Free!
    When you are at an internet cafe or at work, use this website to connect to MSN or any other Instant Messenger network without any problem.

Social networks

  1. Facebook: keep in touch with international friends – Free!
  2. LinkedIn: keep track of old colleagues and new business/job opportunities – Free!
    As a professional, this network can help you build a very nice resumé complete with recommendations. One of teh more serious social networks.

Music, movies and TV-shows

  1. Last.FM: keep track of the music you listen to and listen to free music online – Free!
  2. TVShack: watch TV shows online – Free!
    Forget downloading TV shows or movies to your computer, just watch them from your webbrowser. Downside: low quality
  3. Foxytunes: use your favorite music player from inside FireFox – Free!

Wasting time

  1. StumbleUpon: go to random websites based on your interests with the click of a button (WARNING: prepare to waste days of your time) – Free!
  2. Kongregate: Play hundreds of minigames online – Free!
  3. Imperia online: Massive webbased multiplayer game in realtime – Free!

Don’t have a clue what torrents are? Read a beginner’s guide about torrents here

  1. uTorrent: the easy, powerful torrent client – Free!
  2. EZTV: all the popular tv shows as soon as they air on TV – Free!
    Try using the RSS feed from this site inside uTorrent to download the newest Lost episode automatically when it becomes available.
  3. Torrentscan: search torrents from multiple different search engines from one location – Free!


  1. FeedDemon: read all your favourite blogs using RSS in one program – Free!
    Read about what RSS is here and why it can save you so much time (and don’t forget to sign up for the RSS-feed for this website!)
  2. BeyondCompare: compare files and folders for differences
    Mainly very useful fro programmers, but I have used it to compare folders many times, so regular users can benefit from this tool as well!
  3. 7-Zip: unpack almost any archive – Free!
    Forget about WinZip. This tool is free and you can use many more archive formats
  4. Lyrics plugin: lyrics in WinAmp and Windows Media Player – Free!
  5. ClipX: keep a history of your clipboard – Free!
    Especially as a programmer this thing is a life saver. But I guess any user can benefit froim this nifty little tool.
  6. RetailMeNot: find discounts while shopping online – Free!
    Not all coupon codes are useful, but it can get you a nice discount sometimes.
  7. XP Codec pack: never have problems playing movies on your computer again – Free!
    Includes Media Player Classic, the easy to use video player.

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One Response to “List of useful tools and websites”

  1. Woah! You have no time to write about your life, but you have time to complie this huge list?
    Nice, though, we use most of the same stuff. I didn’t know about TV Shack!

    – Duke