My gift to you! Enjoy these sample chapters from Beth Z’s first book, “Upgrade to Free: The Best Free and Low-Cost Online Tools and Apps.”
When you’re traveling in a foreign country, reading signs and printed material can be tough, even if you have a basic understanding of the language. That’s why I love the Word Lens app. You just launch the app on your iOS or Android device, look at the foreign text through the viewfinder, and presto! The words change into a language you can read right before your eyes.
It’s five bucks for every language pack — well worth it.
It’s awesome (and fun) to watch!
I’m infatuated with drag-and-drop online and app tools that help you create posters and more without having the software.
For an instant poster, try the Phoster app (iOS), which lets you add your own pictures and text to their templates for printable and shareable posters for events, ads and more. As of this writing, their templates were pretty rigid, but they can be great for a quick sign. You can also use Checkthis, a site and app that create “social posters” you can share online. I also like an app called Over, which lets you artfully arrange words over a picture for a modern poster look.
A hidden online template resource comes from printing sites, such as Brother Creative Center, Tweak, MyCreativeShop and the ubiquitous Vistaprint. All have a plethora of designs you can personalize online. Brother offers the service for free in hopes that you’ll use a Brother printer to print it. Tweak is free, but the PDF download has very robust and obtrusive watermarks, so the only thing you can do with it is print it through Tweak.
Like Tweak, Vistaprint lets you design for free and download a watermarked PDF (for which they charge you $1.99). I’d definitely go for Tweak over Vistaprint since the latter’s designs are incredibly generic and definitely not a step up for your professional look. MyCreativeShop also wants you to print with them, but they charge 20 bucks a month for their design software so you can download high-quality documents and use them how you wish. Both include access to a large library of stock photography, which helps you avoid the cost of buying images.
Are you one of those people who just has to keep your password written down? PasswordCard can take that scrap of paper to a whole other level of security with a super secret password system.
Both the site and the mobile apps (Android and iOS) generate a complex card with random password characters. To create a password, you simply choose a row then a column to start, and then count the number of characters you need.
Let’s say I needed a 10-character password for Facebook. I’d make up some kind of mnemonic phrase such as, “Facebook says it’s gonna rain March 3″ so I can remember to look in the umbrella column and the third row. Then I’d count 10 characters over, and there’s my password, accessible from the printed card or electronically via the app or website.
To get the true picture of PasswordCard, simply watch this short video.
Do you sometimes find yourself in need of a quick headline or word graphic with a little flair, but you don’t necessarily want to download a new font that you’ll only use once?
Don’t worry! It’s Jing to the rescue again. My favorite solution for this challenge is to visit Dafont.com, a repository of approximately a kabillion fonts. Then I enter the phrase I want to capture in a graphic, then use Jing to cut it out and save. Then I have a graphic I can use in a Word doc, on the web or anywhere else. This also solves the challenge of using an unusual font that would convert into something vanilla like Arial if you shared it in a document that others open.
Another hint… if you want more than a black-and-white graphic, go ahead and download the font, format the word the way you want, then do the screencapture from your own document. And if you want to do more with screencaptures, try Snagit, Jing’s awesome big brother.
Watch this 64-second video to see how it’s done!
We’ve been working hard around the site lately, adding cool features to make the site more helpful and efficient. Take a look at the newest features and how we use them.
Is your Gmail inbox a big mess? Use these apps and addons to take control and get through your emails.
I stood in line behind 750k people waiting for my turn to install the Mailbox App on my iPhone. Was it worth the wait? Watch this Deep Dive video for a full review.