Recommended Tools for A Digital World
So Many “Standards” to Choose from….
File formats vary wildly and their ability to be easily read is spotty, at best. Due to the nature of computers, each file sent can only be read IFF (If and Only IF) your friends or co-workers have installed the very same software that you have installed. This is so bad that files created by new versions of Microsoft Office are often unreadable by older versions of that same software!
That said, there is one common format that nearly ALL computers can read; Adobe’s Portable Document Format… aka. PDF. Publishing shared documents using this format avoids all the frustrations caused by the wide variety of computer formats, and ensures that everyone can read your files.
- Any file that can be printed can be converted to PDF by “printing” to a FREE imaginary printer called PrimoPDF. Once this software installed, it looks and acts just like a printer BUT (rather than printing to paper) it saves a PDF copy of your file to whatever location you specify. — By the way… Did I mention that these are FREE ??!??
- To read PDF files, make sure that your computer (or smart phone) has installed a copy of Adobe’s FREE “reader” software. This will be unique to each Computer and Operating system but is available for ALL major Computer/OS combinations.
- Download PrimoPDF HERE
A Free Office Suite that Co-Exists Politely with Microsoft?
If you’re tired of paying high prices for traditional “Office” Software or use an OS other than Apple OSX or Windows, but need tools which will allow you to interact with Microsoft Office files, consider trying OpenOffice from the Apache Foundation. For example, OpenOffice will read most Microsoft Office files… and converting an OpenOffice file to Microsoft format is as simple as using “Save As.”
With a 20+ year lineage from Sun Microsystems, this Suite is tried and true, has a familiar look and feel, reads all major competitors’ files, is supported by volunteers worldwide, and is available to you at no cost. Independent reviewers around the world have recommended the product!
OpenOffice Suite includes…
- Writer a word processor you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
- Calc a powerful spreadsheet with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
- Impress the fastest, most powerful way to create effective multimedia presentations.
- Draw lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
- Base lets you manipulate databases seamlessly. Create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports, all from within Apache OpenOffice.
- Math lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.
- Apache OpenOffice is free software:
- You may download Apache OpenOffice completely free of any license fees…
- Install it on as many PCs as you like…
- Use it for any purpose – private, educational, government and public administration, commercial…
- Pass along copies, free of charge, to family, friends, students, employees, etc.
- Download OpenOffice HERE
A Place for Private Conversations & File/Calendar Sharing…
Nearly every Organization Needs the Ability to have Bulletin-Board-style Conversations, Shared Documents, and a Communal Calendar….
That ability to have bulletin-board style conversations, shared documents, and a shared calendar have made Facebook enormously popular. Unfortunately, Facebook is notorious for lack of privacy and for marketing based upon anything a user posts to the site. As a result, I strongly recommend MeWe as an alternative!
MeWe is totally Free and is the world’s 1st private communication network. They describe themselves as “turning the table on Facebook and other social media companies with a revolutionary service that emphasizes privacy and social sharing where people can be their true, uncensored selves. No spying. No cookies. No data sharing.”
Functionality is very similar to Facebook, in that it supports group and one-on-one conversations, and the posting of shared documents (including a Personal Calendar and/or Group Calendar, pictures, videos, a wide variety of documents, and even voice messages).
What is different is that (unlike Facebook) MeWe allows you to share online your way, by your rules. You own your content… You control your interactions… and You even tailor your own level of privacy, with both safety, and simplicity. Unlike Facebook, they do not collect, monitor, or “share” your information!
Access MeWe HERE
A Simple, Free Way to Create A Website…
Although WordPress was originally set up as BLog (short for Web Log) site, but has also become one of the best Free tools to create and maintain a simple, public website. With a straightforward point-and-click interface which behaves much like a Word Processor program, the tools are simple for a novice user, while delivering a lot of power and control for a “power user.”
Including a free mobile app for editing your site, a basic WordPress site is free. However, a variety of upgrades may be contracted for. For example, if desired (for a small, yearly fee), the user can arrange for a private Domain address for their site, rather than a WordPress web-address. (Hint: When you sign up for a free account, it will be called a BLog Site. Don’t be concerned; that’s nothing but a variety of website!) The only real expectations of WordPress are that you follow their rules of politeness and courtesy, and that you regularly update your site.
[As a simple example of what is possible, this site was created and is maintained via WordPress.]
Access WordPress HERE
Another Good Website Option… Not Free, but Very Affordable and Commercial-Grade…
Over the past several years, I have successfully and happily used Yahoo! Small Business services to create and maintain websites for two different churches. Less than $6/month provides low cost, reliable Web Hosting with your own domain name, online Site Design tools, 100GB of storage, and even up to 250 email addresses. High-end, commercial capabilities are also available, for just a few more dollars.
Yahoo! Web Hosting is my Favorite for a Business Website… ‘Reliable, Easy to Use, and It Just Plain Works!
Access Yahoo! Web Hosting HERE
Instant Messaging: Multi-Platform, Private, and Secure..
Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is a cloud-based messenger with seamless sync. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc) of up to 1,5 GB each.
Telegram has apps for iOS (6 and above), Android (2.2 and up) and Windows Phone. You can also use Telegram’s web version or install desktop apps for either Windows, OSX and Linux.
Telegram’s special secret chats use end-to-end encryption, leave no trace on our servers, support self-destructing messages and don’t allow forwarding. About the only thing secret chats don’t have is cloud storage — they can only be accessed on their devices of origin.