On Computing

Spring Apps to Consider …

Joel Howell

Article by Joel Howell Newsletter Editorial Board

Email: jwh3@mindspring.com
Posted March 21, 2018

With thanks to Kim Komando, the internet, and a few of the usual suspects, here are a few websites you may not have heard of but should know.

JustWatch View Site

JustWatch can be accessed via computer or as an Android app from Google, lets you easily find out where to watch your favorite movies & TV shows in the United States. Choose your favorite streaming providers and see what's new, what provider a show is on, and whether it's free or there is a fee. Filter by genre and release year to find the perfect movie to stream.

F-Secure Router Checker View Site

One of the most overlooked vulnerabilities is your router. Hackers can break into this device as easily as any other, a process called "DNS hijacking," and most victims wouldn't think to check whether it's secure.

F-Secure Router Checker offers a free service that's specially designed to scan your router for break-ins. You may be surprised how easy and fast this diagnostic is; just click the "Check Your Router" icon, and you'll receive a near-instantaneous report.

Hemingway Editor View Site

Hemingway Editor is designed to mimic his minimalist prose. Copy and paste a few paragraphs into the site's text box, and the editor will outline problematic parts such as long sentences, obscure words, and confusing passages. The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red. You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Mouse over them for hints.

Grammarly View Site

Grammarly is billed as the world's best grammar and spell checker. It's free and can even be added to Firefox. You can paste a document and have it checked at the Grammarly site. The app and browser extension works across programs and platforms, pointing out your split infinitives in emails, word processors, websites, or on social media.

IFTTT View Site

IFTTT is a free way to get all your apps and devices talking to each other. Not everything on the internet plays nice, so this app is on a mission to build a more connected world. IFTTT is short for "if this then that," and is designed to help different devices and services talk to each other. These scripts (called "recipes" by IFTTT) can make your gadgets do things as in a chain of events. Want your smart lights to blink three times when you are tagged in a photo on Facebook? How about getting a notification on your phone when your favorite artist tweets about tickets to a concert? IFTTT can automate web-based tasks, and you can set up "triggers" and "applets" to set certain behaviors in motion.

Free File Convert View Site

Many people struggle to convert a Word document into a PDF. Or they have a WAV file that they need to condense into an MP3. What about a PNG that you want in JPG form, an XLS to CSV, or EPUB to MOBI? Freefileconvert.com is designed to handle all sorts of file format conversions, from one type to another type and back again. Simply upload your file, decide the output format, click "Convert," and the website will do the rest. This is a real godsend if you work with lots of different media.

Clean Email View Site

If you haven't achieved the Zen-like "zero inbox" status, there is a site that can help. If you apply Clean Email to your inbox, you will get a detailed report, with sophisticated analysis. You learn about the senders, your response rate, and which emails can be safely eliminated. Clean Email is free for the first thousand emails, after which it has a monthly subscription fee. You can also use it across multiple accounts.

Print Friendly View Site

Finally, one site discussed here before is worth repeating. You would think, after all these decades, it would be easier to print pages off the internet. But printers and websites have never been on good terms, and it can be difficult to get a clean printout of just what's relevant.

Print Friendly takes the headache out of this process: Just paste a URL into the field and hit "Preview." Print Friendly trims away a lot of the extraneous information and gives you the meat of the page, and you can review your document as a PDF before hitting "Print." The service works better for some websites than for others, but it's shockingly effective, especially for software that's free.

Questions or comments? Drop me an email: jwh3@mindspring.com