Nowadays, everyone uses the Internet for everything, from ordering food to checking their mail to reading the news, and even working. Society is relying on the Internet, and the Internet delivers. It has many free and accessible tools anyone can utilize to make their life easier.
If you’re a frequent internet user, below are some tools and ideas you may find useful- for both internet and internet-related activities.
Free and Open Source Software
Let’s face it. A lot of the software that is advertised isn’t exactly cheap. Especially for graphics design, the software needed in the industry is either offered at a premium or sold at ridiculous prices. Thankfully, there are free and open-source alternatives to many software. There is Shotcut for video editing, GIMP for photo manipulation, Audacity for music production, and many more. If you need a program for a specific purpose, you can look for a cheaper or even free alternative, and you won’t have to pirate programs anymore.
Royalty-free Creative Content
Whether you’re looking for creative content because of your business or hobbies, having access to free ones is pretty nifty. Looking for background music for your vlog or marketing ad, looking for good visual art for your presentation, or even inserting video clips to your project are all possible through Creative Commons content. This is very useful for startup company owners who do not have the budget yet to commission professionals, freelancers looking into advertising their own work, and even those working on a project that needs generic creative content.
Did you know you can rent mailboxes? While renting PO boxes can be relatively common in your area, many people fail to realize that they can route their online orders to different receiving addresses instead. This ensures that all the things you buy online are delivered to a secure location that will inform you of their arrival. For digital nomads, or just about anyone frequently traveling, having a receiving address not tied to where you currently are can tremendously help. Consider having one, especially for orders you don’t want to suddenly go missing from your front door.
Virtual Private Network
Ads about virtual private networks, or VPNs, suddenly popped into everyone’s social media feed. In simple terms, VPNs are a protection layer that prevents outsiders from looking into what you’re doing on the internet. These ‘outsiders’ can either be malicious hackers, businesses collecting customer data, or even government agencies. Using a VPN is almost a must-have nowadays, what with all the talk about privacy breaches. Another interesting effect of VPNs is that it allows you to bypass geographical limitations of websites, letting you access websites from different countries (which helps in watching series not available in your region).
Cloud Storage Services
Data storage is useful for both personal and professional use. While having a physical hard drive should be your first option, having cloud storage for backup is now the go-to for many professionals. This is particularly useful if you have a business that requires you to store a lot of information and files, like customer databases and graphics files. Having your files stored on the cloud is convenient too because you can basically access them anywhere you are, anytime you want, as long as you’re connected online.
Linux for Older Computers
Laptops and computers from ten or even five years ago are often branded as ‘obsolete’ since technology rapidly evolves. Often, to the point of rendering older hardware once branded as strong as weak. However, this shouldn’t always be the case. Your computer’s hardware might still be perfectly serviceable- if it’s using a different OS, that is. Linux is an alternative OS that provides a fully functional desktop environment much like Windows or Mac but in a free and open-source format.
There are many different kinds of Linux OS (affectionately called by users as ‘distros’), each with a different purpose. Many of these kinds work particularly well with older software, reviving computers from even ten years ago. Think about trying it out if you want to breathe life into old hardware.
The Internet is a powerful tool that a lot of us are still not fully immersed in. We can do many wonderful things with the help of the Internet, and we need to be creative in utilizing it. In contrast, though, we should still be careful and informed of the potential dangers that lurk online. In the end, we all need to be properly educated in technology for us to take full advantage of it.