Cool Tools

Over and over again I read questions in forums and Facebook groups, asking “What do you use for…” or “Can anyone recommend free/cheap software to…”

I thought I would compile a little list of tools that I use for various things, most free, some cheap, some not so cheap… Anyway here goes:

 

Downloading YouTube Videos

I’ve tried so many different options, ranging from web based things like keepvid etc to extensions/plugins for browsers, but for the past 2+ years, this has been the one piece of software that I keep coming back to for this task: 4K Video Downloader. To be honest, i’m using it while I type this post!

It’s a free app for OSx, Windows or Linux. I’ve only used the OSx version, but i’m super happy with it. All you do is paste a YouTube URL, choose the quality and hit download. You even have the option (that I often use) to download just the audio…
quality_choice

You can even download playlists (up to 25 videos unless you activate the software). If you are looking to download from Vimeo, SoundCloud, Flickr, Facebook or DailyMotion, It does these too.

The app doesn’t install any additional software aka malware! it just has a few minor restrictions and some non-obtrusive ads, that make it a flippen amazing free option IMHO! Please check it out…

 

Recording/Editing Audio

If i’m completely honest, I don’t like Audacity, BUT… i’m convinced, over and over, that it is the best option for people looking for a free cross-platform 2-track recorder and editor. This is pure speculation, but based on the posts that I often read, this is the ‘industry-standard’ recorder and editor for small churches world wide.

They have recently fixed the biggest issue that I had with Audacity, and that is the lack of visual feedback from plugins i.e. the usual plugin GUI that you see in most other DAW’s is replaced by generic ‘windows’ like text boxes and sliders. Since v 2.1 they have now added what they call “Real-Time Preview for effects” which means, YAY! that you now see the plugin GUI, and can watch the meters etc in action.

If all you need to do is record a mono/stereo source using the built-in audio input on your computer, trim the start and end, boost the levels and export to mp3 then please do check out Audacity. and hey… if you use it a lot, please consider making a donation to them, free software only gets good if the developers can actually spend some real time on it!

 

Task Management

I’ve used stuff like wrike, slack etc, shared google docs/sheets etc, and they all have their merits, but one task management tool that we’ve been using for our small design team, is Trello. I’m sure we don’t even delve into half of what its actually capable of, but I’ve found it extremely helpful in managing requests, sharing draft designs and keeping track of comments/change requests for the design team. Check it out, its free!

trello

OneDrive

So duh, you and I probably already use dropbox, google drive, iCloud and/or Adobe Creative Cloud for cloud storage, in-fact If you are like me, you have 3 google drive accounts! So, why on earth would you want to use another!? Well I actually can’t tell you that, but I can tell you why I use OneDrive:

onedrive

Quite simply, I use OneDrive for Photo backups. I know that they only offer a limited amount of space, and photos are huge lets be honest, BUT. Unlike flickr where yes I can store virtually unlimited photos, I have to upload them, and set the privacy to keep my special family photos off the www MANUALLY! With OneDrive, I have an app on my smartphone that automatically uploads all my photos as soon as I connect to WiFi (So i don’t kill my cellular data plan after one visit to the pool with the kids!) I also have an app, like dropbox/google drive that sync’s these photo’s on my laptop, so voila, without even thinking, I have a cloud backup, and local offline versions of my smartphone pics without even thinking about it! Check it out, or comment below on how you achieve this with picasa or flickr or something like that!!!

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