Jeff Thomas Technology

Tech for Educators

53 Crazy Useful Services & Apps You Can Get for Free Online | Maximum PC

Posted by Jeffrey Thomas on December 15, 2009

There’s an untold bounty of awesome available on the Internet, and it’s all free, free, FREE! From applications and games to movie tickets and mattresses, we’ll show you what’s safe and steer you away from the unsavory

As inhabitants of the Internet, we’ve become so inured to the hyperbolic advertising and questionable offers that we miss the incredible values that are ripe for the taking. If you know where to look, you can find all sorts of awesome stuff available for the low, low cost of $0. Whether you’re looking for a great image management app, free AAA games, or the proverbial free lunch, we can tell you where to find it. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also show you three things that seem free, but really aren’t.

Services

Get Free Financial Advice

We know how it is. You want to get your finances in order but don’t know where to start. Well, try starting at Mint.com, a free, easy-to-use, and secure financial-planning website.

Mint.com offers all kinds of useful tools to help you track your spending, create a budget, pay down your debt, and save for your golden years. By analyzing all your banking, credit card, and investment account information, as well as your spending habits, Mint.com makes informed suggestions about how you can get more from your moolah.

Host a Hassle-Free Virtual Private Network

Need to access files on your home computer while you’re at the office? A virtual private network will give you a direct link to your desktop over the Internet, and the easiest way to set one up is with Hamachi (https://secure.logmein.com/products/hamachi2/). With almost no configuration required, Hamachi will connect two computers as if they were on the same local network, even if they are behind NAT firewalls. Use Hamachi to facilitate secure remote desktop sessions or even host LAN multiplayer games over the Internet.

Store and Share Your Files Online

We’ve touted this web storage service before, but Dropbox (www.getdropbox.com) deserves another mention. Its seamless synchronization and file-history tracking features raise it above other free cloud storage services. A Dropbox account entitles you to 2GB of free cloud storage for your files, which can be accessed on a web browser or with the cross-platform Dropbox client (now available as an iPhone app). Tip: Expand your free account’s capacity to up to 3GB by referring the service to new users.

Blog with the Best of Them

Microblogging has become all the rage these days, making our lives accessible to anyone who cares. But Twitter’s 140 character limit leaves us desiring far more room to rant. Fortunately, full-fledged blogging services like Tumblr (www.tumblr.com), Blogger (www.blogger.com), TypePad (www.typepad.com), and WordPress (www.wordpress.org) are free and easy to set up, so you can share your photos and daily goings on with the rest of the world, gratis.

Dial Directory Assistance without Paying a Cent

Remember when calling 411 for directory lookups was actually free? We do, and we want those halcyon days back. Both Google and Microsoft have set up toll-free numbers that provide directory assistance, each with unique features. 1-800-GOOG-411 will let you look up the address and phone number for businesses as well as nearby intersections (it can also text you a link to an online map). Microsoft’s 1-800-BING-411 offers similar directory information, but will also dictate turn-by-turn directions from wherever you are and provide local weather condition updates.

Claim Your Complimentary Annual Credit Report

Under federal law, you can claim one free credit report per year, but many people have been scammed into paying for credit reports under this entitlement. The only website that actually provides your one free report is Annualcreditreport.com. You’ll get a report from three nationwide agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Alternatively, you can call 1-977-322-8228 to request the service.

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