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5 Free Apps I Love

As my friends know, I’m a huge geek when it comes to apps. I use tons of them, and I’m always on the hunt for the next cool thing. Another favorite pass-time is passing on good information, so here goes:

duolingo1)  Duolingo is a game that will teach you a new language in a really easy-to-learn way, right from your Android, iPhone or tablet. It’s proven to be more effective than learning a language at any college, and it’s free.


2)  Next Issue is basically *all* the mainstream magazines in one place (about 100 titles), plus article interactivity, plus a about 20 back-issues of each title. I cancelled all my paper magazine subscriptions and subscribed to Next Issue instead. Digital magazines are much more fun to look at and interact with, and save paper/rainforest/animals habitats/pollution/etc. You can get it on your tablets (iPad, Windows and Android), iPhone and Windows 8 computers. Oh yeah, and it’s free for 30 days 🙂


3)  Yesware and Streak are add-ons for Gmail*. They both work in Firefox and Google Chrome (that’s a web browser, like Internet Explorer, but way better) as a plugin that lets you use email text templates and track leads. Both also allow you to see exactly when an email was read, how many times it was opened, where in the world it was read from (but I much prefer Streak’s version of this function).

The differences? Streak is free and, unlike Yesware, it allows you to schedule when your email gets sent, and has a simple interface where you can group and sort emails in order to very easily organize your InBox. Yesware is free to track 100 emails a month, but above that they have reasonably priced paid plans. Yesware is also available on your phone, links up with a bunch of big-name CRM’s and (this is a must for forgetful people like me) allows you to set reminders to get back to people / follow up.

* BTW – if you’re not using Gmail, Google Calendar (you can share and collaborate on your calendars) & Google Drive (get it for desktop too and backup your stuff, or use it to collaborate on documents from your browser or your phone). I highly recommend that you start using these tout de suite!


4)  Fotor is my favorite photo editing software, and it’s also free. It comes on Android, iPhone, web browser-based, Mac and Windows and lets you apply tilt-shift (where you make part of the photo blurry), adjust color and contrast, apply cool effects and borders, make collages, crop, and basically transform a dull photo into something really cool and share-worthy in a few seconds. From slapping on a Instagram-esque filter (with a bar to adjust intensity – nice touch) to tilt-shifting, the wonderfully intuitive tool can make dramatic improvements to any photo with a few unfussy button presses. The only thing it can’t do is remove zits and stray hairs, for which you’ll need Photoshop Elements (which is a far cheaper, easier to use, and yet still fully featured version of the “full-size” Photoshop.) Oh, and only the web-based version (just upload your pic to their website to edit) allows you to add text.


5)  ZocDoc is how I find and book my doctors. You can search by your insurance type, location and what kind of doctor you’re looking for. They show you docs that fit your criteria, how far they are from you, patient ratings broken down by time waiting, bedside manner, etc., where the doc went to school, their bio and credentials, etc. and you can book quickly through the app. They even let you rate them after, so if docs know you booked through ZocDoc, they’re less likely to make you wait an hour in the waiting room.

Please do me a favor and tell me: What’s your favorite app?

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