“What should I load on my new Windows computer?” asked a friend, knowing I would have an opinion. I started to make a list, then realized, I could do one better. In this blog entry, find my list of preferred

  • Windows tools,
  • Browser extensions, and
  • iOS smartphone apps.

Feel free to post @mguhlin@zirk.us if you have some suggestions of your own.

A Bit of Nostalgia

When I look at this list, I’m taken back in time to my Apple //e days, when I had a few 5 and a quarter floppy disks loaded with some of my favorite tools. I took to calling those miscellaneous utilities “MISCUT” for short. The name stuck, and I grew up with 3.5 inch disks, and USB drives named MISCUT. I even had different numbers assigned to MISCUT media, denoting their function.

At 13 years of age, I had come up with a simple way to organize the world around me. Funny that at 55+ years of age, I’m still relying on that system.

Windows Programs

Tool Description
7-Zip File archiver with high compression ratio
ATube Catcher Download videos and convert to variety of formats
Audacity Free, open-source audio editor and recorder
Canva App Graphic design and visual content creation platform
Free Commander Free version of a professional file manager
HandBrake Free, open-source video converter
Hemingway App Writing analyzer app for improving writing clarity
IrfanView Fast and compact image viewer and editor
Lightshot Image and screenshot capture and annotation tool
MP4 Splitter Simple tool for splitting videos quickly and easily
Mullvad VPN VPN service for secure browsing on multiple platforms
OBS Studio Free, open-source screencasting and streaming software
OnlyOffice Free, open-source office suite for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
OpenShot Video Editor Free, open-source video editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux
ParanoiaWorks Secure Space Encryptor File and text encryption tool with steganography feature
PDF Reader by Xodo Free PDF editor, organizer, and annotator
PDFSam Visual Powerful tool for editing and modifying PDF files
Shotcut Video Editor Free, open-source video editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Signal Private messaging app with end-to-end encryption
Sumatra PDF Free, open-source PDF viewer
Thorium Open-source, customizable web browser

Web Browser Extensions

Tool Description
Bitwarden Password Manager Make password management easy
CSV Editor View, Upload, Edit Comma-Separated Values (CSV) files in the browser
Custom Scrollbars Get colorful scrollbars that are wider and bigger than usual scroll bars on your browser
Fireshot Take screenshots of any webpage, including ones you have to scroll down and output in any format, like PDF, PNG, whatever
Lightshot Screenshot and Annotation tool Screenshots and annotations
Copy selection as Markdown Copy any webpage as markdown
OneTab Manage your tab clutter
PixelBlock Block unwanted tracking attempts in your email
Reader View Get rid of clutter when viewing a webpage, simplifying look
Ugly Email Stop email tracking
Video Download Helper Download video from websites
Xbrowser Sync Sync up your bookmarks and extensions across browsers easily

iOS Smartphone Apps

Tool Description
Action Movie FX Add Hollywood FX to iPhone and iPad movies that you shoot.
AESCrypt Secure file encryption app for iOS.
Audible Listen to audiobooks while commuting, exercising, relaxing at home, or anywhere else you go.
Authy Two-factor authentication (2FA) app for securing your accounts.
Bitmoji Create personalized emojis and use them in various messaging apps.
Canva Free-to-use online graphic design tool for creating social media posts, presentations, posters, videos, logos, and more.
CapCut Free all-in-one video editing app for creating stunning videos.
ChatGPT AI-powered chatbot that helps with writing, learning, brainstorming, and more.
Chirp Free, open-source tool for programming your radio, supporting a large number of manufacturers and models.
Claude AI-based assistant for brainstorming ideas, getting quick answers, and analyzing scenes and images.
Disney+ Stream new releases, timeless classics, and past seasons of your favorite TV shows.
DuckDuckGo Browser Privacy-focused web browser that helps you search and browse more privately.
eBoox Free, ad-free book reader supporting various formats like fb2, epub, pdf, doc, and more.
Epilogue Companion app for Micro.blog to track books you are reading or want to read.
Facebook Social networking app to connect with friends and family.
FE File Explorer Powerful file manager app that can access files on local storage, computers, NAS, and cloud storages.
Flipboard Social magazine app that curates content on thousands of topics from world-renowned publishers and the community.
FxGuru Create Hollywood sci-fi and action movie special effects for mobile videos.
Green Screen by Do Ink Create videos, images, and GIFs by combining visual elements such as photos, videos, text, drawings, animations, and the live camera.
Hulu Stream TV shows and movies, including award-winning classics, blockbuster movies, and exclusive Originals.
Instagram Social networking app for sharing photos and videos.
Joplin Notes Open-source note-taking app with support for multimedia notes and end-to-end encryption.
Kindle App for reading millions of books, magazines, newspapers, comics, and manga.
Mammoth Social networking app for Mastodon, helping you find friends and people to follow based on your interests.
Meta AI AI-based chatbot for quick and accurate answers to a wide range of questions.
Micro.blog Social networking app for microblogging.
Mimi Hearing test app that provides understandable results in just 5 minutes.
Mullvad VPN VPN service for secure browsing on multiple platforms, protecting your privacy online.
Netflix Stream movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
NetNewsWire Free and open-source RSS reader for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Paramount+ Stream hit movies, exclusive originals, live sports, and more.
Peacock Stream new movies, hit TV shows, Originals, live sports, news, and more.
Perplexity AI-powered answer engine that provides accurate, trusted, and real-time answers to any question.
P.F.E. Professional file encryption app for iOS.
P.T.E. Professional text encryption app for iOS.
Prime Video Stream movies, TV shows, and sports, including Amazon Originals.
ProMovie Recorder Feature-rich video camera app for iPhone and iPad.
Proton Drive Secure cloud storage service that allows you to access your files anywhere.
Proton Mail End-to-end encrypted email service that is private by default.
Rotate & Flip Simple tool for rotating and flipping videos.
Strata for Micro.blog Encrypted note-taking app
Super Power FX Add comic book-inspired visual effects to your videos.
Threads Social networking app for sharing text updates and joining public conversations.
TikTok Short-form video platform for creating and sharing videos.
Voice Recorder Pro Free, full-featured audio recording app for Android with high-quality recordings.
Wavelength Party game app for playing remotely or in person.
Waze GPS navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates and route guidance.

Micro.blog Specific Apps

Tool Description
Epilogue Companion app for Micro.blog to track books you are reading or want to read.
Micro.blog Social networking app for microblogging.
Mimi Hearing test app that provides understandable results in just 5 minutes.
Strata for Micro.blog Encrypted note-taking app
Wavelength Party game app for playing remotely or in person.

What would you add to these lists?