5 Pieces of Software to Make Your Life Easier

Hands typing on a laptop.

By Keith Morris, President, Elder Law of Michigan, and Director, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Hands typing on a laptop.For those of you that know me, you know how much I love technology. I also love to find and try new programs and services. Here are just a few of the ones that I have tried recently that I think you might find helpful.

  1. Remote Utilities: This is a great utility program if you have staff that carry laptops offsite to do their jobs or if you provide technical support for offices remotely. Once installed on the laptop, you can set it up to always run so when you need to do technical support, you can quickly access the laptop if it is connected to the internet. It is very simple to set up and use. The free version allows one person access to 10 remote computers. Beyond that, there are several licensing options available.
  2. Microsoft OneNote: If you haven’t tried this one out yet, you definitely should now that they give such a good deal to nonprofits. They even make it free for personal use. With OneNote, you can collaborate on your work with others and can see the changes as they are being made. Also, because you can set your own notebooks, it is easy to stay organized on projects.  I also like the screen clipping tool and the ability to print to OneNote as if it were a printer. All of these features, along with a great phone app, make OneNote worth checking out. (Related to OneNote is diigo.com – which has some interesting features to check out when you have time.)
  3. Ragic.com: I am a really big fan of this website because it allows you to set up a spreadsheet that has the functionality of a database. Everyone on our staff that used it found it easy to use and helped them understand the database concepts. It isn’t that great for complicated databases, but will work great for handling data. It isn’t free, but the licensing is reasonable.
  4. If This, Then That and Zapier: Both of these are great tools for helping to automate the process. Basically, you can set it up so that if something happens in one program, something else in another program will automatically occur. For example, if I schedule a meeting on my calendar, it will create a OneNote file for the meeting agenda. Both of these services have literally hundreds of other programs to use for automating your work process. While If This, Then That is free, Zapier does cost about $20/month.
  5. Avast: This is a great find in terms of anti-virus and anti-malware. Avast provides free services for businesses, with some additional features available for a monthly fee. Avast allows you to deploy its anti-virus software to all of your computers, which can then be monitored through their online dashboard. If a computer you have installed the software on detects a threat or hasn’t updated in awhile, Avast sends you an email alerting you of the issue. Additionally, Avast uses one of the lowest amounts of memory of all anti-virus software.

Do you have a piece of software that you use that others might not know about? Feel free to share it in the comments below.


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