Making A Better Internet (For Free)

November 3, 2015

I think it’s safe to say that most of us spend a lot of time on the Internet. I mean, most of us carry around small computers in our pockets (or our hands, depending on your level of phone-separation anxiety), and spend roughly 75 percent of our days with our eyes on some sort of screen.

In all the time I spend plugged in, I’ve picked up a few easy and free ways to save me some time here and there — and just make me a smarter human being. They can help you, too!

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Today in Tabs
Too busy to spend your entire day scrolling through your Twitter feed? Today in Tabs is here to help. Today in Tabs is a daily email created by Rusty Foster that now runs through Fast Company. The email is a roundup of all the daily Internet news you need to know, delivered in “Tabs,” aka links, within a bigger story that sort of fuses all the news together into a couple paragraphs. Rusty is smart, snarky and hilarious, and will likely leave you questioning humanity at least twice a week. You can think of it as your daily Twitter cheat sheet, brought to you by the smart kid in class.

Runner-up: The Skimm.

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Pocket is an easy way to save articles for later. Simply add the site’s Chrome extension to your browser, and with the click of a button you can save that Twitter article or New York Times piece you so want to read (but later) to a searchable database, where it will sit until you’re not doing a million things at once. You can even save your Tabs in Pocket! As you can see, my interests range from trending articles in the New York Times to “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel.” Don’t judge.

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Small PDF
Your emails just got way smaller! Small PDF is a free website that allows you to compress PDFs, convert them to other file formats and easily split and merge documents when Preview is being difficult. (When isn’t Preview being difficult, am I right?)

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I usually judge a brand’s usefulness based on how many of their marketing emails I don’t delete. I open a whole lot of Keep emails. Keep is basically shopping Pinterest for people that don’t have time for Pinterest. Keep offers curated beauty, home and style picks on a Pinterest-like platform, and you can shop right from the site! Plus, it is pretty.

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Creative Market
Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted design content from independent creatives. Think Etsy for designers. In general, you can use it to search for and buy everything from templates and themes to fonts and graphics. If you sign up for Creative Market’s emails, they’ll send you an email with 6 free things every Monday. You can download useful icons, beautiful fonts, computer backgrounds, Powerpoint templates and more — and each will help make your workday, and your work, a little more beautiful. It’s also a great place to find resume templates that will stand out from the crowd.

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The MPLS Parking App
OK, this isn’t totally free. The MPLS Parking App actually costs me roughly $2.25 per day to use. But so far the few short months of not having to stand the at parking payment stations waiting for my receipt to print in the cold has added years to my life. Time is money, people.

This List…
is also totally free. You’re welcome.