Imagine if this pandemic had happened 10 or 15 years ago when the internet, along with our population, wasn’t as adept as it is today. Thankfully, we have tremendous tools at our fingertips that allow us to continue working, learning and thriving. But with the good comes the bad.
Social media seems to thrive on spreading misinformation. That’s why I put together a short informative video dispelling the myths and presenting the facts about COVID-19 symptoms and remedies. Tap or click here for the one video about coronavirus that everyone needs to watch and share right now.
Here is a list of sites you may not have used before but you’ll find essential during this crisis. If you have any sites that you’d like to add to this list, let me know on my Twitter account at Twitter.com/KimKomando.
1. Find something to watch
You’ve got a ton of time to fill. A new release, series or movie you’d like to see again certainly helps. What’s the easiest way to find out if that movie is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Now, CW, Starz, Showtime, PlayStation or another streaming service? Most importantly, if it’s free on Netflix or YouTube, there’s no reason to pay to rent it on iTunes or Amazon.
JustWatch sifts through almost every streaming service out there (115 at last count) to help you find a specific title or show you’d like to watch. In just a few clicks, JustWatch will tell you where to find it, where it’s available on a subscription streaming service and how much it costs to rent or buy.
Drawing a blank? Get inspiration by checking out the site’s “What’s New” category. If you can’t afford to sign up for a streaming service, I’ve got your back. Tap or click here for a list of 10 places where you can watch movies for free.
You may also like: It’s no longer safe to open Amazon boxes. Tap or click here for the proper steps to sanitize your Amazon orders and other deliveries.
2. Send large files
It’s bound to happen. You have a large file that you need to email to a client or coworker. Your email program chokes and gives you the message, “The file size exceeds the limit allowed.” Gee, thanks.
Firefox Send lets you send files for free with end-to-end encryption, no sign-up required. Upload a file up to 1GB and Send will create a link that automatically expires for you to provide to the recipient.
If your files are larger than 1GB or you need more flexibility, you can create a Firefox account to share files up to 2.5GB, share files with multiple people and keep links active for up to seven days.
3. Get government intel in one place
Certainly, the government is collecting mounds of data. The problem is that much of this data is housed on various sites that make analysis difficult at best. USAFacts.org is a not-for-profit nonpartisan resource that takes unfiltered government data and presents it in a meaningful and understandable way.
The site offers maps showing the county-by-county coronavirus spread in real-time; however, its other consistently enlightening charts and research let you see the entire picture. For example, you can learn more about GDP, what’s most affected by payroll tax cuts and, aside from coronavirus, the diseases most Americans die of and how this compares to our current crisis.
RELATED: If you’ve lost your job, companies are hiring. Tap or click here for the 10 most in-demand jobs in the United States and who’s hiring.
4. Make sure your router is secure
You might be your own IT department at home now. A DNS, or domain name system, is often called the phone book for the internet. It translates names of websites, like Google.com, to an IP address, like 184.108.40.206. The communication between the two is critical to correctly direct web traffic.
If your router’s DNS settings have been hijacked by a cybercriminal, each time you visit your bank’s website, you’ll be redirected to a keylogger or phishing website instead and may not even know it.
Criminals can also use DNS hijacking to modify ads you see while browsing. Instead of the regular ads you should be getting, they’re replaced with inappropriate or malicious ones. Tap or click here to make sure your router’s DNS is in check by testing it.
5. Help for social media fans
Now that you’re home, you’re probably spending more time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest or name your poison. If social media is a big part of your life or business, social media management tools let you schedule posts in advance, stay organized, post across multiple platforms and give you the intel to know what resonates with your followers.
Buffer is good if you have a small social media network and costs $15/month. But if your audience and social footprint are growing or large, move to Hootsuite. You can try it free for 30 days. After that, plans start at $29/month.
You may also need to be your own art department working from home. For social media, you need a snazzy image to grab a person’s attention. Canva will help you create images in the perfect size along with the messaging in a snap. No art degree is required and a free basic account is all you probably need.
6. Be your own editor
You may be writing more now that you’re working from home. While email, chats and texts are meant to increase communication, it’s poor form to have bad grammar and typos with customers and coworkers.
For an all-encompassing grammar checker, Grammarly has taken homes and offices by storm. The app and browser extension works across programs and platforms, pointing out your split infinitives in emails, word processors, websites or on social media. After all, using bad grammar on Twitter can create a tense situation.
7. Apply for small business grants, loans and assistance
I’m sure you’ve heard that the government is stepping up efforts to keep small businesses alive, but the SBA sites are difficult to navigate. If your small business has been impacted by the pandemic, it’s definitely worth checking out the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.
It’s designed to help small business owners keep employees on the payroll by forgiving the portion of the loan proceeds used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.
Small business owners are also eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. You can read more about it and apply here.
Meanwhile, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. You can use the grants to make payroll, pay rent, cover operating expenses and get new customers. Learn more about applying for grants for your business on Facebook’s site.
The coronavirus pandemic has put the national economy in a tailspin. There’s a lot of misinformation spreading online about stimulus checks. Tap or click here to get the facts about who’s eligible, how much can you expect and when.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.