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8 tech freebies: Firewall, cloud storage, Office software and more

8 tech freebies: Firewall, cloud storage, Office software and more
© Artur Szczybylo | Dreamstime.com

Technological developments have definitely improved life in many ways — particularly in realms like communication and design. One of the few ways technology and software can be even better is when you can get it for free, and we have found 8 tech freebies that will definitely make life that much sweeter.

You don’t always need the most expensive version of software or tech to have a great experience. In fact, many open source programs, programs that are developed specifically to be free to users, can give you the exact same experience as ones you pay for.

We want to tell you about these open source options as well as other tech freebies that will give you great computer security, digital storage, design and office software, and more. Read below to see what’s available in the world of tech for free, and how to get it for yourself.

1. Free firewall software

A firewall is a part of a computer system that keeps hackers and other unauthorized users from getting into your computer, while still letting you send files and emails out into the world. It’s an incredible piece of technology that keeps you and your personal information safe while perusing digital space

Many computers come with a firewall, but if yours didn’t — or you want another one — you can get a firewall for your computer for free. One of the best free firewall options is ZoneAlarm, a Windows-based piece of software that acts as a firewall for your computer and adds extra protection when you’re on public Wi-Fi networks, as well as real-time security updates to keep you safe and secure.

GlassWire offers similar protection, detecting malware from people trying to access your computer, which allows you to disable apps that contain viruses and keep yourself from downloading a virus in the first place. Getting these free firewalls will make your computer safer, particularly when you’re using the internet, and it won't cost you a penny.

2. Free cloud storage

If you want to quickly access or share a document or a photo from any device, whether they’re yours or someone else’s, it makes sense to put that document or photo in a form of cloud storage. Cloud storage is accessed online, and protected through a username and password, allowing you to upload and download to your heart’s desire.

Remember, with free versions of cloud storage, there’s a storage limit to consider.

OneDrive, the cloud storage service offered by Microsoft, gives you 15GB of cloud storage when you get a free Microsoft account. OneDrive lets you upload any files you want, but also stores Microsoft Office documents in such a way that you can edit them anywhere and share them with collaborators easily.

If you have a Mac, you can still sign up for OneDrive, but you also have inherent access to iCloud with your Apple ID. iCloud gives you 5GB of storage for free.

Your Gmail account also gives you 15GB of free storage in the form of Google Drive (which lets you store any file in Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides).

You get even more free storage by signing up for a Dropbox account, which gives you 2GB of storage for sharing files quickly and easily for free. Dropbox also offers payment plans to increase your storage if need be.

As you can see, there are a lot of free cloud storage options available to you, many built into other services you already use, so explore the options you have and maybe sign up for others just to have a bit more space. You really can’t have too much storage in the digital world and since it’s free, it’d be silly not to take advantage.

3. Free office software

Microsoft created the ultimate office software with the Microsoft Office Suite, giving you Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus programs like Outlook, Publisher and Access. Microsoft’s Office Suite can be a bit expensive, particularly since it’s now a subscription service, but thankfully there are open source equivalents to the service, and even some free ways of using Microsoft Office itself.

LibreOffice is a set of open source software that’s equivalent to Microsoft Office. It lets you save and open documents in Microsoft formats and do everything Microsoft Office lets you do, like type in documents, set up spreadsheets and create presentations.

If you’d like access to Microsoft Office, you can get the free trial of Office 365 for a month or you can try Office Online, a cloud-based version of the Microsoft Office Suite available to those with Microsoft accounts. Whichever software you get, you’ll have some amazing office capabilities without paying any money at all.

4. Free Photoshop equivalents

Photoshop is a program that lets you edit photos in highly skilled ways and also lets you draw and paint digitally. It’s a program that can take a while to learn, but once you master it you can create gorgeous works of art — so long as you don’t mind paying an exorbitant amount for a subscription through the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Thankfully, there are hobbyist equivalents for Photoshop that are the wonderful price of free, and you can download them right now.

Our personal favorite Photoshop equivalent is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). GIMP lets you edit photos, as well as draw and paint, and you can work in vector as well as raster, giving you high quality results.

If you want a Photoshop equivalent that’s mobile and free, try Adobe Photoshop Express, which doesn’t give you as many drawing options but still gives you a lot of photo editing options. Use this app to make your social media posts that much more beautiful.

If you like the drawing and painting features of Photoshop, try Krita, which gives you as many animation and art options as Adobe. Check out even more Photoshop equivalents here.

5. Free samples and products

Who doesn’t like free stuff? These items you can get may not always be tech-related, but you get them by technological means, so we figured they belonged on this list.

Get free samples of Amazon products by signing up for Amazon’s sample box program. Sample boxes can get you nutrition & wellness snacks and products, pet foods and treats, skin care and beauty samples, and even sports nutrition boxes and baby items. You get to pick what kind of items to arrive in your sample boxes, and they come right to your home with free shipping (if you have Amazon Prime).

With a regular Amazon account, you only pay the shipping. With Prime you pay upfront, but get paid back the next time you make a purchase on Amazon, so it all evens out.

You can get other sample boxes from TheFreeSite and PINCHme. Subscription boxes also sometimes offer samples, so always keep your eyes peeled for that option if you find a box that intrigues you. In the meantime, enjoy the free samples and products we’ve suggested, all available by just clicking on links from the comfort of your home.

6. Free router safety check

Your router is how you connect to the internet, and if that gets hacked, your computer, as well as every other device connected to your network, can potentially be accessed by a hacker or be given malware. Protect yourself by doing a router safety check free of charge.

Take things a step further by visiting Who is My DNS?, which identifies the domain name system (DNS) and IP address of your computer when you visit its home page. The site will then inform you if your DNS server matches up with your internet service provider, or if there’s a mismatch. If things don't match up, it's a big indicator someone else is on your network with you.

7. Free video editing software

Yes, even complicated software like video editors, which can cost $1,000 or more, can be found for free. Programs like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker (at least if you have a Windows OS other than Windows 10) come with your computer and can do a lot of basic editing that can at least let you tell a story or share fun videos online with a few transitions and effects.

For a more advanced video editor that’s still totally free, we recommend Blender. Blender is available on Windows, Mac and even Linux systems, and it allows you to edit video footage as well as add impressive 3D effects and animations.

Lightworks is also a great option for all computer systems, with a greater focus on video editing rather than animation. It can be a little easier to utilize for beginners, while still allowing for non-linear editing and output in 4K quality.

For Windows users, there’s also VSDC Free Video Editor, which does work with Windows 10, unlike the discontinued Windows Movie Maker. VSDC lets you alter color and edit in a non-linear way, so it’s also an excellent option for video editing. Any of these options will let you make great-looking videos at no cost — an incredible bargain, given the average price of most editing suites.

8. Free books and audiobooks

In addition to free ways to create entertaining content, you can get some forms of free entertainment as well — namely books and audiobooks. With just a library card (free with an ID or other proof of residency), you can borrow books and audiobooks free through the Libby app.

Libby gives you access to your local library system right on your phone or tablet. You can use Libby to read books directly or send them to your e-reader, as well as listen to audiobooks wherever you want.

Learn how to set up and use Libby, and start enjoying free books and audiobooks right away.

You can also try the app Overdrive by using your school credentials for free books and audiobooks, or use LibriVox, a site that lets you hear public domain audiobooks read by volunteers.

Free entertainment is great, and free books and audiobooks are some of the best ways to get that. Enjoy these methods of accessing titles, as well as all of the tech freebies we’ve described above. Hopefully, they’ll enhance your life as they’ve enhanced ours.

6 small business freebies that will make you jump for joy

Who doesn't love freebies? Here's a short list of 6 things you can get for free for your small business.

Design a free logo, order free shipping supplies and even take online courses and webinars with these free resources.

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