Free Software for Event Planning

This is it – after years of ducking the responsibility, it’s finally caught up to you. All those years of carefully dodging being the host, all those years carefully eluding the responsibility yourself as cousin, after sibling, after aunt, after uncle took it on instead. But the time has finally arrived….this year, you will be throwing the annual Christmas party at YOUR house! The terror, the horror!

Luckily, in all those years you’ve managed to sneakily avoid throwing the Christmas party, technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Not only can you steal ideas for your party right out of Google and Youtube, but now software actually exists that can help you with your party planning. For example, instead of settling for a normal turkey goose, oven cooked and stuffed as if it’s just a trite, boring sequel to Thanksgiving, why not use the power and glory of the internet to find top rated electric smokers and smoke some ham instead? Use the internet and you might find yourself landing upon the delicious graces of Smoky Goodness BBQ, a great site for all!

What about invitations? Not feeling the trip through the ice and snow to Staples? Use your printer instead! Design your very own invitations from the comfort of your home. You want to be even lazier about the entire thing? Why not digitally invite people through a Facebook event page? Sure, it’s impersonal and the older, more traditional folk in your family might consider it downright disrespectful, but it’s free, it costs no gas money to do, you can be creative on your own terms, no unnecessary enveloping or personalizing of each card.

What’s more, you can also look up recipes right from the comfort of your own home. Want some Reindeer shaped cookies? Or perhaps some chocolate fudge moose deliciousness? There are dozens of Christmas inspired recipes online, as well as thousands of regular recipes without themes. Literally anything you need is at the tip of your fingers with the power and glory of the internet.

Trying to find the proper Christmas music for your party? Sure, it takes a special brand of patience to enjoy Christmas music. I find myself dreading this aspect of Christmas every year – the music, it never changes. It always stays the same. It’s just like when I followed the Grateful Dead’s new iteration, the Dead, around in 2009, when they got Warren Haynes on guitar to fill-in for the deceased Jerry Garcia. (RIP Jerry) We literally listened to Grateful Dead radio the entire time we were on tour. What was the sense in that? We were only diluting the experience – instead of saving the music we wanted to hear for the concert, we were listening to the same band, in their golden years, 24/7. Grateful Dead radio on Sirius, from one state to another. But I digress…find yourself a Pandora station dedicated to Christmas music and you won’t have to painstakingly create a playlist yourself. Lord knows we hear enough Christmas music without having to find and select it ourselves.

In the long run, you’ll find it wise to have dodged the responsibility year after year. It is much, much easier to use the internet and varying pieces of software to throw a memorable party. Manage your throw down with ease and efficiency harnessing the power of the world wide web.

Getting to Know your Visitors – The Best Tracking Plugins for WordPress

Tracking Software

If you’re running a business tracking and analyzing your WordPress site visitors are crucial if you want to understand how your target audience interacts with your site content. It’s also a very important part of any products and services websites to know what their visitors do in their website and to see if they are getting any leads. Simply by identifying their top pages, Jori, a Calgary Customs Broker, as able to determine where they were leaving dollars on the table. Therefore, tracking plugins are essential and of great help. But with thousands of plugins available all over the web, it can be very confusing to choose among them. And not all of those plugins support all of the necessary features needed. Therefore, here’s the best plugins that will support all of the necessary tools that you need.

Google Analytics for WordPress

Nothing beats Google’s tracking code: the Google Analytics. It’s powerful and has a wide range of features and capacities. However, integrating it on your WordPress website would need some web development skills as well as knowledge of the WordPress file system. Good thing there are a number of plugins available free in the WordPress plugin repository. One of them is Google Analytics for WordPress. This plugin contains a wide array of features and options that are often more than enough if you want to track everyone who visits your WordPress site.

WP Slimstat

Calling themselves as “the most accurate real-time statistics plugin for WordPress”, WP Slimstat offers powerful way of tracking and viewing your daily site visitors. It doesn’t need much configuration like Google Analytics, simply download the plugin, install and you’re ready to go. It offers real-time view of current site visitors, tracks outbound clicks, downloads and even admin user’s activity within your admin dashboard.

If you are running Woo Commerce of other ecommerce-based plugins, WP Slimstat can be easily integrated therefore, you can easily view how well your products sell.

It also provides details about your current site ranking, most view post/pages, Facebook clicks and likes. It also offers you a detailed view of your geographical visitors using a map. Plus, it’s compatible with popular caching plugin.

WP JetPack

JetPack came from WordPress developers themselves and it offers a simple but powerful way of tracking your site visitors. Aside from that, it has multiple functionalities such as contact forms, gravatars to spelling checker. You can call it as an all-in-one solution for a WordPress website.

It will give you a graph of the number of site visitors within a set timeline. Clicking one of the bars gives you a more detailed information about visitor activity within the site for that day. It also gives you data about top posts and pages, which will allow you to identify your pages and posts that’s most visited. It’s also a great way of knowing if your landing pages or CTA pages are performing well.

In addition to that, you can easily view where your visitors are coming from by viewing referrers. There’s also a section called Clicks, which will inform you of where your visitors went after landing on a particular post or page.

There’s still plenty more great tracking plugins out there, some are paid and some are free. However, these three comes free of charge and provides you with a powerful set of tools to monitor your visitors.

Top 5 Apps and Websites for Recipes

Cooking just got a whole lot easier with the help of some incredible apps for recipes. But, with such a wide variety of different apps, how do you know which to choose? We’ve eased the process for you by finding some of the most helpful recipe apps around to help you succeed in the kitchen.

Cook’s Illustrated

Not only does Cook’s Illustrated provide aspiring chefs or even the average Joe with a plethora of recipes of all types, but it features some awesome extras to ease the whole food experience. They also have reviews on appliances, like food processors or blenders. Cook’s Illustrated recommends the best food products and brands, so you can always ensure you buy high quality products. Additionally, the app helps you by creating shopping lists based on recipes you select and comes with extras like timers and meal planning.

Evernote

Most people have heard of the life organization sensation, Evernote, but most people are unaware that Evernote has recently released a super handy food app. Evernote has a feed specifically for food that allows you to share your masterpieces with others. You can also get access to top restaurants in your area and find thousands of recipes in the recipe storage center on your app. Like the original Evernote, Evernote’s food extension allows you to organize your life and share your experiences.

Wegman’s

This cool app is particularly designed to aid in your shopping excursions. You can log what you’ve bought in the past as well as plan future shopping trips. From the app, you can easily view the nutrition facts and ingredients of the products that you’re buying. The app can even tell you approximately how much your load will cost before you even get to the store. Wegman’s is especially designed to keep you on track both nutritionally and financially.

Fast Paleo

The Paleo diet and lifestyle is a trend that is sweeping the nation with its incredible claims of health benefits. Help keep yourself on the Paleo track with this neat app featuring over a thousand different Paleo recipes. Each recipe is categorized for easy access. You can search based on ingredients so you can easily find recipes that only require ingredients that you already have while weeding out ingredients that you may be allergic to. Fast Paleo lets you save recipes and store recipes for later so you can always have a list of go-tos on hand for busy days.

Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner

Boasting one of the largest recipe libraries around, Allrecipes.com created the Dinner Spinner app to feature their top recipes. They even have tips on caring for cutlery and other appliances. With all kinds of excellent extras, users have useful searching options like the ability to filter recipes by cooking time and ingredients. Allrecipes.com app lets you bookmark your favorite recipes and makes it easy to come back to recipes that you enjoyed making. With the Dinner Spinner app, it’s hard not to want to make dinner every night with such an excellent tool with a wealth of options right at your fingertips.

The Best Free Photoshop Alternatives

Photoshop is deemed as the most powerful image editing software in the world. Its powerful array of image editing tools can create endless possibilities for a graphic designer but it is a very costly software and has a steep learning curve. However, mastering it means becoming the master of image manipulation. But, for novice and beginners as well as those who do not have the pocket to get it, no worries for you as there are many free alternatives for Photoshop.

GIMP

GimpThis oldie was first conceived last 1996 and it was regularly maintained and updated. The name is an acronym that actually stands for “GNU Image Manipulating Program” It has the most comprehensive set of tools seconding Photoshop. There are tools for color correction, contrast control, sharpen, lighting effects and more.

With those wide array of powerful tools, that means you will need some time to master and use it efficiently. But why worry about that, when mastering it will get you powerful image manipulation tool free.

 

 

Paint.NET

Are you a master of the MS Paint? Then, you’ll be a master image editor in no time! The slick and intuitive user interface is bundled with powerful set of tools like layer editing, resizing and editing tools, adding special effects and others. The program can be further extended using plugins for more powerful editing tools. It’s very easy to use even if you’re a complete novice.

PhoXo

It is already 10 years old, which means that it matured into a very powerful and useful image editor like the others. The good about it is that it has something for everyone, from clip arts to customizing images with cartoons. It can also add a custom watermark to a whole folder of images. It also has an excellent set of image manipulation tools, drawing, image transformations, effects and paint tools.

PhotoScape

Besides image editing, PhotoScape allows you to create animated GIFs and slideshows, capture screenshots, combine and split images. You can even customize its toolbar for your liking. The only downside of this one is that it has no layer support, and it runs ads for “recommended software”. It can convert raw images from DSLR to JPEG images.

Pixlr.com

This one is web based and though it doesn’t have powerful set of tools like the other free editors above, it offers a sleek and very intuitive interface, recommended for simple photo retouching if you are to post something in your Facebook photos. You can even use it on your iPhone and smartphone via web or app.

GimpShop

This one is GIMP based and they claim that they can match Photoshop’s professional tools. As it is GIMP based, you can easily learn to use this program if you have used the original before. Its UI however, has the look similar of Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Another tool, which came directly from Adobe. A web based image editor gives you an easy option for quick fixes, enhancements and other things. The best thing about it is that it’s free.

The Best Free PDF Tools – Alternatives for Adobe’s PDF Reader

Adobe’s Portable Document Format has become the standard for sharing and viewing high quality digital documents. It’s also one of the most used document types in the business world. Aside from the ability to create well-designed documents, they can also provide interactivity and security. It’s only common that people would immediately resort to the popular Adobe Reader for opening PDF files, but do you know that it contains a lot of exploits and vulnerabilities? Add to it the software’s expensive computer resource usage. Good thing there’s a lot of other free alternatives to Adobe Reader with far more powerful tools that includes editing that Adobe reader doesn’t have. So, are you ready to meet them? Let’s dive in!

There’s a lot of other free alternatives and open source PDF software out there, but these are the best among the best.

PDF Reader

Sumatra PDF

This is an excellent choice for those who want an alternative to Adobe Reader for opening PDF files. No editing tools or other powerful features, but it goes straightforward for those who love to read and/or view PDF files. Lightning fast, lightweight and uses very few computer resources. It can also read CBZ and CBR files if you are a comic book lover.

SlimPDF

Only comes at only 1.43 MB file size, this could be considered the lightest PDF viewer for the windows platform. However, like Sumatra PDF, it is only intended for viewing and opening PDF files but it comes with different plugins to enable PDF file conversion.

Nitro PDF Reader

This one opens files slower than the earlier two options; however, it comes with feature rich tools. In addition, it’s still far faster than Adobe Reader and uses fewer resources. It has a free and paid version, but the free version comes with powerful editing tools, signature embedding, custom watermarks and more!

PDF-XChange Viewer

Another fast and free PDF viewer and a must have for Windows platforms, it comes with wide array of annotations and markup features. It even supports OCR, document search and more. Other more advanced features are available at the paid version, but the free version is more than enough in most cases. It is fast, light and performance wise. A great PDF viewer with powerful set of tools.

jPDF Tweak

Called itself as the Swiss Army Knife of PDFs, it allows one to manipulate a number of PDF files easily. It has tools for applying watermarks, digital signage, add page numbers, attach files, split and combine documents and more. However, it’s somewhat intricate user interface will take some time to master, but it’s worth it.

Scribus

A great alternative for PDF creation suite like Adobe Acrobat, this powerful, open source, desktop publishing tools will take users to the next level of PDF creation. This offers a wide and powerful array of PDF editing and viewing tools, which can help professionals in creation and manipulation. While it can be counter-intuitive for new users, there’s an extensive tutorial available online and there’s an active community that you can get help from.