Software Tools – backup

Most of the software tools listed here are free, some cost money but could be worth it if there is no alternative.

Updated April 1, 2019


  • GIMP – Adobe Photoshop replacement (GIMP Magazine is a great resource)
  • G’MIC – Plugin to add filters to GIMP
  • UFRaw – A Camera RAW file importer for GIMP (Not needed for Mac users, GIMP for Mac OS X has native RAW import capability)
  • ps-menurc – Photoshop shortcuts for GIMP on Windows and Linux. For GIMP Mac users you can get the correct Mac OS instructions and shortcuts via my zip file here.
  • NuclearNapalm – A dark theme and instructions on how to make GIMP act and look more like Photoshop
  • – Remove the background of objects in photos
  • Inkscape – Vector Graphics Editor like Adobe Illustrator (Mac users must intall XQuartz to use)
  • Blender – 3D rendering (think After Effects), some movies created with Blender including the awesome Sintel short. Can be used as a video editor.
  • Blender Documentation – PDF Documentation
  • Meet the GIMP – Video Podcasts
  • darktable – Open source photography workflow and RAW developer (*nix system, Unix, Linux, Mac OS, no Windows). A tutorial for time-lapse photographers and info about darktable 2.0
  • Alternatives to Adobe – Lifehacker’s 27 Free Alternatives to Adobe’s Expensive App Subscriptions


  • Audacity – Open Source Audio Editor
  • TwistedWave – Audio editor for Mac OS, iOS device, online (paid product)
  • Audiotool – Produce music online
  • The Levelator – Normalizes audio so it’s not too soft or loud
  • – Pronounce foreign names correctly
  • Pulling Back the Curtain – On The Media provides a peek at how NPR makes everything sound great
  • Scribe – Speech to text transcriber
  • – Transcription and translation service
  • GMR Transcription Services – Transcription and translation service
  • Live Transcribe – Android app (free) that does real-time transcription
  • Whisper – OpenAI has trained and are open-sourcing a neural net called Whisper that approaches human level robustness and accuracy on English speech recognition.
  • Bookshare – Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.
  • BookReader – BookReader allows you to read books right on your Mac in a fully customizable layout. It supports all the most common ebook formats.


  • 1Password – Excellent password vault so you can keep your passwords, serial number, combinations, etc. in a safe place.
  • Bitwarden – Open Source password manager.
  • Add Play Store to Kindle Fire – Add the Google Play Store to a Kindle Fire with no Root, PC or ADB required.
  • Alfred App – For Mac OS. Launch apps, find contacts & files, use workflows without taking your hands off the keyboard
  • Hazel – Automating macOS Finder
  • Anti-Twin – Find and delete duplicate files (Windows)
  • AutoHotKey – Macro script utility for Windows
  • DropIt – File Explorer Automation for Windows
  • Classic Shell – Get your Start Menu back in Windows 8, make Windows 10 looks like XP, Win7, etc. (no longer being updated)
  • DiskMaker X – Make a bootable MacOS installer
  • Ditto – A clipboard manager for Windows
  • eM Client – Excellent email client for Macs and Windows (free up to 2 email accounts)
  • Ghostscript – You must install Ghostscript to use Scribus
  • GnuCash – Free Open Source Accounting Software
  • JumpCut – Clipboard manager for Macs (stop jumping back and forth between documents to copy/paste)
  • LastPass – Let LastPass create strong passwords and store them in a safe place. Don’t keep weak passwords around, your pet’s name and street number are NOT strong passwords! You can keep passwords in here, serial numbers, activation keys, combination lock numbers etc. It frees-up your brain.
  • LibreOffice – Powerful Microsoft Office replacement
  • Scribus – Desktop publishing like Adobe InDesign
  • Scrivener – Writing software favorite amongst novelist and other writers
  • Rectangle – Move and resize windows in macOS using keyboard shortcuts or snap areas (free)
  • Remove Line Breaks – Remove those pesky line breaks via this webpage
  • WordService – Hit the ‘Download’ link on the page. Excellent Mac OS extension to reformat text
  • TextFixer – Reformat text, remove extra spaces, etc.
  • TextSniper – Extract text from images and other digital documents in seconds
  • QuickLook – Quick preview of images by pressing spacebar in Windows 10 (like quick preview on MacOS). Search the Microsoft Store for ‘QuickLook’ it’s free.
  • Zamzar – Convert media between different formats. Create an audiobook from a PDF file.


  • Blender – 3D renderer that can be also be used as a video editor. Tutorials on video editing with Blender here
  • DaVinci Resolve – Mac OS and Windows professional video editor for free (regular version, not the studio version)
  • Downie – Download webpage videos on your Mac
  • LumaFusion – Pro video editing on iOS
  • MagicLantern – Supercharge your Canon camera with added functionality and menus
  • MPEG Streamclip – Video converter
  • Open Broadcaster Software –  Free Open Source software for live streaming and recording
  • Panolapse – Timelapse software, lets you pan in the video like you have a motorized head
  • PhotoRescue – Recovers images and files off a camera’s memory card that has been erased. If you format a card by accident, shut the camera down, take the card out and use PhotoRescue to recover images. Note: It will recover as much as possible, even stuff you may have erased long ago (so beware if you have NSFW images). Sometimes the recovered video files may be damaged/unplayable, use the Video Repair Software below to fix.
  • – Channel guide and player for webcasts
  • USTVnow – Streaming broadcast stations (sign-up, choose FREE option, even if it says you need to be outside the USA just hit the TV Guide tab on the top to view channel guide)
  • Save From Net – Download YouTube videos as .mp4 files
  • Scopedown – Download videos from Periscope
  • – 300-pound gazelle of video websites. More refined, more artsy and cinematic types of videos here. DLNR uses Vimeo
  • Video Repair Software – Damaged your H.264, mp4, DVC Pro video files and crying your eyes dry? This is the only thing I know that fixed my Canon H.264 .MOV files I recovered off a formatted memory card. Not free, not cheap but better than explaining things to a client.
  • VLC – Media player to playback various video formats
  • WeVideo – Online video editor
  • YouTube – 800-pound gorilla of video websites

Internet tools

  • Cyberduck – An easy to use FTP application
  • FileZilla – The power user’s FTP application
  • Dropbox – Install on your computers and smartphones to automatically sync files in a folder
  • – Know what time it is anywhere in the world.
  • BBEdit– The coder’s text editor for Mac
  • Notepad++ – The coder’s text editor for Windows
  • Sublime Text – What real programmers use to edit text (Mac/Win/Linux)
  • Google Web Designer – Build interactive HTML5 sites
  • qBittorrent – A Bittorrent client, allows you to download big torrented files
  • – Build your own website for free. WordPress powers about 20 percent of the websites on the Internet including the Hawaii County website, Civil Beat, Hawaii Health Connector,, Fortune, Facebook Newsroom and more.
  • – The DIY version of rolling out a WordPress website. That’s what this runs on.
  • tor browser – Anonymous web browsing, good for logging onto sites like facebook or YouTube from behind a firewall (eg. logging into facebook on the Hawaii County free WiFi). This is what protestors used to log onto the Internet without being traced during the Arab Spring. The NSA doesn’t like this browser because they can’t spy on you.
  • Anonymouse – Too lazy to download and use a tor browser? Use the website
  • PdaNet – Use your Android or Blackberry smartphone as a hotspot even if you don’t have a hotspot plan. Note: Using PdaNet may violate the terms of service with your cellphone carrier.
  • Screenleap – Free screen sharing software
  • BackupBuddy – Backup, restore or migrate your WordPress site (paid app)
  • VaultPress – Offsite WordPress site backup and security scanner  by the WordPress folks. Better than BackupBuddy but costs more. (paid service)
  • Box Connect – Upload from your Dropbox to either YouTube or an FTP server.
  • LICEcap – Capture a portion of your browser to an animated gif
  • – Test your internet speed, more accurate than the flash based tests.
  • SpeedOf.Me – HTML5 Internet speed test
  • Sensorly – Crowdsourced cellphone coverage maps
  • Down Detector – Status of network outages
  • Teleosaurs Email – Disposable temporary email that lasts 60 minutes
  • ClickToFlash – Safari browser extension that prevents Flash content from loading, favoring HTML5 videos. If no HTML5 video is available you can click on the placeholder to allow the Flash content to play. Prevents the memory and CPU hogging Adobe Flash from slowing down the Safari browser.
  • Get my FBI File – Helps you generate letters to send off to see if any of those three-letter agencies have files on you.
  • alternativeTo – Crowdsourcing alternative software
  • – Disposable email service so if you want to sign-up for something and not use your regular email address
  • – Create virtual credit cards to protect your privacy
  • – Port Check and IP detection Tool
  •– Open Port Check Tool
  • – Find out your IP address
  • – What’s my IP, DNS Resolver, EDNS Client Subnet and Geolocalization?

Social Media

  • AirMessage – Get iMessages on your Android phone (requires a Mac to act as a server)
  • Facebook – Social media kingpin at the moment with over a billion users
  • Flickr – This site is owned by Yahoo and has millions of users, many government agencies have flickr accounts where you can get official photos from them such as: Hawaii’s Governor, US Army, The White House, Hawaii County Mayor’s Office and more.
  • Foursquare – Location-based app to check-in to places so folks know where you are or have been
  • Google+ – Social media site similar to Facebook. You’ll find some officials like Deborah Ward of DLNR posting photos here.
  • Instagram – Photo taking app for smartphones with a wide user base sharing images, they’re owned by Facebook
  • LinkedIn – A Facebook-type website but geared towards businesses and individuals
  • – Join an instance of the open-source social media network Mastodon (hint: is the instance with the largest number of users)
  • – Social site where interest groups get together and do things. Localized by regions. Several Big Island groups are available.
  • Nixle – Hawaii County emergency services push out important messages here
  • Pintrest – A site to scrapbook photos and articles people find online and share with others
  • – ‘The Front Page of the Internet’ is their tagline. Forums galore, get quick answers to queries on any subject, it’s obscene how many stories on major news websites (I’m looking at you Huffington Post, NY Times, Network TV and others) get their leads and stories from here. Find free Kindle books here too.
  • Twitter – The must-have social media micro-blogging tool with a focus on speed, brevity, and audience
  • Delete your Twitter history – How to wipe your Twitter history without wiping your account. You may want to download an archive of it first so do step #2 before deleting tweets.
  • Bot or Not – Check to see if a Twitter account is a Bot.
  • Yelp – Reviews website that rates businesses and services. If you see someone with a Yelp t-shirt enter your business try not to ignore them or you could be in trouble.

Journalism Organizations in Hawaii

Free Tutorials

Free content (be sure to give credit to sources)


Cellphone Links

  • AT&T Unlock – Unlock your cellphone once the contract is up
  • Sensorly – Crowdsource cellphone carrier signal strength maps
  • TelcoData – Search Area Code and Exchange details

Other Resources

  • AP Stylebook – Associated Press Stylebook
  • U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual – 2016 version for Govt & Civilians
  • Bridge Hunter – Bridges in Hawaii County
  • Copyright Comic Book – Copyright explained, via a comic book.
  • Duolingo – Want to learn a second language for free? Could come in handy when interviewing that Tahitian long distance canoe crewmember who only speaks French.
  • FaxZero – Free faxing via the Internet
  • f.lux – Screen color adjustment to ease your eyes and mind at night
  • – Shows you how to take apart and repair your precious laptop, tablet and smartphone to repair if you dare.
  • Monoprice – This is an online store for electronics stuff and gear here is incredibly cheap! And journalists are incredibly cheap! A match made in heaven! If you need computer cables, audio cables, smartphone cases, a TV wall mount and other gadgets to get your job done go here first. If you haven’t already heard about this place you’ll be kicking yourself once you get there and look around. Just so you know this isn’t an ad, they don’t have everything so they’re not perfect. And they guarantee their stuff. Cable broken? Email them and they’ll usually send out a new one no charge and you throw away the old one.
  • Khan Academy – Free learning resources on many subjects
  • – NOT FREE but for a good site with lessons on all kinds of software. You can subscribe by the month or by the year.
  • Shoreline Access Big Island – County of Hawaii maps of shoreline access
  • The News LIteracy Project – Making citizens better news consumers
  • TV stations in East Hawaii – Broadcast TV stations in Hilo via antenna
  • Wolfram Alpha – Computational Knowledge Engine (deep database searching for answers)
  • – Very cheap place to buy things like glass screen protectors for smartphones and other items. Buyer beware as items come from a variety of Chinese sources so quality can be iffy. Check the reviews for each product carefully.
  • Thingiverse – Buy 3D printer items you can also sell items. Has links to free 3D modeling apps.
  • Hawaii County Code – Ordinances and such
  • Typing Test – Free online typing test for accuracy and speed
  • Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File) – Create a Windows 10 install USB drive or Disc
  • Recuva – Recover deleted files on your Windows computer
  • Hawaii Scanner Info – Radio Reference for Hawaii County
  • Build a police scanner for $30 – Using a Software Defined Radio (SDR)