Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
9 Incredibly Useful Websites You Wished You Knew About Before Now
To limit the spread of COVID19, local and national government has implemented social distancing, which is a conscious effort to reduce contact between people to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. With many public places closing down and the bulk of us stuck in front of our computers and other smart devices, I'm sure most of you will naturally start to spend time on the Internet. As with human nature, we will gravitate to our favorite social media and streaming sites, but after a while, that will become boring. There are a lot of websites on the Internet ... a lot and I know most of you haven't explored half of them. Well, to help you explore new places on the web and boldly go where few have gone before, I'm sharing my list of useful websites you can visit ... while you're social distancing.
1. Find out where your favorite show or movie is playing online. You have a show or movie you want to watch, but you don't know which streaming service it's on. What makes it more difficult, streaming services are always changing what content is on their channels. With Just Watch (www.justwatch.com), you can easily locate where to watch what you're looking for. One of the best things about this site, is you can create a list of the titles you're interested in and get alerts when they appear on specific services or when new seasons start.
2. There are a lot of free streaming web sites on the internet. When people ask me about streaming services, the word free always comes up. One of the places people look for shows to watch is YouTube. True there are people that upload TV episodes and movies to YouTube, but this practice is illegal. So is the practice of using KODI devices to download free content. Want free shows to watch, then check out the following:
Tubi TV (https://tubitv.com/)
Xumo TV (https://www.xumo.tv/)
Pluto TV (https://pluto.tv/)
Yes, you might have to put up with a commercial or three, but heck it's free TV shows and movies.
3. Get a Live Voice. When calling customer service or tech support, it's almost impossible to get a live voice. Not anymore with GetHuman (www.gethuman.com). This website allows you to get the right phone number that will get you to a human on the other end. Sure, you could Google numbers, but that runs the risk of you getting a number to a bogus company who will try to rip you off. GetHuman will also give you the current wait time for the support number, allowing to call when the time is right for you.
4. Make sure you're getting the speeds you're paying for. I hope by now everyone knows about Ookla's Speedtest (www.speedtest.net) This web site allows you to check out your Internet speed so you can compare it to your monthly plan. In this time of social distancing, there are a lot of you who are working remotely and relying on the Internet for entertainment. Fast, reliable Internet is important. You can also use it to troubleshoot if you're having connectivity issues with your Internet provider. When you run the test, the most important number is your download speed which should be at least 10Mbps (Megabits Per Second) or higher. The faster the download speed, the faster you can work or visits websites.
5. Fix those grammatical errors. I rely on Grammarly (www.grammarly) every week when I write this blog. If I didn't, my blog posts would look like a first grader created them. With this handy plugin and web site, I get help with misspelled words and sentence structure them. With more and more people composing letters on web sites, it's helpful to have a web-based tool that acts like the spell check that is built into Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
6. Get the best coupons for your favorite sites. There will be a shift to online shopping during this period of social distancing and if you want the best deals as I do, it's helpful to have a website that will find coupons for what you're shopping for. That's where Honey (www.joinhoney.com) comes in. Rather than using Dr. Google to find coupons and risking falling for a scam, Honey will find those digital coupons for you and apply them when you check out at your favorite online retailer.
7. Need a manual for a product? It's on the web. You may find yourself with a little more time on your hands which means you might want to finish a repair or assembly project ... problem is, where is the manual? Check out ManualsOnline (www.manualsonline.com) and find instructions for your products you forgot to use or the manual to finish putting together that desk or bookcase you been meaning to work on. You can even contribute to the website by submitting manuals that aren't on the site.
8. Find out what the terms of service mean. Do you know what you're agreeing to when you accept the terms of service for a web site? I try to read them, but I am not successful and I know you aren't either. Check out Terms of Service; Didn't read (https://tosdr.org/) This browser add on will scan the terms of service for any web site and notify you if there are privacy issues you should be aware of. This is great if you want to keep a handle on what private information web sites share about you when you visit the site.
9. Been a victim of a data breach? Find out for sure. It's hard to keep up with all of the data breaches out there and there are two sites you can check to see if your information has been compromised. Haveibeenpwned (www.haveibeenpwned.com) allows you to type in your email address to see if your information is floating around on the web. You can also check out Fighting Identity Crimes (www.fightingidentitycrimes.com) which has been monitoring data breaches since 2012. Look at the companies that have been breached and follow their advice on what steps you need to take to protect yourself.
The Internet is a vast place with many wonderful sites that can keep you entertained and educated for many months. With social distancing, it might seem like you don't have that much to do, but hopefully, these websites I've recommended will keep you entertained and help the time pass.
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you.
If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.
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