After seeing how much everyone enjoyed the last post of tech tools, I thought I’d offer up five more tools that I use on a regular basis. We’ll keep the series going until folks get sick of it, or I run out of tools, whichever comes first!
Zamzar is a file conversion tool. It works with audio, video, photo, document and music files. I use it most often to convert various document files into JPGs. When I was on a PC instead of a Mac, I used it regularly to convert files to PDFs. If you’re wondering “Can I convert this to a ______” file, check zamzar, and you probably can. Here’s how it works: You upload your file to zamzar, enter your email address, and when the file is converted, you are emailed a link to download the file. Because of the system, I don’t consider it to be super secure, but since I’m not converting state secrets or anything, I don’t worry about it. I’ve never had a problem with spam or any other issues. Zamzar is free for small files and costs for larger files (such as videos).
Tweetymail – Tweetymail is a service that allows you use email to post your tweets. I use this to solve the problem of having to sign into and out of twitter accounts to post status updates. Since my church twitter account is connected to tweetymail, all I have to do is email the status update and the church’s status is changed. Easy! A nice feature is that it will email you and refuse to post if you go over the required # of characters for twitter.
Mailchimp – A lot of people know about mailchimp, but I thought I’d throw in my two cents for anyone who was on the fence between Mailchimp and Constant Contact, because I’ve used both. Both Mailchimp (MC) and Constant Contact (CC) are programs used for email newsletters. In my view mailchimp is far superior, and for “light” users like small or medium sized churches (less than 2,000 subscribers) it’s free. Constant Contact is $20 a month after the initial period. Not only is Mail Chimp cheaper, it’s better. CC limits the number of images that can be used at one time (without an additional fee) MC does not. MC’s templates are better looking, the emails are easier to edit, and the support is better. I’m not aware of anyone who has used both that believes CC is better. Anyone?
Blockposters – This is a fun one that churches and schools might find a great deal of use for. Take a JPEG, upload it to blockposters, and it converts it into a multi page PDF that can be taped together to make a giant image. Though it’s a little time consuming (and can be difficult to line up, depending on the image) it’s cheaper than paying to have a poster made, and the result looks fine.
Swift Publisher – This is a final “bonus” for Mac users. Swift Publisher is a desktop publisher for fliers, newsletters, posters, brochures, etc. I make a ton of fliers and manage the church newsletter, and Swift Publisher is the best program I’ve found. I downloaded at least 4 others before SP, so I know! It’s intuitive, forgiving, and has a lot of flexibility.