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April 20, 2017

Online services and tools I pay for

I was going last week through my “spring cleaning” of things I use online. I’m not talking about the business tools, but the services and tools I use, for my own, personal benefit. So I thought it might be interesting for you to read an article about all the things I can vouch for since I give them the best review ever: opening my wallet every month. Who knows, maybe you get some ideas.

Dropbox

I’ve been using Dropbox for so long now, I can’t really remember how it was before it existed, when I needed to carry all my files with me, on a USB stick :) It took me about 3 years to say “ok, I’ll pay yearly, it makes more sense” :))

Evernote

I actually wrote an article about how I use Evernote about 3 years ago and the way I use it didn’t change much. I got into the annual payment last year, as well. I moved to Premium once they changed to the new pricing options.

Pocket

I don’t really use Pocket as a “dump everything I want to read” tool (that’s what Evernote is for). I use it more for “I need to have something to read on the plane, so I will add all these 40 long articles to it”. Because the only way I could have the mobile sync was to pay for it, I paid for it. Now, that I think about it, I travel a lot less and the internet is no longer that much of an issue, so I might stop using it. But, since I paid annually already, we’ll see. Oh, and the reason why I use it over Evernote for reading on mobile: the articles look a lot, lot better and less cluttered. I don’t know why, I just like it more.

Google Drive

I just use it for backups. Oh, and Photos, because Google Photos is the best photos app ever: have you tried searching in it? It’s worth it just for the search images function and how well it works.

Netflix

Need I say more? I pay for the bigger account, with 4 devices and UHD content, but I don’t really see much of a difference on a 4K screen between UHD and FHD, frankly. If I think about it, since I pay monthly, I wonder if I can pay yearly.

Hulu

Some TV series are available here and not on Netflix, so I pay for the account without ads. I need to check out if I can pay yearly as well. While Hulu is not available outside of US, I travel quite often there that it makes sense. And sometimes I get “creative” about it :)

Tennis TV

It’s really bad that WTA is not on it anymore since I watched as many matches of the Romanian ladies as possible, but I still keep it for the ATP games. And my father uses it, as well, and he would be really sad if he didn’t have it anymore. And I really can’t have my father sad, can I? :)

Spotify

I’ve created the account the last time I’ve been to the states. It’s perfect for several people in the family (you can add up to 5, I think, under the $15/month contract). I pay monthly, cause I wasn’t sure I want to keep, but I’ll see if it’s possible yearly. I used to pay for Google Play Music, but I didn’t like it as much. I think Spotify has a better discovery engine and I like this a lot.

Overcast

The best podcasting app there is on iOS. I really like it (the cutting of pauses alone reduces podcasts duration by 5-10%, probably), but I hate that there isn’t a macOS version. There’s not an Android version, also, but I don’t use Android, so I don’t really care about it.

Myus

I need a stable US address and this is a good solution for me. They changed a little bit since I started using it: I used to be able receive packages and letters there with the basic account. Not anymore, so I need to look a little bit at how much I really need it now. The thing is I got a replacement bank card sent there and “receiving packages” is no longer part of the plan, so I needed to reorder a new card from the bank to another address. Which was bad, as you would expect.

CyberGhost

The best VPN solution I used in the last years. I used some others before and I had some issues so I preferred to go with CyberGhost. The reasoning at that moment was that if I really had any issues I could actually meet them and talk to them since the company is based in Bucharest and I could actually go to their office. Thankfully, I didn’t need help, since the app worked really well doing what I need. Though now I’m a little sorry I didn’t visit them. Who knows, maybe I could’ve invested a little bit in them and be even happier about the acquisition they announced last month :)

I use VPNs because I travel a lot and I feel uncomfortable connecting to public wifi networks without a VPN. Yes, I get “creative” with streaming services from time to time, but not as often as you would think. I’m a lot more concerned about security.

I pay Cyberghost yearly, as well.

Kindle Unlimited (Amazon Prime)

I’ve used Kindle Unlimited sparingly from time to time. You basically get free books to read, but the books aren’t always the greatest. Still, there are some worth reading, like The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. But combined with Prime, which I started to use more in the last year or so since The Grand Tour is free with Amazon Prime and staying a lot more in the US and Ireland, I use Prime for free or cheaper deliveries as well. Again, I pay monthly, I need to look if it’s possible to pay yearly.

1password

It’s not a monthly service, but I paid for it on all the platforms I use (macOS, iOS). It’s the service I use the most on a daily basis since I have weird passwords that I always forget :)

RunKeeper

I haven’t run since September, but I keep paying this monthly because ONE DAY!!!! SOME DAY!!!! I actually played a lot of tennis during the winter which caused some weird problems with my Achilles tendon and I need a treatment which will happen in May. So hopefully, by June I will start using the app again.

Soulver

This is an app I paid about $10, I think. It’s the best calculator there is. I don’t know how to really explain it, but it’s good :)

Because I don’t consider my blog a business, here are some things I use for the blog, as well:

Mailchimp

I started to use it recently for this blog’s Curated Reading List. I used to use Aweber, but I hate their design section (I don’t want to create an HTML template, I know it’s possible). I pay for it monthly, I don’t think they have a yearly program since you pay based on the number of users you have.

Aweber

I used this for the last 5-6 years and I really like it as a platform. I understand it, it seems really straight forward for me. Designing a good looking email is an effort that I don’t want to make, unfortunately. So I am gonna quit on it in the next 1-2 months (once I move some email lists).

Hostgator

I’ve used it for 8 years or so, I think. I have all the small sites I still own there (from this blog, to my cousin’s, to Miruna’s illustration site and interview site). I should look at paying yearly :)

These are the service and platforms I use every month. And I support them with my credit cards :)

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