Tom’s Picks

Get DTNS hosts as Waze voices! Thanks Paulo!

Tom’s Gear
See the gear Tom uses in his home studio.

Smart Oven


Audio Books


Teleprompter Software
Teleprompt+ 3

Backpack Studio

Language Learning

Screen Waker
Lighthead – Caffeine for OS X
Caffeine in Launchpad for Linux
Caffeine for Windows

Science magazine
Scientific American

Travel tracking

Password management
Last Pass


Apple Music

RSS Reader

Twitter Management

Mistobox and Blue Bottle

(Good alternate: Google Drive, Box.net)

Secure Storage 
Spider Oak

WordPress.org AND WordPress.com

TV Settop Boxes
Apple TV

Desktop PC
Doghouse Systems (Windows 10)

Laptop PC
MacBook Pro(Windows, Linux Mint VMs)

Google Docs
Microsoft Office


Book Publishing
Amazon Kindle Direct

Pocket Casts

54 thoughts on “PICKS

  1. Hey Tom/DTNS Team!

    Huge fan of the show. I got really pumped about Nilay Patel’s article after I heard about it on DTNS and I was wondering if you know of any Whitehouse.gov petition or survey that has been started in regards to the FCC’s cozy relationship with the telecom lobby. If a petition like that gets 100,000 signatures, the White House will be required to respond. It’s not a guarantee that any problems will be solved, but it is a pretty awesome way of forcing the government to exercise some accountability.

    Thanks again for a great show. I listen every day and enjoy the quality of analysis so much.

  2. I don ‘t know about you but I’m always in Windows Explorer managing and searching for files. That is until I found a multi-pane and multi-tab file manager replacement called XYplorer. Its the bees knees!

    Here are some features multi-pane, multi-tab, multilingual, portable, Mini Tree™, theme, colorize file filters, scripting, queued file operations, searching (regex, fuzzy, contents, dupes, tags), custom report exports, and so much more.

    They recently they came out with a free version that can be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

  3. As far as the lightbulbs are concerned what about mixing them with the new smart tattoo technology so that the lights turn on and off as you enter and leave rooms. Obviously this could also currently work with your smartphone. Kind of like the video screens that followed him around in the first iron man.

  4. Here is my PICK.

    I shoot HD video professionally and needed a photo app to shoot a 16 x 9 shape that I can use for HD productions on occasion. Oddly the native IOS photo app can’t do that. Both ProCam apps work well and can shoot images in the 16 x9 shape.

    These apps also help me for personal video productions. They can shoot in a four different file sizes. I love the 720P setting as I feel it is perfect quality for Youtube but saves me 40% or so in file sizes.

    Both apps are well-designed because they create a digital version of normal camera dials. If you are familiar with running about any camera these will be an easy purchase.

  5. My pick is PFsense (www.pfsense.com), if you like DDWRT as a router firmware you will LOVE PFsense it is a opensource free router software that runs on old hardware AOK. Loaded FULL of enterprise level features and easy configuration. It is able to keep up with my 100 MB internet and high user demands with logging, multiple network segments, Guest network capture portal with vouchers, and so much more. It is overkill for any residential router but that’s how use geeks role!

    Also +1 for Plex!

    Flower Mound, TX USA

  6. I love using Dropbox for storing and sharing many of my personal files. However as I work in healthcare I have to be extra careful when it comes to storing and sharing Protected Health Information. I highly recommend ownCloud (owncloud.org) as a private cloud alternative. They have Mac, PC and Linux clients as well as iOS and Android apps. The data is securely stored on our company servers. And best of all it’s open source software.

    (aka DaHa the rare times I get to visit the chat room)

  7. My pick is the task list management app Todoist (http://todoist.com).

    With a pretty minimalistic interface, the app can be as simple or complex as you want – no mean feat in this day & age. That it has native clients available for virtually every platform out there, as well as offline mode in the web app is just icing on the cake.

  8. My pick is called WSUS Offline Update. It’s a tool that uses the Windows Update features of Windows to download all available updates from Microsoft’s servers for the products you select. After downloading the files it can make an ISO image or output the files to a folder for use with a USB drive.

    I use it on new builds of computers or VMs so I don’t have to babysit them while getting them up to date. When you run it on the target system there are options for to automatically restart after rebooting to continue the update process. It really saves time when you have a new Windows install and need to do other stuff while it updates.

  9. After hearing you talking about device management and wireless file transfers coming soon to Apple’s ecosystem (WWDC 2014), I thought I’d suggest AirDroid as a pick of the day. It allows you to send and receive SMS via your phone, manage contacts, clipboard content, files, media and apps, locate your phone, stream video from your phone’s camera(s) or stream the screen of your device all through a web interface.

    As long as your phone (can be wireless via wifi) is on the same network as your computer (connection here can be wired or wireless), they can link up making this great for using it anywhere. You just pull up the easy to remember URL (web.airdroid.com), scan a QR code on the screen, and you’re connected.

    It’s great at home, the office, or even at a friend’s computer for quick direct file transfers.

  10. I mentioned this in an e-mail to Cordkillers, but it’d make a good pick here too. Auphonic.com is a free automatic audio post-processor. I’ve been using it on my podcast for a while because Levelator just wasn’t doing a good job on one of our host’s audio tracks that was really quiet. Auphonic does a great job cleaning our audio and we also have it add our tags, chapter marks, and album art to the files before it uploads the file to our web host. It’s an awesome service that has shaved a good chunk of time from our podcast editing process.

  11. Pick of the Day suggestion:

    Your public library has audio books and ebooks for free. Just go in to the library and sign up. They give you credentials and voila you have access to countless books. My local library is part of the OverDrive lending system. It works great for me.

  12. I recently got a Macbook Air (my first Apple computer), although I haven’t switched to it completely. I shuffle between it and a Lenovo Thinkpad and am pretty comfortable with both operating systems by now.

    After struggling with using an external Logitech keyboard with the Macbook, I finally gave up and got the Apple wired keyboard. I preferred it over the wireless one because it comes with a numeric pad and some extra keys (including Page Up and Page Down), which I find extremely useful. The kicker though, is the fact that it comes with two built-in USB ports. This is awesome given that the MB Air has just two of those. I now have the keyboard plugged into the laptop, the mouse into the keyboard and still have a couple ports available for USB drives and the phone.

    Plus, I don’t have to worry about batteries or charging the keyboard. One less device to worry about running out of juice!

  13. Hi Tom, there was a “pick” a couple of weeks ago about audible cues for people to use who were blind or partially sighted. I wanted to recommend, but my sieve like memory has misplaced the name, and now I can’t even find it on the “picks” page. would you please let me know what that was called? Thanks

    Ricki (your Boss of 285 days)

  14. My pick of the day is timeanddate.com . It’s a great site providing free time and date related information and services. They also have mobile apps, some of which are free and others they charge for.

    I often find myself needing to book meetings across multiple time zones. Timeanddate.com has a great meeting planner which helps you figure out the optimal time.

    Keep up the great work!

  15. My pick of the day is the Android App MightyText.

    The app is similar to iMessage in that it allows Android users to send text messages from their tablet and computer (through a chrome extension) keeping me from switching to my phone whenever I am using my other devices.

    The app also has neat features like: telling you your phone’s battery life, contacts, scheduling future messages, and you can dial from one of the other apps.

    Anyways, thanks for the great show!

    Can’t wait to listen to you guys later today.

  16. My pick of the day is Pushbullet, which works with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and more coming soon. (There is Mac support through the Chrome extension)
    The reason I use and love it, is how easy it is to send messages around to my different devices. If I find a useful article that I don’t have time to read before work, I can just push it to my work computer. If I get a text message on my phone, it will pop up a little window on my computer with the message, and allow me to reply back or send out a new message without having to pick up my phone.
    If my Ingres portal is being attacked, a message on my computers from my phone will let me know.
    You can send files between machines as well.


  17. My pick is learnerds.com. For anyone in the Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math field, or any other nerds, they provide a daily question to keep reminded of some fundamentals that people may forget.

    I can keep sharp by solving a quick question during my morning coffee.


  18. My pick is the Android app Fire Tube.

    It is an android app and Firefox extension that allows you to play YouTube videos as if they were from a music player. You can create play lists and control the music from the lock screen or notification bar.

    It’s been great for listening to lectures on my way to class and for listening to hard to find music uninterrupted while on the go.

    It doesn’t pull your play lists from YouTube and it consumes the same amount of data as streaming the video but I really like this app and think a lot of listeners will too.

  19. My pick is Unhecky.

    Unhecky is a windows program that automatically uncheckes offers for additional software when installing programs in windows. It saves you from accidentally clicking through and accepting terms for programs that you most likely do not want.

    It’s also a great thing to install on a parent’s computer to avoid them installing unwanted programs.


  20. My pick is “podcast addict”. It’s my favorite podcast app for android. It has great podcast management (as far as downloads and playback) It is also developed by a french guy that is very dedicated to making it even better. There is a beta channel for those that want to test the newest features before they come out and the dev is very responsive.
    My favorite features are auto downloads, plain name file names (so you can copy and past or open in other apps if you ever need to, chromecast support, android wear support, custom album art/thumbnails and lots of customizability (but its not necessary to run the app)

  21. I can’t find it on here but I remember a show someone mentioned some video game music or music in the style of video games and wanted to check it out, was on the road so didn’t write it down and can’t even remember when I hear it! Any help would be appreciated! Reply on here or dtns at knowbuddies dot com (not spam I promise, just a catch all!)

  22. Hi Tom,

    My pick is Synergy Project, http://synergy-project.org.

    It is a pretty cool and very useful software for a sharing a single keyboard and mouse across multiple computers without any additional hardware.

    It costs 10$ and works on all operating systems. It is worth every penny.

  23. Pick: Raspberry Pi with XBMC (for use in Hotels!)
    Hi guys!
    I realise this pick has technically already been used (10/20/2014) but I’d like to upgrade it to a travel essential. I spent last weekend going to a couple of gigs in London, and packed a Raspberry Pi with XBMC, Portable Hard Drive and powered USB hub. If there was a spare hour or so we would watch TV shows and Films off the Pi, rather than paying £5 to rent them from the entertainment system. Amazingly the TV at the first hotel supported CEC so I could control the Pi with the TV remote. (I think the second TV supported it, but the supplied remote was for the hotel’s entertainment box. So maybe a small USB keyboard would be handy)

  24. Hi DTNS Crew,

    My pick is the website MultCloud.

    I recently had an error where OneDrive irreversibly lost a couple gigs of my photos and documents.

    I decided to buy an external backup drive and also to grab my remaining files and move to Google Drive.

    Multcloud made this processes incredibly simple, I simply logged in to my old OneDrive account and my new Google Drive account on the site and the remaining 80 gigs of files were transferred over easily.

    While the service is free, there is a 2TB limit but you can get unlimited transfers by making a facebook or google+ post.

  25. My pick is the combination of Google Music and Amazon Prime Music. We often talk about Apple Music, Spotify and Rdio but not a lot of talk about of Amazon Prime Music. But its the part of Amazon prime I use the most at work. It does not have the latest hits but if you have a little grey in your beard like me they have a great back catalog with a lot of good playlists . The biggest lacking is their radio stations but google has great instant mixes and radio station based upon a single track. It’s a great way to save 120 dollars a year which will pay for your prime.

  26. Hi, Tom.

    After hearing you describe your graph paper room layout approach, I thought I would share a great website that I have used for the past few years. The site is Floorplanner.com, and it allows you to dimension a room and then pick pre-made models of furniture, windows and other objects and place them. Each object can be dimensioned to match whatever you will be placing, and can also be easily rotated as well. You can see exactly how everything fits, and as a bonus the site has a 3D view mode that renders all the furniture so you can see how it would look somewhat in real life.

    It’s free for a small number of layouts, and a pro version is available that lets you do more. It works great, doesn’t require any installation, and is easy to learn.

    Love the show and I’m happy to be one of your producers. Carry on!


  27. Hey Tom!

    I wanted to share a new productivity app for managing people who are completing tasks while you are not present to check their work. Its called TaskAssure. It has dozens of applications from ensuring that your vacation property is being cleaned and maintained, to monitoring in-home elder care givers all the way to making sure your kids are doing their chores! It sends text messages to note time start and time end and utilizes GPS location tracking to produce a map of an individuals location while requiring photos be uploaded to ensure task has been completed to standard. The software can be used for virtually any tasks and has the potential to entirely replace costly property management companies not to mention make sure little Jimmy is taking the trash out.

    I hope your listeners can find some unique uses for this app and I’d love to hear what ever they come up with!

    Thanks and Love the show!

    Hansstoppable in the chatroom and tad poole.

  28. I don’t know if anybody else has mentioned this site pluralsight.com which is my pick of the day. I think of this a Lynda for programmers rather than creatives. If you plan on spending more than a few years in IT training is incredibly important, on learning new technologies. I’ve found the course very in depth and covers everything from server administration to game programming. I try to spend at least 30 minutes a day working on a learning task.

  29. Didn’t see my pick on the spreadsheet so I thought I might re-post it.

    I’ve tried tons of media players in the past, but I’ve not been able to find a way to play YouTube videos in a desktop media player. I finally found one when I looked at PotPlayer by a company called Daum at http://potplayer.daum.net.

    It plays everything under the sun, like VLC, but also supports high quality video scaling software such as madVR as plugins.

    It’s only available for Windows, however.

    Love the Show,

    Sam Kirby from Gig City (aka Chattanooga, TN)

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