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What Utility Apps Do You Install on Every New Computer? What Utility Apps Do You Install on Every New Computer?

There are a few programs everyone knows to add to a new computer: Chrome, Spotify, Dropbox, some work apps like Excel or Photoshop. But many of us also have our favorite helper apps and utilities to customize our workflow.

Cardhop Gives You a Command Line for Contacts

Mac: Today Flexibits, creators of Lifehacker’s favorite calendar app Fantastical, bring their command-line approach to contacts with Cardhop ($19.99). This new contacts app is oriented around actions rather than your contacts database; you mainly use it by writing commands, kind of like talking to Siri. It’s a…

Windscribe Is a Combination VPN and Browser-Based Privacy Suite Windscribe Is a Combination VPN and Browser-Based Privacy Suite

Windows/macOS/Linux/Android/iOS/Chrome/Firefox: The best VPNs encrypt your data and protect all of your communications from prying eyes. The best browser-based privacy tools keep you from being tracked behaviorally based on the sites you visit. Windscribe is a utility and service that does both in one package.

Station Is a Multi-Level Dock Replacement for OS X Station Is a Multi-Level Dock Replacement for OS X

Mac: Ever wished your Dock had more levels? Station is a replacement Dock that allows you to create groupings that can then be stacked up into multiple levels.

This Is the Lifehacker Pack: Essential Apps and Downloads for All Your Devices

Over the past two weeks we have, like we do every year, given you a snapshot of the essential apps, extensions, and downloads we think every user of every major platform should try. Miss one? Here they all are, in one tidy package.

Pomodoro Time Is a Super Simple Timer That Lives in the Menu Bar Pomodoro Time Is a Super Simple Timer That Lives in the Menu Bar

macOS: There are plenty of Pomodoro timers to choose from but I like apps that disappear when you don’t need them—and are a single click away when you do. With that in mind, Pomodoro Time lets you time your tasks and manage your to-do list right in your menu bar.

Count It Is a Framerate Counter for Gaming On Your Mac Count It Is a Framerate Counter for Gaming On Your Mac

macOS: There’s a lot you can do to improve gaming performance on the Mac, but a lot of it starts with benchmarking your current performance. Count It is a framerate counter that can help you figure out what’s dragging your performance down, and what tweaks boost it.

Hemingboard for Mac Instantly Suggests Synonyms, Puns, and Rhymes  Hemingboard for Mac Instantly Suggests Synonyms, Puns, and Rhymes 

OS X: Hemingboard began as an iOS keyboard that works like an amped-up thesaurus, not only suggesting synonyms to whatever you’re typing, but also rhymes and similar-sounding words that you can use as puns. Now they’ve brought their wordplay weaponry to your desktop.

Qwiki for Mac Lets You Search and Read Wikipedia Directly From Your Menu Bar Qwiki for Mac Lets You Search and Read Wikipedia Directly From Your Menu Bar

OS X: If you frequently visit Wikipedia with your questions and want the encyclopedic resource to be one click away, Qwiki for Mac brings the site to your menu bar without every having to launch your browser.

Flume for Mac Brings Instagram to Your Desktop, Uploading Included Flume for Mac Brings Instagram to Your Desktop, Uploading Included

OS X: Browsing Instagram on the web works well enough, but it’s a fairly minimal experience and you can’t post photos through your browser. Now with the newly updated desktop Instagram client Flume 2.0, you can.

Airmail 3 for Mac Adds Smart Folders, Send Later, and More Airmail 3 for Mac Adds Smart Folders, Send Later, and More

OS X: Airmail, one of our favorite email apps on Mac, just got a slew of new features today, including smart folders to more easily sort your mail, VIP contacts and notifications, ‘send later’ email queuing, and more.

WhatsApp Releases Desktop Apps For Windows and Mac WhatsApp Releases Desktop Apps For Windows and Mac

Windows/OS X: WhatsApp is working hard to become your go-to messenger. Now that it’s free for everyone, you can use WhatsApp on your computer with the new desktop apps.

Opera Brings Ad Blocking to Stable Versions of Desktop and Android Browsers Opera Brings Ad Blocking to Stable Versions of Desktop and Android Browsers

Windows/Mac/Linux/Android: Opera began testing built-in ad blocking on its desktop browser a couple months ago. Now, the company is rolling out the feature for everyone, including on Android.

Stop Opera’s New VPN from Leaking Your IP Address Stop Opera’s New VPN from Leaking Your IP Address

Last week, Opera added a VPN to the dev version of its browser, which was certainly good news. The bad news is that unlike the more robust VPNs it tries to replace, it leaks data that should be encrypted all over the place, namely your private IP address. Here’s how to fix it.

Opera Introduces a Free VPN, Built Right Into Its Web Browser Opera Introduces a Free VPN, Built Right Into Its Web Browser

Windows/Mac/Linux: Opera users just got a free, unlimited VPN you can use to encrypt your data or get around location-based restrictions on content. It’s currently in the dev version of Opera, but turning it on is as easy as flipping a switch.

Grab a Free License for CloudBerry Backup Pro for Mac or Linux, Normally $30 Grab a Free License for CloudBerry Backup Pro for Mac or Linux, Normally $30

OS X/Linux: CloudBerry Lab is giving away free licenses to its premium backup client, which normally costs $29.99. It offers encryption, compression, and unlimited backups to cloud storage providers such as Amazon S3, Google Nearline, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace.

Transmission BitTorrent Client Finally Arrives On Windows Transmission BitTorrent Client Finally Arrives On Windows

Transmission is one of your favorite BitTorrent clients that has unfortunately been limited to Mac and Linux users for a long time. Now, it’s finally available for Windows.

2016 To-Do App Showdown: Wunderlist vs. Any.do  2016 To-Do App Showdown: Wunderlist vs. Any.do 

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from some of our favorite to-do apps, Wunderlist and Any.Do, which means it’s a perfect time for a fresh look at both apps. Both are still some of the best, cross-platform, free to-do managers available, but let’s see how far they’ve come.

This Chrome Extension Blocks Distracting Web Sites, Insults You to Get Back to Work This Chrome Extension Blocks Distracting Web Sites, Insults You to Get Back to Work

Chrome: If you need a little help getting off of Facebook or Reddit and getting things done, Go Fucking Work for Chrome has that in droves—and yes, that’s its name. No nonsense, no frills, just sharp, pointed advice.

Write!, the Elegant Distraction-Free Writing App, Comes to the Mac Write!, the Elegant Distraction-Free Writing App, Comes to the Mac

OS X: Write!, a good-looking writing tool (previously Windows-only), now has a Mac version that brings all of its best features over, including auto-saving, cloud-synced documents, offline editing, day and night editing themes, unlimited undo, and more.

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