November 27, 2023

An amazing, wonderful, and sometimes misunderstood property of the internet is just how incredibly free it can be - especially in the sense of not having to pay for information, tools, services, content, etc.

The incredible work of very smart people (ahem, nerds), who simply have a passion for what is possible with technology, has enabled an entire generation, economic and cultural, to thrive. These creators make incredible software, share information, and produce content - all for free. With my apologies for a car analogy.... if you've ever needed to change lanes while driving through a city, and the person who lets you merge in front of them then gets stuck behind the next red light while you breeze through the yellow... well, that (contrived example) is a bit like the generosity of the creators of content and software who share it for free on the internet.

This free software and content is often as good as and even better than content and software you would have to pay for directly. For some purposes, its worth paying the professional company for certain content or software if I need the reliability, consistency, exclusivity, etc. However, if I paid every organization for content, tools, and services that I can otherwise get for free, I'd be spending several hundreds of dollars per month.

I've written a list of the software, services, and content which I get for free. This is a much longer list than I would have expected. It gets longer every year. Each week I seem to remember one more item to add to this list. I support them all in some way, not always financially, but many of them with direct contributions annually.

💡 More of my tools, services, and media preferences can be found on Uses.

If you aren't using any free and open source software and are interested in saving some money, I highly recommend looking to see what is available that could replace something you are currently paying for. I'm willing to bet that there is at least one item.

If you are using free software or consuming free content, then an exercise I recommend doing is to write down all the free content and software that you get any value from and which also are supported by donations, charity, etc. Then I recommend, if it is within your capacity, to support each of the entities on your list in some way. If you can code, maybe help quash a bug. If you can donate, that's good too. Even sharing with friends what you use as an alternative to a paid solution is a form of support.

Here is the list of products, services, tools, and creators that I support in some way:


Keeweb is a browser-based free and open-source user interface for Keepass. I love it because I'm a long time Keepass user, and Keeweb makes it convenient to access my Keepass database from the web browser in a secure, unobtrusive, local-only Progressive Web App.

Note taking application? Writing App? Personal Wiki? Digital Garden? All of the above? Personal Knowledge Management tool? Whatever it is, It offers a flexible and adaptable platform for creating, organizing, and linking notes. I support Obsidian because its the only note taking tool that adds value to my notes without being too opinionated about how I use the tool. The rich ecosystem of plugins allow it to be extended to serve many use cases, including how I create content for this site.

A free and open-source private messaging app that prioritizes user privacy and security using end-to-end encryption. Because it is a non-profit organization, it can be more aligned to user's interests than for-profit alternatives. I use Signal because Google, Apple, and cell phone carriers all monetize information about your communications and have a for-profit incentive to collect data about the messages you send.

Wikipedia is such a tremendously helpful and useful resource for knowledge. Acknowledging that it isn't without faults, however. Any cited source is available for your inspection (and we should all get used to examining sources more often). I support Wikipedia (via the Wikimedia foundation) because I believe access to providing free access to knowledge is the single greatest underlying pre-requisite and contributor to increasing the quality of life to humanity. streamer and YouTube video creator known for his playthroughs of Soulslike games, such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Elden Ring, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. He is also known for his comedy and his ability to complete challenging games in creative ways. I've been watching Lobos for more than 10 years, and support him for his very entertaining, funny, and creative gameplay and commentary, as well as he presents as a very good hearted person.

A non-profit internet radio station that curates a diverse selection of ambient, electronic, and experimental music. It provides a unique listening experience that transcends conventional genres, offering a tranquil and introspective soundscape for relaxation, focus, or creative exploration.'s commitment to high-quality audio and its carefully curated playlists make it a popular destination for music enthusiasts seeking a unique and immersive auditory experience.

The Seattle affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR). I support KUOW because I find most news and talkshows and interviews to be thoughtful and nuanced, and does not rely on sensationalism to attract listeners.

A free audio player that is based on the popular Winamp media player. WACUP is a community-driven project that aims to keep Winamp alive by fixing bugs and adding new features. I support WACUP because it is genuinely a good free audio player (for Windows) and it tickles all the right nostalgia feelings.

A Mastodon community that is focused on hackers, professionals, and enthusiasts who are passionate about life, respect, and digital freedom. I support it because it is filled with a bunch of tech-nerds who are welcoming, friendly (usually), and knowledgeable about an incredibly diverse set of topics but anchored on all things technology. Follow me there.

A free and open source media server for streaming your own music, movies, photos, etc to your various devices. I support Jellyfin because it was the best option for me to listen to my music collection and has some of the best client applications on Roku, Android, etc.

A free and open source plugin for that facilitates the creation and publishing of notes from to a public "digital garden" website. I support this because this website's content is almost entirely created with this plugin. See TIL (Today I learned)#Infrastructure Stack.

A weekly-ish podcast from my very own flight instructor about General Aviation news, general tips for pilots, technical details on glass cockpits, flying GPS approaches, interviews, and answering listener questions. I support Max's podcast because he is a wonderful human being, I learned so much from him as a pilot, and want to continue supporting him even though we don't fly together anymore now that we live in different regions.

A weekly podcast that covers all things aviation. The hosts, RH and AG, are both experienced air traffic controllers who are also pilots (a rare combination!) that share their unique insights and perspectives with listeners. I support their show because the knowledge I get from the show make me a better pilot as a result of understanding Air Traffic Control's perspective but also because I love their sense of humor.

A convenient website that stitches together all the official and up-to-date aviation maps of the United States. It has both VFR and IFR maps, and more. Airports can be clicked on to get current weather and links to Chart Supplement information, as well as approach charts. I love using it while at home on my computer to get ideas of where I might want to fly and study the areas I'll be flying around.

A free MP3 tag editor that allows users to easily edit the artist, song, album, etc. tags on their music collections. I like this tool because it has a very nice user interface that works for large numbers of files, and has powerful (and smart!) features to make organizing my music easier.

Its the organization behind the "wayback machine" - a way to view the versions of websites from the past. It still has my mid-1990s "webpage" I made as a child cringe . The Internet Archive is a free non-profit digital library. I support them because they help archive content that would otherwise be lost - which provides transparency and accountability as well as access.