12 Sep

11 ways to make your online life easier

Over the years, I’ve used (and abandoned) literally dozens if not hundreds of online and offline software applications to help me deal with information overload, get things done, or simply play. Here is a list of the ones that are helping me get on. Yes, I am a bit of a closet nerd, but if you spend a bit of time behind your computer, you might find one or two of these tools handy.

Dealing with information overload (and sharing around)

  • Hootsuite – the most elegant way to manage twitter in a clean, easy to use interface.
  • Delicious – one place to bookmark everything I find of interest and want to share with: 1. Everyone, 2. A select group of people.
  • Feedly – a really nice little plugin for Firefox that grabs your RSS feeds from Google Reader and makes it easy to digest, share and manage what you read.
  • Yahoo Pipes – a bit more techie, this is a very clever tool to combine and filter information from the web.

Getting things done

  • Firefox 3.0 – The best web browser, simply because it allows you to customise with all sorts of handy tools, such as the one I am using now to write this blog post offline, but in a browser (Scribefire) or the Delicious plugin that lets me quickly manage bookmarks (without leaving the page). If you’re still on Internet Explorer, you should really have a look.
  • Xmind – a “mind mapping” tool that helps me organise thoughts and plans rapidly and communicate them with others in a simple, visual way
  • Dropbox – so simple. Why store files on your PC? Store them in an online folder by dragging them into a your “dropbox” folder. Access from anywhere, synchronized copies on all your PC’s if you install the little app.
  • Logmein – Lets you remotely access and control someone else’s computer (with their permission of course). I’m talking helpdesk to your Mum, or accessing one of your computers at home from work.
  • Jing– a simple screen recording tool that allows you to either grab a screen image, or record a little flash movie (for US$9.95 pa you can get the pro version, which has MP4 recording and no Jing branding at the end of your movie)
  • Google, of course…..In particular Gmail, Google Maps and iGoogle if you want to personalise your news and get some RSS feeds (look in the right top hand corner of the Google page) as well as the “forms” function in Google Docs (spreadsheets) that allows you to run simple, free little questionnaires online. Lots, and lots more but these are the ones i use mostly, or see the greatest application for.
  • Audacity – a free audio recording and editing tool that’s so powerful and easy to use it is almost ridiculous.

So what do you use? Have I missed any great apps you are using? Share!