Here’s a short list of the web or mobile sites and apps that simply make my day more enjoyable. Whether they help me finish my work quicker, communicate more effectively or are just a pleasure to use, when others ask about what I’m using the list below is what I most often discuss. For a complete list of all the products, sites and apps I use, take a look at my Toolkit page.
box.net – I moved my company over to box.net earlier this year and everyone loves it. Dropbox is similar, but I prefer box.net’s desktop like web interface, enhanced security, search and sharing features. With the release of iCloud, box.net upped the ante offering 50 gb of free space for people who sign-up for an account using the iPad or iPhone app.
Springpadit.com – Springpad is maybe best understood as a combination of Evernote and a typical task app (see my Evernote v. Springpad comparison to understand the differences). The reason I use it all the time is that I can forward emails to springpad to create tasks and I can add reminders for products via barcode scan), movies and restaurants via lookup and websites via the browser clipper. You can use the site or mobile apps, but sadly there’s no offline desktop option (there is an offline option for google chrome). For task addicts, be forewarned that Springpad does not have recurring task or delegation features.
Amazon Prime – I’ve been a prime member since Amazon first offered it. The $79/yr has been worth it to me for the shipping benefit (free 2 day on most items; $3.99 next day upgrade), but Amazon hasn’t stopped there. Prime now includes access to Amazon’s albeit limited movie streaming library and borrowing up to a book a month for free on a Kindle from a select best seller’s list. Moms and students can qualify for free membership based on certain purchase volume. Trial memberships are available for anyone who has not been a member for 13 months.
LastPass – It seems every time I turn around someone is having trouble with a password. Solve your password blues by signing up for a free LastPass account. The service is more secure that letting your browser remember your account information and you can access the information from anywhere. LastPass also makes it easy to share and update account information with others (e.g. spouse, coworker, etc.). Their mobile apps and browsers are a little clumsy, but still helpful when you can’t remember account information on the go.
Penultimate – This app lets you take handwritten notes on an iPad. You can arrange pages into separate notebooks and easily print or email a page. Different templates are available for all your note taking needs including weekly planning, graph paper, lined notebooks, etc. The app can be setup for right or left handed users and can be configured to recognize when your palm is wresting on the screen. If you get penultimate, you’ll probably want to pickup a pen too. To make writing easier, I recommend the AluPen or Bamboo Stylus.
Kindle – I love my Kindle even though it’s not a site or app! I read about 20% faster on it simply because I can set the typeface and font size to something that suits my eye. Being able to lend and borrow from a bestsellers list have improved the value. The battery life is incredible and the e-ink screen is easy on the eyes for extended reading compared to an iPad. If you’ve been holding out, the new crop of Kindles start at $79. Unless you’re regularly away from WiFi, I’d pass on the more expense 3G models and use that money to get a good case with a built-in light.
Let me know what sites and apps you are finding helpful these days.