What tools are essential for you?

One of the things that’s got me distracted lately is that I’m preparing to teach an online class about archives/records management and “Web 2.0” issues. You might think I would be very confident about this, but I am conscious that the universe of what’s out there has expanded beyond my ability to keep track of it. So, dear readers, as a reality check, I’d like you to share in the comments which web tools/sites/apps do you use everyday? Which ones are essential to your working/social lives?

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16 thoughts on “What tools are essential for you?”

  1. For me, the app I depend on the most is http://www.rememberthemilk.com. It’s a fantastic task management app – I have it open all day in a pinned tab in Chrome and it’s one of my most-used iPhone apps. Can’t survive without it, and happily pay the $25 a year fee for the “Pro” level.

    My second most critical app is 1Password. This is not a 2.0 app per se, but using it in combination with Dropbox allows me to have a synced-up, super encrypted record of my passwords on my home Mac, work PC, iPhone, and iPad with convenient browser integration. Allows me to have long randomized unique passwords that I don’t even know for all but a few logins. With it I only need actually to remember five passwords.

    I use a combination of Google Reader and Twitter to keep abreast of the things I care about. I use Google Voice for texting, calling, voicemail, etc. I use MS Sharepoint for local documentation and don’t hate it. I use Dropbox for storing everything except music and photos and will pay for additional storage when I get to 2GB (but I’m only at 30% so far). I think that about covers it.

  2. Just to repeat my tweet, my business partners and I rely on:

    – Gmail & Google Docs (hard to avoid these)
    – Skype (for project collaboration and talking to clients and colleagues)
    – Twitter (primarily for news; our favorite client is Tweetdeck)
    – Redmine (for project management)
    – Openfire (an open-source alternative we use for business-related chat)
    – Diaspora (hoping to rely on this more as it evolves)
    – Github
    – RefineryCMS (part of our gradual transition from Drupal-oriented to Rails-oriented projects)

  3. Interesting question. I’m looking forward to reading the comments on this one. As for me: Blogger, Google Reader, Twitter and bit.ly are the web tools that I consider “essential” for my work on my blog. I also use Evernote quite a bit for various research projects.

  4. Seconding Mike’s comments on Remember the Milk. It’s the first thing I open in my browser every morning and I would probably curl up and die without it. In addition to the iPhone version, there’s a great Android app available for pro users.

    Other than that, my essentials are Gmail, Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Reader. Facebook and Twitter are fun, but not essential.

  5. xmarks.com very useful in being able to manage one’s bookmarks in Firefox and being able to access them via the web

  6. Thanks, all, for sharing here. I put the same request out on Twitter and to my FB friends, and I’m compiling the responses. But replying here on the blog means you have more than 140 characters and others can see it, so I hope people will continue to chime in. This has been a great learning opportunity for me, and from what I hear, for others too.

  7. I’m in love with Google Reader. It keeps track of the multitude of blogs I like to read and I’ve discovered tons more through it also.

    StumbleUpon is awesome. If you’ve never checked it out, you should. Basically you create this online profile, download a toolbar, choose a bunch of topics you like, then click the stumble button. Magic happens. The toolbar “stumbles upon” a random website that falls under one of the topics you like. I can’t tell you how many amazing sites/blogs I’ve discovered through it.

    I use su.pr as my url shortener (because I was already a member of StumbleUpon). It allows you to schedule links to post whenever you’d like them to and then tracks how many times the links have been viewed.

    Of course, I also use Twitter and Facebook daily for keeping in touch and finding out news.

  8. Like many on this list, I use all things Google – from my Droid to Gmail to Google Reader every day.

    The things I use the most are Dropbox and Evernote. Evernote is like the previously mentioned Remember the Milk. I use it for all around note taking in meetings and almost everywhere else. The best thing is the immediate synchronization between my PC at home, my phone, and the iPad.

    Dropbox is the same for file storage – files I need anywhere can be shared instantly. It’s how I navigated MARAC last fall – with the program in Dropbox so it was accessible with whatever device I have at hand. LIke Mike, I’m not near the 2GB cap. Mike’s right about 1Password as well. I use that program nearly everyday.

    I also have caved in and bought a Carbonite account to handle backup. The neat thing about that is that Carbonite has an app that you can install on your mobile device to access any file that has been backed up – sort of Dropbox on Steroids – which has been helpful to me at least once this year.

    Oh and Twitter. Twitter is where I spend plenty of time.

  9. Chiming in a bit late as usual for me…. Most Web 2.0 sites are blocked at work, but with my smartphone, a lot of these tools are accessible from anywhere. It’s amazing to me how much I rely on my phone these days (Motorola Milestone/Droid). Tools I’ve paid for are starred (*).

    Delicious.com wrangles my work and personal bookmarks.

    RoboForm* remembers my passwords when I don’t.

    Astrid Tasks* for Android keeps me on track.

    Dropbox shares my files and Mozy* backs them up; Lookout* backs up my phone.

    Google Docs is where most of my documents live. It allows email upload – perfect since the site is blocked. I also use pretty much everything Google, all the time. Google owns me.

    Quickoffice* for Android lets me create and edit MS Office files from my phone. With Swype, this is much easier than it sounds. Quickoffice syncs with Dropbox and Google Docs.

    Google Reader collects work and personal reading material.

    Springpad is my note-taking app of choice on both phone and computer, and it syncs automatically.

    Twitter is fun and useful but somewhat overwhelming; I find it easier to follow important things on Google Reader.

    I am on Facebook but only on sufferance.

    Flavors.me is a good free personal site creator.

  10. Others have covered Google Docs, Evernote, Dropbox, Twitter, etc. One I haven’t noticed is my new favorite timer in the entire world, http://tomatoi.st

    It’s based on the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of work + 5 minute break), but you can make your own unique URL on the fly, open the same URL on other computers, and the timer is still going. Very useful for days when I’m switching back and forth between workstations.

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