Here’s a list of sites/services I discovered in 2005 and find incredibly useful:
- Remember the milk – to do lists.
I started off using Ta Da List but liked the extra features Remember the milk offers, such as reminders via IM/email etc and recurring events. I’ve found myself get more organised and it’s handy to be able to share lists with others (such as errands and food shopping!). The people behind the service are lovely and friendly and are working hard on improving the service based on our feedback.
- Mint – beautiful web stats.
Many of the default server web stats packages are clunky and full of graphs and information about things I’m not interested in (such as hits). Mint is simple, informative and helpful. I’ve installed it recently and have discovered lots of things I wouldn’t have had time to notice using more traditional packages. It’s a steal at $30US. PS Did I mention the design is beautiful?
- TechCrunch – new Web 2.0 services.
I love reading Michael’s reviews – it’s usually the first place I hear about a new Web 2.0 site (although Emily Chang’s eHub is pretty quick). Michael doesn’t hold back about the things he doesn’t like about a service too. Many of the new sites coming out seem to be variations on a theme (tag this, share that) but sifting through new ways people are doing things helps give me ideas of my own. His site linked me up to a tonne of other sites I’m now a regular reader of.
- Digg – social bookmarking on all things tech-related.
The inner geek in me liked reading the occasional story or two on Slashdot but two things put me off: the design and the never-ending debates about the same things: [insert company name] is evil, web designers know nothing about coding and how to rule the universe. Digg has a lovely design and useful features. I’m subscribed to Diggdot, which combines top Digg, Slashdot and popular del.icio.us stories together.
- Odeo – podcasts.
I am one of the few people in the tech world who probably doesn’t yet have an iPod. This is for a number of reasons: they’re cheaper in the US, I don’t have a pressing need for one (I have an entertainment system in my lounge which plays MP3, a discman which plays MP3s in the car and my computer – which covers most of the times I’ll want to be listening to music. Oh, and I don’t want to get sucked into an upgrade cycle (“ooh look, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, iPod video…”) as new models come out.
Anyways, I have recently (finally!) started subscribing to a few podcasts to listen to as I commute. Odeo has been a handy way of finding things I’m interested in. And, yes, I’m a sucker for beautiful, uncluttered websites. I haven’t found a regular tech podcast I’m hooked on yet (I love listening to conference talk podcasts), but I hang out for the latest installment of the Ricky Gervais show (where you’ll laugh aloud and they talk crap about absolutely nothing). Oh and New Music Tuesday.
- Skype – free phone calls.
Unfortunately, living down here in New Zealand, our mobile and landline phone calls are some of the most expensive in the world. And broadband costs. Skype means I am calling overseas friends more often, and not feeling like I need to call for hours on end to make the most of the $8 call cap on weekends. I’m using it to call friends elsewhere in New Zealand… and even my family who live 20 minutes away but it’s a toll call otherwise. Thanks Skype!
- Meebo – IM via your browser.
Great for when you’re travelling and there’s no access to IM, or you have IM blocked.
- Thunderbird for RSS.
Earlier this year I ditched the RSS feed reader I was using, upgraded to the newest version of Thunderbird and added in all my RSS feeds as a new account. It’s nice not to have two programs open while I’m working and I can treat new lblog posts as new emails – filter, sort, forward, archive. There’s a couple of glitches with a couple feeds that I haven’t yet figured out the reason for – e.g. New Music Tuesday keeps downloading the old posts after I’ve deleted them; but I’m happy to have switched to a simpler system for managing RSS feeds.
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