Online Services

These are services I regularly use and require some online access. They cover a wide range of services from backups to passwords and lots in between. Some are free, and some are paid services. The list is alphabetical.

Disclosure: Some of the items with a money icon. mean that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Backblaze money icon.

Throughout the years, I’ve gone through many backup services. It wasn’t until I experienced a fire did I realize the benefit of offsite backups. And I also know that unless I have a system or procedure, I’ll mess things up. I’m not as disciplined as you might think. Fortunately, Backblaze has an easy configuration panel. I have my system designed to back up at 1 AM each day. That’s just one option as I could also have it back up when it detects my computer is inactive. I could even refine that option by defining the inactivity timeframe before it starts. I also like that I can add 2-factor authentication to my account, and it includes unlimited storage for a very reasonable fee. They also provide a free trial, so you can see what the control panel and backend look like. The cost is about $60 a year.

The company does provide a useful backup guide. If you’ve never used an online backup service, it may take a while for the first backup. It really depends on how much data you have and your upload speed. So, start with your most critical/valuable files first.

ClickUp App money icon.

I started using this task management service last year and migrated from the free plan to the Unlimited plan. I primarily use it for gathering tasks, especially those from online sources. To give context, the app has a browser widget that sits off to the side. When I encounter an article I want to read, I click the + button, which starts my task. I can then add details about the task, such as the follow-up date and link to the actual article. I use this instead of keeping open countless browser tabs. The service works similarly when I read my email. If the email has something task related, I click the + button and add it to the list I want.

The service is highly customizable and allows me to create my own fields, statuses, checklists, and dependencies. I’m not locked into a specific template. For example, I can make a task list with fields related to articles I want to research or rewrite. Based on my actions, I can get daily reminders.

The company also releases new features frequently. One exciting one this year was workflow automation. Based on specific actions or triggers, I can have ClickUp change different variables on a list item. This is exceedingly helpful if you work with teams.

The apps works on all platforms and has versions for your mobile phone. You can also collaborate with other folks.

Feedly

There are many ways to define Feedly, but perhaps the one that’s easiest to understand is as a Google Reader replacement. In fact, that’s how I first started using the service when Google decided to shut down its RSS reader. I simply imported my OPML file. The service has both a free tier and a yearly paid one. There is enough value in the paid service, which costs me about $65 a year.

The service makes it easy to process and organize items. I’ll add in all my RSS feeds, YouTube channels, and search terms. The articles are then pulled in, and I can choose how to display the items. And while I’ve always appreciated a good headline, Feedly makes my scanning easier by also showing a popularity count of the article, which also helps me decide if I want to read. The service also has apps for mobile devices. Typically, I scan the titles, and if something appeals to me, I’ll drill down into the article. Based on the publisher, I may get the whole story or the lead paragraph. I can then save the article to various services, including Evernote, Pocket, and others.

My suggestion is to start small until you get the hang of the service. It’s easy to go “hog wild” and add in hundreds of feeds.

Google Drive

I find the free online services that Google bundles under Google Drive to be a great value. This is partly because it’s easy to save Gmail attachments to the drive like spreadsheets and documents. While the individual programs like Google Spreadsheets aren’t as robust as the Micorosft programs, they handle 95% of my needs. It’s also convenient to have access to these files from my phone or browser if needed. The service also makes it easy to share files with other people. However, I’ve found it works best when communicating with people who already have a Gmail address.

While I don’t use it as much, I’ve heard many users praise Google Photos.

Grammarly money icon.

This browser extension continually reminds me of my mistakes, including everything from spelling mistakes to the Oxford comma. It works seamlessly with Gmail, Microsoft Office, and other online platforms such as WordPress. However, it doesn’t work in some programs like Scrivener or Google Docs. In those cases, I can copy and paste my content and work within their native app. You can also turn the service off for a particular site using the toolbar icon.

The service has both a free version and a paid plan. The paid program provides 400+ rules, vocabulary suggestions, and a plagiarism checker. The premium plan is about $12 monthly if you buy the annual plan. I have seen sale offers at various times.

LastPass

Recently, I wrote an article about being lazy and suggesting people get a password manager. There are a number of them on the market, but LastPass is the one I use. The company has several plans, including individual, family, and enterprise. They also offer a free plan that is quite adequate, although you can’t do certain things like share passwords or use multiple devices. This is a great feature where I could give someone access to an account, but not the credentials. For example, I’ve used this with various support issues on my website where tech support people needed access to the CMS.

The program really makes filling in online form fields much easier with their extensions. But you can also use it to store other secure notes like combinations, software license keys, etc. They also have versions for mobile devices as well.

One Note

One Note is a great program that I think gets overlooked. It has many of the features of Evernote and, in some ways, is more straightforward and free. Although the program is used a lot in education, I use it to share information about websites. I have sections for procedures, vendors, contact people, etc. I can control who can edit the pages. The program also has phone and desktop versions.

They also have an Evernote Importer if you want to migrate content. I’ve not used the tool because I still use Evernote.

You will need to have a Microsoft account such as hotmail.com, outlook.com or live.com

Snopes

“Fake news” was a thing way before things got political. One of my “go-to” sources to see if something was real or an urban legend is Snopes. The site has been around a long time and has grown in size. It’s now one of the largest fact-checking Internet sites. At this time, the site receives no funding outside of advertising. If you do use an ad-blocker, you might want to add them to the allowlist.

Todoist

I’ve gone through so many apps in my quest for the perfect planner. It would take too long to list them all here. While Todoist doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, it’s a nice balance for me. I appreciate that I don’t need a rigid structure to enter items, and their parser can understand my intent, like dates or recurrence. I first started on the free plan but upgraded to premium, which runs me about $30 a year. The app also works seamlessly on all my devices and has integration with Gmail and Outlook.

Zoho Mail

This is a recent addition for me. I moved my web hosting account and assumed that email was included. While I could’ve opted for the paid Google mail account, I decided to give Zoho a try. I’m very pleased as I can use my own domain. The service also offers a lot of power user features, including aliases. The only downside is the free program requires you to use it from their web page or phone app.