These are services I regularly use and require some type of 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.
Disclosure: Some of the items with a mean that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Throughout the years, I’ve gone through a number of 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 backup at 1AM 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 awhile 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.
I’ve been a fan and user of Evernote for a long time. It’s one of the easiest ways for me to save items. These items can be anything from emails to online receipts to pictures of business cards. The service handles so many inputs and data formats. I particularly like the web clipper that works with my browser. I’ll find some online content I want to save and this utility can save it in simplified form without distractions or as a pretty good representation of a web page. I can then add tags and notes to the item.
Evernote also has apps for just about every operating system and device. I appreciate that I can get easy access to my data whether I’m using my phone, web or the desktop application. They all seamlessly sync.
One use case for Evernote is to save your online confirmation pages in case problems arise like system glitches.
There are a number of 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. I think 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 items 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 item, 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.
This is an online music service I wrote about a couple of years back. I liked the service then, but I thought it a bit pricey. The cost has come down a bit and the content has improved. There is also a desktop app if you don’t want to use your browser. Recently, I’ve had a lot of construction in my area which includes the sounds of pile drivers. Although the construction is maybe a half-mile as the crow flies, you’d think it was next door based on the sound. I found putting on my headphones for 45 minutes on the Classical Plus channel would help me work.
The service also has apps for both Android and iOS. However, I would be inclined to start the desktop trial first. If you like the desktop version then decide if you need a phone version too.
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 sharing with people who already have a Gmail address.
While I don’t use it as much, I’ve heard many users praise Google Photos.
This is a browser extension that 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 plan provides 400+ rules, vocabulary suggestions, and a plagiarism checker. The premium plan is about $12 a monthly if you buy the annual plan. I have seen sale offers at various times.
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 a number of 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. 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 is a great program that I think gets overlooked. It has many of the features of Evernote and in some ways is simpler 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
“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 whitelist them.
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 u8nderstand 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.
This is a recent addition for me. I recently 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.
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