25 Jul 2007

week of geek 3 - get off that computer and on to the Internet

Browser-based apps have come a long way in recent years. With projects such as Google Gears, they're going to get even better. Obviously, if you are using online applications, there's nothing to install, so you can continue working on any old computer, assuming you have access to an Internet connection and a browser.

Some of the online applications I use:
Allows you to store your Internet bookmarks online. If you are using the bookmark functionality in your browser, you'll lost them if your computer goes away. del.icio.us provides extensions for both Firefox and IE which work pretty much the same way as browser bookmarks. Only you access your bookmarks from any computer at any time. An interesting feature of del.icio.us is that your bookmarks are made public by default and you can see the bookmark collections of other people with similar interests.

Google Reader
Have an RSS reader? Do you have a backup OPML file so you can get all your feeds back when your computer goes away? Google Reader lets you read all your RSS feeds online. There are a number of other online RSS readers around - you might prefer Newsgator.

Google Notebook isn't pretty, but it is a pretty good notebook. I use this as a giant todo list, using the Getting Things Done methodology. Information about using GTD with Google Notebook can be found here.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets
I know, this is all becoming a giant Google love-fest. Google Docs gives you a place to put your important documents and spreadsheets and lets you update them online. You can also share them with others and the collaboration works very well. Mozy is a great backup tool, but it's no good if you can't restore to your computer. If you store a backup of your documents in Google Docs, you can edit them from any computer. This has proved extremely handy for me over the past couple of days.

Google Calendar
It's a calendar. It's online. Big whoop. But this is a really good calendar, with a few handy features such as the ability to send alerts to your mobile phone for free. You can also integrate with public calendars. I have both the NZ and US public holidays showing in mine.

OK, I promise this is the last Google reference. iGoogle lets you personalise your home page. It's basically a dashboard that you can fill with whatever's useful for you. In my case I have:
* My gmail inbox
* My calendar
* A world clock
* The most recent feeds from my RSS reader
* My next todo items in my notebook
* My most recent documents and spreadsheets
* my del.icio.us links.

From one page I can get to nearly all of my stuff, and of course I can access it from any computer.

Right! That's enough boring computer stuff for now. Tomorrow - iTunes, portable apps and virtualisation. But for now:

More Goodies:

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