Online Living

Friday Features

I’ve been on a bit of sensory overload…what with the financial crisis, the apparently shoe-in victory for Barack Obama, and preparing for a trip to the most magical place on Earth.  However, I’ve found some really useful and interesting things that I’ve been incorporating into my life recently.  I’m a gadget junkie, but even more, I’m addicted to “productivity tools.”  I love simple things that make life easier…even if they’re not all that simple.

For instance, IWantSandy.com emails and text messages me reminders to pay bills when they’re due, so that I don’t forget them.  Apparently Sandy can do lots of other awesome things…but who has the time to figure this crap out?

And so today, I bring you several things I’ve found useful, and a few not so useful things.

  • Microsoft Live Mesh – this is something that borders on revolutionary . . . but isn’t quite there yet.  (I think that’s Microsofts mission statement -“Almost, sorta, kinda, New and Awesome, but not quite.”)  It’s a “Tech Preview,” which I assume means that it’s actually buggier than Vista on release day.  The remote desktop features don’t work with Mac yet, but the online storage is accessible from a Web Browser.  Basically, this is like DropBox (which I use and love) with social networking features built in.  I can see this being useful in business as well.
  • In the online storage world, I’ve been looking for a solution for backing up pictures online.  I’ve fallen in love with Picasa.  The desktop app is great (way better than iPhoto on Macs) for organizing and doing basic edits.  To me it’s much simpler to use than Flickr, which I still can’t figure out.
    Seriously . . . a lot of these things are supposed to save us time, but it ends up taking more time to work with than it’s worth.  I’m still trying Flickr . . . but I think I’ll be staying with Picasa for now.
  • Ubuntu 8.10 is coming out in 6 days, and has a lot of new usability features built in, with a supposedly much less confusing installation, especially if you are partitioning your hard drive for a dual-boot situation.  I highly recommend.  This website is run off an ubuntu server, by the way.  Check out my series on setting it up.
  • Skype – This is old . . . but I’ve just begun using, and plan on featuring it in a blog about business tech and cost cutting ideas.  It’s a great way to keep up with friends and family who are away…and a great way to save on long distance calls in general ($2.95 per month for unlimited!)

Most of my finds are typically courtesy of Lifehacker.  It’s one of my first reads everyday.  However, Mashable tipped me off to Wigix.  Wigix is awesome, let me say.  It’s like a stock market for things you own or want to buy / sell.  Just like the market, there are buy and sell offers on the table for tons of things, and you can take one (execute) if you want to buy or sell at that price.  If not…put your own buy or sell order out.  As an ex-con -broker, this makes great sense to me, and it’s got an MLM feature with it too.  If you are the first to add an item or category, you make money off all of that product’s sales.  You also make money on referring other people.  So go check it out, and get a good glimpse at the ground floor of the company that will destroy eBay.

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