Technologies I Love

As someone who has a job in the technology field, it is no surprise I am a technology geek. I love trying out new things to find out what they hype is all about. I am into free services though versus spending lots of money on the real thing, but I think that makes things fun. So what are the technologies that I find I cannot live without:

1. Flock
Flock describes itself as a social browser. I call it my Swiss Army knife of web browsing at home. Based on the Firefox web browsers, it has a lot of features that allows you to easily check in on your Facebook friends, email, photo streams, Twitter followers, etc. And, it should be pointed out, that it does it seamlessly as a sidebar to what you are already browsing. Yes, you can do it via multiple tabs, but it’s not the same. Flock is a feature rich application that will also introduce you to some other services you didn’t know you could live without. Give it a try. (www.flock.com)

2. Ma.gnolia
Ma.gnolia is a site that allows you to upload and maintain your bookmarks. If you are like me, I have bookmarks at home (on two different computers) and at work – and the locations each have their own unique bookmarks that I always long for when I’m on a different computer. Ma.gnolia allows you to upload, tag and access your bookmarks from anywhere. Even if you are not in as many places as I am, you can use it to ensure you have a backup of your favorite sites. You never know when you will have a hard drive failure. And as someone who has had her fair share, it’s nice knowing your links are safe. (ma.gnolia.com)

3. Facebook
As a friend of mine put it, I once thought I was too old for Facebook. Then, I started becoming fascinated by social networking – the idea of creating a web of connections from networks of people that seemed somewhat unlikely. I tried MySpace but felt too old for it. It seemed too hip, and so unlike me. One day I read yet another article about how companies are starting to leverage Facebook. Combine that article with a site I found for recruiting – and I finally signed up. Who did I find there? My friends. Simply put, I found collegues, high school friends, college friends, people I have met online. I reconnected with people I never thought I would hear from again. And, I found a connectivity with people I couldn’t find in email. I mean, life is busy. It’s nice thinking of someone and sending them a quick note. Or going and seeing your best friend is spending time in Boston. Consequently, it’s not something I can stay away from now because it fits so well into my computing life. (www.facebook.com)

4. Gimp
I love photography. I strive to be a better photographer. I don’t understand how people get their colors the way they are….until I discovered it was Photoshop. After getting a fair amount of sticker shock, I found a Photoshop alternative called Gimp. Gimp is an open-source free application. It looks and feels like Photoshop but has some minor, workable differences. (Read: I have been able to follow along and reproduce with ease Photoshop tutorials within Gimp.) If you have always wanted to check it out or cannot afford the full suite of Photoshop, download Gimp. (www.gimp.org)

5. iPod Touch
Alton Brown, of Food Network fame, has a rule about kitchen gadgets – the must be multipurpose to live in his kitchen. It cannot be a solo act. I love my iPod because of exactly there. And, I know, the iPods are expensive for an MP3 player, but hear me out. I love my touch because it is so much more. I can listen to music, browse the web, look at pictures, play games, check email on ONE device. It is wonderful. The screen is nice. The sites resize the way you would want and expect. I used to scoff at the iPhone, but I get it now. That is the thing missing to be honest. If I had bought the iPhone instead I could carry one device. You see, I’m a geek – that is true. But, I do not like being gadget heavy. I don’t see that as a badge of honor, I see it as a sign of inefficiency. (www.apple.com)

6. Online Office-like Applications
Okay, I’m being overly general with this one. I’m talking about Google Docs. I’m also talking about Zoho – an online suite of applications that not only include word processing and spreadsheets, but also business applications like Project Management, CRM, HR Recruitment, Invoicing, web conferencing and a few more. Why do I like online applications? They are online. They are no longer reliant on a location piece of software to be running on your computer or mac (except a browser). For me this is very important as I run a PC at work and a Mac at home. And, your documents can be stored centrally. I have used Google Docs to collaborate with my father-in-law in Mexico on a resume. What does Zoho have over Google Docs? A nicer interface. Neither will lead you astray. Concerned about security? Check out their policies to see which you are more comfortable with. (www.zoho.com) (docs.google.com)

7. Mozy
Not comfortable with online applications, but want to keep your files safe. Might I suggest Mozy. Mozy is an EMC company that allows you to backup your computer to their network. They are EMC, so they are definitely secure. You install a local client that does a one-time backup with differential backups after that (they just backup the changes). If your hard drive fails, you can log onto the site through a browser and pick which files to restore. Mozy offers a variety of backup options depending on your needs. This, however, is not for someone like me who has gigabytes of photographs or music files. Even with my broadband connection, I was unable to get the first backup completed (after 4 days of running). Good technology none the less. And, one I recommend to family members. (www.mozy.com)

8. Jott
Ever been away from a computer and wished you could email someone including yourself a note? Ever think of something you need to remember later? Jott converts your voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments. This is how it works. You call Jott on your cell phone. It asks you “who do you want to Jott”, and you tell it. At the beep, you record your message, then stop talking. Once you hear “got it”, you hang up. Jott knows how to get it to whoever you wanted to Jott whether that it text or email. In addition to that, you can use Jott’s web services to do other things. Say you hear a song on the radio and the DJ mentions the album. You can call Jott, say you want to Jott “Amazon”, then tell it the Album. When you get home, the results are in emails. Same things goes with Zillow, Blogger, LiveJournal, Twitter, WordPress, and more. Give it a try. (www.jott.com)

9. Xobni
Do you use Outlook? Do you have problems finding things in it? Yep, everyone does. There is a little add-in that makes a big difference. It’s called Xobni. Xobni is inbox spelled backwards. And, it is a life raft for those drowning in the sea of email. Find people, attachments, and email conversations fast. It adds a 4th panel into your mailbox and automatically displays information about the person who sent you email. It tells you fun facts like when does the person usually send the email and their rank in your list of frequent email senders as well as displays useful stuff like their phone number, people they have CC’d on emails in the past, a list of all of their email conversations, and a list of all of the files attached to their emails. Xobni also includes a very nice search box that is better than the standard search in Outlook without the overhead of the enhanced MS Search. It is still in beta, but they keep adding neat features like a link to LinkedIn for even more info about

10. Photoshop Express
Don’t own Photoshop, but need it? Join the online photo sharing site that gives you the editing power of Photoshop. Upload your pictures, and edit away using your web browser. Have pictures in Picasso or Flickr (or a couple others)? Access them in Photoshop Express and edit them. It’s a nice alternative to purchasing Photoshop. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles, but does your basic editing. (https://www.photoshop.com/express/)

What do you think?