In a previous post I talked about the freemium model and how it has affected my attitude to software purchases. I wanted to go through the services that I use regularly and pay for and highlight them.
This is obviously just a personal selection. Over the years I have tried out numerous applications that rival the one that finally made this list. In the end it is just personal preference as much as anything else. You may prefer something else but these are the ones that made me put my hand in my pocket and purchase a subscription
So in the same order that they were listed in the previous article they are:
I have talked about Carbonite on the site a number of times previously and not always in a positive light (here and here). However, they were reviews of the remote access part of the service and not the core offering of cloud backups and here Carbonite excels. This is really a set and forget service whereby you identify which directories you want to backup to the cloud and it just gets on with it. So I am secure in the knowledge that all my music, pictures and important documents are backed-up should disaster ever strike.
I am a task setter and for years had lists of tasks in the back of my moleskine notebook. Now I have completely moved over to Remember the Milk for this and I love some much about it. Whether I am in my gmail account, on my iPhone or on their website my tasks are always close at hand. Also you can set such a great level of detail against each task should you wish to and of course share them with others. A great time saver.
Like Remember the Milk, Evernote has had a huge impact on both my working and personal life. While I still take a lot of written notes I am increasingly doing so in Evernote. Similar to Microsoft’s OneNote but with the advantage of being multi-platform so again I am able to access my notes on my desktop, via a browser and on my iPhone. The searching is simple and effective and means that I always have my notes close at hand. It is superb at clipping from the net with the browser plug in meaning storing information for later review is a breeze.
Having my own website means that I could, in theory, host my pictures on my own webspace but there is a limit to the amount of available space I have and I need to FTP the pictures to the site and then link to them from my blog. Flickr suffers from none of these drawbacks. I am able to upload pictures from pretty much anywhere to my Flickr account and have them immediately available to anyone who might be interested. With the latest changes I am now also able to link the pictures to my Twitter about.
I looked at so many different online storage options before settling on Zumodrive and in the end it was an easy choice – it simply works. The fact that it looks and feels just like another drive in Windows makes it the perfect solution. I just save a file to me z: drive and it is synced to the cloud. I can then access it from the web, another desktop or my iPhone (are you detecting a theme here?).
£22/year for 10gb (charged monthly)
Unfuddle is the odd one out of the bunch here are it is the only one that I use exclusively for work. The service is designed for development teams and particularly those that are geographically spread. As such it includes source control (subversion and Git), ticket creation, milestones, time tracking and a wiki-like. It has made working with outsourced development teams, as I do, a doddle.
£66/year (10 person team)
Is there anyone who doesn’t know about Skype? It is the poster child of the new age of internet applications brining voice over IP to the masses. I use it regularly to keep in touch with my best friends who have gone to live in Australia (hopefully only for 18 months…). You can get away with not having to pay for Skype if you only make Skype-to-Skype calls. If you want to call “real” phones then a subscription is required.
Finally a lesser known service perhaps. I go to quite a few networking events and collect numerous business cards and found entering all the details to be pretty tedious – scanR solves that problem. You take a picture of the card, upload it to the scanR site and it magically converts it into something you can import into Outlook, gmail or other mail reader. It also works with documents and whiteboards but I only use it for the business cards and while it is not perfect it is much better than having to retype!
Oh and to say you having to add it all up it comes to £213!
[image : SMercury98]