Free online tools that simplify my life

Free online tools that simplify my life

I talked to a friend of mine yesterday and he wasn’t very happy. He had been placing all his important info on his computer without making timely backups. His last backup was some time in 2006. I bet you know where this is going – his hard drive crashed and he lost all of his data. Well – he lost his stuff from the last backup to the present day. More than a year’s worth of photos, documents and whatever else he had on his hard drive. He even took it to a computer shop to hopefully recover it, but alas, no dice. After our conversation was over and I went on my own merry way, I realized I’ve been protecting myself from something like this without even noticing. If my computer crashed right now and I lost everything on my hard drive, I wouldn’t lose anything important. Not because I’m paranoid and have a tape-system backup in my basement, but because I take advantage of free & portable web technologies that simplify my life. If you don’t use them now, check them out. Who knows, you might find something useful.


Do I really even need to describe why Gmail is the first item on my list? It’s free, it has more than enough storage for nearly anyone and it works. It works really well. If I need to find something I can almost always find it immediately, and the spam blocking is awesome. I get about 2 spam messages every second, and Gmail makes it nearly invisible. A piece of spam mail get through once every week or so. Aside from server traffic once in a while, I’ve never had a single issue with Gmail in the 3 years I’ve been using it as my main email account.


Have pictures? check. Want them placed into albums? check. Look no further – Picasa allows you to upload all your images to either public or private folders. They even give you 1 gig of storage right off the bat. All of my pictures from the last 2 years take up less than 10% of that quota. You can even upload huge pictures, have the pictures optimized and resized for the web, and still have that original-sized image available for download.

Google Docs

Hey look another Google technology. This time we have another free service with a ton of space, only this system is geared toward documents. It’s really easy to organize, upload, edit, revise your spreadsheets, documents, etc.


This baby is basically a free online jukebox. You open up the site, type in an artist you like and poof instant gratification. There are limits, such as how many songs you can listen per hour and the fact that you can only skip the current song and pause. You can’t rewind or fast forward. The music can also get a little repetitive, but thankfully you can have a load of separate stations.

Since I use all of these sites, I have no need to archive emails (outlook), pictures, documents and even music. Sure I still keep copies here and there, but I consider their online versions to be my official copy. Whether I need to access from work, home, or Siberian labor camp it’s good to know that I’m covered.

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