Monday, April 14, 2014

9 Online Tools to Make Your Day a Little Better

I've been a software developer for 15+ years, and as such have come across some online tools I think others may find very useful and may or may not know about.

With no ceremony and in no particular order:
  • LastPass - Manages all of my family's passwords and online info encrypted and synced to every device.  If my wife changes a password to our bank, then she doesn't have to tell me - my phone and browsers already know and will enter it for me next time.  This means our (very long, secure) LastPass password is the last password we need to know.
  • - If This, Then That lets you automate all sorts of things very easily and quickly. For example "IF it's going to rain, THEN send a push notification to my phone so I don't forget an umbrella."  I use it to automate about two dozen other personal and work-related things.  
  • - Is IFTTT's bigger brother.  It's still pretty simple and has the same concep, but tons more integrations.  It is a pay service, but is a more business-oriented service.  It has integrations for things like SalesForce, BaseCamp, Trello, etc.
(Side note: those last two are good for learning about other popular web-based services, since each integration is typically a 3rd party service itself)
  • - Absolutely the best way to manage a project or process or keep a todo list.  I've mentioned this one a few times because I'm writing a book Trello Dojo all about how to get the most out of it.
  • - I used to use Google Reader for the same thing, but Google killed that service, so I jumped to this.  Monitor all your blog feeds in one easy to use interface.  This is my "morning paper" and saves me tons of time staying current on my industry.  You can also push links from it to Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other services.  IFTTT also works with it, so for example you could add a recipe  "IF I bookmark a link in Feedly, THEN add it to Evernote".
  • - a note taking app that works on any device.  If I paint a room, I snap a picture of the color code so I never forget.  Work notes, ideas, recipes, business cards, and more all go in here and I can pull them up on any device.
  • - Queues up posts to send to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I'm just now 'getting' this one, but the idea is not only can you write once and post to all those, you can schedule the posts (or rather, it automatically schedules them based on the best times for posting).  This is handy because it means you can sit down once to schedule a bunch of stuff of interest and it sends them out periodically for you.
  • is a site monitoring service. Unlimited checks for free, with paid skus for more frequent and thorough checks.  This is probably the best way I've found to be sure all your stuff is "up" and get notified when it goes down.  As a bonus, they also give you some stats like performance and uptime percentage.  (Disclaimer: I am using an affiliate link here, but seriously, this is the best way to monitor your websites)
  • is a web accelerator.  This one gets a little nerdy, but it sits between the internet and your site and speeds everything up.  It can reduce bandwidth to your site by 75% (which may translate to savings on web hosting) and add in all sorts of value-add features at the same time.  For example, it will protect your site from DDoS attacks and various other vulnerabilities.  Like StatusCake, the free SKU is generous enough that it may be sufficient for many people here.
What tools do you use to make your day a little better?

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