As I spend the day reflecting on the good and bad of this year (so many extremes) and say adios to 2012, I want to leave you with a list of sites and web based tools that have enhanced my internautting experience for free over the past year(s), not listed in any particular order. Note that I use a pc/laptop with Windows OS and Chrome browser. Many of these have been around for a while but hey - good is good and you may not have used them. Cheers and many wishes for happiness, peace and love in 2013!
- Rapportive - This is for Gmail users. Email me and even if I don't know you I know a lot about you. I can immediately see what you look like, where you're based, and what you do. I can connect with you right there on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more. And I can write secret notes about you that magically appear anytime you email me.This one really does make me feel like a Special Agent.
- PicMonkey- I almost had a melt down when Picnik somehow got partially absorbed by Google and partially died and went away. But the 'Pic' part mutated into PicMonkey and developed slowly over the year to be a robust image editor and all outber fun tool which has been free all this time until recently when it took all the funnest tools and made them premium. It wasn't a surprise - they have been putting little crowns on premium features as notice for a long time. There is still plenty of free goodness. A great 100% free alternative is iPiccy.
- Slacker - Everyone needs tunes, right? I like my own chill music station or Spanish Pop when I work, streamed through my tablet or laptop to a pair of wireless Creative speakers. You can also catch my YouTube My Chill playlist here.
- Tweetdeck- I have been through an evolution of Twitter apps because I simply cannot feel the love through the Twitter website, for as much as they have jazzed it up. It's good to view profiles but IMO not to tweet from. This year I used Tweetdeck which was purchased by Twitter - and I pretty much like it. I use the Chrome extension and keep the tab pinned open. I have it set to shoot me a pop up alert for mentions and direct messages. It has a lot of great features but for whatever reason certain features haven't been working for a while with both the web version and the extension. Grrr... (give me ideas for an alternative in the comments please!)
- Vizify -Plug in your social media sites and Vizify creates a series of interactive infographics that show the best of you. It is a mashup of all your social media and professional experience in one sweet spot. It's customizable and a must for anyone without a personal website.It's my favorite online snapshot profile.
- Dropbox-This is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. I have it on every computer and mobile device I use. Every file I own (OK I have a real lot so I pay for extra space but the free is huge!) is always with me and accessible to me. Every single one. And I can easily share any folder or single document with one or more people or publicly, without giving access to everything and everyone. And you get more space if you refer someone - and they don't spam you! So here join now. To be fair, I also use Google Drive a ton for storage and sharing they are similar in many ways.
- Evernote- A virtual notebook on steroids is the best way I can describe this. I also have this app on all my computing and mobile devices. Create as many notebooks, notes, sub-notebooks and sub-notes, you can upload and email to your account - I can't tell you everything you can do with it because I just like it for notes but there are meetups and conventions about it and it has it's own app store. It's ridiculous. My best use for it is grocery lists, notes and more notes.
- Text Link Ads- The ads on my website generate money I donate to causes I believe in. It took me just a few minutes to sign up and configure and a monthly deposit goes right to my paypal account. When I'm ready to make a donation to a cause I have money generated by all you good readers!
- LinkedIn - How can I not mention LinkedIn? This year they revamped profiles and added a new feature called endorsements. If you haven't visited your profile in a while it's time to get a crackalakin because like amustache, if you don't keep it groomed it gets allscraggly. Business is relationship based. Period.
- Google - I've said it before and I'll say it again, I would marry Google if I could. It's my main virtual squeeze for everything from multiple forms of electronic communication to document creation and storage, instructional videos, music, web browser, productivity tools, time management, navigation, games, and yes - community. And I love it. As luck would have it, Guy Kawasaki recently posted his new free ebook What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us. Grab it here and get experimenting. Find me on Google+ here.
- TED- Ideas worth sharing! Need a little inspiration? TED.combelieves passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. This is a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.More than 1400 TED Talks are available, with more added each week.
- Facebook - This social network has reconnected me with long lost friends I was never able to find any other way and allowed me to buildrelationshipswith people around the world I never would have had the opportunity to become friends with any other way.
What were your go to favorites this year?