When I started learning computers 12 years back, I never thought that it will become integral part of my life. Today our virtual life has almost overshadowed our physical life. We learn, play, shop, chat, socialize, work and what not on computer – rather, specifically say online – on the web. Web is growing at rapid pace and with emerging technologies like cloud computing, it’s becoming even bigger, efficient and responsive. The days are not far away when we will use internet services just like our wired electricity – Pay as much as you use. In present times, thousands of applications, tools and services are available which infuses more confusion over which are really useful, trustworthy and reliable. To help you choose better and wisely, we have researched and aggregated some 50+ tools and apps which can be useful to students, professionals, tech enthusiasts and even your mom-&-pop. These tools and apps are either FREE or come with decent free option. So, here is your dose of tech,
1. Time Management
- A small applications seats in the background and tracks all your activity – online and offline both
- It can block distracting parts of web like online social networks.
- Provides with tracking data.
- Get more focused on productivity. Block webpages while you’re working to not get distracted. Works with Firefox.
- Works same as the Stealth Kiwi.
- Also tracks time for all the sites you’ve surfed.
- Counterpart of LeechBlock for Google Chrome browser.
2. Information Management
- A free tool to organize and schedule events, invitations and reminders.
- Share calendar with others.
- Mobile version is available.
- You can sync with your desktop apps like Microsoft Outlook or Apple iCal.
- Works offline to in read only mode.
- Simple and easy counterpart of Google Calendar.
- Schedule events, share or set reminders.
- It’s more than a yellow sticky note.
- It can capture photos, grab screenshots or clip information from webpages.
- All contents are searchable.
- Works with every computing device out there (as they claim).
- Other nice alternative to Evernote.
- Integration with Twitter.
- Smudge personal information for identity protection
- Can put copyright stamp on texts and images.
- Don’t like Evernote or iClippy, then try Springpad.
Have you just said that you know Google? Think again. Google is absolutely the king of search but many other niche search engines out there helps you search specific areas better than Google. If you’re working in mathematics, medicines, physics or any other such research & development areas, then you should look at what below search engines have to offer.
- They cover almost all things that can be computed. ( “Computational Knowledge Engine” )
- Mathematics : It can compute Calculus, Algebra, Number Theory, Applied Math, Matrices, Algebra and all other mathematical theories.
- And if you’re wondering what else factual data they can compute & search, here’s is the list – Physics, Chemistry, Material, Engineering, Astronomy, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, Web & Computer Systems, Money & Finance, Dates & Times, (Ok, I’m virtually exhausted). So look here to what Wolfram|Alfa can really do.
- A form search engine. Searches the web from deep down.
- Atleast 50 domains they cover.
- Federated search engine.
- Provides different search engine for different niche.
- Very accurate people search engine
- Search people by name, location, email or keyword.
- Another alternative to Intelius for people search.
4. Social Networking
This might be the category you know all about. But if you were living under the rock for past 10 years!! Here’s the list of best social networking sites.
Facebook : The biggest social networking site ever with 500 million members
MySpace : Before facebook came, MySpace was the king of social networking. 130 million members.
LinkedIn : Social networking for professionals. If you’re one, then recommended to join.
Twitter : Want to get heard in about 140 characters? One of fastest growing micro-blogging social network. 190 million users. It’s fun, yeah.
Orkut : A social networking site from Google. Mainly popular in India and Brazil. 100 million users.
Ning : Create your own social network on Ning. It’s like “Social Network of Social Networks”.
Apple Ping : Newly launched music social networking from Apple. Follow your favorite artists, know your friends’ music taste, what’s happening in music arena all at one place. Around 160 million users.
The simplest thing is writing To-Do lists. But they are very important and useful too.
- Virtual post-its where you can jot down your important tasks or any other simple notes.
- Position your sticky anywhere on your desktop. It won’t go even after reboot.
- Can also scribe hyperlinks.
- Re-size, hide or just let it hang around!
- An online To-Do list.
- Manages tasks, locations and reminders.
- Available for iPhone and Android too.
6. Mind-Mapping ( Collaboration )
This is awesome concept for brainstorming and collaborating on projects – big or small. These websites come in handy when your project is in conceptual phase. You’re working hard to make all things in place whether it’s design, finance, marketing, customer relations and everything else you can think of can be put nicely on mind-map applications. It also can be useful in note taking, event planning, problem solving etc.
- Share and collaborate with your friends or colleagues.
- Export maps to PDF/RTF
- Publish maps to blogs. And many more…
- In addition to the functionalities of MindMeister, Mindomo also provides desktop client application.
- It provides upto 7 private maps.
- It’s not too fancy. All things are bubbles. Simple to use with basic functionality.
7. Stress Busters
Are you too indulge in these web, gizmo and other tech thingies? Think again, they might be useful but should not become mental hazard. If your work includes heavy reliance working on computers and web, then you should use this little piece of software to de-stress your life and have some fresh air.
- Simple timer and count-down app for reminding you to get up from work and look outside for a while
- Save you from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) by blocking your computer access for a while (defined by you) after specific time chunk.
- You can configure for micro breaks and breaks.
- It prompts a dialog while break is going on and blocks access to the system.
- Very useful for web surfing addicts and workaholics.
- It’s stand alone application and open-source too.
8. Students – Study
You might think it as usual boring stuff. But it’s not. Have interest in any specific subject then it’s never boring. World class education material, videos, courses, webinars from best education institutes and websites.
- Awesome aggregation of lecture videos, audio or notes from best of the educational institute in varied subjects.
- These resources don’t just provide classroom sessions for students, it can be used by entrepreneurs, businessmen and professionals alike.
MIT CourseWare : Around 2000 courses for Engineering, Architecture, Health Science, Arts, Managment and most of disciplines available with video, audio and lecture notes.
LearnersTV : Video lectures on variety of subjects.
Open Yale Courses : Courseware offering from Yale university. Open and free.
Academic Earth : Lots of online video courses from universities.
Free Video Lectures : Free video courses in downloadable format
Web is not just for wannabes. There are enough applications and services are out there to cater the needs of professionals too.
Stuffing those world changing ideas in safe place without losing them ever.
Ideary : Diary about your ideas. Safe and convenient to store your ideas (As they call!)
LessMemories : Gifts for girlfriend, conference notes, business contacts and everything else you might tend to forget. Write down to remember.
Keeping up with information flood in smoother way.
iGoogle : Perfect home page with your inbox, weather information, latest news and youtube videos. There are many other apps you can add to iGoogle home page.
- The options are exhaustive. Setting home page was never so much fun.
- Choose from wide array of email providers and social networks.
- Add blogs, fun apps and real-time news.
- You can have more than one dashboards.
- Finally, better than iGoogle!!
Know what’s happening around the world through news aggregators.
Whiteboards to brainstorm with friends and colleagues on ideas.
Scribblar : Online tutoring, sales demos, sharing artworks and more.
Twiddla : Online web-based meeting playground.
Imaginationcubed : Slickest idea of whiteboard. Web-based, no signup. A General Electric (GE) product.
Dabbleboard : This is another option with chatting box available for brainstormers.
Do your organization need a closed social networking portal like facebook or twitter to better facilitate employees, customers and other stake holders in private communication? Here are some options available to do exactly that.
Plum : Setting up own private social network is easy. Functionalities like facebook. Hosted service.
Status.net : Twitter like status update network. Well executed and open-source. You can choose to host with them or download the software and set it up on your private network.
Presently : Hosted collaboration solution with functionalities like sharing files, status updates, idea exchange etc.Self hosted is available but with a price tag.
10. Other resources we already have written about
This is not it! Do you know any such other application or website which might be useful for others, suggest us or share in comments.
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