I am so, so glad to be back after a long absence. So many cool sites and new technologies have launched since I took what I thought would be a brief hiatus to find a house. After viewing more than 200 houses over a period of nine months, I am greatly relieved that we are finally moved in. We’re still living out of boxes, but we have Internet and our laptops are unpacked; what more do you need?
Since my last post over a year ago, I’ve discovered some great sites, software, and tech toys; today I’m going to post about some of my favorite, and most frequently used, discoveries. First up is the new IM client, Digsby. Digsby acts as my all-in-one communication hub. Not only does it combine all of my buddy lists from AIM, Google, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, and Jabber, it updates me when I receive new email, and when my MySpace and Facebook accounts are updated.
IM conversations are tabbed for easier navigation (I HATE having twenty little boxes all over the screen) and logging can be enabled for those of us that need to refer back to conversations. (I use IM heavily at work and this beats taking notes. ) One of my favorite features (it’s the little things that count, y’all) is that buddies can be renamed with an alias. So if you have a friend whose entire internet pedigree is displayed, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, you can rename it to something shorter, like “Friend.”
The feature I use the most, though – besides the IM of course, are the email notifications. In preferences, I chose to have an icon displayed in the system tray that lets me know how many new emails I have. (You can choose notifications for your Facebook and MySpace accounts, too.) Clicking the icon pops up a list of emails with choices to Mark as Read, Delete, Open, Archive, or Report as Spam. Incredibly easy and convenient! Digsby also displays update in unobtrusive pop-ups at the bottom of the screen. Bye-bye Gmail notifier!
Digsby is still in private beta and is still a bit rough around the edges, but this is an app to watch. The developers are uber-responsive to requests in their online forums; since I joined Digsby two days ago there have been three updates. (Updates are done automatically – everything about this app is easy.) Hopefully they’ll respond to my reqeust for Lotus Sametime support, and then this will be the perfect app. Digsby’s so good though, that I’ve kicked Trillian and Pidgin to the curb and just run Sametime seperately.
- Amazon’s Kindle: Are you serious? It has a monochrome display, DRM out the wazoo, and it’s $399! Use your cell phone and sites like EReader.com and Fictionwise.com for an experience that’s just as satisfying and much cheaper.
- Yahoo! Widgets: I have recently discovered Yahoo! Widgets and I can’t stop playing with them. They add so much usefulness to my desktop. So far, I’ve installed the SoftCode Analog Clock, TV Navigator, CallWave Visual Voicemail and Text Messaging, Yahoo! Maps, Daily Planner Calendar, Flickr, Generic Countdown Timer, Google Calendar, Informer, MicroPlayer, Mind Like a Sieve (a Remember the Milk plugin), Vonageer (interfaces with my Vonage account and makes call logs and voicemail easily accessible), a Twitter client, a thesaurus/dictionary, Zonal Clock (world time), and of course, Yahoo! Weather. Somebody stop me, please!
- Yahoo! Go 2.0 – Yahoo! has a winner here. This is simply the best all-in-one mobile app out there. It’s fast and responsive – unlike Microsoft’s offerings (I had to uninstall MSN Direct from my T-mobile Shadow because it kept hanging), the maps are far more accurate and easier to understand than Google’s, and the interface is slick and just plain pretty!
Plus, I really love that it syncs with my online Yahoo! account so that my preferences are automatically added to my mobile app.
- Note: Yahoo! Go 3.0 is out for Blackberry, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson phones and supports mobile widgets!