Since everyone is making a list at the end of the year, I decided to create one, too. Here’s my top 10 most useful applications — things I couldn’t live without in 2007. Some are online apps, others are software that you download to your computer. I have a Mac Book Pro running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.1).
(1) Gmail: Google’s online mail application has reduced the amount of spam I receive to nearly zero. The mobile client is stable and fast. You can use Gmail to send and receive emails from other email addresses. Since your email is stored online, even if you lose your laptop or the hard drive dies, you always have access to it.
(2) Google Docs and Spreadsheets: perfect for sharing documents and spreadsheets. Like Gmail, you never worry again about your hard drive dying or losing your data.
(3) Backpack: create to-do lists, keep reminders (that send SMS or emails to you so you never forget anything) and keep an online calendar that syncs with Apple iCal. Backpack is one of the excellent online applications developed by the wonderful 37 Signals. They are known for Basecamp, the project management and collaboration application. There’s a free and a paid version.
(4) Transmit: fast, easy-to-use FTP software for the Mac. I’ve tried others, but this one is the fastest and most intuitive.
(5) WordPress: the best blogging software around, with a huge community of developers of plug-ins, themes, widgets, etc. WordPress powers this blog and other blogs I have set up in the past. WordPress also has a hosted service, called WordPress.com, for those who can’t be bothered to set up, host and maintain their own blog. Created by Matt Mullenweg, it is used by thousands of bloggers and big media companies.
(6) Netnewswire: RSS news reader. I don’t like online RSS readers because it takes forever to load the feeds. I like Netnewswire’s clean interface.
(7) Skype: this application has saved me thousands of Euros in phone calls. I can’t imagine life without Skype. I have no more long distance phone bills and since most of my contacts are on Skype anyway, it’s much easier to reach people or IM them.
(8) Gizmo Project: like Skype, Gizmo Project allows you to call people for free (if they are also Gizmo Project users) or to call landlines and mobile phones for low rates. Most of my contacts are on Skype so I use Gizmo Project primarily for calling landlines and mobile phones. I use it also on my mobile phone because unlike Skype, Gizmo Project has software for the Nokia phones. So when I am abroad and in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi network, I avoid roaming charges by using Gizmo Project on my mobile phone via Wi-Fi. I buy $10 units and it takes me months before I use it up. Another true money saver!
(9) Ad Block Plus plugin for Firefox browser: This plugin blocks obnoxious advertising on web sites. No more miserable flashing banners, video ads that suddenly play and blast out your ears, nasty advertising animations. My web surfing experience has improved dramatically since I installed Ad Block Plus.
(10) Super Duper: this is the best backup software. It is easy to use and fast so there is absolutely no excuse anymore not to back up your hard drive every night. Tech support is very good. I emailed their support team and got a response within 24 hours (they solved my problem — which had nothing to do with the Super Duper software but with errors on my hard drive).