Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Technology of 2008

Everyone else is doing a year end post/news article/Today show segment. I wanted to get in on it. So no, these things did not all get invented or released or even discovered by me in 2008. But they are things that if you missed in 2008 you should get on the bandwagon in 2009. Here it goes a bunch of things you need in your life, don't worry, most of them are free.

  • Pandora Radio. Streaming radio that suggest music I might like---genius people, genius! (and I think, "wow indeed I do like this person whose music I've never heard of" or "seriously, you guys are wacked, I don't like this song"). I like giving music a thumbs up or thumbs down. Gives me a sense of control in this crazy world. I've posted about Pandora before, check out that post here.
  • Twitter. If you're obsessed with changing your Facebook status a million times a day you should check out twitter. Twitter revolves around one question "What are you doing?" Twitter allows you to follow other people's updates on twitter, and likewise be followed. You can send messages in response to other people's updates. It's very cool. I like it. You can check out my Twitter stream here---and then join and follow me so I look and feel infinitely more popular. You can also add a twitter widget to your blog so that your twitter updates appear on your blog (see mine in the upper left hand corner of my blog).
  • An RSS reader. Seriously, I've blogged about this before. It is change-your-life-by-changing-your-internet-information-consumption amazing. A great tutorial on how to use google reader can be found here. My use of google reader is my main reason for staying a public and not a private blog -- private blogs can not be viewed by RSS feed.
  • Facebook. If you haven't joined yet, you should. There are lots of ways to customize privacy settings so you can feel more comfortable with things. Beware: facebook can e a huge time waster. I prefer to blog, but I still like facebook for saying a quick hello to non-blogger friends and for finding people I long ago lost track of. It's not just for single college students--which is a misconception that some people have, but that seems to be fading. Lots of my married friends are on there as are some of my friends moms, they're so tech savy.
  • Google translator. I have to use this for my work sometimes and it is amazing! Should you ever need to view a foreign webpage you can use this to read it in english.
  • Google Calendar. I heart google calendar. You can create multiple calendars in multiple colors. So the ones I use most are my work calendar (for keeping track of my time), my main personal calendar, and a church calendar. Each appears in a different color on my screen. And I can view all of them together or each one individuall. And this is all veyr nice and everything but the really helpful thing is that Joe can also use google calendar and give me permission to view his. I can send invites to Joe. Say a friend of mine invites us to dinner I can add it to the calendar and send joe and email invite so he knows we're doing that (don't worry we still talk to eachother "hey we're having dinner with the _____s on Friday, don't forget" but the calendar is another reminder). I can also see what nights he has appointments scheduled, etc... It's a really really useful tool.
  • When is Good. Do you ever find yourself trying to coordinate the schedules of a ton of people. Here at work we occasionally use an online service called "When is Good". It's free. It sends out an invite to the people you are coordinating among and then everyone gives feedback on when they are free---the computer then figures out what time slots are good for everyone. Very very cool.
  • Pinching Your Pennies. I'd much rather check out sales online that flip back and forth between multiple grocery ads. I've blogged about this several times, but it's still a technology tool and belongs on the list. See the grocery guide here.
  • Gmail. The best email service out there hands down. Great spam filter. Unobtrusive text only ads. Google search within your email. Labels instead of folders. Never delete a message. Colorful backgrounds. It is my favorite technology toy. Can't live without it.
So there you go. Now you know what a tech geek I am. I fully admit it. It makes my life easier. I learn so much. I was meant to live in the age of google where I could quicky and easily figure out the answer to nearly any question. Perhaps this is why I'm not very patient. At all.

(oh and btw, I'd love to hear what your favorite websites & technology tools are. I can't seem to get enough :)

2 little remarks:

Kaela said...

Thanks for these summaries- so many great and useful things! Although, I don't know if I can keep up with all there is to offer- especially all of the social networks out there!

Betsy said...

Thanks for linking to my presentation on Google Reader! I think you have a great list of apps here, including a couple that I didn't know about. I'm going to try out "When is Good"!

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