Here’s the recent top three applications that brought some light into my dim existence:
Feedly takes the RSS feeds you’ve collected via Google Reader* and shows them as a nicely formatted web page. On its landing page, you see abstracts of new articles from several posts. To organize larger collections, you can assign tags that render into an own page – e.g. one for comics, one for your friends blogs, one for Silverlight news… On top, there’s a ranking engine in the background that prioritizes popular articles. Feedly installs as a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome 4 that lets you add feed sources, re-blog content, and some more (all of which I don’t use).
For me, Feedly has turned reading the daily RSS flood from a task to a pleasure. I had grown reluctant to adding RSS feeds because I could hardly keep up with the ones I had. Feedly makes it easier to scan new content in a few glimpses.
Feedly also creates a strong feeling of “Gosh-why-didn’t-I-have-that-idea”.
*(… into which you can import OPML files if you’d like to use Feedly)
Dropbox is a file sharing/backup tool. I use it for file sharing, publishing, and for syncing stuff between the different computers I use. It now supports syncing between computers that are linked to the same Dropbox account directly, without having to upload the files to their service and back down. This makes transferring files between your own computers a lot faster (as long as you’re on the same network), and also allows transferring files without even being connected to the Internet at all.
Dropbox let users vote for features, and if they take it seriously, it will at some point in time let you decide which files to sync to which computer. I’d love to see that: it’d allow me to backup my music and video library to the online store and and it would not sync back to my company notebook.
Backupify provides backup for things that belong to you, but reside somewhere in the cloud: your e-mails in GMail, your Twitter tweets, you Blogger or WordPress blog, docs in Google Docs, photos in Flickr, you name it.
Backupify is not yet without problems. The GMail backup is struggling against being locked out due to assumed over-utilization of Google’s IMAP server, and the UI is less than super-appealing. Another criticism you can hold against Backupify is that you do not really take ownership of your bytes, they are just moved from one cloud service to another, and the risks that apply to this kind of service still apply, especially because Backupify uses the Amazon S3 infrastructure, and a failure within S3 could affect the thing that you are updating and the backup at the same time. On the other hand, it’s a lot better than no backup at all, or the new year’s resolution to download everything manually and store on DVD that you don’t act on.