2006: My Favourite Things on the Internet

These are the tools and services on the Internet that I found most useful this year.

Amazon – Yeah, yeah, Amazon isn’t really news to anyone.  First of all, I was able to order stuff 9 days before Christmas and it showed up in plenty of time and the shipping was free.  Secondly, S3 (Simple Storage Service) and EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) are changing the infrastructure landscape for Internet-based startups.

Digg – Although the average quality of stories seems to have gone downhill (or at least diverged from my interests), Digg has been a good source of interesting and sometimes useful information.

FeedBlitz – Provides an email subscription option to my blog readers and provides me with a daily email digest of posts from my own subscriptions.

FeedburnerMy feed management tool of choice for my blogs.

Flickr – Such an easy way to share photos with friends and family.  So much better than the self-hosted photo blog I used to have.

FolderShare – A lifesaver if you use multiple computers.  It keeps about 850MB of data and 2.3GB of photos synced between my office PC, tablet PC, and Mac.  FolderShare is now owned by Microsoft and is labeled as a Windows Live Service.

Google Personalized Homepage – Just try it.  It works great for me.  You might like it.  Gmail, Google Reader, and Techmeme are among the gadgets I keep on my personalized homepage.

Google Reader – Aaahhhh…  A great way to subscribe to and read RSS feeds.  I’m waiting anxiously for the promised API that will expose data about what I have and have not read.

TWiT.tv Podcast Network – Leo Laporte has done a great job of putting together a family of podcasts (uh, netcasts).  My favourite shows are This Week in Tech and Security Now.  I also take in most of FLOSS Weekly and some of Windows Weekly (and sometimes net@nite).

Venture Voice Podcast – Although the number of shows coming out has dropped, I find that hearing the experiences of other entrepreneurs is both exciting and challenging.

Wikipedia – I have a love-hate relationship with Wikipedia.  There is plenty of foolishness but also a lot of really useful information.

WordPress – My new favourite blogging platform.  I’m using it to run derekhat.com, devcasting.com, and churchradius.com/blog.  I expect to move ardentdev.com/blog to WP soon (replacing dasBlog).

Yahoo Music Unlimited – My online music subscription (might get replaced with the all-you-can-eat Zune subscription in 2007).

YouTube – An amazing disruption to watch but more importantly it has provided countless hours of entertainment and even the occasional bit of education.

Honourable mentions (these are desktop apps or plugins so they don’t count as Internet tools or services but I did download them):

Audacity – My audio recording and editing tool for the Devcasting podcast.

Firefox 2.0 – The update to the Firefox browser has been great.  The integrated spell checking and the ability to bookmark all open tabs into a new bookmark folder are great.

Foxit Reader – A lightweight alternative to Adobe Reader for PDFs.

Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer – Keeps my Firefox bookmarks synced between my multiple computers.

Lookout – A search add-on for Outlook 2003 that kicks butt.  It’s still much better than the search in Outlook 2007 in my opinion.  Lookout was acquired by Microsoft a while ago.  The Lookout web site now redirects to a Windows Desktop Search page.  I’m not sure if the Lookout technology has been shelved or not at this point.

Windows Live Writer – A great tool for blogging.  Has a “Web Layout” mode that gives you WYSIWYG editing using your blog’s formatting and an HTML mode for when you need it.

And there you have it.  I’m excited to see what 2007 will have in store.

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