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So I looked through the different browsers I use between home and work to make a list of the top sites I visit the most. I’ve listed them below along with a quick note to why it is one of the top places I visit on the Internet. Please note that the sites are not listed in any particular order.
Google: Google is my main hub as I make use of the majority of their services: gmail, News, Drive, Blogger, Maps, Voice, Calendar, Reader (previously), etc. The one thing I don’t use it for a lot though is Search (see Bing below).
Twitter: I maintain three different twitter accounts and prefer the main site for interacting (especially since my work’s firewall prevents most of other ones but not the main site for whatever reason). I usually have two of the acocunts open at any given time so I also have two browsers open too.
Facebook: I don’t think this one needs explaining.
Amazon: Great site that I couldn’t live without. I come here to price check items, read reviews, add things to wish lists, and when there’s some extra dough laying about I’ll order a thing or two.
Tweetdeck: Sometime you want to send a tweet out but in 2 hours from now or even 2 days or weeks from now. Tweetdeck lets you do that. (Hootsuite is blocked at work but I also use them).
Bitly: In the twitter world of short messages and character limits, you have to make every character count. Bitly lets you take long links and shorten them up to give you more room to work with. It has an added benefit of letting you see how many people are clicking on the link so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Bing: I use Bing instead of Google for one main reason: they give me points to search which I can redeem for items like Amazon gift cards. I have found very little difference in the two services so if I’m going to be searching anyway, might as well get rewarded for doing so.
LDS.org: This is the main site for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.* I have been a Mormon since I was born and served two years as a Missionary for the church in Mexico. I come here to read inspirational messages and search the scriptures online.
IFTTT: This acronym stands for “if this, then that.” The site allows you to create “recipes” that do something for you when a certain action is triggered. For example, I have a recipe that says when a new blog post goes up on WordPress, send that same post to my tumblr/blogger/whatever. Its a very useful tool for automating your online activity. I plan to write more about this later.
Wunderlist: This is a to-do list service that has web and mobile versions. it allows for sharing lists with others and syncs seamlessly. Speed and overall performance has been significantly increased with a recent update. Wunderlist is an amazing service. Did I mention it was free?**
Honorable Mentions: WordPress, IMDb, Pinterest, Hulu, tumblr
*If interested in learning more about Mormons and their beliefs, please see mormon.org. This site contains a basic overview of main beliefs with personal stories from actual members. There is also an option to ask questions from those members and others.
**As a matter of fact, all the services and sites listed above are free.
Disclaimer: I’m a huge Apple fanboy but use Google services just as much. I prefer the hardware (and software) of the former but most of the services of the latter can’t be beat.
I’ve been using gmail for about five years now. I switched over to it from Yahoo because I always heard good things about it and how it gave you more options on how to use it. I was also fed up with Yahoo and my account always getting hacked. So I switched over. It took a little adjusting to get used to the conversation view at first but now that I’ve used it that way, there’s no going back.
Nowadays I use gmail religiously and have a total of 6 different accounts for various purposes. For example, I set up a filter with my primary account so that any incoming email that includes an extra period in an exact spot will automatically be forwarded to my “spam” Google account. So if you’re a store clerk asking for my email, I’m giving you my email with an extra period so I don’t get all those notices clogging my primary account.
I also have it set up so that there are multiple inboxes. So when I log in to gmail online, I see my regular inbox along with my two most used “folders” right below it so I can see everything on one page instead of clicking from page to page. Pretty nifty. There’s also another filter that takes any email to me from me and puts it in a special to-do list folder. That way my notes to self are kept separate (yet close and accessible) from all the other stuff.
In the end, I take advantage of a lot of Google’s services and feel pretty familiar with how they work, especially gmail. I don’t really like some of the cosmetic changes that Google keeps making, but gmail is an essential tool I couldn’t live without. So after using this tool for five years you can imagine my surprise when I learned something new about it!
It happened one day as I was sending an email and accidentally clicked on the “CC:” label next to the field where you put in the recipients’ names. All of a sudden a new window popped up with all my contacts so I could easily add them to that field. So intuitive and simple. Very convenient and easy to use. And I had no idea it even existed! All these years I’ve been going to my contact list and selecting people there first to send an email to them. The new way is so much better.
But it also leaves me wondering, what other things have I not figured out yet? It makes me want to explore and see what other little things like that are out there, and not just with Google either, but with Apple with OSX and iOS too. This is what happens when you find joy in learning something new.