8 Essential Cloud Services to Sync Your Life
You’re almost to the office and realize you left your presentation on the laptop at home and have no choice but to turn around. You end up 15 minutes late and without coffee for the boss since you entered the task into Outlook but nowhere else. If the above scenarios don't sound like fun, there are a number of available tools to help sync your life. When you update something on one device, it will automatically change everywhere else. You’ll always have the most current to-do list and web bookmarks, and all your important files will always be in the palm of your hand. Once you get started syncing your life, you’ll wonder how you survived before.
What if you want to review your meeting notes at home and left your legal pad at work? Or you get to the grocery store and know that there were five things to buy, but you can remember only three? Simplenote is a note-taking application that can digitize all these separate lists and sync them across all your devices, so you’ll never be without an important piece of information. Simplenote has clients for every major platform: Android, iOS, Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and Windows Phone 7. There are Simplenote plugins for Microsoft Outlook, Internet browsers and even VIM.
Bookmarks are no longer trapped on a single PC. Xmarks allows you to sync all your bookmarks between browsers and computers. Internet Explorer can now talk to Firefox. Your laptop at home can send bookmarks directly to your computer at work. Everything shares the same information, so you’ll never be left without a saved website. Bookmarks are also accessible online so you can browse and manage your saved websites even when Xmarks isn’t installed. Additionally, you can sync your bookmarks to your mobile phone with a premium Xmarks account (which runs $12 per year).
Calendar: Google Calendar
If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure that your calendar is always updated and available, Google Calendar is your best bet. Your Google Calendar lives online, which means you can view, add or edit events from any Internet-connected computer. Additionally, you can connect your Android device, iPhone or Windows Phone 7 to your Google account, putting your digital calendar in your pocket and with you at all times. When creating a new event, you can set reminders through email, SMS alert or a browser popup. Set all three alert types and you’ll never miss that important meeting.
Documents: Google Drive
Google Drive is the newest member of the Google Apps family, an evolution of the popular Google Docs Web app. While not as feature-filled as Microsoft Office, Google Drive provides document- and spreadsheet-editing capabilities and saves all files in the cloud as well as syncing to a Google Drive desktop folder, so you’ll have access to your documents from any device.
In addition to seamless file-syncing capabilities, Google Drive’s real power remains with universal document editing. Not only does Drive offer online editing, it recently added the ability to edit documents offline, supporting both mobile and desktop devices. Together, these features provide the ultimate syncing experience.
Dropbox has become the go-to application for file syncing. The service syncs all your files through a folder installed on your computer. Any file put in that folder will automatically appear anywhere you have Dropbox installed. There are clients for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows as well as Android phones, the iPhone and Windows Phone 7. Files are also accessible through the Dropbox website, allowing access to your files even on PCs without Dropbox installed.
Dropbox also allows you to share folders within your Dropbox with other users, making this a great option for families. The Android app lets you upload photos and videos to the cloud automatically. A large number of third-party applications take advantage of Dropbox’s syncing services to add additional functionality to their own apps. Quick-office, Documents to Go, Omnifocus and 1Password Pro all integrate Dropbox to sync files across all platforms.
To-Do List: Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk is a popular task management and to-do list application that’s been around since 2004. The service has come a long way during those eight years, and it remains one of the top task-management solutions. There’s an online version as well as native apps for Android, iPhone and iPad. The apps make it a cinch to add and edit tasks, and you can manage multiple items at once. You can even leverage your location to view nearby tasks.
Want to remember important dates and times you find while surfing the Web? You can add tasks right from your browser’s bookmarks bar. There are also plugins to add Remember the Milk tasks to Google Calendar and Outlook. You can even add new tasks to Remember the Milk with Siri, the iPhone’s personal assistant.
KeePass is a password manager that works on all major devices and operating systems. Not only will KeePass keep all your passwords secure in an encrypted database file, it’s easy to sync this database between multiple devices using a free Dropbox account.There are desktop applications for Linux, OS X and Windows, as well as apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone 7. As long as your device also has Dropbox installed, you’ll be able to connect to your KeePass database and access your passwords anytime.
Shopping Cart: Amazon Wishlist
The Amazon Wish List isn’t exclusively for Amazon products. With a browser plugin, you can add items from all over the Web to your wish list and manage everything through Amazon. Create multiple lists to keep track of and organize different areas of your life. To use Amazon’s universal wish list feature, simply install the plugin on your favorite browser; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are all supported.
Every time you find a cool item anywhere on the Web, you can add it to your wish list with the click of a button. Privacy settings allow you to make lists either private or public, and public wish lists can be shared with friends and family via email, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Public lists are also indexed and searchable, so anyone can get you the perfect gift with a quick name or email search.
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