Today’s lightweight and stylish netbooks fit nicely in our increasingly mobile lifestyle. The last thing we want to do is to lug around an entourage of external HDDs and cables. I’ve poked around the web and was pleasantly surprised with how many browser-based tools are available out there. I’m not talking about tools that everyone knows too well, like email, calendar and sticky notes; I’m talking about sites that will help you save some time, and hopefully money in the long run.
Leave your external storage at home: ASUS WebStorage
Having an online back-up is always a good idea in case you lose your notebook (knock on wood), leave it at home or go on vacation. ASUS WebStorage makes it easy to store your treasured data in the cloud. For starters, you get 2GB of storage with the free sign-up to upload any kind of file you want. You can then download and access your files from anywhere and that’s it! When you find yourself needing more space, unlimited storage is available for less than $30 a year.
Edit photos without Photoshop: Pixlr
Sometimes you need to do more than just crop, resize and save to paint a picture that can tell a thousand words. Pixlr can help you with that. The app works quite like Photoshop, with multiple layers, masks, burn and dodge tools, curves and levels. It also has an immense library of filters and other knickknacks. And did I mention how fast it loads and how responsive it is? I think I just did.
Impress with interactive presentations: SlideRocket
You may argue that Google Docs’ Presentations and Zoho show work perfectly fine; while Microsoft has web-based PowerPoint tools as a supplement to the desktop Office suite. SlideRocket, on the other hand, is built for the web. It has templates and editing tools that can help everyone put together decent-looking, interactive presentations that can be viewed via SlideRocket’s own presentation tool, or can be simply exported into standard PowerPoint or PDF files formats. The free Lite account does restrict offline access but if SlideRocket becomes your cup of tea, switching to a Pro account is not going to break the bank.
Convert, download and send large files: Zamzar
File conversion can be a colossal nuisance. Zamzar has it figured out. It may not have the swankiest front but it does take files and email them back in whatever format you need. You can also download web videos to put together a visual mix-tape for that girl in calculus (if college students still make mix-tapes) or send huge files to that big client you’re trying to impress.
Great talking: Imo.im
The next step, after you have handed the girl your brilliant selection of Top 40 music videos or managed to impress your big client adequately, is to chat your way to success. Skype may be free but it’s also a little bothersome to set up when all you want to do is chat. Instead, log onto Imo.im. You can run chats through its web interface and if you’d rather not sign up for another chat account, you can also open up your GTalk, AIM, MSN and Facebook accounts within the same frame.
When words fail you, use characters: CopyPasteCharacter
Good job with setting the keyboard shortcut for the dollar sign ($)! Now, what about trademark (™), copyright (©), all rights reserved (®) and that upside-down exclamation point (¡) for your Spanish notes? CopyPasteCharacter can help with that. It may not be as impressive as the other sites I’ve mentioned but think about how much time it’ll save you. With this site, you simply click on the symbol that you want and it gets copied onto your clipboard. You can even create your own customized set of characters for easy use. Just don’t get too crazy with it.