5 Web Applications You Can’t Live Without

With ever-increasing amounts of information coming from every direction, and personal and professional lives that are busier than ever, it’s becoming more difficult to manage all the appointments, messages, notes, tasks, and details that are part of every day. If you need a little help, there are lots of well thought out web applications that provide solutions to many of life’s challenges.

Here’s five web applications you can’t live without:

h4. *Sandy*

Sandy - your free personal email assistantBecause “everyone deserves an assistant”, the clever team at “Values of n (Values of n, Inc)”:values give you “Sandy (Sandy – your free personal email assistant)”:sandy, an electronic executive secretary to help manage your busy life.

Need to remember a meeting with your Boss? Send Sandy an email, and she will remind you when the time comes. Need to remember contact information for someone you just met? Send it to Sandy, she’ll categorize it as a contact. Want to check out a new website but don’t have time? Send the details to Sandy and she’ll check it out, summarizing the site’s recent changes.

Daily Digest prepared by SandySandy starts each day by sending you a “Daily Digest” listing all the things you need to accomplish. She reminds you about appointments and reoccurring tasks. Sandy will keep track of books you want to read, compile a grocery list, and much more.

All of the magic is accomplished through the exchange of a few naturally worded commands sent to Sandy via email. Sandy sends reminders by email, or by SMS(Short Message Service) to your mobile phone. If you are a “Twitter (Twitter)”:twitter fan, Sandy can even take instruction in the form of a tweet.

h4. *Jott*

Jott - Get SimpleNext on the list is “Jott (Jott)”:jott, a service that converts voice messages to text. The concept is simple, call Jott and say who you want to communicate with, then record your message. Jott transcribes the message and routes it to a recipient via email, or takes some predetermined action. Jott’s transcription is surprisingly accurate, just speak clearly and a little slower than usual.

Record email to your self or others, set reminders, create lists, and even link to other web services like “Sandy (Sandy – your free personal email assistant)”:sandy (a powerful combination). In a bit of reverse technology, Jott “recently added (Jott Feeds)”:jottfeeds, the ability to call and have your favorite RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feeds read to you… great for the drive to work.

Signing up is simple, just tell Jott what phone numbers you want to use to interact with the service and you are ready to go.

h4. *Google Reader*

Google ReaderFor information junkies, “Google Reader (Google Reader)”:reader provides a way to rapidly consume RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feeds from your favorite web sites, weblogs, and news services. Reader aggregates and provides a ““river of news” (What is a ‘River of News’ style aggregator?)”:river enabling you to quickly review and read the stories that interest you. Its layout is clean and simple (like every other “Google (Google)”:google service), and if you take advantage of the well thought out keyboard navigation, you can sift through hundreds of feeds in a short amount of time.

Categorize your feeds into folders, and tag with additional keywords to help you quickly spot your favorites. Share interesting or important posts with the whole world, or just a few friends. Google Reader is the cream of the crop web-based feed aggregator.

h4. *Backpack*

Backpack“Backpack (Backpack)”:backpack gives you a place to put and organize your stuff. Notes, lists, ideas, images, just about anything electronic can be kept in your Backpack. Developed by the crew at 37 Signals, Backpack was one of the first in the new wave of less is better (not more) applications that does a few things really, really well, and nothing more.

Store your stuff in one place, or spread it across several pages. Create lists wherever you want, reorganize list items, and check things off when you get them done. Add a few notes or even upload files to a page so you can find them later. Backpack even lets you email content directly to a specific page using a super-secret email address.

Driven by a simple, intuitive user interface, Backpack is truly a pleasure to use. Open a free account, and create up to five pages; paid accounts let you create more.

h4. *Gmail*

GmailSuffering from ‘inbox overload’, ready to declare “’email bankruptcy’ (Google: email bankruptcy)”:bankrupt, let “Gmail (Gmail)”:gmail handle the myriad messages that find their way to you each day. A great layout, slick interface, and of course the best search technology available make this the perfect web-based email client.

Tag messages using keywords, build filters to act on messages before they clutter up your inbox, and use keyboard navigation to read and organize your messages. Combine all that with 6GB+ of storage for free and incredibly effective spam protection, and you have an efficient solution to manage email.

Did I miss anything. What are your favorite web-based applications?

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