13 web tools, applications and sites that can make your life better

NetworkingI spend a lot of time online. Probably too much. However, I use the power of the internet to make my daily life easier, more productive, and integrated. This allows me to take random Wednesdays off to go rock climbing, or to travel the world and stay connected.

Here is a partial list of what I read when I am online, and the tools I use to make my life better, online and off. The actual applications that integrate past the internet are at the bottom. [note: I get zero money from these sites]

Tech / Productivity


Lifehacker is one of my favorite sites. It offers ways to integrate your online life with the real world using methods that enhance both of them. How to track your workouts online, how to manage your finances via text message on your cell phone and many more productivity tips can be found here.


Gizmodo has long been considered one of the better tech blogs, and it keeps proving it. With multiple updates on the latest tech gadgets, phones, computers, and with a penchant for shamelessly promoting Apple products, they have a fun, unique take on tech life.

Make Use Of

The best directory of usable applications for computers, web, and cell technology that I have found. Everything from cell phone GPS tracking to the best way to manage gmail.

Zen Habits

When I am feeling particularly calm, or in need of a calming lesson, I head here. Zen habits is a hybrid personal blog that meets simple life managing techniques.

Kevin Kelly

Kevin is a friend of my father’s who I have come to know over the years. He founded Wired Magazine and continues to be on the forefront of evolving technology.

Design / Blogging

Smashing magazine

Smashing Magazine is my favorite site for design advice, new styles, free fonts, and random design geekiness. They update often, and their monthly “Best Of” is great.

Blog Perfume

They update less, but offer good pulls from other sites around the Internet. Often, they show tools for wordpress blogs (which is the system that supports this blog) that i have not seen before.

Daily Blog Tips

A great selection of usable tips that actually do work to increase readership and profitability of blogs.

Usable Tools


Have trouble managing that massive amount of money you receive on the 1st and 15th of every month? (Or the lack thereof?) Mint has made my financial life easy. It takes five minutes to plug in your information and it will pull your account status from your bank, online savings funds, pay pal and even student loans into one simple area where you can see how fast money is coming in, out and to what.


Go figure. I used to never use this, but I cant stop now that I have started. I have several email accounts (currently around 20 that I use, five that I use frequently) and gmail allows me to pull them into one organized, searchable, tagged and categorized place. I can use filters to send mail to different locations, respond from whatever account I want, and keep my inbox unread list to a manageable number. It even syncs with my Blackberry.


Jott allows you to make a call from your cell phone and do pretty much anything with it. Update your Google Calendar, or send an email or text message, even blog via voice. It does this all with natural language. I can call and say “Meet with John about the new website at 3:30 on Tuesday” and it will add an appointment at 3:30 on the next Tuesday to my Google calendar, which I have set up to sync with my Blackberry, which automatically reminds me an hour before the meeting.

Pay Pal

Yeah, you have heard of it before. But do you use it for its full power? I am business member, and can set up full invoice sheets, subscription billing options, and donation buttons. It is great for running an online business, and if you ever need to get money fast, you can just send a request email, where people can pay into your account with a credit card.


The last one one the list, this is the first bookmark I click when I turn on my computer. I love hearing new music from artists that are similar to established music I like. It streams the whole time I am online. I have stations set up that I can change depending on my mood. For coding I listen to trance and electronic music, for design I prefer jam bands and classics that I know and can flow with. Pandora has it all.