I posted an article last week about “20 awesome cloud services that you’ve never heard of.” Naturally, working at an IT service company, I was intrigued by exactly what they were and if in fact they were awesome. I found that most of them were very need-specific, but they were very need-specific for the common tech geek. I will go over the Pros and Cons and give you the word on what the general consensus of the reviews for each was and also grade them on a scale from A to F. I will give you the first 10 for now, then unveil the last 10 next week.
- Accountkiller- Accountkiller deletes online accounts that storepersonal information that you no longer use. So if you have that old Groupon account laying around with possible credit card info attached to it, or even just info that you don’t want being seen by the public anymore, you can finally say goodbye once and for all. Or can you? Accountkiller has a 3-step system that grades how each site’s ease of deletion is. White is the easiest, followed by grey which is a bit harder than white, and black being the hardest (Skype is an example of a black account). Accountkiller is a free service, and that’s probably the best option for them because I’m not sure how big of a market there is for deleting accounts. It is more of a do-it-yourself service rather than a click here and all of your unwanted accounts will be deleted type of deal. Accountkiller gives you links that allow you to type in your account password information and then they delete it for you. The tricky parts are deleting the black rated sites like Skype that don’t offer account deletion. Accountkiller has not found a way to delete Skype yet, but it can delete your account’s personal information. Overall, it will take care of those simple unwanted traces of accounts whether it’s for business or personal use for the most part. Grade: B. I gave it a B for execution -- as it does what it’s supposed to quickly and easily, but cannot kill the black rated accounts.
- Buffer (social networking) - People everywhere are now using social media. It’s the new, hip thing to do if you haven’t already found that out from the kids. For all those avid tweeters, status updaters, or Linked-In people out there, Buffer will be useful for you, especially useful of you who want to sporadically post their social media updates throughout the day. Buffer is probably even more useful for businesses that can bundle a bunch of future posts and let Buffer do its thing so you don’t have to. Buffer will also tell you how many clicks the link you posted received. If you have already figured out how to navigate and use Facebook, then you will be able to figure out how to use Buffer. The bad thing about Buffer is that it is still a bit buggy. You cannot time the intervals between pending tweets, so you should be prepared and aware of that. The weird thing is that Buffer will not acknowledge the original source on re-tweets. Buffer may be worth a try for you if you need or want to keep track of your social media, and who is reading or interested in your tweets. Grade: B-. Buffer get’s a B- because of its inability to offer more options. It seems to be built for businesses to run social media, but fails to be very useful for the average person mainly because of the fact that the user cannot time the interval between tweets.
- FollowUpThen (productivity) – One of the biggest stress inducers has to do with remembering to do daily tasks. If you sit at an office all day with your email client open, or if your phone beeps every time you get an email, why not have an email sent to yourself to remind yourself rather than writing it down and possibly forgetting about it later? That’s exactly what FollowUpThen does. It’s reliable and free for the basic version. There is no sign up and it saves time and effort. FollowUpThen is not the only email reminder out there as it is a pretty simple idea.. There is no sign up for FollowUpThen so that proves to make it an easy process. FollowUpThen is a simple, productive tool for people who need to be reminded about events or things to do, and have an email address that they pay attention to all day long. Grade: A-. FollowUpThen gets an A- because of its ease of use. You don’t need to sign up for anything for it to send you one simple email. It’s similar to a good, reliable friend.
- HabitForge (personal improvement) – Research has proven that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Based on that comes HabitForge, a program that will help you develop a positive Habit by reminding you for 21 days straight by an email. This is another very simple
app, nothing complicated. After your 21 days are completed, you get a congratulations email! HabitForge is an ad-supported service, but it gets the job done. Similar to FollowUpThen, HabitForge isn’t the most secure service since it uses emails to remind you to complete your task. Grade: B+. They probably could have done a little bit more to try and get you to form a habit by just asking if you did it earlier in the day via email, but the app does the trick without bugs.
- IFTTT (productivity) – IFTTT is essentially programming for dummies. It runs on an “if this happens, then that will happen” basis. Your online life will now have automated tasks because of IFTTT. For instance, you can use IFTTT to send you a text every morning with the weather, or create a blog post on tweets you mark as favorites. You can link up to 50 channels, which is a ton if you think about it. There is a nice and clear, bold interface for the program. They have a nice searchable database for the channels, but they do get repetitive. Perhaps they should consider changing their name to something a bit easier to remember or something with a catchier name than IFTTT. Grade: A-. IFTTT may not have the best name, but you should be able to understand programmer lingo a bit more after using this app.
- Lifecrowd (social calendar) – One of my personal favorites in this list of 20 is Lifecrowd. Lifecrowd has a great idea, it just needs a bit more money so it can be available on the East Coast too (it is currently only available in LA, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and Chicago.) Lifecrowd is a service that allows you to meet people and participate in activities that you’ve always wanted to try, but just never got around to doing it. Learning to surf has always been an issue for me considering I have always lived in the Northeast, but Lifecrowd would allow me to meet up with a bunch of individuals and learn to surf together with an instructer. Lifecrowd is free to sign up but activities normally have a per person fee. Look for Lifecrowd to become much bigger and hopefully be available around Boston in the near future. Grade: A. Awesome idea, and gets an A on the cool scale. Only downside is that it isn’t available on the East Coast yet.
- Lost Photos (old-photo finder) – Lost Photos does exactly what you would expect a program to do that is named “Lost Photos.” Lost Photos roots through your email accounts to find those old photos in your email accounts. It is currently free to use for Windows, but $3 for Macs. It’s been rumored that they are going to release a paid Windows updated version in the coming months. Lost Photos is easy to use and works perfectly, but there aren’t many options and it doesn’t include a search or download. Grade: C+. Lost Photos does root through your email accounts and find photos, but how many photos could you have possibly have sent via email? Maybe it has been a lot, but even then you cannot download them. Add on top of it that you may have to pay to use this in the future and it doesn’t get a great grade from me.
- MiMedia (online incremental backup service) – MiMedia is a bit complex at first glance. You have to receive an encrypted hard drive in the mail that you fill up with data from your computer, and then send the data back to the company so they can link your desktop via MiMedia servers. Quite a process, but it works well. They have unlimited machines so you can upload and store as much data as you need. They have automated uploads so it doesn’t require much from you after the original hassle. They also have Ipad and Iphone apps to make it even easier. MiMedia doesn’t currently have a Mac OS version. To charge $50 to $325 per year for a service like this and not supply a Mac version seems like some wasted potential to me. Grade: B-. Decent idea, but I believe that it fails to distance itself from the average, portable external hard drive. To charge a price that high that you would have to pay per year…..just get an external hard drive.
- Music-Map (music directory service) – Music-map is a cool way to discover music. They display it in an interesting, visual way that could have you staring at the screen for several minutes. You type an artists name into the search, and a map is created with other artists that are similar in genre. The closer the additional artists are to your
selection, the more likely you are to like the artist. Although it is very helpful and a cool way to find music artists, there are just stronger sites with the same goal of finding new music. Pandora radio isalready extremely popular, but music-map and Pandora are still two different ways to reach the same goal. Music map is much faster and easier, while Pandora is much more specific and overall less limited. Grade: B. Simple, yet effective. The general goal of the service is similar to the popular powerhouse, Pandora Radio, but presents it differently and therefore could be used differently then Pandora. Gets points off because the presentation could be a bit better looking, but I am sure they will improve that in the future.
- MyPermissions (online privacy and data protection) – Seemingly, everything wants to be able to connect and interact with everything in the cybernet today. You usually see it with Facebook. All those games and apps are really looking to just target your interests and advertise specifically to you. MyPermissions finds out which services and apps have access to your online social media accounts. Once you enter your email, the app then allows you to choose which programs you would like to give permission to. Although it may take awhile at first to delete every permission, MyPermissions finds direct links to the permission pages so it’s nice and easy for you. You don’t have to grant access for MyPermissions because it just gives you the links. They will also send you a monthly reminder to let MyPermissions do its thing once per month. Grade:B+. The amount of times per month you are asked to get permission for anything online is pretty high. So high, that you probably forget about it and they are just piling up. MyPermissions is a free service and to use it every once in awhile should prove to be very beneficial to you.