I recently shared some of the things I’m digging from 2014 going into 2015. I wanted to take some time to share a few more things. Specifically I wanted to share some things I pay for that I could probably get for free.
Fastmail - $10-40/year per user
Sure I could use Gmail or Yahoo Mail or a million other free services, but I prefer to be the customer not the product. Fastmail focuses on security and privacy. The web app is every bit as good as Gmail but with no pesky ads. They use all the email standards, so you can use whatever desktop and/or mobile client you prefer.
Beyond all that you get calendar and contacts syncing, file storage with FTP & WebDAV access, website & photo gallery creation, XMPP chat, etc etc. I don’t think I’ve even taken advantage of everything Fastmail can do in my life. I absolutely recommend them to everyone. They will be powering my family’s email for many years to come.
Feed Wrangler/Pod Wrangler - $19/year
Back in the day, the only way to do RSS reading was Google Reader. Then Google decided to shut it down and the race was on for products to replace it. I’ve tried several of them, and I settled on Feed Wrangler. I’m a simple user and don’t use most of the advanced features, but there’s a lot of power in the smart streams.
Also as a subscriber to Feed Wrangler I get access to Pod Wrangler, a companion podcast syncing service. It’s a lot of simplicity added to my life for less than $2 a month.
Dropbox - $99/year
I love me some Dropbox. Basically all of my frequently used files are stored, synced, and backed up to Dropbox. All of the photos from my phone are backed up there as well. My only complaint is I wish Dropbox offered a plan somewhere between the free couple of gigabytes and the pro 1 Terabyte plan.
Evernote - $45/year
I keep so much in Evernote. Any email I might need in the future gets emailed into Evernote. All my paper bills and major receipts get scanned in. Most of my transfer bandwidth is used by pictures of beautiful homes.
I highly recommend that when it comes to the important web services in your life, you find products you love and are worth paying for. If you take the free and easy option, you likely will be the product not the customer or you won’t have much to complain about when that service gets shut down.