Ever since I got the iPhone sometime last year (okay, I admit, it was June 29th, at 6:25pm), more and more of the tools I use every day have moved to the web.

столовеEmail:

I have migrated virtually all of my email to five separate Gmail accounts (3 of which are Google Apps domains): private/personal (family and friends only), public/personal (mailing lists subscriptions, website registrations, etc.), Alienwebshop business, Broad business and an account just for old domains and addresses that are now 99.9% spam. The move to Gmail was made possible when Google finally released the IMAP feature last year, which made it easy to import messages from all of my old accounts.

The benefits of moving to Gmail (from IMAP servers that I managed myself) have been huge!

First, of course, has been the spam filtering, which is amazingly accurate. Then there’s the search capabilities, which are an enormous improvement over my previous mail client, Apple’s Mail.app, particularly when you consider that I have literally hundreds of thousands of messages going back over 14 years! That, coupled with the custom filters and colored labels makes it really easy to find whatever message(s) you might be looking for with Gmail.

I can still access everything with Mail.app just like I always have, but I hardly ever do except to move messages between accounts. I prefer the rent a car bulgariakeyboard shortcuts that the Gmail interface offers, as well as the search, threading and support for multiple (colored!) labels. Even though I mostly use Mail.app from the phone, I’m getting more and more comfortable with the new Gmail iPhone app, which has several features the built in mail client lacks.

Calendars:

I also started using Google Calendar for all my calendaring needs sometime last year and have totally fallen in love with it!

The best part about it is the sharing. Bailey and I have several shared calendars together. I have calendars for the work softball team and for a music mix club that are shared with everyone involved in each group. I can let some people just see the events (or just when I’m busy) and let other’s actually add or modify events.

With the custom colors you can set for each calendar and the bars in month view for events that last several days, Google Calendar is great to look at. On the iPhone, Google Calendar is much prettier than the built in calendar, though both will let you create new events and neither allows you to modify them.

In order to get all the events into the iPhone calendar I simply subscribe to each of the calendars through Apple’s iCal. Then, all of my Google Calendars are available in iTunes for syncing to the phone. This is a one-way sync from Google to iCal and doesn’t let you create events on the computer or the phone. All events must be created from Google Calendar. To get around this, I created a shared calendar in iCal and subscribed to it from Google Calendar, but I’ve never had to use it.

Todos:

Another important tool that I use every day is a todo list. Unfortunately, neither Apple nor Google offers an application for managing a todo list. Thank goodness for Remember the Milk! RTM is a web-based task list application that employs tags and tag clouds, as well as several great search features and keyboard shortcuts for most of its functions. It also provides offline access with Google Gears.

Integration with Google Calendar adds a little RTM drop-down menu on each day showing which events are due. A mach zehnder modulatorFirefox plugin for integration with Gmail provides an RTM menu to the right of your inbox, making it feel like it’s all one application. Integration with Twitter adds the ability to create new events and receive notifications from any Twitter device. Of course, RTM also provides a fabulous iPhone application, which provides most of the functionality of the standard web app as well as a great look and feel.

More:

The list goes on. I’ve been an avid user of Google Reader as a newsreader for a couple of years, now available in a new iPhone version. I’ve recently begun the process of migrating all of my Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to Google Docs, also available on the iPhone. I’ve also began managing my finances (checking/credit card accounts) with Wesabe, which again, has a custom app for the iPhone.

I’ve also recently started using a MacBook Air, so it’s nice to be able to access everything from that without having to worry about where that file I was working on is stored or which computer has my most up-to-date Quicken file. The more I take advantage of these online applications, the less work it is for me to manage and the less it matters where I am when I’m trying to be productive.

Before I got the iPhone I hardly did anything with my phone other than make and receive phone calls. Also before the iPhone, most of the applications I used every day ran locally on my computer and that required me to always have it with me to be productive. Now it doesn’t matter where I am. I can be productive from anywhere. I’ve finally gone mobile!

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