You can keep all your work stashed on your computer. Or you can store the bulk of it online and always find it, whenever you’re roaming and need to get to that document, spreadsheet or e-mail.
Here are five key applications and the best tools we’ve found within them that connect you to online documents:
“ Online word processing: We’ve found two very solid online alternatives to Word or other word processing applications. One is Google Docs, which has a number of features including easy word processing; the second is Buzzword, a very nifty online processor, recently acquired by Adobe.
Check them out at docs.google.com and at http://preview.getbuzzword.com.
“ Photos: We trust Picasa, another Google product. It has the simplest system for uploads and allows nice and simple tools for visual layouts and sharing. You do have to download an editor first (at picasa.google.com), but once installed, it allows uploads and easy access to your online photos.
For photo-editing, we recommend Picnik.com.
“ E-mail online: Tough call but our current favorite is Yahoo’s e-mail service. It’s been streamlined and has added several features not found on Gmail or Hotmail, such as incorporating notepad, contacts and calendar on the desktop along with the mail folder view. It does a good job of blocking spam as well.
“ Calendar: Again, lots of choices. Our current best bet is Google Calendar, part of Google Docs. (Sorry, we know we’re getting close to Google idolatry, but that’s the way it is.)
“ Backup: This would cover both minimal online backup and the ability to share files across the Web with anyone. Two main contenders: Box.net and Xdrive.com. Xdrive has been acquired by AOL and it’s improved the interface and service, offering users up to 5 gigabytes of storage free.
Box.net is also a sharp online tool with an assortment of features including optional widgets that let you upload or share something you’re looking at without having to leave that site. Its free version allows one gigabyte of storage, and the 5-gigabyte flavor costs about $8 a month.