Top 7 Free Apps for Business and Productivity

I’ve been on a crusade to create an extremely efficient and productive way to work away from the office. As some of you already know, I could be considered a “Digital Nomad” and can often be found working or writing articles in coffee shops (Even as I write this right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Medicine Hat, planning what’s to come in 2011). Over the past couple of years, I came across a number of different apps, methodologies, and websites that all help make life easier for business professionals on the move. So, here’s the list of my top 7 favorites (As of December 20, 2010):

7. OmmWriter – This Mac-Only app has two versions, a free one that offers basic functionality and is quite enough for the basic writing needs and a paid one which provides you with more backgrounds and sounds (more on that next). This app STOPS notifications and allows you to concentrate on your work, while you can choose a beautiful background that fills your entire screen AND makes these soothing “drip-like” sounds. Of course, everything is fully configurable.

6. SnapTell – This iPhone app is pure gold! It’s changed the way I buy books on the fly. It’s a free app that allows you to scan a book’s barcode OR take a picture of the front cover and then it feeds you with the best current prices on Amazon, references on Google, Wikipedia and Yahoo. You get instant access to Amazon reviews as well as online and local prices based on your GPS location. Just… Awesome…

5. EverNote – How many times did you have a really great idea somewhere on the road or while being jerked out of sleep on a 6-hour flight by a screaming baby behind you? Happens to me all the time… so I went looking for a way to ubiquitously capture these ideas and came across EverNote. It’s a “freemium” service that allows you to capture your thoughts in forms of a text note, audio note, video note or a photo. It works accross a number of platforms including Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. Highly recommended.

4. Instapaper – This is yet another free service that I find great for capturing ideas on the fly. Super easy to set up an account, you are able to “save” web pages and articles you come across for reading at a later date. You can install a “booklet” which is a JavaScript that saves whatever page you’re on into your InstaPaper. You can also e-mail articles to your unique address. Later, you can sort articles into folders and tag them. This works across all operating systems and browsers.

3. TeuxDeux – I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a hell of a time trying to find a way to combine To Do lists and a calendar in an easy to use, easy to update way. Well, it doesn’t get easier or simpler then TeuxDeux. It’s a webapp that uses a calendar and a super simple interface to keep track of your ToDos. It’s become my project/chore/writing/business tracking tool and I use it religiously every day. Again, works with all operating systems and browsers. There’s even an iPhone app.

2. Flock – This browser was recently updated to run on the Chromium engine (same platform as Google’s SUPER fast Chrome) AND it integrates Social Media extremely well. I tested it against RockMelt and Flock blows it away several times over with its simplicity, ease of use and connectivity. You are easily able to send articles you find interesting and updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Not only that, but you also receive a live feed from all those social networks that you can reply to right in the browser. Really awesome… also free.

1. DropBox – Finally the BEST tool I ever came across. DropBox GIVES you a free 2GB of online storage that AUTOMATICALLY syncs with a folder on your computer. NEVER think about bringing a USB drive again or forgetting your presentation at home… All files are readily accessible online, or through an app on your smartphone. Works across all operating systems and iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.

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