In abbreviated form, here are my picks for the best software, services, and/or tools for the year 2005:
5. Bloglines – I’ll start with a downer: I don’t love Bloglines…yet. But I do like it a whole lot, because it’s a reliable, pretty friendly place for me to store and view my RSS feeds. I like their categorization, feature set (but still long for subfolders), and their tools (the blogroll feed, in particular) are appreciated. In 2006, I hope Bloglines continues to expand by adding true security features, multiple view options, and perhaps a bit of a speed and/or design tweak here or there. Still though, they’re good enough to make my top 5.
4. Backpack – Understatement: 37Signals was on fire this year. Shifting from a consulting firm to a product company, they first released a nifty to-list service, Ta-da List, then followed it up in May with Backpack, a service where a person or people can create lists, notes, tasks, reminders, and store and share documents and images. The service has been an invaluable tool for me (and thousands of others), won tons of accolades, and has, with others, spawned a revolution of small, simple, web-based services that is likely to explode in 2006.
3. Flickr – Flickr, a photosharing service and community, is hands-down the best, most fun web service I’ve ever used. From it’s super-easy Uploadr tool for, well, uploading your digital photos, to its amazing Organizr tool for sorting, naming, and grouping them, to its truly brilliant and ever-emerging ways to bind its community of users together, it’s the shining example of how joyous online experience can be. The best part? It keeps getting better. Late this year, they’ve added digital photo printing via Yahoo!/Target, by itself a worthy reason for the service’s acquisition by Yahoo! this year.
2. Mozilla Firefox – Firefox got big in 2005, and it was well-deserved. The cross-platform browser is my pick for 2nd best of the web this year for its emergence as a (nearly) all-in-one platform for using the web. The best part of Firefox in my view are the extensions. Thanks to a community of developers, I use Firefox as a blogging tool, spell checker, del.icio.us bookmarks manager, I search multiple sources, I bypass website registration, have integrated color hex code picking, and it’s web developer toolbar proves invaluable at my job.
And oh yeah, it’s a sleek, powerful, reliable browser, to boot.
1. del.icio.us – The site’s design was ugly until late this year, but that didn’t matter much- del.icio.us’ great beauty derives from its simple, open-ended, RSS-ified structure. Beyond just a go-anywhere, browser-based boomark service, del.icio.us exploded the way we save and share the web by allowing us, the users, to create our own methods and habits for linking pages, media, and ideas. Just a couple of the thousands of ways to use the service: A bookmark service, a link delivery service, a PR-watchlist- even a to-do list, library manager, and, heck, blogging tool, all-in-one. del.icio.us is the best and most inherently revolutionary of the “web 2.0” services because it provides any user the basic tools and inspiration to map their own view of the web.