10 must-have tools for cloud power users

By , Computerworld |  Cloud Computing

IFTTT currently supports about a dozen different services, including Dropbox, Facebook, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Talk, Instagram, Instapaper and Twitter. It also offers support for phone and SMS-based interactions -- allowing you to, say, receive a text message anytime your boss sends you an IM, or get a phone call anytime a new item pops up in your company's RSS feed.

The possibilities with this tool are practically endless -- and best of all, it's completely free.

Gmail Offline

Keeping your life in the cloud is great -- except, you know, when the cloud isn't there. Enter https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ejidjjhkpiempkbhmpbfngldlkglhimk, Google's recently revamped method for accessing your inbox while offline.

Gmail Offline is a simple extension of the Chrome browser. Once installed, you run the utility once to initialize it, and that's it: You can then read messages, manage your inbox and compose new mail without an active Internet connection. The free extension will automatically sync your changes the next time you're online.

Google now offers offline capabilities for Google Docs and Calendar as well; those services, however, have to be activated separately. Just click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the screen on each service and look for the link to set up offline access.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Want even more pieces of the cloud integrated into your computer? Grab http://www.gladinet.com/. This Windows app allows you to map a wide range of cloud storage services as local drives, giving you easy PC-based access to all of your files and information.

Gladinet supports most of the big-name services: Amazon Cloud Drive, Box.net, Google Docs, Picasa, Windows Live SkyDrive and so on. The free starter edition will let you set up any number of those services as fully functional local drives, complete with drag-and-drop functionality and all the bells and whistles you'd get with a regular Windows folder.

If you want to perform more advanced functions, such as using a cloud storage service to sync a local folder across multiple PCs, you'll have to pony up 50 bucks for Gladinet's professional edition.

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