My Top Eight Premium Services

in Cloud Computing, Mobile Computing, Productivity, Security

premium services

I am more than happy to pay for premium packages? Here’s why.

There are a lot of people who believe that everything on the Internet is free and even take great delight in bragging that they never pay for software or services.  No doubt they would be the first to start bitching if a service had to close because it had become financially unsustainable or a previously free service had to start charging a subscription to cover the growing costs of server space, etc.

One of the great things about Internet-based services is the freemium model where you can access a basic level of modules within a service for no charge but if you want to utilise the really good bits you can then upgrade to a premium level for an annual or monthly charge.  I started out with a lot of premium services as a freemium customer, liking the ability to “suck it and see” before committing myself.

I have a number of must have apps and services that I am more than happy to pay for., Here is a list of those and why I cough up the cash.

Todoist

This is one of those services that are right up there at the top of my list. I am at an age where, as my wife says, I’d forget my balls if they were not in a sack, and Todoist has to be the best task manager out there. It has everything I need from a clean, bloat ware free Zen Minimalist interface supported by a powerful back-end to the fact that I have it on my desktop, two tablets and a smartphone so that I can add tasks immediately no matter where I am.

It hasn’t been a smooth ride. There were some hiccoughs last year with PowerApps and some scrambling of tags and labels on an update, but the dev and support team are among the best in the business and usually any issue is resolved within a matter of hours.

Syncing is lightning fast. Within seemingly nanoseconds, tasks entered onto my web module spring into life on my Android devices. Todoist has also enabled a killer facility – templates – which enable you to create complex and sophisticated task and project management lists in something like Excel and import them into Todoist.

I recently published a blog post about how I fell back in love with Todoist which can be seen here.

Evernote

This one goes without saying really! I have been using Evernote since 2008 and cannot imagine not being without it. I rarely ever get anywhere near my upload limit but the one key reason for me being a premium member is offline notes. Like a lot of people, my life is on here and the ability to access key data even when there is no Internet connection is crucial to me.

In the last few years Evernote has taken its eye off the ball with some seriously dubious bolt on services such as Hello and a food app in parallel with some merchandising decisions that tried to flog us ludicrously expensive socks, pens, bags, mugs, etc.

Thankfully the new CEO Chris O’Neill has ditched this, how can I put this delicately, crap and announced a refocusing on the core service and my relief was captured in this post.

Dropbox

I cannot remember when I first started using Dropbox but it was back in the mists of time where memories are vague (see reference to age in Todoist above.) I did move away briefly to have a quick fling with SugarSync but that went seriously awry and I was drawn back into the Dropbox family.

There were, a fair few years ago, issues with security but with the use of two-step authentication and use of Boxcryptor, my private data is very secure.

For the price of a pint of lager in a London pub each month I get a terabyte of space which I cannot ever think of filling unless I invest in a 100 trigabyte digital camera and use Dropbox to store the files!

It just works, right out of the box so to speak.

Boxcryptor

Keeping online data safe and sound is a must and my tool of choice is Boxcryptor.  Developed in Germany, which has some of the strictest privacy and security laws in the world, this service just works and is simplicity itself. Encrypting files is just so simple and like all good services it is multi-platform so I can access private stuff when on the move via my smartphone, tablet etc.

LastPass

There may be slicker looking password packages out there such as 1Password and Dashlane but LastPass is my pick of the bunch.  It has recently undergone a bit of a GUI makeover and the two and sand, one of cement enhances the service without detracting from the core privacy functions chugging away underneath.

Premium membership allows me to run LastPass on the desktop and all my Android devices so I always have vital password information to hand.  It also has the ability to store and encrypt bank and credit card details should I need to recall them (see reference to age in Todoist above!)

Malwarebytes

I have used the free version of Malwarebytes for many years and last year I decided to look at my online security in greater detail it became obvious that buying the premium version was a no brainer.  Not only does it block a load of garbage like PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) but prevents malicious attempts to get onto my PC such as the weekly visit by a Russian bloke whose IP address leads back to Amsterdam.

NordVPN

I have trialled many VPN services and posted reviews, but this is the most consistent VPN service that has sustained my confidence over time.

Pocket

Last, but by no means least, it is pocket. This is an invaluable “read it later” service that stores articles I research on the web but don’t have the time to read immediately. It is great for storing reading matter if you know you are going on a train/plane journey but the reason I went premium is very simple.

When I used the free version I used to go through everything on a regular basis and delete the articles I thought I’d never use again. I then found that I needed to refer to some of the stored data and could never remember the original source (see reference to age on Todoist above!)

Pocket premium provides me with an “all I can eat” service so I never need to delete an article and through a powerful search and tagging facility I can pick up on stories that I filed months/years ago.

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