The Monthly Bug – Tools Edition

To reconnect has been great.  Even though I know cool stuff and interesting interactions are always a result, it still always amazes me of what comes from simply reaching out to others.  This past month has been no different.

Among other things, I have been asked what some of the tools I use are..

Here is a short list:

Contacts and Relationships
Gmail – Having a google account is crucial in my opinion to doing any sort of work online (email, calendar, analytics, reader, maps, etc, etc.)
Google Alerts – What are people saying about you, your business, your children…keep tabs on it for free
My website runs on WordPress.  Free with tons of support.
Write a hand written letter to someone. A piece of line paper and an evelope and a stamp.  You might be surprised be the reaction 🙂

Money
Paypal – Used for purchases and small payments
Bank of America – Used for Checking and General Savings.  I set up Automatic Bill Pay for most of my bills as they are recurring and to chip away at debt.
ING Orange – Totally online bank I use for savings.  The transfer is automatic from my checking account so I dont even think about it.
Mint – Super smart and easy budgeting.  All online and free.

Travel
Azzurro Travel – The owner will take care of you (unless you mention me and then he might curse your bloody name, spit on his own foot, and hang up on you.)
VRBO – Temporary rentals around the block and around the globe.
Craigslist – Rentals, bikes, carpools, or whatever in nearly every metro on the planet.
CouchSurfing – Find a free place to crash and find folks to help you crash a party.

As with any traveling abroad, have fun, keep your head on a swivel, and steer clear of clowns.

Travel Reference:
Lonely Planet
Wiki Travel
Frommers

Health
UCLA Recreation – Until just recently, I had no idea someone that was not directly affiliated with the university could use the facilities.  Wrong again, smart guy!  Its even cheaper than most other gyms and has waaaay more stuff.  Gyms, pools, courts..hell…one can even rent a sail boat through them.  I imagine most universities have similar programs.
Exhale Yoga – Great small studio near my home where I like to get on the mat and relax, breathe, and quiet my mind.
Venice Beach Basket Ball – I try to hit the courts every few days.  A short bike ride and I’m there…ocean on one side and crazies on the other.  No other court like it.
Pacific Ocean – Lately, I’ve been swimming a bit more with the warmer weather.  The water is still freezing, but the effects on my mind and body after taking a dip are incredible.  I would find it hard to believe that someone could remain in a stale mood after a dip in the sea.

Interwebz
Aaron Loring Davis – Even if you never do a single thing with it, I feel its a good idea to reserve your name (and your children’s) on the web.  Use Instant Domain Search to quickly find versions of your name that might be available.  Then visit AFMU to register it.

Interweb Reference:
SEOmoz.org – All things Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing
Digital Point Forums – Design, Development, Site Admin, all things internet support forum
Seth Godin – Marketing and Management

Real Estate
Los Angeles MLS Search – See all public listings in Los Angeles and Greater Southern California
Los Angeles Graphic Search and Ratings – Search homes with graphical representation of the city based upon price, safety, and schools.
Sotheby’s Global Luxury Search – Browse high end listings from around the world.

Other ways to stay in touch with me are to:
Subscribe to my blog
Friend me on Facebook
Link to me on Linkedin
Follow me on Twitter
or, for the love of all things easy, call me 310-663-2865

If more time has elapsed since we last spoke than you are comfortable with, please give me a jingle.

Until next time, Seth Godin wrote a pretty profound short blog post (20 second read). I recommend it:  A 5 step plan for just about everyone and everything.

Stay close,

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Disclosure – I do not make one red penny off of any of these recommendations.  In the spirit of sharing, if you know of other tools that are free or close to it that you feel other might find useful, please share them in the comments.