I’m a big fan of internet services. So much so that I am willing to pay for them. While most of us use and love Dropbox, one service that I actually don’t pay for right now, I’m not here to write about that. I’m here to write about the services that many of us are unwilling to pay for. For what it’s worth, the following three services work well on mobile (iOS) and desktop.


Gmail rules the roost for most people. Even though I’ve had a Gmail account since the very early days1, before that time, I was paying for an email service for myself and Mike. Periodically, I overhaul my email setup.2. Recently I made another transition to Fastmail.

I can’t say enough positive things about Fastmail’s service. Unlimited domain names, aliases, plenty of options for aliases under Fastmail owned domain names, good filtering via sieve, and plenty of space. It doesn’t hurt that the webmail application is “not too shabby.”


Brian just recently made a large post about RSS. I love RSS as echoed during Brian’s post. I’ve been very happy with Feedbin as my RSS hub. It hooks into the apps I use, has good search and sharing options, and a responsive developer. I’ve used Feedbin for a couple of years now and I’ve loved it. RSS and email are my two most used services, so having a solid provider for them is advantageous.


I’ve used various home grown methods of bookmarking web pages and archiving online content that I wanted a permanent record of. I haven’t kept up with most of the methods because they ultimately took too much involvement on my part. That being said, I think Pinboard is going to work for me.

It’s fast, simple, and affordable. It fits my working style. I like the archive option too.

  1. I got a Gmail beta invite from a friend mid-August 2004. According to Wikipedia, “Gmail initially started as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004[9] and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007…” 
  2. This is a habit that would repeat itself several times. I made a big transition after graduating from college and losing that address. My transitions midway through grad school were written about previously. I realized near the end of grad school I would need to transition off of my Princeton email address, which would be a much more painful process than moving on from my undergrad email. In preparation for that, about a year before I graduated, I started to consolidate my mail on our paid server account ( We used that service up until about a month ago, when I moved us to Fastmail. Parallel to all of this email provider movement, I’ve also moved email clients, from Eudora->Apple Mail->Mailsmith->Pine->Mutt. That is a story for another day. 

7 thoughts on “Services

  1. One question: WTF is that ubub URL shortener that you’re always using on Twitter?

    Oh, crazy, so forwards to protozoic. I guess you rolled your own URL shortener and named it after Ubu?

  2. Mike and I picked up some cheap short domain names and set up to use them. Ubu Bus and Chook Bus are what they are supposed to represent.

  3. Yeah, the chwk thing was something we set up.

    I really like Pinboard so far btw. It feels like a more useful bookmarking system. It seems like once a year I go through and try to half organize my bookmarks and then just give up. And I never put things in there to read later. I started using Pocket for that. Pinboard feels a bit more useful than Pocket though because you can tag things, and so long as you take the time to tag in a useful way, I can see it being incredibly powerful. I’ve already used it a number of times.

  4. Here is a question for either this post, or Brian’s other RSS post: does anyone have any idea how you get an RSS for a Vine account? I couldn’t really find a way to do it, but thought of a workaround where you make a Tumblr, post the Vines to that, and then grab an RSS of the Vine. This seems really obtuse, but it was all I could think of.

  5. Interesting question. I’m surprised I didn’t ask it myself yet, as I have a few Vines that I’m interested in following, apart from yours.

    Here’s what I found: is a search engine and alternative web player for Vine. If you find the user you’re looking for, you can see a link to an RSS feed for that user. Here’s an example:

  6. That’s pretty cool, but I wish their search was a bit more intuitive. I was unable to find a couple of the Vines I follow (like Ducky and JungleMess) with their engine. Though my mined data maybe tricking me, when I type in “Ducky Vine” or “JungleMess Vine” into Google, I get the correct accounts, 1st hit.

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