This year, there were a handful of technology/software products that truly changed my life, and I wanted to take a little time to thank their makers publicly.
The first, and most important, is WordPress. Without it, my own blog ComeAcross wouldn't exist, because I wouldn't have had the opportunity to combine the content from my various other sites into a single, easy to use collection. The WordPress motto — "a state of the art semantic personal publishing platform" — couldn't be truer, and I'm here to attest to that. It was easy to combine content from my previous Blogger blog and two of my personal sites into what I now call ComeAcross, and it is easy, every day, to publish more content that may benefit others. That's really the purpose of ComeAcross — sharing what I think is useful information with others — and WordPress made it possible.
Another amazing product, which has had the same impact for me, is Zooomr. Where WordPress has helped me publish words, Zooomr has helped me publish photographs — beautiful images that I wanted to share with the world. It's no fun to build image galleries in Photoshop and/or Dreamweaver, and publish them manually, then have to edit them manually and republish every time I make a change. It's also not fun to use an inflexible or cumbersome solution, or a photo sharing site where your photos don't really get seen because they get lost in the crowd. It really helps to have a site where you've got ease of use, tons of features and lots of flexibility built in — not to mention an audience that will help you get better through their interaction with your photos.
Gmail has been another wonderful product. Although I started using it in 2005, it was this year that I really started to appreciate its features, ease of use, open standards and fantastic spam filter. The account size is more than generous, the ads are not intrusive, I love being able to label my messages, and the search feature is right on. On top of that, I can retrieve copies of my messages through the POP protocol (that's Pop, as in my last name…), and make them searchable on my iMac through Spotlight.
Finally, I'm grateful for Loudblog. It's an open-source podcasting platform that's fast, easy to install, and easy to use. I use it to publish my three podcasts: ComeAcross and Dignoscentia (in English and Romanian). I have to apologize because I haven't had time to publish any podcasts recently, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate how easy Loudblog made the publishing of podcasts for me.
So there you have it, four products that have made it incredibly easier for me to publish content and communicate this year. I'm truly thankful for them, and who knows, maybe they'll help you as well!