Right, well, I guess I need to start posting! So, erm, I thought I'd start with an extremely nerdy post about why I love Google. Google is brilliant for lots of reasons that are very useful for people trying to run their own business from home.
First of all, there's the calendar. The calendar works just like the microsoft outlook calendar, but you can access it easily from anywhere! brilliant! It makes it very easy to keep track of appointments and so forth.
Second, there's the documents - you can create, save, and access documents from anywhere! So for instance, if you need to access your budget (in Excel) then you can do so from any computer. And change it AND save those changes. No more carrying around a USB stick! Not that carrying around a USB stick is terribly difficult, but it's annoying when you forget it and a lot of email cafe's that I have been to don't allow customers to use USB sticks since they are afraid of viruses. So anything that you can do in Word or Excel, you can do in Google Documents.
Then there's iGoogle. If you use google as your main search engine, you should set up iGoogle. It's SO easy. basically, when you go to the google homepage, in the top righthand corner, you can sign in. Then you click on igoogle (also top right hand corner) and you have your personalised google homepage. Very useful for getting to everything you need easily. So, for instance, I have links to various websites I use a lot -- but this is the minimum -- of course you can use favorites for that as well. But I also have a world clock that tells me what time it is where my parents are and where my sister is, so I don't call them in the middle of the night (ok, i have done that several times). I also have a quick mini currency converter. And a to-do list. And a summary of the current BBC news headlines. There are hundreds of extras you can choose from, you just make your page useful for yourself!
There's also Picasa. I know lots of people use Flickr, which also seems great, but I like Picasa 'cause it makes uploading photos from your own computer so quick and easy.
Ok, last thing I'm going to mention is google checkout -- if you have your own website and want a cheap way of allowing people to buy directly from you, this is super easy! It's also free in the UK until the end of 2007. If you are not a web whiz, then you can use put the "buy it now" buttons on your site. It's not super sophisticated, as it doesn't work like a shopping trolley, but at least people can buy items on your site. And you can customise the buy it now buttons for whatever purpose you need - multiple items, single items, etc. You can see how I used it on my site - www.magpienest.co.uk I think you need to know a little HTML to get the most out of these, but google even generates the code for you, so it is pretty easy!
The great thing is that all these things are available for free! so why not use them....more info is on google. hopefully some of the above is useful to someone....