February: What we love

Flowers? Chocolate? Sure! But a truly useful website or app is what makes us REALLY happy.  For Valentine's Day, we're sharing a few of our favorites with you---the ones that are right up there with chocolate.  Most are free for basic use and offer paid upgrades.
 
Tame the data monster
Have you ever hunted for information that you KNOW you saved. . . somewhere? Keep organized with Dropbox (Alison's favorite, simpler and more file-oriented) or Evernote (Diane's favorite, more sophisticated and better for lists, articles, and images). Both allow you to access your information from your own computer and from nearly any Internet-connected device. 
 
Painless backup
Murphy's law says that your computer will crash just before you were going to backup. Online backup services take the "oops!" out of protecting your data; set them up once, and they run automatically, so you don't have to remember to plug anything in--especially critical with laptops. Our two favorites are Mozy and Carbonite; look for a free basic plan or consider a long-term plan if you can lock in unlimited data, as those plans are vanishing rapidly.  (Newer Macs have a terrific built-in backup program,Time Machine, but you still need a drive to store the data).
 
Entertainment and Dining
Dining: Remember when you had to call around to find a table? Opentable has revolutionized reservations.  The online (paid) version of Zagat is a staple, too; we're eager to see improvements since Google bought them.  And for those annoying restaurants with "flattering" lighting and menus designed by 20 year olds:  Flashlight, an app that turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a mini light source. (Similar products exist for Android and Blackberry phones).
 
Staying in and cooking? Epicurious is a searchable database of recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit and others, plus ratings and comments from real cooks.  
 
Movie reviewsRottentomatoes, especially for art-y films.
 
Tickets:  Broadwaybox and TKTS for discounts; Seatgeek for hot tickets. 
 
Radio:  Check out the the streaming radio options in iTunes--free and plentiful.  Couldn't do the dinner dishes without NPR, and they also have a great app.  Or, set yourself up with a custom radio station on iHeartRadio or Pandora.
 
Getting There, Greenly
Did you know that New Yorkers travel almost a third of all public transit miles in the US? Google maps will find almost anything and give you directions, but Hopstop offers slicker public transit directions. 
 
Plain ol' fun and a shameless plug
Angry Birds and Bejeweled are great diversions, but Family Feud is free and fun and since you can only play one or two rounds for free a day, you can't waste too much time with it! 

Words with Friends is just addictive. Challenge Alison (username: cdotmom) to a game!