Unlike the Geico commercial with the computer-generated Gecko, we don't have free pie and chips, but we have a long list of freebies from our buddies at PC World, and some new low-priced online backup options. And just to make sure we don't stay too happy, we have lawyers lobbing lawsuits.
First the fun stuff. PC World lists 101 Fabulous Freebies for us. Some of these are utilities to download and some are services. Some are serious, and some are just fun and handy. All are free (at least for a trial) and the PC World folks did all the hard work gathering the list for us.
Second, less fun but more critical to business: backups. I know, I'm always nag nag nagging about backups, but it's for your own good. Two new backup services have plied me with information and they're both worth checking out. Using an online backup service means your backups are stored offsite, a critical part of your backup strategy. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if your server burns up, the box of backup tapes beside the server will probably burn up, too. Restoring files from an online backup service to another computer is simple, meaning you can download files to a computer anywhere when you have an Internet connection.
Mozy is currently under beta and offers inexpensive prices starting at $2 per month for 5GBs of data storage. Software on your computer automatically encrypts and backs up changed files (Continuous Data Protection). At least during their beta test, you can get Mozy Free and store up to 2GBs on their disks and on their dime.
Carbonite also offers CDP, but takes a different approach to pricing: $5 per month, period. Use 1MB? $5. Use 40GBs? $5. Certainly this offers a great way to budget and not get surprised by any extra storage charges.
I haven't tested either of these myself, but both seem appealing for individual PCs. No matter what type of business backup plan you have, you may want to seriously consider online backup services for laptop users, since they seem particularly resistant to the backup process.
Finally, lets give up the fun stuff and talk about lawyers again (but not those in the Bully Software Alliance, thank you). Let's talk about a particularly low form of corporate lawyer, the ones fighting innovation and progress.
Verizon (traditional phone company) attacks Vonage (Internet phone company) with lawyers. Expect the status quo to keep fighting back against the disruptive agents of change, since that's what the status quo does when challenged by innovation. I'm surprised it took this long for traditional phone companies to unleash their lawyers.