I haven’t yet switched from Windows to Macintosh (I lack both the cultish desire and the money to re-purchase all my software for a new platform—not to mention a new machine), but I have been doing some switching in the software world.

While I still use it extensively at work, I’ve almost completely moved away from Microsoft Outlook at home thanks to Google’s Gmail and an online app called Backpack.

An Outlook user for years both at home and work, I’ve always lamented the program’s bulkiness (it’s a RAM hog), and missed the ability to retrieve my mail efficiently from remote locations. The surprisingly full-featured Gmail (with the best spam filter I’ve seen yet) took care of the email problem.

Backpack is a simple, useful app that I’ve become quite addicted to after only a week. You can have reminders emailed to you at specific times, make easily editable pages of notes, to-do-lists, etc. The pay version allows you to store files, but the free version is good enough for my needs right now.

These apps can’t replace everything Outlook does, but it does the job for what I need. I’m not ready to completely pull the plug on Outlook yet, but I’m well on my way to weaning myself from it. All my email addresses remain the same—I’m just forwarding them all to Gmail. If you’re one of the few that still doesn’t have Gmail account, let me know and I’ll send you an invite. No invitation is needed for Backpack.