Joe KissellSenior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series.

Schedule master

Google Calendar is very much like an online version of iCal. You can store events such as appointments and birthdays; set up meetings that you invite other people to attend; make events repeat on a schedule; view your events by day, week, month, or other time periods; set alarms; publish your calendars so that others can see your events (even in iCal!); and subscribe to public calendars such as lists of holidays and sporting events. And as in iCal, you can move an event simply by dragging it to a new time or day on the calendar.

Mighty messenger

Google wasn’t the first company to offer free e-mail accounts that you could access in a Web browser. But Gmail provides an unusually hefty amount of storage (at least 2.8GB per user), excellent spam filtering, and the convenience of fast, reliable Google searching through all those gigabytes of stored e-mail.

Number cruncher

If you carry a laptop around just so you can show clients your latest marketing forecasts or call up sales figures at company meetings, you can save yourself some bother by using Google Spreadsheets instead. The program provides editable spreadsheets that are compatible with Microsoft Excel—and, best of all, you and your colleagues can modify them simultaneously.

Fix password glitches

Is password overload getting to you? With banks, e-commerce sites, and discussion forums—not to mention Mac OS X—all requiring logins and passwords, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep a handle on everything.

Anywhere wordsmith

Until recently, no one would have thought seriously about doing word processing in a Web browser. As Google Docs capably demonstrates, those days are over. Docs both handles the basics and offers powerful collaboration features that make it easy to work on documents with other people.

Stop today's spam

By some estimates, spam now accounts for 80 percent of all e-mail sent. Even if you’ve taken steps to curtail spam in the past, you may need to adopt some new strategies to keep your inbox under control.

Backup storage options

When you don’t back up your data, you choose to live life on the edge. But what sort of media should you use for storing your backups? You have numerous options, depending on your needs, preferences, and budget.

Stem e-mail overload

For most of us, e-mail has become a primary means of communication—which means that we have an ever-expanding list of messages to read and process. As with organizing your files, choosing strategies to implement will depend on whether you prefer to find a place for each message or to rely primarily on searches to sift through your mail.

Clear away the clutter

Clutter not only slows you down by making it harder to find the files you need. If left unchecked, clutter can also bog down your Mac’s performance. The good news is that it’s never too late to get organized.

Wrangle your snippets

There are a number of snippet keepers available for the Mac. But as with any organization effort, you'll have greater success if you choose a program that mirrors the way you prefer to work -- here are some options.

Finesse your files

The first step in reducing clutter is to devise a system for managing the files you create and download. How extensive this system needs to be will depend on your organizational strategy. Some people prefer to set aside specific places for everything in an elaborate system of nested folders, while others create broader filing systems and rely instead on search tools to locate what they want. Whichever approach you take, consider the following tips.

Reclaim hard-drive space

Hard drives have a way of filling up—especially laptop drives. Although desktop Macs come with up to 750GB of hard-drive space, some Mac laptops still ship with hard drives as small as 60GB and the biggest laptop drive money can buy holds only 200GB.

Backing it up

It’s sad, but true. Few Mac users create backups of any sort, and fewer still have thorough, automated backups. There is no complete and final answer to everyone’s backup needs, but that fact shouldn’t become a reason to put off implementing a backup strategy. The key to making it happen is identifying your needs.

Easy Mac backups

If your computer is stolen, damaged, or incapacitated, you can always repair or replace the hardware and software. But what about your data? Without good backups, you could lose your hard work and precious records forever.

Tri-BACKUP 4.0.4

I found Tri-BACKUP made many activities that should have been simple unduly confusing. Unfortunate choices of interface and wording make this otherwise versatile program less attractive than others.