I have been playing around with a some new tools over the last couple of months. I started using Google's Desktop search months ago and really liked it, but when I switched to FireFox it stopped indexing my web searches which can hurt me a little. But just the other day I have downloaded and started using Google's Enterprise Desktop Search. It now index's firefox, pdf, and a lot of other filetypes. I think it slows my machine down a little bit but it has been invaluable for finding information on my desktop. It saves me a lot of time at work and when working from home. I have to keep files synchronized over different locations and sometimes the files are at different sites, my memory doesn't keep up very well with that but Google Desktop Search does! It is also free which is a fairly compelling sales point.
To synchronize my files I use Groove. Groove has been in the news a bit since they were purchased by MSFT. I started using the product just before the purchase and haven't noticed any difference since. It is a really neat tool. It basically allows me to keep all my files at work and at home synchronized and without a server. Before I had it I had to be careful about whether I had a copy of a document or information at work or at home. In my business it isn't abnormal to have to do a lot of after hours work. To get in the office and realize I have left all that on a PC somewhere else is pretty annoying.
It has a lot of other features for collaborating with clients and I am considering using that for searches I do in the future. It would allow me to provide them with a password and then they could access my details on a search in real time. Although I am not sure if this is so perfect if they have to get their own copy of Groove. However, I have been using another tool which might be useful in a similar fashion called Backpack.
Backpack is really simple but also very cool. It is basically an online place to keep to-do lists and information on relatively small projects. I started to look for something because the myriad of to-do lists and Outlook reminders I have were driving me nuts. I don't know if it is the whole answer but I have found it to be pretty good so far for general to-do lists and also with shared projects. With the shared projects it allows me to post a public to-do list and others involved can get on and cross off when they have fulfilled their duties. It takes advantage of AJAX so you techies out there might want to check it out. I found Backpack through the fantastic 43Folders Blog- if you are organizationally challenged like me then it is great for finding someone on your side.