Microsoft Offering Free Domain Name and Hosting for One Year

Microsoft Office Live Small Business is a web hosting service that gives you a domain name (any available .com, .net, .org, or .info), email, business management tools, collaboration tools, and more, for a surprising price tag: $0.

Despite the Small Business moniker, the service doesn’t appear to be limited only to businesses—meaning you could probably use the service as a personal site (as CNET suggests). Check in with the Microsoft Office Live Small Business video tour for a closer look at what you can expect if you decide to sign up. The service is free for one year, after which you’ll need to pony up a still-reasonable $15/year. If you’ve used it in the past, share you experience in the comments.

Alternately, if you’re not keen on Microsoft’s hosting offer, check out the most popular reliable and affordable web hosts according to Lifehacker readers.

Postbox Collects and Organizes Your Email Attachments

Windows/Mac: Postbox is an email client that helps you re-discover all the photos, attachments, and links buried in your email, as well as organize newer mail. Think of it as Thunderbird with a file-managing fixation.

In fact, Postbox is based on at least a good chunk of Thunderbird‘s code, and most of its company’s founders and lead developers worked on Thunderbird or other email apps at Netscape or Mozilla. If you’re already a user of the open-source bird, Postbox should be strikingly familiar, but Postbox can also be picked up pretty easily by any new user. Let’s take a look around:

Like Thunderbird, Postbox can handle RSS and newsgroup subscriptions in addition to email, but the mail is what it’s really all about. You’ll want to have an email account with IMAP abilities to get the most from Postbox—in other words, to get back through your mail history and grab pictures, attachments, and the like. Gmail and Yahoo Plus users get automated setups, but any account will do:

After filling in the usual address/user/pass details, Postbox will connect and start acting like a normal desktop mail client. By default, it will only connect to your mail server and start downloading and indexing mail when your system is idle, but you can head to Tools, then Index All Messages to get the rich search ball rolling. If you’ve been using a webmail account that discourages deletion, be prepared for a bit of a wait:

Whichever indexing route you go, Postbox looks pretty familiar in its standard inbox view. Notable, though, are the easily tabbed views, the “Topics” (like labels for Gmail), and an integrated search bar that supports Firefox-like plugins:

Your search options are pretty robust in Postbox, letting you combine multiple criteria to search on any folder:

When composing, replying, or forwarding mail, you assign topics from a keyboard shorcut or the prominent button. It auto-completes, suggests your most-used topics, and lets you automatically add a topic to your “Favorites” sidebar:

Postbox doesn’t gather your mail in a Gmail-like “conversation” view by default, but offers a “Gather” button that can search through every folder and topic in your account with a related reply and string it together. The “Annotate” button lets you edit the message subject or add your own note for greater search-ability or memory boosting. The To-Do button lets you add a message to, well, a built-in To-Do list, and offers a neat, GTD-friendly “Pending” option that marks a message as needing a reply. On the right-hand side of a message, you’ll also see all the links included throughout the message for easy reference:

Okay, onto the neat stuff. Once it has run through some or all of your account’s messages, Postbox gives you some pretty powerful search options. Choose a folder, topic, or account, click one of the media type buttons—Images, Attachments, Links, or Contacts—and enter some search juice into the upper-right bar. In Images mode, you can sort by relevance or date, scale the thumbnail sizes a la Picasa, upload selected pictures to Picasa Web Albums, and, of course, save and send what you find. For those with inboxes that stretch many years, Postbox can be a time-sucking memory trip:

The view’s much the same for attachments:

And links and contacts:

Right-clicking on a search result also offers contextual upload options, as noted:

My one complaint, at the moment, is that I literally can’t find a way to see more results from a particular image/attachment/link/contact search—I get one page of results, and I have to find what I’m looking for there, or get really, really refined.

Postbox features a lot more than what’s posted here, but there are the basics.

Are you giving Postbox a try as your desktop email client? Intrigued by its attachment-managing powers? Figuring Gmail/Yahoo search gives you the same features online? Tell us your take in the comments.

Postbox is a free download in public beta at the moment, available for Windows and Mac systems.

Declutter an Entire Room in a Single Sweep

Figuring out where to start decluttering a jam-packed room can be intimidating. Blast through a room from top to bottom with these simple steps. Photo by Annahape Gallery.

Leo Babauta of the blog Zen Habits has put together a step-by-step guide to help you declutter a room in a single sweep. His first and most important step is to establish a working space. He uses the example of a clean bed in the middle of a bedroom—I frequently use a card table in rooms without a large and bare surface. From there you empty one drawer, shelf, or surface at a time onto the working space and assess the clutter:

Sort the pile into two piles: 1) what you use regularly and love, and 2) what you’re going to get rid of. Pick up one item at a time and make an instant decision – when was the last time you used this? If you haven’t used it in a few months (6 months at the longest), get rid of it. This excludes seasonal stuff like winter jackets or what have you.

Making a decision the moment you pick something up greatly cuts down the chances you’ll come up with some excuse for keeping it. If you’re having trouble deciding if something should fall in the keep or discard pile, a look over some tough questions to help you declutter can provide a framework to help you place a value on your things. If you’re getting rid of things that have a market value—but just not to you—and aren’t quite donation-worthy, consider selling them to create a Stuff Replacement Fund so you have extra cash handy to replace or repair the useful things you keep. If you have a master decluttering strategy, sound off in the comments below.

Pod to PC Transfers Music from Any iPod, iPhone Onto Your PC

Windows only: Pod to PC can grab the music and movies off nearly any Windows-formatted iPod for transferring to your PC, and avoids duplicates while doing so.

Install and fire up the software, and if your iPod is connected by a USB transfer cable, Pod to PC should find it and offer up basic stats:

Most notable is that, along with an iTunes-like read on space use, iPod name, and the like, Pod to PC shows how many of the tracks on a device are already loaded into iTunes on your computer. So that “Automatic Transfer” button smooshed into the lower-right corner (Pod to PC has a pretty rough graphical interface, in case you couldn’t tell) does exactly that, grabbing uncopied tracks and placing them. Or you can tackle a transfer manually:

Advanced visual cues show you what’s in your library already, what’s protected or free, and what type of media each file is. Select the files you want, or use the upper-right search bar to narrow-as-you-type search. When you’re done selecting, head to the File menu, hit “Initiate transfer,” and you’ll get a pop-up window giving you the report. Pod to PC can’t place the files in iTunes itself, but it does create an “Import File,” a simple text document, that iTunes can read to bring in multiple files at once.

The caveats: Pod to PC is not the most stable software we’ve tested—the inteface is a smooshy thing, and crashes and freeze-ups, especially when attempting to preview a file, aren’t exactly rare. But it does work with an iPod touch or iPhone just as well as a first-generation white iPod, and does a nice job of sorting what you do and don’t have already. For a full guide to reliable transfer software, check out our guide to copying music from your iPhone or iPod to your computer for free.

Pod to PC is a free download for Windows systems only.