At some point over the last few years I’ve migrated away from free services for anything I consider essential. I’d like to say this was calculated but this shift took place at a subconscious level. This shift has two reasons.
I find myself making a similar shift. In the past, I used free software (or software I got for free) as a high school and college student.
However, as I get older and depend on software to get real work done or to support me in my leisure, I want to pay someone money to make sure it’ll stick around. Services like Instapaper and Pinboard and apps like 1Password have become an essential part of my workflow, and the time it’d take to replace them just isn’t worth the small cost on the front end.
We’ve seen the demise of services like Delicious. If you depend on something and get value from it, support them.
I’m happy to support great software and great people.
Update: Speaking of which, something I should be adding to my to do list is to find a decent way to move off of Gmail. Probably my single biggest “free” dependency, and just don’t trust Google these days.