For the customized start page, I chose uStart,org. I like that I was able to choose the format of the widgets on it. I can allow my students to see latest news, economy and daily tasks that I can list. I can also add my RSS feed and Google drive to my start page to view those links as well. This was all very easy to put together.
I currently use my Google calender and have it linked to my phone. This is extremely convenient because anything I add in through my phone automatically syncs to my computer calendar as well. This is extremely useful when setting up Google drive and the start page, because students can use this as well to view upcoming assignment dates to learn how to become more accountable.
I have also used My Stickies in the past for desktop sticky notes. They have proved very helpful in the past, helping remeber online to-do lists. These would also be helpful for students when they get on computers as reminders for websites, passwords and daily reminders for computer centers.