What makes good software? For me, the use-everywhere factor is a big deal. I work with a desktop using Windows 7, a Mac at home and a Macbook for travel, mobile phone and a tablet computer. The more my gadgets spread, the more I appreciate the apps that let me get to my workspace wherever I am.
- Dropbox. Now the files I’m working on, like drafts of documents and slide shows, show up as part of the file system I browse on my Windows desktop and all of my Macintoshes, and are available to me on my iPad and — not that I want to use them on my mobile phone — on my phone too. Its system software manages to work into natural file browsing too, as least on a desktop in Windows or Mac. Nowadays I routinely save documents to DropBox so I can pick them up wherever I left off, from wherever I am. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t pay for my Dropbox, because they are leaving money on the table. I would pay if they made me. As it is, if I don’t use a whole computer’s worth of storage space, it’s free.
- Evernote. Every bit as powerful and as useful as Dropbox, which is saying a lot. I can input a note using a keyboard, a microphone, or a screen shot or website. I can get back to my notes from any computer, laptop, iPad or iPhone I use, and I think I could get it on Android as well, probably on Windows Mobile too. Type a note on the computer you’re at, and access it later when you need it. Fabulous software, and this too is free. And I’d pay for it if they made me.
- Kindle reader. I have the Kindle software on every device I have. I’m never caught waiting for something without immediate access to the latest book I’m reading, unless I don’t have my phone. Kindle automatically synchronizes to the last page I was reading on whatever device I was reading last. And it’s on phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops. And it’s free … although obviously I have to buy the books. Lately Kindle has also become a document manager too, so that — to cite one example — when I’m reading business plans I can load them to my Kindle and get the documents anywhere I am.
- Roboform. I complained three years ago when I switched to Mac at home and couldn’t get Roboform on my Macs. Now I can, and also on my iPad, and on every phone too. Roboform helps me keep track of logins and passwords, and — God help me — I sure hope it’s safe. Roboform is not free, but some of their browser add-ons are, and it’s worth a lot more than the equivalent of a good lunch, which is what they charge. I think I’m glad they charge me, and I hope they invest that in keeping up with security. They do have updates as often as any software I deal with.
- Things. Things, by Cultured Code, gets honorable mention here, for the new beta version that synchronizes my to-do list on iCloud so that I can access it, work with it, and massage it from my phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop Mac. That’s not the production version yet, and it doesn’t extend to Windows. But I do like it a whole lot. Things costs $49.95 and it’s worth every penny to me.
Disclosure: Last week I posted here that I didn’t post this one because there’s so much sleazy spammy tactics going on, paying bloggers for plugs, that I worried you’d think I’m doing that. I’m not. Nobody’s paying me a penny to recommend these five apps, and the ones that aren’t free — Roboform and Things — I purchased.
This is just great software. And I felt like sharing.
(Image: a screen shot from the Amazon Kindle download page.)