The best software should be intuitive. You should open it up and know immediately what you’re supposed to do.
Too often we download burdensome and complicated software. But if the app revolution has brought one benefit, it’s a renaissance in simpler, more intuitive interfaces. And that has transferred to the desktop as well.
We can talk about the mobile revolution forever, but most entrepreneurs, business owners, executives or managers are doing their business on a desktop. And they need desktop software to do their jobs.
We’ve put together a list of the top 10 pieces of software for both your Windows machine, and your Mac.
The ultimate file-sharing solution. Tracking files back and forth across multiple computers is always a pain, especially if you’re dealing with easily misplaced USB keys. Instead, syncing files across the internet is a far easier way to manage your documents. Just install the software on any of your devices and you’re ready to go.
The first 5GB are free; anything higher and you’ll need to pay. But it’s worth it.
If This, Then That
Most people on the internet are operating multiple services, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr or anything else. If This, Then That, helps you automate everything. You create “recipes” which trigger an action. For example, every time you post a photo in Facebook, you can save it to your DropBox. Or, every time you Tweet, you can save that Tweet to Evernote.
There are thousands of recipes online, so customising all of your actions will be a breeze.
Facebook has transformed from a simple social service into a full-blown communications tool. And the company knows it, having developed messaging apps of its own. One of them, Facebook Messenger for Windows, is a must-have tool for anyone who depends on the service to communicate. You can lodge a pop-up box on the right-hand of your screen, which displays your news feed, with the ability to comment on posts, along with a list of online contacts.
The ultimate Twitter experience. Although Twitter recently said it would be ending support for TweetDeck on iOS and Android, the desktop version lives on, and rightly so. It’s the best way to manage your Twitter presence on a desktop, allowing you to split tweets into specific columns. It’s not a deep service, but it does have services like pop-up notifications and the ability to schedule tweets. For the user who wants something more than the Twitter website, but doesn’t want to go overboard, TweetDeck is still the best choice.
There’s a reason Evernote has become one of the most talked-about tools of the past few years – it’s one of the best ways to keep track of anything you write down.
Evernote is a note-taking service, but it goes beyond that. You can create different categories, put tags on notes to keep them categorised, and sync them across devices. You can also create picture notes, audio notes, and put geographical data on them to make sure you know when they were taken. It’s suited to both individual and corporate use, too. It’s free, but a business version was just launched in Australia recently.
Cost: Free, plus paid premium services
If you’re still using Internet Explorer, then it’s time to stop. Although Google’s Chrome browser has had its problems, the software has improved by leaps and bounds. Now users can install extensions and apps to customise Chrome to their liking. With the ability to sync into your Google account, and easily harmonise settings across devices, Chrome is the best browser available.
If this isn’t part of your computing software suite, then it should be. You simply don’t need to be paying for long distance calls anymore. Skype is an easy way to keep in touch via both audio and video, but it’s also a good business tool. Instant message your colleagues instead of walking down the hallway and you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
Keeping track of all the passwords across your various devices can be a big challenge. 1Password takes away the hassle by creating passwords for you and keeping them safe in a secure service. You only ever need to remember the master password, and then 1Password – which sits as a browser extension – does the rest. It’s over $US70 for a single license, but you’re paying for peace of mind.
Cost: Starts from $US70
Although Dropbox is a good way to transfer files, it’s not a back-up solution. You’re better off using an unlimited provider like CrashPlan, which allows you to pay a subscription fee and then back up as much as you want to the internet. After all, better safe than sorry.
Cost: Free month trial, starts at $35.20 per year
Defragmenting a computer’s hard drive isn’t something that needs to be done manually anymore, but you still need to give your computer a tune up every now and then. Download CCleaner to automatically get rid of old and unnecessary files. You’ll find you’ll save more space than you think.
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