Monday, November 16, 2009

Favorite and Daily Use Applications

This is part of a series of reprints from my classes. Once the class is over, I will lose these if I don't save them elsewhere. I've decided to post them here as they may be of some interest. This is from my Introduction to Information Systems class, which I was too lazy to test out of.

My favorite application is Google’s Picasa. Picasa is a great photo organizer that allows you to effortlessly move photos from your digital camera to the web or print. It has most of the tools needed to clean up an image, and they’re all very easy to use. Yes, I could always open Photoshop, and sometimes I do use it for a particularly troubled image, but normally that is akin to driving a finishing nail with a sledgehammer. Picasa is powerful enough that it works for more advanced users, but simple enough that even a novice can use it with relative ease. That range of usability is extremely impressive.

However, I do not have a need to use Picasa daily. My favorite daily application is Firefox. The best thing about Firefox is that it just works on almost any platform. It doesn’t matter if I’m on my work computer, my Macbook, my Windows 7 machine, or a Linux installation. All of them have Firefox and it works with very little deviation in function. This ubiquity has led me to use more in-browser applications as substitutes for desktop applications, such as GMail instead of Outlook, or Google Docs instead of Excel.

Since I use so many computers, another application I would be lost without is Dropbox. Again, it’s cross platform, and again it just works. Dropbox creates a folder in your profile that it monitors for changes. When you add a new file to that folder it uploads the file to the Dropbox server. Once the file is uploaded, your other computers will download that file immediately if they are online, or upon the next login. Also, you can login to the Dropbox website and access those files from any computer. It’s far more convenient than carrying a thumb drive. Did I mention that it's free for up to 2GB of storage? Well, it is.

Other daily applications include Microsoft’s Outlook (for work email), Visual Studio 2008, and SQL Server Management Studio 2008. At home on my Mac I use Quicksilver, which is basically the best application launcher ever, and I proof most of my work in Pages.

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