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Essential Software for the Every Day Person

at 2011.08.12

Whether you’re a student, a busy professional, or just a person learning how to make better decisions in life everyone from time to time needs to switch things up, right?  In the technology world that means all of us are constantly looking for new computer programs to make our lives more efficient and productive.  I recently read an article on PC World of their picks of the must-have downloads for 2011 school year and I realized that there were a few programs I use personally that make sense for just about everyone, not just students.

Evernote: Evernote is a free program download and web service that allows you to take quick notes of any kind (text, images, voice memos, etc.) and store them in an easy, tagged based system.  Evernote is available as a PC or Mac program but you can also use the web or your smartphone (iPhone or Android) to take, record, and retrieve your notes from just about anywhere.  If you consume a lot of information and need to save it in an easy to retrieve manner, then this program is for you!

Scrivener: Scrivener is a great tool that allows students or individuals who like to compose and organize larger written works than just notes.  Scrivener functions as a digital white-board or cork-board to brain storm ideas, move paragraphs, and compose perfectly written masterpieces, whether it’s a term paper, business deal, or the next New York Times Bestseller.  This is another tool that I have personally used and I must say that I have found nothing better to organize my thoughts for larger writing ‘assignments’.  This program is available for Mac as a 30 day free trial and costs $45 after the trial ends.  You can also take advantage of the public beta of their new Windows version as well!

LibreOffice/OpenOffice.Org: If you’re looking to unshackle yourself from Microsoft Office and not pay the sometimes ridiculous software prices, I would recommend checking out either of these open source office suites.  I have personal experience with OpenOffice.Org and can only assume that LibreOffice is the same if not better.  Both office suites offer alternative programs other than Word, Excel, or PowerPoint but give you the same functionality as those name brand software titles and also you to open and save in native Microsoft formats.

Check out the PC World article for some more great back-to-school software tips.  Share your recommendations in the comments below.