School, Work, and Play in the Cloud

Helpful Digital Productivity and Cloud Computing TipsIt’s August and we’ve been focusing on back to school tips recently but, as you’ve noticed, digital back to school tips aren’t necessarily just for students.  Practical back to school digital improvements such as efficient note-taking/storage and iPhone protection are for everyone.

In preparing for our digital back to school tips sections, a few weeks ago I came across an article from PC World about Going Back to School in the Cloud and I thought to myself – “this is a great guide to cloud computing that anyone can use”.  There’s a lot to talk about in this article but here are a few key take-aways in the areas of online office suites, online digital storage, and cloud based file syncing and sharing that will help you make better use of new (and old) technology.

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Essential Software for the Every Day Person

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.

Top Back-To-School Tech Tips

back-to-school computer tipsWith the school year just around the corner, students across New York are gearing up to ship out to colleges, some going back to a familiar haunts and others just getting ready for a new adventure. And while some students are lucky enough to get a brand new computer, in this tough economy a lot of students and their families have to cut back on expenses and make old laptops and other devices stretch just another year or two. With that said, there are a couple of tech tips and tricks that can give new life to old equipment and make it stretch through one more year away from home.

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Great FREE Tools For Protecting Kids Online

Now that the summer has come to a close kids everywhere are gearing up for back to school. As school starts, your kid’s computer usage is sure to rise. Whether they’re working on projects, doing homework, or just surfing the web, protecting your kids online activity should be a big priority. With technology changing so quickly it is important to be aware of the growing list of hazards in cyberspace. This post will outline some great resources to keep your kids safe when they’re out surfing the world wide web.

It’s good to review your family’s set of Internet usage guidelines.  Make sure your child knows how to be safe, responsible, and respectful online. Reiterate the rules you have set in the past and also discuss any rules set by your child’s school.

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