A while ago, I wrote about the desktop software I most frequently use. In that process, I differentiated between the software that resides primarily on my computer and those "programs" or services that are cloud or Internet based. This is becoming more and more of an artificial distinction. For example, I recently upgraded to Adobe CS6 programs. In the now distant past, I would have had purchased a physical disk and box, installed the software on my computer and purchased an "upgrade" box and disk to "upgrade" the software. I have used Adobe products since their creation and their predecessor programs like Aldus Pagemaker.
This time, I did not have a physical product. I had purchased Photoshop CS4 and then upgraded to Photoshop CS5 by downloading copies of the program from online. In the past, I would have been mildly hysterical about losing the software, but due to my registration with Adobe, I could download another copy any time and use my registration number to, in a sense, backup the program without having a physical disk.
So, now it was time to upgrade to CS6. I looked at the price of upgrading my two main programs, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign and that started a family discussion about how to do this. The reason is simple, upgrading the two programs would be hundreds of dollars. For example, right now, the best price I could find on CS6 Creative Suite upgrade (includes more than Photoshop and InDesign) is over $350. But it turned out to be much more complicated than that based on the dates and versions of our existing programs.
I won't go through all of the calculations we looked at, but suffice it to say, it was going to be a major expense. So we dilly-dallied around until we had a major computer crash. One factor in the decision was that some of our older versions of Adobe programs would not run on the new Apple OS X Lion operating system. But talking about upgrades in another subject, for another time. This problem was solved by Adobe's Creative Cloud program. We pay one price per month for downloading any or all of the major Adobe products. The cost of paying a monthly fee was less than the cost of upgrading all the products we use and need and we could get products we never dreamed we could afford.
Now, this explanation has a whole lot to do with my selection of programs that are cloud based. Even though they reside, in part, on my computer, I use them only with the Internet and not as "standalone" programs. Now, as you can see with my explanation of the Adobe products, this distinction is blurring considerably.
My number one program is very complicated. It is Google. Here is a list of the Google programs that I use exhaustively:
- Google Picasa
- Google Books
- Google Maps
- Google Translate
- Google Shopping
- Google Reader
- Google Images
- Google Drive
- Google Earth
- Google News
- Google Chrome
- Google Play
- Google Calendar
- Google Talk
- Google Reader
Now what is in second place?
Three programs are changing the way I do work on various computers. They are Dropbox, Google Drive (listed above) and Microsoft's Sky Drive. Each of these programs have some "free" storage space online. Since I move from computer to computer throughout the week, I can store commonly used files in the cloud and access the updated files from any computer or even my iPhone. This way of working has fundamentally changed my interaction with the computer.
I use some really sophisticated photo editing programs that I didn't mention in my last go around, but they are so narrowly used that I hesitate to mention them. If you need them, you will find them.
Listing the variety of websites I use online would be endless. But special mention has to go to FamilySearch's Family Tree. You will hear more about my online storage and genealogy programs in another post, as well as the Apps I use on my iPhone.