My Favourite Applications

I was asked yesterday to do some guest lectures on the influence and future of web technologies to Digital Media, Education and Creative Arts university students. In some ways I  find that a bit daunting because they will have grown up with the web. It got me thinking about what to talk about and I guess a perspective from an old fogey who has lived through the changes is worthwhile. One of the things I get asked a lot after keynotes and workshops is what applications do I use and why?  I am getting a new laptop delivered today (maybe my last one ever because of tablet developments) and it got me focused on what were the first applications I would load on to it to get me going and to coordinate with my other devices and work colleagues. So here are my top web based cross platform technologies (after of course basics like a Chrome Web Browser)- in order of importance.

1/ Evernote

If I had to pick one application it would be Evernote as it has become the core of what I do.

We use it to store all of our environmental scanning material which then feeds into client work, keynote presentation preparation. For example we generally have a 3-6 month lead time for presentations so on top of our core scanning notebook I collect  cross links to the notes in our system under specific presentation titles to go back to once we start to put together a narrative

I use it to track project notes because I can record it on my desktop, my iPad and my android phone.

I use it for check-lists for travel for the same reason

The web clipper allows me to clip interesting articles and reports for about 30 minutes in the morning which then syncs effortlessly so I can read them on my iPad when travelling

I photograph workshop worksheets and maps and share those with clients afterwards.

The system allows export of all the data so we can keep offline back ups and get our stuff out any time that we want to.

Bets of all it is free although we pay for the premium version


I pray every day that they stay as a stand alone business and do not get taken over by Microsoft especially.

2/ Drop Box

For those not familiar with it Drop Box allows you to place a folder on your hard drive and anything that is saved in there is synchronised to the cloud and then synchronised to any device you have the application loaded on to.

I use drop box to:

Share a folder with my farm manager so I can see his reports and back up database files any time that I want to from wherever I am

Share a folder with Kim our office manager so I can see all our scanned documents (which is most things) at any time

Keep all the images that we use for presentations so I can access them from any device for preparation.

Save a copy of keynotes before I travel to present (I am paranoid about not having a presentation work so I save one on the hard drive, one on a USB stick, a separate portable version on a different USB stick which I put in a separate bag, upload one to Prezi (see below), and download one from Prezi to my iPad)

Share client documents for workshops and project work


3/ Kindle 

I no longer buy any non fiction books it printed version (I still like a printed book for fiction reading in bed and on planes and one of the people that prompted this post told me the other day he buys eBooks and prints them!!!)

The convenience of being able to carry so many books with me that I have notes in and being able to access that on desktop, iPad and smartphone is fantastic for me ( I mainly use the iPad). The convenience of having a book delivered to me 1 minute after making a  decision to buy it, and to have access to a much wider range of publications than I ever could locally is great.


4/ ABC iView

This is more an entertainment one and local to Australia than a work one but we use it a lot. I rarely watch TV when it is on these days, preferring to time shift my viewing habits. iView works seamlessly and we use it a lot on the iPad either stand alone or plugged into the TV. It allows you to create a watch list and to watch programs and remembers where you were if you only watch part of a show. That is useful because I am often up well before Jo and Miles and watch a bit on my iPad while having breakfast.Image

5/ TweetDeck

I use TweetDeck more on my computer than I do on my iPad because I am not that keen on the iPad app and find it hard to integrate my overall workflow with it on the iPad.

I use Tweetdeck to organise my Twitter stuff and have several columns set up inside it than I find useful:

A Follow column which is for all the people I follow. This is too large a group to look at all the time but I try and dip into “the stream” 2-3 times a day for serendipity.

A mentions column to track where I am being mentioned and re-tweeted

A direct message column which is set up with a pop up notice so I can respond to people

A “my perspectives list” which is a core group of people I follow assiduously on a daily basis for scanning and information purposes If you want to see this – it is a public list at!/futuristpaul/my-perspectives-list)

A scheduled updates list because we tend to queue tweets to get a spread over different parts of peopel’s day in different parts of the world and to manage workflow on our side.


6/ Skype

Which we use all the time for internal communication and for travel, both on the laptop and on the iPadImage

7/ Prezi and Prezi Viewer

We use Prezi for all our presentations and I love using the Prezi Viewer application on my iPad because I present without notes and like to do multiple run through and rehearse presentations. Having it in a format the looks just like my presentation on my iPad allows me to rehearse multiple times on planes and taxis and hotel rooms and get the flow down pat. I usually give it one more run through just before going on.Image

8/ Carbonite

Carbonite is an on-line back up system. Like most people I am variable when it comes to making back ups and also wanted an offsite solution so that if we had a fire or a burglary we would be able to recover all our important data. It is a set and forget system that works in the background and backs up all the files that you designate and can be accessed from other devices. Image

9/ Got to Meeting

We use Go to meeting all the time for on-line internal collaboration meetings, for practice run through of presentations and for draft presentation checks with clients that want them prior to workshops or keynotes


So there you go and it certainly demonstrates how integrated web services are to how we work these days.

I would be interested in any suggestions from others on their favourite applications that I should try.

Paul Higgins