Windows 8/8.1/10 Apps for Your Freelancer
Welcome to 2015, fans! If you’ll remember from our last time together, we looked at some gifts to get the freelancer in your life (or yourself if you were good last year) and I talked a little about my super buy of a Windows 8.1 laptop. And in today’s post, I’m combining both of them.
So if you haven’t heard, Windows 10 is coming out sometime this year and Microsoft is doing their consumer preview of the OS this coming Wednesday. What happens if you got stuck, I mean, were given a Windows 8.1 computer for Christmas? What if you’re being adventurous and are trying out the Technical Preview? What’s the must have apps you need to get your work done? Can you even do work on Windows 8/8.1/10?
Can I work on Windows 8.x/10?
I will fully admit that I was skeptical about working on a Windows 8 device. When the Surface first came out, I really did like the tabtop idea of it, but Windows 8 was clearly designed for touch interfaces, which is great if you have a tablet. Not a desktop or a laptop. Why would you put a touchscreen on a laptop? Honestly?
But after having this laptop for about two months, I have to admit that Windows 8.1 isn’t as bad as first thought (not as good as Windows 7 of course, but not horrible like Vista). I’m on it right now, typing away at this post and I’ve done other writing assignments while on it as well, so as far as working on it, it’s just like any other OS that you’d get on any other computer.
Must Have Apps
When I got this laptop, of course the first thing I did was to check out was the apps. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Windows Store is in third place when it comes to apps and depending on what you’re using, that’s true. There’s no dedicated podcast app like BeyondPod (which I love on my Note 2) and no Feedly app. For me, my important apps are there, but their execution depends on you.
Evernote and OneNote are digital notebooks and keepers of your thoughts. If you aren’t using one or both of these, you totally should be. I switched from OneNote to Evernote for the sheer greatness of being able to access my notes from where ever I was – desktop, laptop, or phone – and at the time, OneNote didn’t have that. Now that Microsoft is getting into the online world, you can now access OneNote through Office 365.
Evernote trumps ON for me is the Web Clipper, an extension for Firefox/Chrome/Opera that clips websites into Evernote; this helps to keep track of the articles I’ve written (like if I need to include sample links) or articles I’ll need to work with. I’m not a big fan of the Windows 8 app, though it’s essentially the website version; if you’ve got hard drive space with your 8/8.1/10 machine, I’d get the desktop version.
It goes without saying that if you need to video conference, Skype is the way to go. Luckily, now that Microsoft owns it, it’s incorporated into Windows. I have the app on the Metro screen, but have yet to use it, but I’ve heard it works rather well.
As a freelance writer, the news is helpful, especially if you’re working on an article about the latest goings on in the world. I was using Flipboard on my Android, as the sharing features were great, but I had trouble finding those same features in the Windows app. News Bento was my next choice and it’s a great reader. If you’re a Feedly fan, there’s Readiy, which is essentially the app version of Feedly; both are free, though Readiy (like Feedly) has a paid version that gets rid of the ads.
What Windows 10 Needs to Add
I tried the technical preview for Windows 10 and I liked what I saw, I especially loved being able to resize the apps. I’m sure like other freelancers, you like listening to music or watching/listening to a movie or a podcast in the background. Some people will argue that using split screen takes care or that, but only if you’re using a 24 inch monitor, so basically, this would be great on my desktop. However, I’m not on a desktop; I’m on a laptop with an 11 inch screen.
Even on, say a 15 inch, it’s still taking up real estate; I’d rather having a resized window in the background, without taking the majority of my screen.
I also like having the start menu back, because I can get to my programs quicker that way. Look, I like the start screen and all, but having to go there to find PowerPoint or Excel or something (why doesn’t Office have apps?) is a bit of a hassle, especially when on a desktop/laptop.
Word is Microsoft is going to do a better job telling the difference between computers and tablets, kinda like Apple does, and something that would have made 8/8.1 a lot more enjoyable.