Say goodbye to Paperland

By Meg Rivera

I WORK as a speech teacher and a research assistant with a language academy here in Cebu. When I’m not in the classroom teaching students how to speak clearly, I’m poring over material on our latest research project. It’s good fun, but after about four months on the job, something embarrassing happened.

At one point, my boss called my desk Paperland because of all the crap that had collected on top. I heard what he was saying loud and clear: I need to keep myself organized better.

There haven’t been any reports of people dying under a stack of collapsed reports, but why tempt fate?
This week, I’ll be looking at the three apps that have prevented my office from collapsing in an avalanche of pulp and fiber. I use these apps mostly on my iPad, but because they are available on several platforms it means that I’m updated anywhere I go. So whether I’m updating lesson plans or keeping notes on references, I know that I can keep my desk together. The best part about these apps is that they are complementary to each other. I can open files across these three apps for easy editing and storage pretty much anywhere I am connected to the Internet. I would recommend downloading all three of these apps on your tablet and desktop so you can take your mobile office anywhere you want to avoid your own version of Paperland.

 Evernote screencapName: Evernote

Developer: Dropbox

Easy to use?: If you are an absolute newbie, take time out to watch the tutorials on their main website to optimise Evernote’s abilities. But in a pinch, the interface is easy to navigate and figure out.

Available on: Android, Apple

Overall comment: I think Evernote should be on the list of best inventions, right next to sliced bread. I use Evernote to write

EVERYTHING down: a recipe, a new phrase in another language, copy-pasting song lyrics and chords, the secret to eternal youth. I appreciate how easy it is to keep notes organised, particularly with Evernote’s Notebooks function. Think of it as an expanding file for all the random crap you accumulate, but you can actually go back and make sense of it all. Five clicks out of five.

 

DropboxName: Dropbox

Developer: Dropbox

Easy to use?: You should not be allowed with scissors if you can’t use Dropbox. Master the basic skill of clicking and dragging and you’ll be sweet as.

Available on: Android, Mac OS and beyond

Overall comment: My academic supervisor and I would be lost without Dropbox. It’s a cross between a hard drive and a cloud server; we share files and folders and edit them as we go. It’s also a good way to transfer files across your different devices without doing a physical transfer. I can see students would benefit from this, because this is an efficient way to coordinate files as they get edited. This will not replace a physical pen drive completely, but it comes pretty darned close. Four clicks out of five.

 

PagesName: Pages

Developer: Apple, Inc.

Easy to use?: For a no-frills word processor, it’s not difficult to figure out. The interface is slightly different from MS Word, but it’s intuitive and doesn’t take a long time to get comfortable with.

Available on: As far as I can see, Pages is only available on iTunes.

Overall comment: Pages isn’t MS Word, that much is clear. Once you get past this, then you’ll find that this app offers much more than you paid for it (which is zip!). This is the bare bones version of MS Word, which makes writing memos and research proposals a snap.

Tables and charts are also easier on this app than on the actual MS Word programme, probably because of the more tactile nature of the iPad. This app could do with more formatting options for writing bibliographies, as well as a more articulated word count option. But for a free word processor, I would say this could be much worse and I’m glad it isn’t. Three clicks out of five.

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