My latest at ProfHacker: Cross-Platform Applications for Daily Work

Multiple operating systems in actionSometimes our readers give us good ideas for posts. After my post about fully replacing ChromeOS with Linux, a reader asked what Linux software I use for academic purposes. I suggested Zotero for PDF management, and also pointed him to Steven Ovadia’s @steven_ovadia blog — which has an “academic” tag — for further ideas.

In case other readers are interested (or have recommendations of their own to share!), I thought it worth mentioning some other applications academics might find useful.

My first criterion for integrating an application into my workflow is, of course, that it do what I need it to do. In the ideal world, I’d also like the software I use to be free, open-source, and cross-platform. In the real world, though, I’ve found that it’s not always possible to find applications that work well for me and that have all of those characteristics, so I’m willing to pay for a license when I find a piece of software works especially well for me. The cross-platform criterion is probably the single most important consideration for me at this point, since I increasingly find myself working on a variety of Mac, Linux, and (to a lesser degree) Windows machines.

Here are the applications I find myself using on an almost daily basis, regardless of platform:

  • For citation management: Zotero.

  • For web browsing: Chrome. Though it’s not open source, I tend to gravitate toward it out of habit, for reasons of convenience more than anything — I’m an Android user, and my campus uses Google services. Chromium is a good open-source alternative, as is Firefox.

  • For writing: Sublime Text 3. (It’s not free or open source, but I’ve recently purchased a license. The license is, at least, a user license rather than a machine license, and it’s good for all supported platforms: Linux, OS X, and Windows. Since I’m trying to learn more about HTML, CSS, and PHP, I find the syntax highlighting and code completion really helpful.) ReText and UberWriter are excellent free editors that are great for working in Markdown, but they’re only available for Linux, so far as I know.

  • For backups and syncing across computers: SpiderOak (for materials that need some security) and Dropbox (for less sensitive files).

I’m still looking for a good, easy to use scanning and OCR solution for Linux. PDFScanner works wonderfully well in OS X, and is affordable, but I haven’t yet found a Linux equivalent.

What applications do you find yourself using most consistently for your daily work? Do you have any favorites to recommend? Let us know in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user Javier Aroche]

from ProfHacker » Amy CavenderProfHacker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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