MY Top Ten invites media practitioners to identify their top ten websites, apps, software tools and gadgets, etc, and here it is the turn of Brian Baglow, a marketing consultant and evangelist for the Scottish games industry, including as founder of the Scottish Games Network.
1. Google Chrome – internet browser – Everything I do is online these days. From e-mail and browsing, to cloud-based apps for… well, everything else. My work is now almost entirely internet-based. I’ve tried everything out there, from Internet Explorer and Safari to Firefox, Opera and Rockmelt. Chrome fits my way of working perfectly. Fast, stable and robust. Okay, there are a few quirks on OSX (Flash, the sooner you vanish forever…), but I am now using Chrome on every device I own.
2. Feedly – aggregator – Oddly enough, this wouldn’t be my number two choice, if my original #2 hadn’t been killed like a crazy wolf. I soak up data and information like a sponge made of cats. I have around 800-plus websites and feeds that I check on a daily basis, across a huge range of industries, sources and channels. My original choice would most certainly have been Google Reader, but as Google rather chillingly decided it was no longer ‘viable’, I’ve moved to Feedly. It’s excellent. It accepts every sort of feed, not just RSS and lets me categorise, tag and make my daily news marathon quite pretty.
3. OpenOffice – suite of office tools such as word processing – It’s a matter of pride that I’ve not bought an Office software suite since 1999. Why would you when there’s an excellent open source version like OpenOffice available? Word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database. If I have to deal with a company which needs ‘proper’ documents, then I head straight to OO.
4. WordPress – blogging tool, publishing platform and content management system – WordPress powers over 60 million websites in the world. Nearly 15 per vent of the top one million websites in the world use WP. There’s a reason for this. It’s excellent. Simple, powerful, accessible, customisable and cheap. From a fast, personal blog, through to a fully-featured media portal, WordPress is nearly perfect. Use it.
5. Twitter – social media – I don’t care if you don’t ‘do’ or ‘get’ Twitter. You’re wrong. It’s not about your breakfast. It’s changed the way information spreads. It’s an immediate way of finding information, pulling in data from a circle of known contacts and can be used for work, leisure, research or hilariously pretending you’ll blow up an airport. Unlike Facebook, Twitter can be used to reach out to people. If you’re not on it, you can’t influence or track what’s being said. About you or to you. The iOS app is actually quite good, though I’m still bitter that Twitter took down Tweetdeck.
6. EverNote – software – It’s all about the cloud now. If you work away from your desk with any regularity and you need to keep notes, write up anything from blogs to minutes to articles, then EverNote is your friend. The iOS and Android apps synch with your desktop and you can tag individual notes with everything, including your location. Once you’ve used it a few times, it becomes indispensable. Throw away your notebooks.
7. Prezi – software – A cloud-based presentation system which allows you to create and direct quite complex and large-scale presentations, more quickly and simply than any other system I’ve used. Some people complain about the movement within a Prezi presentation, but that’s down to the creator getting carried away, like George Lucas thinking three prequels was a good idea. Stay sane, stay focused, communicate effectively and stay away from the swirly, loopy bits.
8. iPlayer Radio – app – I need music when I work. And the iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android is excellent. It actually gives you options. It links to the podcasts from various channels, tells you the track playing and has handy functions like an alarm clock and tagging favourite tracks. Let’s hope this is the future of the whole iPlayer family. In the meantime, get some 6 Music on…
9. Steam – software – Steam is the world’s leading digital distribution platform for entertainment software. Yes, we’re talking games. Mostly. But also films, software tools and a growing range of other apps. Steam is the single best way to buy games for Windows, Mac and Linux, these days. Regular special offers, friends lists, gifting and support from pretty much every major publisher – and every indie games studio out there. If you’re not a gamer, there’s clearly something wrong with you, but if you ever have more than three-four minutes of free time and are not dead inside, then give Steam a try. It could change your life.
10. Visible Tweets – website – If you are ever involved in an event, if you’re ever speaking somewhere – from a classroom to an arena, then you need Visible Tweets. A free website. Simply stick in a user name, Twitter handle, hash tag or search term and it will go and fetch relevant tweets and display them in a variety of fabulous colours and make your talk, presentation or panel a far more interactive feel and enable greater participation with the audience. Try it, you’ll like it.