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10 stars of 'cross-platformity'

By Victoria Ivey
June 11, 2013 12:36 PM ET

Of course, one of the great tools for getting work done is the Internet. (Ironically, it's also a great tool for avoiding getting work done.) All devices come with a Web browser, but some people use those default browsers exactly once, to download their browser of choice. My favorites in the cross-platformity sweepstakes are Google Chrome and Firefox. They work on practically everything: Windows and Linux desktops, Macs, and Android smartphones and tablets. Be aware, though, that the version of Chrome available for iOS is just a reskinned Safari and not the real deal.

Another indispensable work tool, which also has many uses for non-work activities, is B1 Free Archiver. B1 compresses files and thus saves space on your hard drive. That's very cool, especially if that drive is a small one on a smartphone. But this utility solves many other problems. I resort to B1 whenever I need to send several files via email or Skype -- the archiver packs them into one file so I don't have to attach all of them one by one. And with B1 Free Archiver, you can create password-encrypted archives and thus protect your private and sensitive data. The application is available on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android and also has an online version. It looks pretty alike on all platforms and at the same time adopts specific conventions and style of each of them.

We all have to open and read PDF documents now and then. There probably isn't any better way to do this than to equip your device with Adobe Reader. PDF documents are created with Adobe Acrobat, meaning Reader is a native utility. The software is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS and Android. Its distinctive red-and-white interface is unlikely to be confused with anything else.

From PDFs, it's a short hop to images. A nice and absolutely free program called Fotor will help you to view and edit images stored on your computer or any other device. You can use Fotor on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android. With Fotor, you can crop, rotate, resize, enhance colors and make collages. You can create collages and cards online as well, on Fotor.com.

Fotor interface

All of what I've described so far is great, but after awhile, I need music. My preference is to party with two guitars, a drum set and a frontman, though I'll settle for a prosaic but decent music player. After rummaging great spaces of the Internet, I found one called Songbird. It works on Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS and Android. With Songbird, you can listen to music files of various formats, categorize them and create playlists. You can connect Songbird to your Facebook profile, and it will recommend artists, tell you about trending artists and more. You can also easily access your YouTube playlists and podcasts with the application.



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