A.J. Feather

Journalist, Developer

I'm a Missouri native currently seeking a dual masters in computer science and journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Every week I also host an awesome podcast called "Integrate" with my friend Mikah, which you can find at Integrate.FM.

Before moving to New York, I obtained undergraduate degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In Columbia, I hosted a weekly show called "Talking Politics" for KBIA, the local NPR member station and produced, wrote and anchored video for Newsy.com way too early in the morning.

There has never been a political column I did not enjoy reading or an Apple product I did not enjoy using.

Microsoft Office Comes to the iPad

Microsoft Office finally made its way into the Apple App Store this week as a subscription service.  It runs $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month.  Of course, this actually includes a full Office 365 subscription.  So users can utilize Word, Excel, Powerpoint, One Drive cloud storage, etc. on 5 PCs, Macs, iPads or Windows Tablets.  But who would want to run out and pay that much for office applications?

The products’ adaption to the iPad platform aren’t likely to explode the number of subscriptions Microsoft sells, but they do extend the features of 365 for business and home users.  As I write this in Google Docs, I’m having trouble reasoning why a home user would exist.  However, I’m assuming they do because Microsoft sells the product, and I was once in their position.  After all, I owned a first generation Zune.

Let’s talk about some alternatives to the Microsoft Office Suite.

iWork

Apple sells the iWork suite as an Office alternative.  (Pages v. Word; Numbers v. Excel; Keynote v. Powerpoint)  All of the applications are $20 for the desktop and $10 for mobile.  However, they come free with the purchase of any new iOS or OSX device.  I have copies of the applications.  They’re not super-helpful because everyone I work with uses Word.  So I’m stuck exporting into different file formats anytime I use them.  They work fine.  The only one I would argue is actually BETTER than the Microsoft product is Keynote though.  But for 1/5 the price, they’re certainly worth a look.

Evernote

Evernote can really only be used the place of a word processor for basic things, but IT IS FANTASTIC.  Evernote will sync notes across all of your devices seamlessly and it features some other great tools like a web page clipper.  It’s free with an option to go ‘Pro,’ but I promise you won’t need to.

Google Docs

One of the selling points of the new Office Suite a few years ago was you could edit documents live with other people across the internet.  That’s nice, but Google Docs is the most seamless integration of that I have ever seen.  You can work with as many people as you want in a document simultaneously.  Sometimes at work we will have more than 20 people in one document, and I’ve never seen it crash.  Sometimes you have to refresh the page, but that has never been a big problem.

I tend to draft almost everything in Google Docs and later port it over to another platform simply because it’s the only application I’ve found that automatically saves and saves to the cloud.  It’s wonderful.