Two decades ago, people were on board with the idea of a PC you had to personalize and modify. You loaded an operating system like Windows and bought (or pirated) the software you needed. When things went wrong, you did some troubleshooting and either fixed it on your own, or gave up and called a technician.
Today, with Apple devices changing the way we relate to technology, most people want their computers to come ready for all uses. The basic software is loaded, operating systems get updated according to Apple’s wishes, and almost everything you download is pre-vetted and approved by Apple.
So, a lot of us buy a Macbook (or the equivalent) and don’t even think of downloading external apps. However, there are some important pieces of software everyone needs on their laptops, that don’t come preloaded with the OS. Here are the 3 types of software you need to download right now.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A VPN is the most crucial piece of software you need on all your devices. You shouldn’t be using the internet without one. If you still are using the internet without the most secure VPN, stop and download one immediately. Without a VPN, your data is on offer to any hacker who makes the effort to target you. If you don’t have tech-savvy enemies, you could be the victim of a random case of identity theft. If there is someone who holds a grudge against you, and has hacking capabilities, you could well be targeted.
A VPN routes your connection through an external server and encrypts your data. It keeps you safe online. Using the internet without one is like leaving your car unlocked on the side of the road in a dangerous neighborhood.
At least one hobby app
One of the things we’ve lost with the move from customizable computers to the idea of a computer like a Macbook is that we don’t play in the same way we used to. We used to have a closer connection with how our computers worked and what they could do because we needed to know how to fix them when something went wrong (and it often did).
Nowadays, it is easy to forget that a computer can open up so many possibilities that a smartphone or tablet cannot. Take Apple’s GarageBand or iMovie for example. These apps give you everything you need to create high quality music or videos. They don’t have to be good. But you can have a lot of fun.
The same is true with software like Scrivener, which gives you everything you need to organize your thoughts into a novel. Find a hobby app and have fun with your laptop. It’s not just for work!
Optimizable web browser
There is a lot of debate online over the merits of the different web browsers. Some people swear by Safari. Others go straight to Google Chrome without ever considering another. Whatever you choose, it should be possible to optimize it to cater to your needs and habits.
Safari doesn’t provide this, but Google’s countless extensions are excellent. That is, if you use them. Most people I know don’t take the time to get to know what they can do with their browser. Download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and search for all the extensions your heart desires.