Cloud services vs. desktop apps: What fits your needs?

By , ITworld |  Cloud Computing, cloud computing, Saas

When it comes to presentations, the cloud has a surprise dark horse entry: Prezi. Prezi enables the creation of multimedia presentations that go above and beyond the traditional slideshow format offered by PowerPoint, Presentation, and Google Docs. This is the one that the rest will have to beat in the coming days.


Financial Management

Managing your money is always something that we know we need to do, but never seems to have the time to do. Cloud-based apps in this category offer the convenience of being able to log in and handle finances wherever you are, which is one of the best reasons for using Mint.com (which Quicken Online merged with in 2009).

Mint will keep your financial data in the cloud -- if you're comfortable with that

For personal finances, Mint.com is very much the best application to use, though if you're squeamish about using the cloud to handle your money, you might opt for Moneydance, a very solid app that runs on the big three desktop platforms.

Anyone with more complicated finances, such as investments or a small business they are trying to run, should stick with the old standby Quicken. Quicken has several flavors that fit a variety of situations and -- should even Quicken not prove enough -- can migrate to QuickBooks accounting software.


Graphics and photo editing

There are a lot of entries in this category, because frankly, managing pictures and images is one of the big reasons why people buy a home computer in the first place. Sorting them out takes a bit of time, because these apps vary widely in their capabilities and ease of use.

On the easy-to-use end of the spectrum, there is the cloud-based Picnik, which enables uses to upload their photos and edit them in creative ways using essentially push-button tools. Upgrade to the Premium edition, and you get more tools. Picnik is also nice because it integrates with existing image storage services like Picasa, Facebook, and Flickr.

Picnik is a surprisingly powerful cloud-based image editor.

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