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CNET Top 5
Back to school downloadsKey downloads for the tech you use at school, many of which are free.
Whether youÃ¯Â¿Â½re going back to school with cool new tech gear or that same crap you had last year, you can tune it up nice by downloading this yearÃ¯Â¿Â½s hottest programs and apps. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m B.C. with the ones you really need to install, sorted by the 5 major categories of gear youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be packing, starting with Ã¯Â¿Â½ #5: iPad Skype Sure Skype works on just about everything, but on the iPad you sort of sit there with your mouth open. It really rocks video calls on that full touch screen, even though its technically still an iPhone app as of todayÃ¯Â¿Â½s taping. And of course youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll want that iPad to be a 2 with the cameras or youÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be making a voice call on a big screen device and thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s kinda lame. Netflix IÃ¯Â¿Â½m convinced the Netflix App keeps scores of new buyers from returning their iPad. It reminds you why you just spent 500-800 bucks on a mobile device doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t make phone calls. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s what portable TV always wanted to be. And no, Netflix is not a ripoff. #4 Mac TweetDeck We like Tweetdeck, which is now owned by Twitter, but we especially like the Mac version, which isnÃ¯Â¿Â½t usually the case. It looks sharp and is a great way to merge & manage Twitter and Facebook posts from you, your friends, your followers, and that weird stalker guy. Spotify When youÃ¯Â¿Â½re cranking away on your Mac doing homework you know youÃ¯Â¿Â½re gonna be playing music. Nobody studies in silence any more. Nothing is hotter in online music right now than Spotify. Just launched in the U.S. in time for the school year, their track library is huge and you pick exactly what you want to hear, not a Ã¯Â¿Â½sounds likeÃ¯Â¿Â½ think like Pandora. #3 Android Kindle The free Kindle app for Android is a simple, clean way to get a Kindle without buying a Kindle. More money for beer that way. You know all about Kindle books, periodicals, web feeds and PDF support but the new thing is the just announced Kindle Textbook store. YouÃ¯Â¿Â½re probably gonna save huge money renting digital versions of your textbooks and you get to save your notes and hilites after the book rental ends. Evernote What is school if not one big organization project. Evernote for Android really fills a need for one app that swallows up text notes, voice clips, pictures, files, links, and even locations. YouÃ¯Â¿Â½ll be like Einstein when he said he never memorized his phone number because he knew where to look it up. Unless you lose your phone, Einstein. #2 iPhone WhatsApp Messenger Put this on your iPhone and save tons on texting, because you can skirt that texting plan from your carrier. The catch is your friends & family who you want to text also have to install WhatsApp Messenger, too. Then they and you are texting and even sharing your locations for free. Yeah, thatÃ¯Â¿Â½s gonna be a tough sell.. Yelp 5/8915 If youÃ¯Â¿Â½re heading off to a new college, youÃ¯Â¿Â½re not leaving without A.) a lot of weirdness from your parents and B.) the Yelp App on your iPhone. Everyone thinks restaruants with Yelp but itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a great pocket guide to finding anything, like a guitar shop, piercing place, skateboard store or career counseling center. #1 PC Chrome 5 Chrome browser is cool. Really fast, makes all the Google stuff work well, nicely standards compliant and it seems to run its best on the PC. Plus you can turn on syncing so your bookmarks, prefs and settings will follow you to any other machine that has Chrome just by using your Google login. Paint. NET CÃ¯Â¿Â½mon, youÃ¯Â¿Â½re not going to pay for PhotoShop. And you probably donÃ¯Â¿Â½t need that horsepower anyway. Paint.net is our go-to pick. ItÃ¯Â¿Â½s open source so no cash is required, does all the essential stuff and a few advanced tricks, and seems to get updates all the time. For more, go to BackToSchool.cnet.com and for more Top 5Ã¯Â¿Â½s etc, go to top5.cnet.com. I am Brian Cooley, thanks for watching.