Keeping track of software licenses

Just say no to spinny thingsSerial numbers, activation keys, product keys…it takes work to keep up with all those CDs and boxes and emails!

Store serial numbers

My favorite place to store my software serial numbers is 1Password. I love showing people how to get the most from it. The new iOS app is really easy to use. And you can purchase the excellent Mac app for $50 from the Mac App Store and install on up to 5 computers. Syncs over Dropbox easy-peezy.

Forget serial numbers altogether

Speaking of the App Store, if you buy there, you don’t ever actually have to remember your licenses! Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has yet to release Office there, but it’s only a matter of time.

Of course, there’s nothing like a good ol’ spreadsheet for shareability and printability. You might set up a simple sheet with all your software licenses. I just did this other post on current options for working with office docs, Microsoft and otherwise.

A reasonable compromise

Here’s a great new deal: Did you know you can now download Mac apps from Amazon now? I just bought Adobe Lightroom 4 that way. At $120, Lightroom has come down to a you-just-gotta-do-it price.

Then again, do I really need an app for that?

I can’t believe it, but if you want to work directly with Microsoft Office-formatted documents, there is still no fully-functioned office suite—word processor, spreadsheet, and presentations—in the Mac App Store. There are, like, 5 good ones for the iPad! But they lack the convenience of file-system access with something like Finder, the thing that makes a Mac a Mac.

I don’t consider Apple iWork fully compatible with Microsoft Office, because you can’t simply open and save Office docs in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote. You have to import and export each time. Who knows why. OpenOffice and NeoOffice have had the ability for years. No way would Apple and Microsoft have colluded to cripple Apple’s productivity suite, right? Right?

What a great time to consider using Google Docs, and ditching Office all together. A Google Spreadsheet is great for something like serial numbers. And Google recently released the excellent Google Drive for iOS. I can finally edit my Google Docs directly on my iPad. That’s a big change!

Author: jjmarcus

Apple Specialist, Mac Whisperer, Cloud Wrangler - Your Remote CTO

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