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Microsoft Office 365 (BlackBerry Enterprise Server)
The crown jewels of any reporter: access to secure, reliable email.
Trouble is, while Google Apps has a steadier uptime and more reliable service overall, it has yet to support hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) unlike Microsoft's hosted Office 365 solution. BES keeps all emails secure, encrypted and almost immune from interception and decoding. When dealing with particularly sensitive topics, it adds an additional peace of mind in protecting the identity of sources.
It's painful having a U.K. phone number when working for an U.S. company. Not only do some people still struggle at the hurdle of working out how to enter a U.K. phone number into a U.S. phone (even I struggle on landlines at times) it also costs a lot for others to ring and sometimes costs me to receive.
The solution? A cloud-based phone exchange. Skype nails it perfectly.
I have two public phone numbers: a London, U.K.-based phone number (+44 208) and a New York, U.S.-based phone number (+1 646) that allows anyone in the world to pick and choose an appropriate number to call me on. For the first five seconds, if I'm at one of my computers then I can pick up. If not, it forwards to my mobile number. Even when I am abroad, my friends can ring a local-rate number no matter which side of the Atlantic they're on and still get in touch. As for the cost? It's a lot cheaper than ringing me directly on my mobile -- and it's all goes on business expenses.
From wire reports, RSS feeds, and Twitter feeds, all the news sites that I keep in tune with are all brought into one simple and easy-to-read pane on my screen. It uses a fraction of the data than other conventional RSS aggregators, and uses Readability which translates lengthy news articles into text that is extremely comfortable to read.
It costs less than $5 -- but is not available on Windows, which for me isn't so much of a problem -- and connects to Google Reader, allowing you to import all of your feeds from the cloud. And when working with breaking news, it's only a couple of clicks away from tweeting or emailing news fresh off the wire: not only useful for the end-reader, but also crucial for getting snippets of news to editors for internal distribution to other writers.