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Jordan Merrick

I write for a number of Apple-related sites, including Sparsebundle and am the author of Backing Up Your Mac With Time Machine, a Made for iBooks book that explains everything about backing up your Mac. You can find me on both App.net and Twitter.

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GoSquared: The Google Analytics Alternate You Need

Google Analytics is very much the Adobe Photoshop of web analytics. It’s extremely advanced with plenty of features but for many, it’s just overkill. Whilst powerful, it’s designed more for users wanting detailed statistics regarding advertising goals, conversions, and other buzzwords that make little sense to anyone outside of the social marketing arena.

GoSquared is an analytics service for the rest of us, providing the statistics and information that we expect, wrapped in a great web interface. I’ve been putting GoSquared through its paces to see if it could be an alternative to services such as Google’s behemoth.

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FreeAgent: The Ultimate Bookkeeping Service

Bookkeeping is one of the most important and potentially stressful parts of running any business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-faced freelancer or a heartless multinational corporation, if your business income and expenditure isn’t properly accounted for then you can end up spending many a sleepless night frantically shuffling through a years worth of receipts and invoices, hoping to somehow balance everything inside a spreadsheet. Worse still, you risk fines and penalties if you don’t properly calculate your taxes.

Even knowing the above, the word “bookkeeping” immediately evokes mundane thoughts of dusty offices and leather-bound ledgers being thumbed through by monocled gentlemen in pinstripe suits. It’s difficult to get excited about taxes and spreadsheets, isn’t it?

Fortunately, bookkeeping doesn’t have to be mundane. After spending some time with FreeAgent, it’s actually — dare I say it — fun!

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FeedPress: The FeedBurner Alternate We’ve Been Waiting For

Google is no stranger to closing down services they feel have run their course, with Google Reader being a prime example. One popular service that has been on everybody’s “will they/won’t they” list for many years has been FeedBurner, a service that provides detailed statistics and tools for RSS feeds.

FeedBurner has received no updates in years and many of its features (such as its API and AdSense integration) have been discontinued. Many websites, such as 5by5 and 512 Pixels, have moved away from the service simply because all the signs point to it being shut down.

Earlier this year, a service called FeedPress (previously known as URI.LV) appeared with the aim to provide a worthwhile, and viable, alternative to FeedBurner. Let’s see how it compares, and whether it’s ready to take the RSS synchronization crown.

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