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Justin Stravarius

I am an Internet Junkie who loves technology and computers more than anything. In whatever little time I can squeeze between my movie and TV show marathons, I write. You can follow me at @stravarius for nerdy outbursts and rants.

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Billing by the hour for services rendered is fast becoming the norm. It’s just not freelancers who use time trackers to bill their client on an hourly basis. After the financial downturn, companies large and small are forced by clients to opt for hourly billing instead of monthly retainers or a lump sum project fee.

When businesses start using a certain type of app, a handful of features and a gorgeous user interface won’t just cut it. Advanced functionalities, integration with third party apps and a sensible workflow to get things done quickly become the norm. When I came across Time Panel, I noticed that it doesn’t have as eye-catching an interface as its competitors.

So, let’s see if Time Panel scores in the other key areas to make up for it.

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Running a business is a delicate balancing act. Not only are the customers and their happiness is important, so is the happiness of your employees. You don’t want to overwork them and bring their morale and quality of work down. An unhappy employee is a surefire way to mess up your brand’s image.

On the other hand, times are tough and you have ensure that you use all your resources – human and otherwise – are put to use optimally for better return on investment. Even squeezing out 10 or 20% more out of your resources ensures better margins for your business.

Naturally, you’ll need a system to track and allocate resources in a prudent manner. ResourceGuru is here to your rescue!
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Life in a city can get boring after a couple of years. Malls, cinemas, restaurants, beaches – the experience of visiting those places gets predictable real quick. The new outlets that open up at regular intervals usually won’t veer far away when it comes to being a fresh concept either.

For me, local events ended up adding variety to the mix. One day it’s a stand up comedy and next day it’s a Twitter unconference (definitely no Operas and musicals though!). There seems to be a lot of them happening all over the place, but as usual, with plenty comes the problem of discovery.

Calester is hard at work to help you and your friends find events around you that could be so much fun. Does the app tackle the problem of event discovery effortlessly? Let’s go check it out!

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You cannot go wrong by embracing the cloud for your business or personal use. Web apps save a ton of money on infrastructure and maintenance charges by charging a relatively miniscule, recurring monthly fee. Depending on how tech savvy you are, you can save a ton money by self hosting apps in your own servers. That way, you get to escape the recurring subscription charges.

However, not all SaaS apps charge a flat monthly subscription fee. In certain verticals, these apps take a cut of the revenue generated. Event organization and ticket sales vertical squarely falls into that category. Easily 5% of the proceeds has to be shared with the ticketing platform provider. That definitely isn’t loose change.

Ohanah targets event organizers who don’t want to part with a percentage of their revenue. That’s awesome. But, is that the only silver lining of Ohanah? Let’s find out!
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Creating a structured database of content revolving around a particular topic solves only one half of the problem. Presenting it in a way that is clear, concise and attention grabbing is equally critical. Otherwise, all the hard work that went into research will become meaningless — or unnoticed, at best.

One shouldn’t spend the same amount of time presenting the content as they did with their research. There needs to be a better way other than using a good old web page. That’s where Silk comes in, as a place to help you turn your data into presentations. A Silk site lets you add structure to your information and gives you many ways to filter and visualize your content in quite an impressive way.
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Project Management apps ceased to be a brand-new thing years ago. There’s dozens of them vying for your attention, with flashy interfaces (or extremely minimalist interfaces, as tastes change) and Google Adsense targeting you when you’re searching for a new app. But there’s only one sure way to know if an app will actually do the job it’s designed for, and that’s to take it for a test drive. After all, no amount of eye candy can make an unusable app more usable.

In my quest for the best project management app, I came across Planscope. Its gorgeous interface caught my eye, but is beauty only skin deep?

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Usually, I stumble upon a cool app, play with it for a few days and then write the review. In this case, it’s a bit different. I have been following Brightpod right from the start (which I guess is little over a year ago) for two main reasons.

First, it’s from the team of DeskAway, a fairly successful project management app that has been around for a long time now. Personally, I consider it to be a real project management solution in a sea of stripped down task management apps. So, I was looking forward to see how they execute their new venture in the Web 2.0 era.

And second, the app targets a niche – marketers – which is a strange thing for a SaaS app. Usually, the goal is to shoot for the stars and go about fighting a ton of competitors, and end up grabbing a negligible piece of the pie. However, Brightpod from many angles appears to cannibalize the potential customer pool of their flagship product. So, it makes for an interesting case study if you are a cloud business enthusiast like me.

Alright, the story time is over and now we are off to the fun part – taking Brightpod for a spin!
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I often proclaim myself to be platform agnostic and as one who doesn’t belong to any popular fanboi groups. In reality though, I have a soft corner to all things Google. I use many of their services even when there is a competent alternative in the offing. I strongly believe that Google is one of those companies that get things right most of the time.

That’s all changed with their announcement of shutting down Google Reader on July 1. It’s not a mass market product that was making money hand over fist for Google, but was used by thousands of vocal advocates of Internet and technology. By shutting it down, Google has unwittingly reinforced the notion that free services from Internet giants aren’t always in the best interest of the users.

I could cry a river about the loss of a faithful companion that brought sanity in this era of information overload, but thankfully, a handful of worthy big name alternatives have emerged in the past couple of weeks. I tried and dumped most of them and finally settled down with AOL Reader.

After the break, I’m gonna tell you how the popular choices – Feedly, Digg Reader, Ino Reader, and more fared in my evaluation and why I went with AOL instead. Read on!
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Interviewing for jobs is downright tedious. Depending on whom you ask, the answer will range from boring to annoying. It’s just not the pressure to do better in an interview. Thanks to a lousy economy, these days getting shortlisted for a job in itself is a pain. One has to do a lot of things differently to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Resumes still rule the roost as a critical tool to stand out. And, you can’t have only one version of your resume either. Startups and small companies tend to prefer a one pager rather than the regular one. Enterprises tend to trash any resume that is less than two pages. All in all, it’s a very delicate balancing act that needs maximum attention.

Few web apps have tried their hand at tackling the problem, but there isn’t a clear winner yet. I came across a Jobrary resume even before taking up this app for a review and liked what I saw. Could this one be the winner?
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With so many project management and team collaboration apps in the market, I’m fast running out of words for the opening paragraphs of my reviews! After three years of watching the web app space closely, it’s easy for me to spot trends from time to time.

These days, each and every individual uses a bunch of cloud apps to communicate, collaborate, share, and store data. Apps that tend to integrate with popular third party solutions to create a productive synergy have a bright and lucrative future ahead.

Azendoo positions itself as one such productivity app that taps into the power of popular cloud apps like Evernote, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. It’s a useful tool that brings together everything else your business is using for productivity so you can use that data in your projects.
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