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Matthew Guay

Writer. Former Tuts+, Mac and Web AppStorm Editor. Brainstormer-in-chief. @maguay | Techinch.com

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Weekly Poll: Has Google Reader’s Death Changed Your RSS Habits?

My wife and I recently moved to a new-to-us townhouse. Moving’s never easy, but it’s at least gotten us to go through our clothes and stuff, clearing out what we’ll likely never use again and organizing what we’ve kept so we’ll find it easier. It’s still a work in progress, but should be an improvement once we’re settled in.

So it goes with moving to new apps. Google Reader’s demise has forced us all to find a new home for our RSS feeds, and that’s likely made it the perfect time to change how you approach RSS. Fever’s made it easier for me to find the top stuff in the news each day, without having to read through all of my feeds, and finding new apps that work with it has been a fun process. I still essentially read my feeds the same, but I sure enjoy my current setup more than I did Google Reader.

Has the move away from Google Reader changed anything for you? Do you check RSS feeds more or less often with your new app? Or, have you given up on RSS altogether, opting instead for social networking and news aggregators?

Thanks to Our Sponsor: Bidsketch

Ever wished you could shave 50% or more off the time it takes you to send proposals to your clients? Then you need to give Bidsketch, our sponsor this week a try.

Bidsketch promises to take the pain out of making proposals, saving you time and helping you win more clients and projects in the process. It integrates with the apps you use — Basecamp, Highrise, FreshBooks, Salesforce, Harvest, and more — so you can get your data in and out of Bidsketch with ease. It then lets you save reusable content chunks so you can make personalized proposals for each projects, and still not have to write everything each time. You can then enhance your proposals with custom CSS and HTML themes, and easily add optional extras to your proposals to upsell to your clients.

Bidsketch

When it’s time to close the deal, it couldn’t be easier than with Bidsketch. Your clients can read the entire proposal online, add comments directly to the proposal, or just accept and sign it without needing to print or fax anything. You’ll get notifications along the way, to know if your client actually read the proposal and if they’re looking over it again. It’s simple and easy for you and your clients.

Bidsketch has helped its users take on nearly $200 million worth of projects, and it’s ready to help you start getting more proposals sent out and approved by your clients.

Try Bidsketch Out Today!

Best of all, it’s terribly simple to see Bidsketch in action. Just head over to Bidsketch.com, enter your name and email in the form, and it’ll send you a demo bid — just like you can send to your clients with a Bidsketch account. You can try out digitally signing and accepting the proposal online and see how it works. Then, you can signup for a free 14 day trial of Bidsketch, and get your own account starting at $19/month.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Editorially – A Brilliant Markdown Collaborative Writing and Editing App

Sometimes it seems that apps comes in waves. It’ll seem like a whole category is stagnant, with nothing seriously new coming out in years — then all the sudden there’s several new upstarts competing for the crown with brand-new features. It’s felt like that this summer with iOS photo apps, and it’s been the very same with collaborative writing and editing web apps.

Google Docs was the state-of-the-art for document collaboration, and then Draft, and Editorially burst onto the scenes. We’ve looked at the former already, seeing how it is the word processor reinvented for the web, and how its grown to include a paid editing service, stats for your writing, plain text todos, and more. The latter, though, hasn’t picked up traction as quickly due to it still being in beta. Editorially is still interesting, and with hints being dropped of its future and expanded feature set, it’s more than worth a look.

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Weekly Poll: How Many Browser Extensions Do You Use?

Back when Firefox was the cool new upstart browser to use, and IE 6 was still the dominant browser, add-ons were one of the most exciting part of the web. You could tweak your browser, giving it extra features and a brand-new look-and-feel in seconds. They were fun, and the best of them pushed what we all expect from browsers forward.

Then Chrome came along with its promises of speed, and originally had no extensions. Most of us switched — and stayed — for the speed, as well as the clean interface uncluttered by extra buttons. When extensions came back in vogue, it seemed a pity to clutter it too much.

That's why I personally only keep a very few extensions in Safari and Chrome: the Evernote Clipper and 1Password extensions, as well as the Draft.in extension in Chrome. It's all I really need, with everything else (like Instapaper and Pinboard) covered by bookmarklets.

How about you? How many browser extensions do you keep in your browser today? We'd love to hear your favorite browser extensions in the comments below.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Evver

There’s more ways than ever to share short videos now, from Instagram and Flickr’s videos to Vine. But what about the tons of pictures you’ve taken? You can’t share them all to Instagram, and if you put them on Facebook most people won’t see them all. How about just turn them into a quick video instead with Evver, our sponsor this week?

Evver is a brand-new way that’ll turn your pictures into a beautiful video slideshow in only a couple minutes. Just signup with your email or Facebook account, select one of the many songs it has ready to include in your video, then drag-and-drop your photos into the editor. Rearrange them to the order you want, then click Done. Seconds later, you’ll have a complete video just like the one below, ready to share with your family and friends.

Your photos will be synced to the music and will include Ken Burns-style transitions. With the beautiful music tracks included in Evver, your photos will quickly go from normal shots to unforgettable memories of your event or trip. Instead of a few seconds of video that you’d get with Vine or Instagram Videos, Evver gives you a full song-length video that’s perfect to capture the most of your trip’s pictures.

Best of all, Evver’s 100% free, so you can make all the videos you want and share them with all of your friends. You’ve got to try it out!

Keep Your Memories for-Evver

Here’s your chance to try out Evver and see how simple it really is to turn your pictures into a video you’ll want to share. Just head over to Evver.com, signup for a free account, and see what you can do with some of your best summer photos. We’d love to see the videos you make with Evver in the comments below!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Weekly Poll: Would You Use Apple’s iWork Web Apps?

The biggest surprise of Apple's 2013 WWDC keynote was not the new versions of iOS and OS X, since those were expected. Rather, it was the iWork Web Apps — browser-based versions of their word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps that are nearly perfect copies of their iPad counterparts. We've already looked at the developer preview of the iWork Web Apps at Mac.AppStorm, and they're really good already. They lack collaboration features, but if you're making documents on your own, and especially if you care about your page layout and image presentation, they're a serious contender in the online office space.

But then, you'll have to have an iCloud account to use it — free if you have a Mac or iOS device, but otherwise you're out of luck. And then, there's no way to collaborate with others outside of emailing files, something that is quite the step backwards from Google Docs. But it is pretty, and does format documents much nicer than other online office suites so far.

So how about you? Will you be using iWork online, or are Google Docs good enough for you?

Thanks to Our Sponsor: GrexIt

Email’s the default business communications app; most of us use it to collaborate with our colleagues without even thinking. But as you start sending more emails back and forth, email can get unwieldy, with important messages lost in the clutter. That’s inspired a whole generation of business apps that try to help us communicate and collaborate outside of email.

Why not just keep using email, and make it better for business collaboration? That’s what GrexIt, our sponsor this week, is designed for. They realized that email’s still the killer app for business, and set out to make it better by adding shared labels and tools to assign tasks and check their status to Gmail and Google Apps accounts. That way, you can archive emails with labels like “Support”, “HR”, “Accounting”, or your project names, and the emails will be automatically shared with everyone you’ve added to those labels. It makes collaborating with your team as simple as keeping your inbox cleaned up.

Then, since it’s just Gmail labels, you can use GrexIt even if you sync your email with Outlook, Mail.app, or your mobile devices. You can also integrate GrexIt with Google Chrome to manage your shared labels and more directly from Gmail, without having to open your GrexIt account.

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If you’ve been wanting a better way for your team to collaborate but didn’t want to have to change your current email-based workflow, GrexIt is exactly what you need. We loved GrexIt when we tried it out for our review, and are sure it’ll be a great asset for your business.

Get GrexIt Half Off!

As a special offer for our Web.AppStorm readers, you can get a free first month trial of GrexIt, and then get a 50% rebate on your first paid month of GrexIt just by signing up at http://grexit.com/?source=REF_APPSTORM. Or, you can keep using GrexIt for free if your team only has up to 3 users and 5 shared labels. Be sure to give it a try this week, and see if it’s the tool you need to make email the ultimate killer app for business.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Thanks to Our June Sponsors!

We’d like to say a special Thank You! to our sponsors from June. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.

If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!

Webmon

If your site’s offline, you’ll lose new customers and frustrate existing ones. But you won’t know about it, until someone takes the time to mention it on social networks or you happen to discover it yourself. By then, the downtime — or perhaps just slowdowns — have already cost you business. That’s why you need Webmon — it’s the service that can monitor every service on your site or web app, so you can make sure everything’s always running smoothly.

Safestacks

Keeping track of your clients’ usernames, passwords and other important information is a real pain. How can you ensure all of it’s safe and encrypted while still giving you, your team, and your clients access to the information they need? That’s what Safestacks is designed for.

Simply put, Safestacks allows you to securely store, manage and share passwords and other important info with your team and clients. Usernames, passwords, expiration dates, domain names, software licenses and just about anything else. You can even set email alerts when important dates are approaching (great for domain name expirations and contract renewals).

Timely

Timely is a beautifully designed time tracking app that’s intuative and simple. You’ll be able to track the time you spend working with no fuss from your browser or its iPhone app. Whether you’re working on your own projects, or collaborating on projects across your whole company, Timely makes keeping track of the time spent on everything simple.

FusionCharts

While creating the right dashboard is a detailed process, it can be a lot simpler if you pick the right charting components. That is where FusionCharts comes in. It is the charting partner for LinkedIn and ClickTale, and calls itself JavaScript charting for the grown-ups.

FusionCharts’ charts render seamlessly on all devices (PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android devices) and browsers (including IE 6, 7 and 8). It takes just 15 minutes to create a chart and just a couple of hours to set up advanced reporting features like clickable legends, drill-down, export to PNG/JPEG/PDF, tooltips, visual data editing and more. The suite comes with 90+ chart types and 950+ maps, extensive documentation and plug-and-play dashboard demos. They also have a jQuery charting plugin.

And a special thanks to you, our Web.AppStorm readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We hope you continue to find our articles interesting and helpful!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

There’s dozens — hundreds, even — of places to make a free blog or basic site online. You could likely name 3 quicker than you could finish reading this website. But where could you host a plain HTML and CSS based site for free? Think, real quick. You want to hand-code a site in HTML and CSS, perhaps throw up a few images as well, and get it online for free. Any ideas where to put it?

Likely, you drew a blank, as I would. If you don’t want to use a CMS, and you just want to experiment with raw web code, you’d better get a hosting account or have your own local server.

But now, there’s another option: NeoCities. Designed as a 21st century reincarnation of GeoCities, NeoCities lets you make your own site for free from HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images, providing it’s not larger altogether than 10Mb. And it just might spark a renaissance of creativity online, aside from CMSes that make your site look like everyone else’s.

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Invoiceable — The Simplest and Cheapest Way to Send Invoices

Invoicing your clients for your work should be one of the simplest things you have to do each month, but often it can be tedious and frustrating even with modern apps. You’ll usually end up paying a monthly fee for an online invoicing app, and still find that it takes much longer than you’d like to get your invoices sent out.

What if you only want a basic invoicing app, one without any fancy designs but that also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and one that’s simple to add the info you need without taking too much time? Sounds like you need Invoiceable.

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