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Matthew Guay

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

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Droplr is one of the original simple file sharing apps, popularized by its simple Mac menubar app that lets you drag files to its icon and instantly share them with the world. Its clean design and simple sharing features have made it popular with many users, and I personally first started using it when I wanted to share files from Windows easily and discovered WinDroplr, which was added as Droplr’s official Windows app.

One thing that easily sets Droplr apart from other file sharing tools is that their team has kept refining the service. Today, it’s one of the best ways to share files from your browser, and with new pro accounts, it’s got more features at a better value than most of its competitors. If you’re looking for a better way to share files online, Droplr is definitely one of the first apps you should consider.

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There’s dozens of ways to keep your files in sync, from the old standby Dropbox to Google’s new Drive app. We recently did a roundup of the best sync services, and many of you chimed in with your other favorite sync services in the comments.

That’s why we’re curious: what file sync service do you use? I personally use Dropbox Pro, and many on our team use Dropbox with either free or pro accounts to keep their files synced and shared around with their coworkers. But I also use iCloud to sync files to my iPad from my Mac, and have tried out most of the services listed. What about you?

Most of our business decisions, it seems, are made in our inboxes. We research the best tools for our job, contact customers, discuss plans with coworkers, and more, all via email. Many of us use old emails for references, too, and I find myself searching through Sparrow for old emails with important information all the time. Often the emails I’m looking for contains info that would be important to my whole team, such as information about our upcoming plans or perhaps credentials for an app we use.

GrexIt is a solution that lets you unlock the emails in your account and share them with your whole team. Everyone on your team can send the important emails that the whole company needs to know about to the GrexIt repository, where they can easily be ready by anyone on the team, anytime. It’s an interesting solution for making email more social for businesses.

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There’s dozens of writing apps out there, ranging from the basic plain text editors built into your OS to advanced note apps that can store all your text notes, as well as PDFs and a zillion other things. Even if you’re looking for a minimalist writing app, there’s so many right now, it’s hard to choose the best one.

A native app for plain text writing will usually let you edit any plain text file on your computer, and save new or edited files in any folder as you’d expect. You can then copy the file onto a flash drive, edit it in another app, post it on your website, or anything else you want. That’s the beauty of plain text: it works anywhere, and you’ll never have to worry about losing what you wrote as long as you have the files.

Most writing apps online, however, store your text in their own database, making it hard to save what you’ve written as a plain text file and almost impossible to sync to your computer and edit in other apps without resorting to copy and paste. TextDrop is a new web app that turns this totally around, letting you edit and create plain text files in your Dropbox account, right in your browser. All your files are safe and synced with Dropbox, and you’ve got all the benefits of a minimalist writing app in your browser. It’s like a writer’s dream come true.

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Weekly Poll: Will You Subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud?

The latest version of Adobe’s venerable set of creative applications will be released next week, but this launch is unlike any launch in Creative Suite’s history. Adobe is best known for creating native apps, including Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Illustrator, and more. These apps only run on Windows and OS X, with some new tablet apps for iOS and Android, and Adobe only has a few fully online apps at Acrobat.com. And yet, this time, their biggest selling point for CS6 is their new Creative Cloud.

No, Photoshop didn’t get turned into a web app, yet anyhow. Creative Cloud, instead, gives you all of Adobe’s native apps for $49/month, along with a number of web tools. You’ll get the Creative Cloud sync service, which you can use to sync all of your creative files between all of your devices and the cloud. You’ll also get access to the new Adobe Muse to design HTML5 sites and host them with Adobe, and will get full access to the Typekit fonts to use on your sites. You’ll also get the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to publish eBooks, eMagazines, and other digital publications to a variety of devices, seamlessly. It’s like a mashup of web apps and native apps, all with standard web app style pricing schemes.

Even for those of us who love web apps, Adobe Creative Suite is often an integral part of our workflow. That’s why we’re curious what you think about Creative Cloud. Will you be signing up for it, or will you just purchase a traditional Creative Suite upgrade license and keep using other cloud services individually while owning your CS6 license? Or, do you use other tools or older versions of Adobe tools instead? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

You’ve heard people debate for years the merits of Macs versus Windows PCs, with the occasional Linux user letting you know why they’d use neither. Nowadays, it’s much more common to hear people debating the merits of iOS versus Android, with the faint chance of hearing someone stick up for Windows Phone or Blackberry. Most apps don’t attract anywhere near this level of loyalty.

One category of apps does seem to attract a rather loyal following, though: reading apps. Popularized by smartphones and tablets, apps that let you save articles to read later, anytime, have become increasingly popular. Instapaper and Read it Later (which was just rebranded as Pocket) have lead the category for years, with Readability, Evernote’s Clearly, and even Safari’s Reading List mode joining the fray.

I’m personally an Instapaper fan, and use its app all the time to catch up on my online reading. It’s especially great on an iPad, but even from the browser, it’s a great way to read anytime. What’s your favorite way to save articles to read later? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Learning a new language can be one of the most difficult tasks you could undertake, but it’s also one of the more rewarding educational experiences possible. You’ll have to relearn that you think to really be able to speak a language fluently, but then, you’ll get to open your horizons to a whole new world of media and society with your newfound language skills.

If only learning languages was easier, perhaps more of us would give it a try. I personally moved from the US to Thailand when I was 11. I was fully immersed in Thai, and yet even at that young age, I found it extremely difficult to learn Thai. Over a decade later, I still struggle to sound anything like natural in Thai.

There’s no way we can make learning a language as simple as installing a new app in our brains, but perhaps innovative apps could make the task a bit simpler and more fun. That’s exactly what Duolingo set out to do.

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For the longest time, it has seemed that online writing was doomed to being confined to just short articles. Readers in browsers get bored, and there’s always something in another tab calling for our attention. Wait: what was that?

Then, overnight it seems, longform writing has come in vogue online. Magazines and print journals started putting more of their full-length classic writing online, and startup blogs like The Verge have begun writing incredibly extensive profiles and opinion pieces on their sites. Then, apps like Instapaper and Readability have made it easy to read long articles in your browser or on your mobile device, and the growth of smartphones and tablets means it’s easy to read anytime, anywhere. Sites like The Feature, Longform, and Longreads made it easier to find long articles online.

So where do you stand? Do you like longform articles, and do you keep a full Instapaper queue of great long writings to read? Or would you rather keep longform to magazines and books, and have just shorter articles online? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the poll and comments.

Thanks to our writer Jacob Penderworth for this week’s poll idea!

You’ve likely already listed your favorite movies, music, and more on Facebook. You tweet and like new sites you come across online, and if anyone kept up with your online ramblings at all, surely they’d know your preferences in everything from software to soap.

Then comes Pinterest, the latest social network that everyone’s talking about. You may have already seen your friends sharing links to it, but unless you’re interested in dresses, crafts, and cooking, you likely didn’t give the site a second try. Then, the whole world started using it, and even the President is sharing his favorite things on it.

So what is Pinterest, and why in the world should it interest you at all? Could it really be the next big social network?

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Coming up with an idea for a new app that would help you and others isn’t that hard. If an idea was all that counted, the Angry Birds success story wouldn’t be that rare. What’s difficult is seeing your vision through to completion, actually building the product you’ve dreamed of, and funding its creation.

That’s what sparked my interest in PasteLink this week. It’s a new web app for sharing files through your browser, which in itself isn’t that new of an idea. What is interesting, however, is that its developer, Bret Michaelson is actually a network administrator that developed it to fit his own need, and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its development. We caught up with Bret via email this week, and were excited to get to interview him. Keep reading to learn more about his work, the future of PasteLink, and how Kickstarter fits into it all.

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