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Matthew Guay

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

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Thanks to Our Sponsor: throttle

There’s been an explosion in new RSS feed readers since Google Reader was shut down, but most of the best are are only designed to help you read your feeds from an app or the web. The brand-new throttle is a brilliantly reinvented RSS reader app that not only makes it simple to read your feeds on any device, but also helps you discover the very best feeds in curated lists and based on your interests.

Throttle starts off with a simple, light-colored UI that makes it easy to read all of your feeds. You can import your feeds from your OPML file or add them directly in the app or with throttle’s bookmarklet, then organize them into groups so you can read feeds about similar topics together. There’s the sharing options you’d expect, as well as an option to save articles for later reading right in the app.

Then, what’s really great in throttle is its Discovery tools. You can browse through popular sites, find stuff you’d be interested in reading, and follow lists of sites curated by throttle readers. We’ve put together a list of all of the AppStorm sites you can follow directly on throttle, as well as lists of some of our favorite Web and Mac app blogs, and you can do the same with your favorite sites.

Go try throttle!

Whether you’ve already found an app to replace Google Reader, or have given up on RSS feeds altogether, you’ve got to try out throttle. It’s a brilliant new RSS reader experience that’ll help you discover great new sites to follow, looks great on every device, and is 100% free. Go try it out, then follow our AppStorm RSS lists to keep up with our articles and the sites we follow right on throttle with one click!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Weekly Poll: Do You Edit Documents Live With Others?

When Apple first released the iWork for iCloud web apps, I noted that the apps included far more features than Google Docs, especially for page layout and formatting. There was just one major thing missing: collaboration. That was rectified this week, when at the Apple announcement they went to great lengths to show off (with, of all things, what’s essentially Word Art) that their office suite now has real-time collaboration.

Google Docs — and smaller apps like Etherpad — pride themselves on letting you collaborate with others in real-time. I’ve used it to great effect in the past to work with others on translating documents, among other things, and we share a number of documents at AppStorm on Google Drive — though we rarely if ever are all editing at once. For the most part, it just seems like real-time editing is too much, an opinion seemingly shared with the newer writing and editing apps Draft and Editorially.

And yet, live collaboration seemed like a big enough need to Apple that they added collaboration to their iWork web apps over what others would consider more-needed poweruser features in Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for Mac.

That made me wonder how important live collaboration is to you. Do you regularly live co-edit documents with others, or do you just share documents with others and each edit them at your own leisure? We’d love to hear your thoughts on live editing documents — and, if you’ve tried them, on Apple’s iWork for iCloud web apps — in the comments below.

Thanks to Our Sponsor: BamBam!

When you need to do serious teamwork, simple todo lists aren’t enough. And yet, most project management apps force you to work in one way that likely isn’t the best for your team, either. That’s why the brand-new BamBam! is so exciting.

Built by the Springloops team, BamBam! is a brilliant new project management tool that’s designed to work the way you do. It’s flexible enough that it’ll work great for everyone on the team, since everyone can adjust their workspace to work exactly like they want. You can have your tasks and activity stream show exactly what you want, where you want — and the activity stream is smart enough to highlight the info that’s actually important to you, so you’ll actually want to read through your stream. Then, when you want to find what you need to get your work done, BamBam! has powerful search and filtering tools to help you only find what you really need.

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BamBam!’s got every feature your team could need to keep your projects and personal tasks on track without making anything overwhelming or difficult. You’ll find quick search for the stuff you’re most likely to need, custom notifications so you’ll hear about everything that’s most important, back links to old tasks to keep all your info together, milestones, email integration, and more. It’s even got time estimations for tasks to help your team manage your Kanban or Scrum projects, and integrates with Chime to track your time and Springloops to version control your team’s code in one integrated family of apps.

Get Your Team Working Together with BamBam! Today

BamBam! lets you work just like you want, and it also gives you a lot less to worry about with pricing. Your first 10 team members can use BamBam! for free, and then it costs just $7 per user per month for each person after that. No storage limits, no set number of projects or tasks, and no paying for more users than you need. So go signup for a free BamBam! account today, and see how productive your team can be with a project manager that works the way you do.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Weekly Poll: Should Web Apps Only Run in a Browser Tab?

Google’s new packaged Chrome web apps are radically different from what we’ve been calling “web apps” all along, since they run 100% offline and their online parts feel no more “online” than a native app that syncs. For all intents and purposes, they’re “real” apps. We’ve been making fake “real” apps from web apps with tools like Fluid for OS X for years, letting web apps run in their own separate windows outside the real browser, but in the back of your head you always know that it’s little more than a trick. Let your internet connection go out, and boom — most web apps will loose your data at best, and totally fail to keep working at worst.

And yet, Chrome’s packaged web apps break the mold. They’re actual apps made from web code (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and such), but they live on your machine and don’t expect you to always be online. Some of them, such as Caret, are honest-to-goodness offline apps that don’t have any online component at all. They’re just apps. It’s flipped the world around.

So, let’s say there’s two types of web apps: the normal kind you can visit in any browser, and the ones you have to install like Chrome packaged apps. The latter make perfect sense to run in their own window and launch from the Start Menu or Launchpad — they’re real native apps, really. But how about web apps that require you to be online anyhow, ones you can run from any browser just by visiting their site. Should those live in their own windows, too, like a normal app, or do you prefer to keep them in a browser tab where they feel like just another website and you’re reminded that they’re really virtual apps? We’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not web and native apps — and the halfway house between the two that is Chrome offline apps — should have a difference, or if we’d all be better off if we treated all apps the same.

Canva: Beautifully Simple Page Layouts, Online

When you want to make a quick flyer to advertise your yard sale or pull together a quick birthday card for your Mom, what app do you open first? Odds are, Word or PowerPoint. The former’s ubiquitous for page layout designs, even though its not really meant for it, and the latter was the app I used to reach for simply because it’s easy to use for basic graphics-heavy layouts. Either way, you could always get something basic whipped up in 5 minutes, flat, and it’d look ok.

Don’t settle for ok anymore, and don’t worry about needing more than 5 minutes. Canva, a brand-new online design tool, makes quick graphics design simpler than ever — and its results actually look great.

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Everything You Need to Get a Ghost Blog Running Today

There’s plenty of ways to blog today, but one has caught the imagination of bloggers and developers more than any this year: Ghost. And today, it’s finally ready for everyone to try out.

We tried out Ghost when it was first released to Kickstarter backers a few weeks back, and found it to be a brilliantly simple way to blog in Markdown — that is, once you get it installed. That last point is far simpler today, thanks to the efforts of Ghost’s partners including our whole Envato team.

Here’s the tools you need to get a new Ghost-powered blog today:

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Thanks to our Sponsor: Mojo Helpdesk

Giving your customers great support can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Mojo Helpdesk, our sponsor this week, has a brand new Help Center tool that makes sure you’ll get less support tickets than ever — while still giving your customers the best support possible.

Mojo Helpdesk’s new Help Center gives you an easy way to let your customers support themselves. They can easily search through your knowledge base to find answers to any questions they may have, and then send you a support ticket if they still need help. And if they do need more help, your support team will easily be able to keep up with all your support tickets and more right from Mojo Helpdesk.

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From the team that makes the acclaimed Das Keyboard, the Mojo Helpdesk team is focused on helping people be productive. You’ll find that same dedication to solid functionality and performance in Mojo Helpdesk. You can customize your help center to look just like you want, and fully integrate it with Google Apps and email to keep your team productive in the apps they already use. You can even use its API to add support for Mojo Helpdesk to your own apps. It’s got everything you need to give your customers the stellar support they deserve.

Try Mojo Helpdesk Today!

Ready to get a better helpdesk for your team? You can try out Mojo Helpdesk for free for 30 days, then continue giving your customers the great help desk experience they deserve starting at $24/month — a small price for all the support features it’ll give your team.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
Caret: It’s Like Sublime Text for Chromebooks

If you’re a programmer, or if you spend a significant amount of your day working with plain text for any reason, you’ll surely have at least heard of Sublime Text. The one paid text editor that’s won over both Emacs and VI fans, Sublime Text is the gold standard in text editors. And, it’s cross platform, so you can run in on your Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.

There’s only one place it won’t run — Chrome OS. And, of course, it won’t run on any Mac or PC if you don’t have a copy — plus, keeping your settings synced can be a pain at best. That’s why Caret is so exciting. It’s a full-featured code editor in an offline Chrome web app that can run anywhere Chrome runs, for free, and it’ll keep your settings synced along with the rest of your Chrome data.

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Silvrback — Markdown Blogging, Simplified for Everyone

When WordPress gets too complex and you want something more personal than Medium, what are you going to use to blog? There’s Svbtle, but it’s invite-only, and most of the cool new Markdown blogging platforms are self-hosted apps, which is more trouble to manage than many want to take on.

Silvrback is a new project that’s trying to bring simple Markdown-powered blogging to everyone. It’s got a bit of Svbtle and Medium’s style and the simplicity of pure Markdown blogging, without having to worry about invites and uploads and servers.

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Thanks to Our Sponsor: Webydo

Crafting a beautifully designed website with modern, clean code is difficult enough if you’re both a designer and a web developer. But what if you have no coding skills? Webydo is the web design software you need.

Webydo lets you design a website without any coding at all. Just drag-and-drop the elements you want onto your site design, rearrange them as needed, and make sure they’ll look just like you want on every device. There’s everything you’d want, from web fonts to eCommerce tools, to make your sites just like you want.

Once your website is created, it’s easy to keep it updated with Webydo’s content management system. You or your client can change anything on the site with Webydo’s sophisticated yet easy to use CMS & DMS (Design Management System). It’s simple enough anyone can use it, while still giving pros the features they need to make pixel-perfect websites.

We loved Webydo when we tried it our for our review, and are certain you’ll love it if you try it the next time you’re ready to create a website.

Professionals, Go Make a New Site with Webydo This Week!

Ready to make a new site for your clients with Webydo? You can get started for free, with up to 15 pages and 1Gb of files on your site, and then can upgrade to Webydo Premium to use your own domain, have unlimited pages on your site, and more. Webydo Premium usually costs $7.90/month, but special for our AppStorm readers this week, you can use the coupon code WebAppStormVIP2228 when upgrading to Webydo Premium to get it 72% off for your first year! That makes Webydo the cost efficient and most professional place to make a new site today!

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