I’ve always been in the lookout for tools to make niche writers’ lives easier. Screenwriting is a product category that I’ve become really passionate about. It’s an area of interest for me — screenwriting is a hobby of mine, and I’d love to see the tools used to write them improve. After all, we’ve all been stuck with the same few standards for years — Final Draft being chief among them

Final Draft is really unwieldy, though. It’s one of my least favourite programs, and for a while, it was also one of my most used. Today, I spend a lot of time using apps like Slugline, which use a fantastic Markdown-inspired markup syntax called Fountain (developed in part by John August, the writer of Big Fish). But for many people, a new syntax can only do so much in our Internet-based world. Enter Writer Duet, an online screenwriting app built for writers who want to collaborate on the go. Read on to find out what makes this product so unique in a sea of contenders.

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As a freelancer and small business owner (you’d probably be surprised at how often those two coincide), I’ve spent some time looking for ways to track how much I’m working and what I do with my days. For me, this has a couple purposes. If my hours are billable (they’re usually project-based, but once in a while I bill by the hour), I can keep track of how much money I’m owed. The second purpose is simple time management — it’s a lot easier to keep on task and on track if you know where your time is going.

I’ve recommended a couple different apps for the latter — my favourite is still iDoneThis — but I haven’t had a chance yet to talk about the former. With Ding, I’ve finally found an app that really hits the spot for tracking billable hours. Let’s talk about what makes Ding worthwhile for freelancers and why you might be interested in adopting it for your own small business.

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I’m a huge Dropbox junkie. I’ve got 19 GB of free space that I’ve managed to secure over the years (being a student and inviting friends used to help, especially before Dropbox really exploded over the past few years). But cloud storage is tricky, and I’m the paranoid type who believes you should never rely on only one storage solution — even if it is “in the cloud.”

I was intrigued when I heard about another cloud-solution that claimed to offer a few advantages to the Dropbox setup. It’s called NTI MiST. NTI has been in the software game for a long time, and have seen tremendous success in the industry. Read on to find out whether MiST continues to improve on their sterling reputation, or if it can replace or work alongside Dropbox.

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I’ve written on AppStorm before about how much I love Pinboard, a bookmarking service that allows you to privately collect and tag webpages for easy access later. Pinboard is one of those services that sounds completely ridiculous — until you try it. It’s a great service, and its developer, Maciej Ceglowski, is truly dedicated to improving it and keeping it consistently up.

As many people know, the service can also operate as a great Read Later service. You can mark webpages as unread. Pinboard tags them as such, and you can catch up later on the Web or with your favourite Pinboard app of choice. Until recently, there weren’t any apps designed to make Pinboard a true Read Later service in the same vein as Instapaper. With Paperback, we finally have a Pinboard Read Later client focused purely on the reading experience.

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As a longtime user and huge fan of Rdio, I was thrilled to hear about its new free service to combat iTunes Radio and Pandora (along with many other services). But I had a lot of questions about the new service, and nobody was answering them for me in a clear or concise way.

A lot of us at AppStorm are fans of the service too, so pitching the idea seemed natural. For us, Rdio is a way we find new music all the time. Understanding how it works for new users with an unpaid subscription is important to us, because we really want our friends on the service. (Say what you will, but I think its social features are top-notch.) Read on to find out what you need to know about Rdio’s free subscription tier.

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Not too long ago, I had this sudden realization that I really wanted to get out of Google’s products. I never dipped my feet too far into them, unlike some people, but the services I did use every day — Gmail, Reader, and Blogger —were either changing too much for my own liking or simply going extinct. After Reader’s demise, I switched to Feed Wrangler and didn’t look back. I moved my Blogger to Squarespace, and I’m in love.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been taking a much more significant challenge and moving all my email to FastMail. Before upgrading, I considered every other possible option. I read countless blogs and opinion pieces on what mail service to use, and none of them felt as up-to-date as they should be. It’s with that in mind that I wanted to take a closer look at the service.

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Not long ago, I wrote an article called The Best Places to Get Web Fonts For Your Website. In it, I noted that we’re typography geeks. I’m the kind of person that’s looking forward to getting a Typekit membership next month so I can splurge on all the great fonts I want. I read about them. I fantasize about using them on my site, because Equity and Miller are so much better” than Georgia. But that’s only one kind of font. Technically speaking, it’s a typeface.

There’s another kind of font called “icon fonts.” If you haven’t heard of them, think about the way images work. They don’t scale well. They’re bitmapped images that take up more space than they ought to. But an icon is a symbol, just like a letter or numerical character is. So what if we could have icon fonts — symbol-based fonts that have infinite scalability, cost practically nothing in bandwidth space, make sites load faster and even allow quickly adjustable colours and drop shadows? Sounds like a pretty sweet proposition, right? The bottom line is, you’ll be surprised how handy icon fonts are. Whether you’re new to them or a seasoned vet, this list of great icon fonts is for you.

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These days, it feels like it’s getting harder for many of us to maintain our personal brands on the Internet. We’ve got a multitude of blogs and websites that we maintain, and most of us have Twitter and Google+ presences as well. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you might even have an App.net account.

Personally, I own three domain names. I’ve got Twitter, App.net, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr — the list goes on. I’ve got a personal blog, a music blog and a forthcoming website for my business. Sometimes, I think I need a place to put it all together. This is where about.me comes in. It’s a popular way to maintain a single page for yourself on the Internet. Read on to find out if I think it’s worth it for you.

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As the sole proprietor of my own business, I find it can be really hard to stay on task and get work done. In fact, even writing this review, I have other things I want to do. That being said though, it’s important to have end goals set in mind. Lots of studies show that people who work towards something are happier than people who just go to work and try to make it through the day.

iDoneThis is quickly becoming an indispensable tool for me. It’s a free service for individuals, and is a great way for companies to work together to keep each other on track with projects. Read on to find out why I think everybody needs to sign up for this service, whether they’re self-employed or work in a large corporation.

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At AppStorm, we love fonts. In our spare time, we talk about fonts and typography with each other on Twitter and App.net. Sometimes, when we feel too geeky and really want to discuss ligatures in a meaningful way without being mocked, we jump ship and start talking about it in emails and private messaging.

The bottom line is, we’re type geeks. It’s a serious problem. I own books on it. And like many people, we also have websites to justify our inflated narcissistic sense of self-importance. We want to make sure that we use the right fonts on our websites — after all, we’re the sort of crazies who believe fonts are extensions of our own personalities. Here are some great places to start next time you’re looking for high-quality web fonts for your site.

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