It’s a nice thought that “we’re never done learning”. One quick look around you at the world and it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than “yup, most of us do actually stop learning very soon on in life”. It’s a shame too, because if we didn’t, we’d have teleportation, time travel and hover cars by now.
Whether bad experiences of formal education or simply not seeing the point is to blame, the majority will rarely read to enrich, nor study to better ourselves.
And yet the Internet provides us with, what is in my opinion at least, the most open and user friendly learning environment known to man. Largely for free too. Textbooks, journals, notes, essays and presentations which were largely restricted to those attending ‘regular’ universities just a few years ago are accessible to people all over the world regardless of age, location or income. But is online learning on par with traditional ‘college education’?
Have you ever noticed how many web apps seem similar? You hear about a new file sharing or project management app, and it’s so similar to the last one you heard about, you can’t hardly tell the difference. Sure, it has more free space, or better integration with another obscure app, but at the end of the day, it’s not essentially different.
Is this what web apps are doomed to? Can web app only be created for a few select tasks, with no room for innovation and brand new types of apps?
If you had to pick a device that either had any native app you wanted other than a browser, or one that only had a browser and no other offline apps, which would you pick? Chances are, you’d pick the device with a browser. The internet’s a great place for reading, finding info, and social network, but it’s also many of our go-to way to stay productive and get entertainment. You can do anything in your browser, from playing Angry Birds to solving complicated integration problems in Wolfram Alpha.
Pretty soon, you might even be using your browser to dial phone numbers and take pictures, if Mozilla has its way. It’s working on an innovative browser-based phone OS called Boot to Gecko where everything you use in the whole device is coded in HTML5. It’s also working on a new cross-device apps marketplace to let you buy web-based apps that run and feel more like native apps.
Could something like this actually change the mobile app ecosystem?
Do you ever feel like you’re being followed, or watched? That tingling at the top of your spine, those sounds that you only half-heard but know were there, that whiplash that you get when you try to catch your stalker in the act; those are all natural feelings that we get all the time. Sometimes it’s nothing; a person happens to be walking in the same direction as you, or an alley cat is busy stalking through dumpsters for a half-eaten meal.
Other times someone is actually following you. Whatever their intent is, you go into survival mode, adrenaline pumping through your veins, heart beating in your ears. This is how you should feel when you browse the web.
Apps. It seems the be the buzzword of the past couple years, as if the world only just discovered that their computers and other smart devices could actually run software. For years, only über-geeks would sit around discussing the best programs and debate the merits of one operating system or browser over another. Today, even non-techies that would have never even touched a PC now ask their friends if they’ve downloaded a certain app. Friends that would have never known what version of Windows their PC used now discuss on Facebook whether Android or iOS is better.
I happen to love apps, both web apps and native apps. I use a wide variety of Mac and iOS apps daily, along with the many web apps I rely on. But isn’t that a bit odd? I mean, I’m the editor of Web.AppStorm.net, and write documentation and do tech support for Flow, a web app. If even I use native apps, then does that mean the cause is lost for web apps?
If there has been a company that changed the Web more than any other, I’d have to argue that that company would be Google. Not because of anything that they specifically have done – which is plenty – but because of the deeper, longer-lasting effects that search (primarily through Google) has had on Web content.
Commonly known as SEO (search engine optimization), the Web has been changed by this emphasis on being found via Google or (insert other search engine here).
I’m guessing most of us use some sort of notifications system within our day-to-day workflow. On our smartphones and tablets, we get sounds, alerts and other visualisations to bring new or modified information to our tablet and even on the traditional computer, most of us here a unique chime everytime an email hits our inbox.
For any fans of The Office, you might remember WUPHF.com, a service the character Ryan Howard setup based around the concept of an aggregated notifications service which handles all of a user’s alerts and sends them out to each one of their platforms. If was presented in a comedic way in the show, but I think there’s a strong case for a service like that. (more…)
It sounds simple: don’t be evil. How hard can it be, really? Don’t kill kittens. Don’t perform illegal acts involving chainsaws, guns, or exotic fruits. Easy.
For such a simple motto – slogan, really – Google seems to have been having difficulties with this lately. Has the omnipresent company grown from its don’t be evil roots, or are they as good-hearted as they’ve ever been?
Do you have a Facebook? Possibly a Twitter? Or maybe you’re one of those inactive Google Plus folks? There’s even the case that you don’t have any of these and you’re having fun over at Diaspora. In any case, you’re always susceptible to becoming addicted to your favorite social network and avoiding work or some other task that needs to get done. Hopefully I can provide a solution.
In this article, I hope to inform you of a few ways to be more productive with the time you spend on the Internet and hopefully aid you in the fight to stay off those evil social networks during work or any other time when you shouldn’t be on them …
If you’ve hung around Web.AppStorm long enough, you’ve surely come across a few web apps you’ve thought looked nice. Hopefully you found some you kept using, but odds are, you quit using most of them right after you tried them out.
There’s the web apps we use all the time, like Gmail and Facebook, that we can’t imagine not using. Then there’s others we like, say Evernote or Google Reader, that we might like but we tend to use through native apps. And then, there’s the dozens of apps we’ve used but don’t keep using forever.
So what makes a great web app, and why do some seem to click while others never find a place in your toolkit?