When it comes to writing, the hardest part for me is getting new ideas for articles. I used to just hope I’d remember them long enough to either start writing about them when I had the chance or write down the idea itself in a list. That’s when I started using Wunderlist to manage my writing ideas, but I soon stopped using it since the developers didn’t update the apps with the bug fixes that it needed so badly.
Then one day I had nothing to do and I stumbled upon Simplenote, a note-taking service that’s name pretty much explains itself. You’ve definitely heard of it before, so I’m not going to give you a tour of what it’s able to do, but rather tell you why I like it. In addition, I use Wunderkit (developed by the same people as Wunderlist, but far better) to manage my tasks. I’ll also be giving some thoughts on that in this article, so keep reading for some reasons why you should use these two services to organize your ideas. (more…)
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!
I’m a web developer; that’s my jam. I enjoy making websites, and I really enjoy trying new technologies, techniques, and hacks for websites. In 2012, that means making websites responsive. While the ‘Responsive Web Design’ movement started a few years ago, it’s really starting to pick up steam with better browser support for HTML5 and CSS 3 across all devices. Then, book and training form great organizations like A List Apart, and tools like jQuery Mobile and ZURB’s Foundation, make it really easy to create websites that are supported and look great across all devices.
The changing technology allows us to push websites forward into the realm of mobile without sacrificing quality, features, or content. There’s no reason mobile sites should be any more limited than their desktop counterparts today. So what does all this hubbub mean for web apps? We can’t really be sure how web apps will evolve, but I have a few ideas based on what I’ve read and some things I am personally doing.
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.
Google+ has been going pretty strong since its launch back in June of 2011. In just a year, it amassed 170 million users — Google is obviously not going to give out the numbers of those who actually use the service, but they like to say 170 million do, so we’ll go with that. Today, Google announced that they are expanding the social network even more with lots of extra customization, a major redesign, better Hangouts, and more.
Not that Google+’s layout was terrible before, but Google thinks they can really enhance it by giving users some customization all around. For instance, with the redesign, you can now customize the new navigation bar on the left by simply dragging the apps around. If you don’t want to see one anymore, then just drag it to the animated “More” button to remove them. Read on for the other notable changes in Google’s redesign along with some opinion on the subject. (more…)
Kickstarter is one of the most phenomenal projects on the internet today in many ways. It’s a site where anyone can launch a project to raise funding for a product they’ve always dreamed of making. From new magazines to theme parks to gadgets, there’s always something incredibly interesting getting funded on Kickstarter. This week, there’s even two web apps on Kickstarter: Pastelink and Privly.
Typically, funding new businesses and product ideas has been left to venture capital firms and wealthy individuals. Kickstarter has democratized funding, making it possible for anyone to help a new product get launched. You can pledge a bit of money to back the project, and usually get the product being produced if the funding is successful, which makes it a great deal for everyone involved. Sure, you won’t make money from it if the idea you funded goes big, but you can be a small part of the new product’s creation and get invoiced before it’s something you could buy in a store.
So we’re curious: have you ever backed a Kickstarter project? I’ve personally backed two – Distance magazine, and Scott Berkun’s latest book, Mindfire – and thought it worked out great both times. Kickstarter may not be the most typical web app you’d think of, but it’s definitely one of the most exciting things on the internet today.
At AppStorm we love helping you get the most out of your devices, mostly by giving you the low-down on the latest and greatest apps! Occasionally, however, it’s good to highlight the very best apps available; whether they be old classics, or new gems.
Recently each site has published a massive, and eminently thoughtful, roundup of the very best apps available, and I’ve collected them all together! Our editors and teams went to herculean lengths to ensure that these roundups would be more than worth your time, so without further ado…
- 100 Mac Apps To Rule Them All
- 111 Web Apps to Rule Them All
- The Top 100 iPhone Apps
- The Top 100 iPad Apps
- Our Top 100 Android Apps
- 100+ Absolutely Essential Windows Apps
We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, Android, Windows, or iPad apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!
Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!
Oh Google. You startup so many new projects, and yet fail to see so many of them through to the end. Case in point, at least possibly: Chromebooks.
Chromebooks were supposed to be a new category of netbooks that only ran Chrome. They were netbooks with only a web browser. It doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, per se, but even as folks who review web apps for a living, none of our team could imagine getting rid of our Macs and PCs for a Chromebook. There’s still too many things we need native apps for.
Even Google didn’t seem so sold out on the idea of Chromebooks. After all, they also make Android for tablets, which has both a browser and native apps. Chromebooks could have been interesting if they were cheaper, but for the most part, they cost the same as PC netbooks, and often weren’t much cheaper than the iPad or larger Android tablets. In fact, with the iPad 2′s discounted price, they’re almost neck-to-neck on price.
Last year, around 30% of our readers said they’d wait and see if they wanted a Chromebook. That’s why we’re wondering: did you ever try one out? Do you still use it, or did it become an expensive paperweight? Would you still consider getting one today?
Our sponsor this week is BatchGeo Pro, the simplest, fastest way to create a custom map with your own data. Whether you need to present detailed info on a map, create private maps for your team, or download customized maps to use as you want, BatchGeo Pro is a great app that can do all of that and more.
BatchGeo Pro is the professional version of BatchGeo’s powerful mapping tool that’s designed to be faster, more capable, and more secure for business users. It’s only been on the market for less than a year, but is already being used by businesses ranging from small teams and startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. And no wonder: BatchGeo Pro has many features that would be hard to match on other mapping apps.
BatchGeo lets you import location data from spreadsheets and quickly analyze it on a map. You can make a map to help you get more out of your location data, and use it however you want. Then, with BatchGeo Pro, you can add up to 15,000 location points to your maps, and geocode your addresses up to 10x faster. You can also print or download high resolution PDF maps to use however you need!
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If you’re needing a better way to create maps for your business, BatchGeo Pro might be the very app you need. Head over to the BatchGeo Pro website to learn more about it. You can signup for a free 30 day trial, and then subscribe for just $99/month. Try it out today to get more info from your mapping data, faster.