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Just like apps on all other platforms, web apps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. Many if not most web apps have a free basic version available, while some like Pinboard cost a one-time signup fee. Most web apps are built on a subscription model, though, so if you want more than the basic version offers, you’ll have to pay a monthly or annual fee.
For business apps, these monthly expenses can be easily justified if the apps help your team stay productive and work together. However, for individuals, the monthly subscription fees can quickly add up. Even if premium web apps are cheaper initially than their desktop counterparts, over time they can be more expensive. Plus, many people see adverse to paying for anything online: news, music, or apps. The iOS App Store has proven that many of us are glad to pay for high quality apps on our mobile devices, but does this carry over to web apps?
That’s why I’m curious: do you pay for any web apps? I personally pay for a Dropbox Pro subscription, and purchased a Pinboard account last December. I also currently have a Simplenote Pro account, and am currently deciding whether or not I should keep it. What about you? What web apps do you pay for, and what would you be willing to pay for if you’ve never paid for a web app? Would you be more likely to pay for an app once, or do subscriptions seem better for you?
18 years ago, web browsers started sporting a new way to help you keep up with the sites you discover online: bookmarks. Bookmarks, or Favorites in IE, were a great idea, but they quickly outgrew your browser. Once we started using the internet on multiple computers, the idea of saving bookmarks on one browser seemed increasingly archaic. Thus, online bookmarking services have become increasingly popular over the past decade, starting with De.lico.us in 2003.
Today, with mobile smartphones, tablets, browser-only Chromebooks, and the variety of computers we use at our workplaces, schools, and more, you need to keep up with your most important sites more than ever. Sure, you could just Google sites every time, and that’d work fine for finding the front page of popular sites such as your school. However, when you find that perfect plugin for your WordPress site or that cute cat picture that you couldn’t replace, chances are you won’t find it again if you don’t bookmark it.
This week, we’d love to hear what bookmarking service or tool is your favorite. Do you still get by with browser bookmarks, perhaps using your browser’s sync service, or do you use an online bookmarking service? Or do you perhaps keep a private document or wiki with your important links? Select your favorite in the poll, and let us know why you love your bookmarking service in the comments below.
Whether you use web apps by default or prefer traditional installed apps, it’d be hard to get by today without using at least a few web apps. Computers, tablets, and even smartphones could be used without an internet connection once you’ve installed some apps, but increasingly, it seems odd to be without internet connection for even a few minutes. Even our traditional apps such as Mail and Calendar tools are generally powered by an online service.
While most of us use Google Apps, as well as social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, there’s so many other apps that it’s be impossible to make a poll that would include all of the web apps most of us use. So, instead of a normal poll, this week we’d love it if you could comment and let us know what web app you couldn’t live without. Google Apps and social networks would be high on anyone’s list, so to make it more interesting, why not tell us your favorite Email/Calendar solution, social network, and then the other web app you couldn’t live without.
I’m still trying to decide what my other app would be. I’d have to put down WordPress or Simplenote, or perhaps CloudApp … I’m still not sure. What would you pick?
If there’s one major problem with web apps, it’s that most of them require you to create an account. It’s gotten somewhat easier in recent years as more sites let you login with your Google, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. Still, even remembering unique and secure passwords for a dozen major web apps can be daunting at best. Throw in your banking accounts and other more sensitive data, and it’s impossible.
It’d be easy enough to just stick with a short password you can easily remember, and use it on all of your accounts. That’s simple enough, until one of your accounts gets hacked and your password is stolen or released to the world. Recent security breaches at Sony and other major sites have released millions of users’ passwords into the world. Worse still, researchers have found that most of the passwords were wildly insecure, and password was one of the most common passwords!
The best solution to this is to use a password manager, so you can remember one strong password, and then generate strong passwords saved in the manager so you won’t have to remember them all. 1Password is a great app for this, and is currently featured on our AppStorm Freelance bundle. It runs on Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android, and even has a web view so you can save your passwords securely to your hosting service or Dropbox and view them anywhere. LastPass is a popular web app password manager, and it runs on almost anything you can imagine. It can even work with a YubiKey to make your main password even more secure.
So we’d like to know what you use to keep up with your passwords. If we didn’t include your favorite app, please let us know in the comments!
Then, of course, you have to remember: even the best security is only so secure!
Tomorrow, Google’s new Chromebooks will be released on Amazon and retailers around the nation. After years of speculation about a Google OS, the online giant has finally entered the mainstream OS wars against the likes of Apple and Microsoft. Only Google’s Chrome OS is much more limited than Windows and OS X. It runs the Chrome browser, and nothing else.
For many things, Chromebooks may be perfectly fine. With all the great web apps available today, many of us spend most of our days in the browser anyhow. But there’s a reason the iOS and Mac App Store are selling more software than ever: native apps are usually still more feature-full and speedy. Plus, there are still times when our internet goes down or we’re out of signal range.
Still, having a secondary computer that boots almost instantly and gives a great browsing experience is very compelling. That’s one of the biggest reasons tablets like the iPad and ones running Google’s own Android are increasingly popular as a secondary computer. Google’s put themselves in the odd position of competing against themselves with Android Honeycomb and Chrome OS.
So, are you ready to take the leap to using only a browser, or will you be sticking with your Mac or PC for now? Or are you going to turn your laptop or netbook into a Chromebook with the third-party versions such as Chrome OS Flow?
For the most part, Apple is know for beautiful hardware and intricately designed software that work great together. The missing part of the Mac and iOS device equation, for the most part, has been web apps and services. Even though Apple has had online services with .Mac and MobileMe for years, they’ve never had a solid online approach to tie together their devices and services.
The iPhone was introduced in 2007 without the ability to run native apps. Instead, Apple encouraged developers to create mobile web apps for their new phone. Once native apps were released, developers turned mainly to non-Apple web services such as Dropbox and Google Apps to synchronize data and more. Apple’s $99/year MobileMe was largely seen as a failure, and few of us used it.
That’s all changed now, with Apple’s renewed focus on the cloud with iCloud. This upcoming service will give free access to MobileMe’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, sync your iOS devices through the cloud, and let you backup your iTunes music online so you’ll never lose it. It’s shaping up to be one of the more important services for iOS and Mac users, and will even be useful to PC users who want to re-download their purchased songs from iTunes.
So, what are your thoughts about iCloud? Are you excited about using it, or do you plan to continue using other services to keep you life in sync. Does Apple stand a chance in the cloud computing world? Will Apple be the first to bring Microsoft’s dream of “three screens and a cloud” to reality? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the poll and comments below.
Most of us have many favorite sites, but there’s just not enough time each day to check all of them. The good thing is, you don’t have to directly visit your favorite sites to keep up with their latest content. Here at AppStorm, we already have 6 unique sites with new content daily, not to mention all of our sister sites from Envato. Plus, who would want to miss out on the latest the John Gruber has to say on the Daring Fireball?
That’s where RSS comes in. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it’s a simple XML format that lets you subscribe to sites using apps such as Google Reader or Fever. However, if you subscirbe to too many sites, it can quickly become a chore to keep up with everything.
Social networks are great for keeping up with sites, but if you’re not online when an update is posted, you might end up missing it. And if you’ve got 100 email newsletters coming in every day, it’s going to be very hard to achieve Inbox Zero.
That’s why we’re curious: How do you prefer to keep up with your favorite sites? I use a combination of Google Reader (for the most important sites), Twitter (for popular topics from news and more), and then visit some sites such as A List Apart just because they’re so nice to read on. What’s the perfect mix for you?
The internet is not lacking for high quality apps to help you keep up with all of your notes. From the popular Evernote to Simplenote’s plain text notes to less traditional apps such as Backpack and wikis, there’s tons of ways to keep up with all of your information.
Evernote’s web app has been recently been updated with features that make it work more like their desktop apps. At the same time, Simplenote has recently added a slew of new features to their plain text note app, including support for Markdown formatting and printing from the web app. Then, Microsoft’s belated Office Web Apps includes a nearly full-featured version of OneNote, their note app for Windows.
With all of these choices, and more, what do you use to keep up with your notes? Select your favorite tool in the poll, or add your own entry if you use something else. We’re looking forward to seeing how you keep up with all of your notes!
It seems hard to imagine that just 20 years ago the average person had never used the internet. Today, we’re expected to use the internet more and more for school, work, and keeping up with family and friends. Anytime we’re wondering about anything, most people do a quick Google search instead of pulling out a book or trying to remember the fact in question. Then, some of the best productivity tools and more are web apps, giving us even more reason to spend time online.
It’s easier than ever to stay online all the time, thanks to near-ubiquitous cellular internet connections and WiFi in most homes and businesses. Many places still don’t even have 3G coverage, and 4G seems to be a pipe dream for anyone outside of a major metroplex, but it seems increasingly difficult to find a place that doesn’t at least have GPRS coverage. Even if our internet speeds aren’t great, we feel compelled to get online everywhere, all the time.
The only problem is, data plans can get expensive. If you’ve got a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, most telcos want you to subscribe to 3 data plans, plus your standard home internet. Some areas have prepaid plans that can be used as needed, but most networks in the US require unlimited plans. Sometimes, it seems like it’d be easier to just rely on WiFi, and live without the internet otherwise.
So how about you? Do you pay for cell data plans, and if so, how much do you use it? Let us know in the poll, then share more details about how you get internet on the go in the comments below!
Email: it’s the one part of the internet that has stayed a huge parts of our lives from the time we first started using it until now. There’s no end in sight, either. In spite of the growing popularity of social networks, and bold attempts to replace email with new services like Google Wave, email has stayed the backbone of our online communications. Even Facebook has now added full email capabilities to Facebook messaging.
Your email address is likely one of the first things you signed up for when you first got online. Over the years, most of us have managed to accumulate more and more inboxes. We’ve got work email, school email, personal website emails, Facebook email, and that Yahoo! address you signed up for just to get a Flickr account. You can forward your messages all to one account, or add all of your accounts to Outlook, Sparrow, or any other program. Either way, it can be confusing and difficult to manage.
So, how many email addresses do you have? I personally have over 10 email accounts, including, yes, a Facebook and Yahoo! address that I never plan to use. Fill out the poll, then let us know your most frustrating experience with managing multiple email accounts in the comments below!