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Weekly Poll

If you listened to the claims of startups and entrenched tech giants alike, you’d be led to believe that it’s terribly hard to find and listen to music today. That’s anything but the truth, of course. If anything, it’s easier to find and listen to the music you want today than it’s ever been.

There’s the older, traditional route of buying music on CDs (and even records, if you’re an audiophile), and that still works perfectly fine today. There’s free over-the-air radio, complemented with internet radio often from the same stations. You can likely find most songs you want to listen to in music videos on YouTube, and can keep the song forever with music downloads, either directly from artists or from stores like iTunes and more (as well as less legitimate sources, which are the real reason music industry leaders keep searching for new business models).

But that’s not enough. Now, we’ve got an insane selection of music subscription services, where for a low fee per month you can listen to every song imaginable, and then some. You won’t own any music, but you’ll have more accessible than you could ever listen to. There’s also brand-new in-between services like the new iTunes Radio that give you auto-generated radio streams of songs in a genre you like, with options to buy the songs if you want to listen to them again.

It’s getting to be a bit too much, and sometimes one could wish for a return to the simplicity of just flipping on the radio. So what’s your favorite way to get music nowadays? Are you still listening to traditional radio, buying songs directly, or subscribing to music services? Or are you using a mix of all 3? We’d love to hear your thoughts on music in 2013 in the comments below.

Two years ago, we asked you what was your favorite social network. You split the vote almost exactly in thirds between Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, that is if you don’t include the 11% that said they can’t stand social networking.

It’s a different world today in many ways, but the tides really don’t seem to have changed that much in social networking. Google+, if anything, has continued to be less popular than Facebook and Twitter, despite its continued improvements. Facebook has continued to change its settings and design on a regular basis, but we all keep coming back to it since everyone else is there. And Twitter, despite shutting down most 3rd party apps, has continued to grow and dominate the public online conversation.

There’s other networks, of course. App.net was started to make a Twitter alternate that’s more developer friendly, and has turned into quite the nice network of its own. And blog platform Tumblr was bought out by Yahoo! not just because it’s a great place to start a blog, but also because it’s actually a social network of a sort. And that’s not all. Mobile messaging apps like Line have taken the world — or Asia at least — by storm, and are building up their own in-app social networks.

My personal loyalties lie divided between Twitter and App.net, and I only seldom use Facebook and nearly never use Google+. How about you? We’d love to hear what social networks you prefer in 2013.

We’ve run several roundups featuring “Tiny yet Useful” — those little apps that aren’t aren’t going to change your career, but they sure do help you out with some tiny part of your work. They might be tools that help you clean up your code, quickly share images, make invoices or resumes, or anything else.

Those roundups didn’t cover anywhere near all of the tiny apps that could be included. There’s dozens more that we’ve covered in our reviews, and there’s far too many tiny useful web apps out there to cover them all. And, we each have different needs, so some of us will find one tool infinitely useful while it’s not even interesting to another.

That’s why we’d like to hear about your favorite tiny yet useful web apps. These should be apps that you can use in less than a step or two, ideally ones that don’t require you to make an account and have few/no settings to tweak. They’re straightforward tools, like a screwdriver, that do one job well.

Which ones do you rely on?

Facebook stole the English language. Instead of inventing its own words for actions — ala email, google (yup, an official word now), Tweet (ok, so that was a word already), and others — it just took over existing words. Now, like, friend, fan, poke, and more are part of the Facebook vernacular, and there’s not much we can do about it.

We might resent them for co-opting friend and like, but some actually want Facebook to take over one other word: dislike. See, there’s a lot of stuff that most of us don’t like. You know, ugly ducklings. And sad stories. And, I don’t know, skunks.

You don’t passively just want to ignore it. Nope. You want to tell the world how much you dislike it. But in Facebook’s world, there’s the like button, and nothing else.

So you tell us: should Facebook add a Dislike button, or have they already taken over one word too many? Feel free to tell us how much you dislike this poll — or Facebook’s policy and button/word choice — in the comments below.

This week’s poll was inspired by my wife, Raht. Thanks, sweetie!

The world’s not lacking for note apps; there’s tons out there, enough that when Google recently released a new one, the world collectively yawned. There’s just so many ways to keep notes already. There’s the plaintext geek favorite Simplenote, the always stylish Springpad, and Microsoft’s OneNote — the desktop app that made quite the nice transition to the web.

You’ve likely got a notes app built-into your OS of choice, too. And another in your email client. Even Dropbox itself makes a pretty compelling choice, as you can store plain text files in it and edit them as notes anywhere.

And yet, Evernote remains the crowd favorite. It lets you take notes about anything, throw in files, pictures, web clips, and more, and search through it all effortlessly. It lives in the web, but also has native apps for practically ever OS out there. It’s even in a Samsung fridge. It seems cluttered, with everything in one place, formatted text mixed with plain text and PDFs and everything else. And yet, it works – and is beloved by millions.

So, for those of you who swear by Evernote, what is it about the service that you love the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts — or your dissenting views if you hate Evernote — in the comments below.

Google has tried so hard to get into the social networking game, but its first attempts were little more than failures. Let us count the ways:

  • Google Wave, which promised to reinvent how we collaborate. Dead.
  • Google Buzz, a social network inside Gmail. Dead.
  • Orkut, an outright social network. Practically unknown outside of Brazil.

So then, Google practically had to redesign their entire company around their final social offering: Google+. It launched with fanfare, and even had some nice features, but ultimately wasn’t enough different to drag most of us away from Twitter and Facebook. Just about the only standout feature was Hangouts, group video chats inside Google+.

But Google has forged it deeply into Google search, making a Google+ profile rather necessary if you want your site’s search results to show off your author info. Plus, if you buy into Google’s other products like the brand-new Glass, you’ll get the best built-in sharing experience with Google+.

So, are you still using Google+? Or has your account languished without any recent updates?

Of course, if you do use Google+, be sure to follow us on Google+!

Google started out as a search engine, but over the years it’s amassed quite the set of web apps for dozens of purposes. If you use Gmail, Google Calendar, Maps, and Search, then Google has tons of data about you, enough to let it rather smartly predict what you’ll need to know and when you’ll need to know it.

That’s what Google Now, the new Android feature that’s finally come to iPhone and iPad users this week by way of a new version of the Google Search app, is. It shows you directions for how to get home when you’re supposed to be heading home, lets you find out if something else has happened about a news article you recently read, and so much more. In many ways, it’ll keep you from searching on your devices as much, and perhaps eventually on your browser as well since it appears to be coming to the web sometime soon.

It can be nice — some swear by it already — but if you don’t use Google’s services to run your life, it’s rather pointless. I’ve just tried it out on my iPhone, and was unimpressed when it didn’t even pick up the appointment I had this morning. It’s neat, still, but not nearly as lifechanging as many seem to think.

That’s why I’m wondering about your thoughts on Google Now. Do you like it, and do you think it’s something you couldn’t live without today? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Several weeks ago, we asked our readers at Mac.AppStorm what Mac apps they couldn’t live without. The funniest thing is that tons of the responders — most, even — included a web app like Dropbox, Evernote, CloudApp, or Google Drive as an app they couldn’t live without. Turns out, almost everyone relies on web apps these days.

For me, I keep all of my files in Dropbox, my email is powered by Google Apps for Domains, my site is powered by Kirby, I use CloudApp to share files, Forecast.io to check the weather, WolframAlpha to discover more about the world, Google to keep me from seeming dumb, and App.net/Twitter/Facebook to keep in touch with friends and colleagues. AppStorm itself is powered by WordPress, our team collaborates with Basecamp and Google Docs, and our polls usually are powered by Polldaddy. I could honestly get rid of native apps easier than I could replace web apps these days.

So how about you? What web apps could you not live without? We’re looking forward to seeing your responses in the comments below!

It’s been a tragic week for the US with the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as the events that have unfolded over the past few hours with gunfights and more in Boston. There’s also been a factory explosion in Texas, ricin-laced letters sent to the president, an even worse bombing in Iraq, and more. Scary stuff.

There’s so many ways to get the news, and you’d always figure the internet would be the best way. Often it is; cable news seemed incredibly slow compared to Twitter, say, in the events of the past few hours. But local TV — which, incidentally, I watched over the internet — had some of the best coverage, as did Reddit, a site most of us wouldn’t trust for authoritative information (sorry!).

And then, if you were actually in the area of the disasters, authorities were requesting that cell phones be turned off, and during the marathon bombing the networks were nearly overloaded with calls, making internet use, at least from your phone, not such a good option. Suddenly, old-fashioned FM radio made the most sense.

It made me wonder what you turn to first when you need immediate news. Do you turn a dial on a radio still, or are you more likely to turn on the TV? Or is Twitter the first place you’d think to check?

Posterous used to be one of the simplest places to start a new blog. You’d just send an email to [email protected], and boom!, you had a new blog. It changed over the years, but continued to be a popular place to blog … that is, until Twitter bought out Posterous last year, then announced that they’re shutting it down on April 30th.

We’ve just reviewed Posthaven, the new alternate to Posterous from some of the original Posterous team, but we were wondering how many of you actually used Posterous regularly.

Did you start out blogging with Posterous, or did you move to it from other, more complex services? What do you plan to use to blog now? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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