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There is little innovation happening in the online news reader space. I am so jealous at the awesome apps like Google Currents, Flipboard, Pulse, and more that push the envelop for reading on a tablet. After mercilessly slaughtering the usability of the Google Reader web app, Google came up with the elegant Currents. Unbelievable.

These days lot of my reading time is spent on my iPad and with the choices out there on the web, I don’t see things changing anytime soon. That doesn’t stop me from scouting for new web apps that help consume news better. Like Readings. I took some time off to put the app to test and you can find out if is a promising contender after the break.

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Looking through your site’s analytics can be insightful and unsettling at the same time. You can see how many people read your latest articles, but then wonder why they didn’t share the link or join in the conversation. Disqus has tried to take on this problem by making comments more social, and building in a new ranks system to let your loyal readers show that they’re staying involved.

We’re going to take a look at some of the newest features in Disqus, and how you can use them to enhance your site’s community. Then, we’ve got 2 Disqus Pro accounts to giveaway to our readers: a 1 year subscription, and a 6 month subscription. Keep reading to learn more about Disqus and how you can win Disqus Pro for your site!

Our giveaway is closed for new entries, but you can vote on the site you want to see with a Disqus Pro subscription on our 2nd round article!

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Blogs are supposed to be about writing. Real, authentic, personal, heartfelt writing. The very word blog comes from the words web and log, a log of your thoughts on the web. But by and large, blogs have gotten complicated. 15 million widgets, word clouds, flashing ads, and more drive most people to just use social networks and forget the mess and confusion of blogging.

If installing WordPress on your hosting account or tweaking a Tumblr account to your liking sounds like more trouble than it’s worth just to publish your thoughts on the web, then get ready for a breath of fresh air. How about just saving plain text files with Markdown formatting to a folder in Dropbox, and having them published directly online? That’s what Calepin offers.

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Jux.com is a publishing platform which allows users to showcase their work in a streamlined portfolio format with no prior knowledge of coding or web design. Filling a void somewhere between Flickr and Blogger, Jux strives to set itself apart by being a publishing platform for creative professionals.

Users not only have the ability to quickly and easily post block quotes, articles, photos, videos, slideshows and top-10 countdowns, but also the tools to do so in a beautifully organized and fully intuitive gallery format. Jux.com was launched just a few short months ago, but it is already demonstrating why good design and approachability can lead to a substantial following. The rest of this post will delve into Jux and discuss the many benefits it can bring to your creative ventures.

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In the introduction to the latest issue of McSweeny’s Quarterly, the editors write, “More widespread and democratic access to education here and around the world means that there are more literate people…and more people reading than at any time in human history. So that’s good news.”

The bad news is that the ability to read a well-written sentence does not translate into the ability to write one. With more of our interaction taking place through emails, text messages, status updates, tweets, blog posts — heck, with more of us having to become writers — there are also more people in need of writing help than any time in human history.

Thankfully, Grammarly can give us that help. For a price.

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I’m always looking for simple ways to keep a log certain activities- my workouts, my side project progress, my lesson plans, or whatever else I may want to reference later. So far the most trustworthy has been my handy-dandy notebook (cue Doug- “Dear Journal…”), but I don’t always have that with me and well, my notebook is really, “a bunch of notebooks.” What I really want is an easily accessible, singular place to keep journal entries. Since reading the Quick Look we published here a while back, I’ve though 280daily might be just that.

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If you’re like the vast majority of web developers, you’ve used Google Analytics to stay on top of your site’s traffic info and never gave it a second thought. Google Analytics is free, pain-free to setup, and gives you more detailed data about your traffic than you could know what to do with. What more could you ask?

Actually, there’s a lot more you could ask for. For starters, Google Analytics may be free, but all of your data is on Google’s servers. Some may prefer to keep their traffic data private, while others would just like more control over the data and reporting. Then, Google Analytics can be slow at times, and doesn’t display up-to-the-minute stats. Additionally, the charts are Flash-powered, so if you’re using an iOS device or have simply banished flash from your browser, you’ll only have the raw data.

Mint is a refreshing alternative that wins at every point Google Analytics comes short. It’s a self-hosted webapp so you can own and manage all of your own site’s data. It’s lightweight and expendable so you can make it work just like you want, uses native web charts so you won’t have to use flash, and shows visits as soon as they happen. Let’s see how to setup Mint on your site and take a tour of the features so you can see if it’s finally time for you to switch to a fresher analytics solution.

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Awhile ago we took a look at Digital Journaling with Penzu and since then the Penzu team has been hard at work making their app even more outstanding and feature rich. The biggest changes, however, have been the addition of mobile support using the power of HTML5—including offline support.

With well rounded support for all the major mobile platforms, Penzu is certainly a web app showing others how its done. We’ll take a quick look at a few of the new features in the desktop app then check out what they’re offering for mobile devices.

Penzu has also offered to give 1 Year Free Pro accounts to a few lucky readers! Read on for more info.

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In a world where even adults have the attention span of a three year old, conventional blogs with thousand word posts will not cut it. Blogs are very effective for professional bloggers and blogging networks like Envato, Techcrunch, etc. However, when it comes to personal weblogs, blogs are going fast out of fashion.

At the same time, 140 characters of Twitter isn’t always enough to express ourselves precisely. That is where, microblogging services like Tumblr come into picture. Tumblr falls in the twilight zone—between full featured blogs and 140 character services—capable of doing both tasks fabulously.

Let’s take a peek under the hood of Tumblr and its features.

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Remember when people used to keep journals and diaries? Okay, maybe some of you still do—but mass sharing has taken over in recent years with platforms like WordPress, Tumblr and Twitter. Every day millions of people share their immediate thoughts and moments of life—to millions of strangers; what happened to privacy?

Penzu brings the classic diary and journal into the internet age, providing a platform for private (sharing optional) blogging with a digital paper-like interface. In this review I’ll take a look at Penzu and the quality web app they’ve created to make something old, new again.

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