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Communications

Video calling is definitely the next step in communication, but for business, it’s a step too far. Or, at least in some instances. When I’m at home, the last thing I want is a complete stranger having a live video stream of my living room. Google see things differently and want to bring yoga lessons, home improvement advice and customer service right to your laptop with their new web app.

Its name? ‘Helpouts from Google‘.

The idea seems so revolutionary to Google that they think the service could rival ‘How To’ videos on YouTube or text based guides. Unfortunately, their shiny new offering has some fundamental flaws that could be off setting to many users. Lets take a look.

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WordPress is being challenged on all sides in its dominance as the most popular blog engine, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost relevance in today’s web. On the contrary, it’s still one of the best ways to put together a full-featured blog with contributors and comments, post revisions and plugins, and more. Plus, it’s rather capable beyond just being a blog — you can use WordPress to power your next store, save your notes, support your customers and more.

Or, you could use it to give your team its own internal social network. That’s why the Automattic team made the P2 theme, which changed how their team communicated so much that they have over 150 internal P2 installs that contain over 80% of their company communications. The only problem is that P2 is starting to look rather dated.

Leave it to the WooThemes team to redesign P2 with their new free Houston theme that makes P2 look and work nicer than ever before. It’s the P2 theme your team should be using to collaborate.

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No matter how many team communications apps you’ve got, odds are your team still ends up using Twitter as the watercolor and txt messages or email or Twitter DMs for private one-to-one messages. They’re just easier. We’re all already used to using them, so why not just use them to communicate with our colleagues at work too?

But what if you had a team chat app that actually was easier to use for everyone? Slack is the newest shot at reinventing team chat, and it’s nice enough that our writing team at AppStorm has fallen in love with it. It’s real-time chat, private messaging, and archiving with search across everything in an app that’s simple to integrated in your team’s workflow. Here’s what’s great about Slack, and why it’s the team chat app your team should give a try.

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Remote working definitely has its advantages. That’s an assertion I can back up with my own experience, not least in terms of my writing for AppStorm. The opportunity to work anywhere within range of a Wi-Fi signal provides wonderful freedom, and the lack of workplace distractions can make a significant, positive difference to productivity.

Not that it’s perfect, by any means. One of the key challenges of employment-by-broadband is trying to work with a team. An on-site employee or employer needs only to get up and walk a few steps to give or receive feedback, share ideas, or simply have a chat at the water-cooler. Of course, those of us who work from afar do not have that luxury. It’s not surprising, then, that there are plenty of video-calling and instant messaging options aimed at suiting the needs of geographically spread business teams.

Whilst no online platform can replace the instantaneous, spontaneous communication available in person, the next best thing, in my view, is a chat platform which works swiftly and efficiently. New beta collaboration service Fleep is aiming to provide just that, together with productivity aids such as file sharing. Fleep is up against some tough competition though (we’re all very impressed with Slack here at AppStorm, for example), but can it shine through?

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I am horrible at keeping in touch with people. My family and friends are the most patient and understanding people in the world because I can go incommunicado for months, without realising it.

But that can’t be how human relationships work. You need to make an effort to maintain contact with people you care about.

On the work front, it’s even more important. Networking is a must-have skill in a professional environment, and one you need to master by periodically checking in with people. It’s even more crucial if you are in the sales, marketing or customer relations departments because your job is about interacting with people.

And that’s where Relately comes in.

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Creating a personal website can wind up being more trouble than its worth. And as for maintaining one? Well, things can get expensive. Even a basic set-up of a simple blog is likely to lack luster in the design department.

You could use WordPress or Blogger as a free alternative, sure. But Storyboard.me offers something much more stylish, chic and powerful for telling the world who you are.

The company aim their service as individuals and small business who want to portray who they are and what their brand stands for. It’s already becoming a hit with artists and writers, but would it work for you? (more…)

It continues to amaze me how people are now able to collaborate with each other and work on a project or business together and not be in the same space, state, or even country. The power of the web has been able to bring people together like never before. It continues to fascinate me how this works and that it is actually producing good results.

Collaborate, the web app that I am reviewing today, does exactly what its name says. It gives you the power of the web to collaborate with others, whether it be on a work project or something else where you need to communicate over the web. I was very interested in it because in my work as an online educator, I have teachers that are in many different areas of our state and some that are even out of state. This platform gives me the ability to communicate with them and to be able to work together effectively as if we were right there working in the same office. I was eager to try it out to see how it would work and whether or not this would be a long term solution for our group.

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Back in the old days, when you were working on a project, all team members had to be on location in order to work together, share ideas, and perform tasks. That was an age of face-to-face interactions where things without one’s physical presence were not possible to do. But thanks to the advent of the internet, people who are in different parts of the world can easily connect with one another. Resultantly, collaboration between individuals who are far apart is made possible by the internet.

However, such remote online collaboration can soon become difficult to manage if the number of team members involved is large. The project leader can quickly lose track of emails and find it difficult to remember which task was assigned to whom. Sharing ideas is another process that suffers. In short, online collaboration can be a big mess if it is not handled properly. Fortunately, you can indeed handle it properly using a web service called Ginger. (more…)

Do you remember when you got your driver’s license? Do you remember being happy that day about finally passing the driving test? Perhaps you do. Or you are perhaps like me and many others who like good memories and treasure them but cannot quite fully recall them.

That is the problem that many of us have. We cannot save that feeling we feel during our good times unless we have pictures of those times to remind us of the pleasure. That is, of course, the whole point of the pictures, reminders, and status messages that we so eagerly post online.

Unfortunately, the social networks we use are not targeted towards private people who want to have a special group of people with whom to share their special memories. A pleasant exception however is an excellent web service called Memrify. (more…)

Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, and more have revolutionized how we communicate with others. It continues to blow my mind how we are busting through the walls of communication to work with others who are miles apart. It’s more normal these days to collaborate with people across the planet, in many ways, than it is to collaborate with those across the hall. It’s a brave new world.

One new app that can make communication simpler, in many ways, is Collaaj. It’s an app that lets you communicate to others using video, audio, and your Mac. It’s the collaboration of Skype combined with the simpleness of email, in a way that’ll help you get your point across to others better than you could with just text and images but without having to be online at the same time.

We’ve taken an in-depth look at Collaaj over at Mac.AppStorm, using the Mac app, but it’s equally great even if you’re only working on the web. Read the full article to get the scoop on why you should try out Collaaj.

Continue Reading at Mac.AppStorm…..

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