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Ah…the joys of brainstorming. Who doesn’t love shouting out random words, and writing them in an equally random layout on a whiteboard, for no apparent reason? Okay, so on a more serious note, at times, the brainstorm technique can be useful. When you are seeking inspiration, anything that can free up the mind is surely a good thing.

If you work by yourself, though, brainstorming is nigh on impossible. There’s no-one to bounce ideas around with, meaning that the key element of the process, collaborative thought, is not present. Of course, you can encourage yourself to think differently, and come up with left-field concepts, but it will never quite work as well as the real, group-based thing.

This is a problem that new service Luma7 hopes to fix, or at least alleviate. This platform works as a cross between a search engine-derived brainstorm, and a mind map, using the power of the web to provide a network of related information to trigger your own free-thinking. It is an interesting, new genre of online assistance, but is it just a reskinned version of Google? I warmed up my creative grey matter, and gave Luma7 a try.

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Interviewing for jobs is downright tedious. Depending on whom you ask, the answer will range from boring to annoying. It’s just not the pressure to do better in an interview. Thanks to a lousy economy, these days getting shortlisted for a job in itself is a pain. One has to do a lot of things differently to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Resumes still rule the roost as a critical tool to stand out. And, you can’t have only one version of your resume either. Startups and small companies tend to prefer a one pager rather than the regular one. Enterprises tend to trash any resume that is less than two pages. All in all, it’s a very delicate balancing act that needs maximum attention.

Few web apps have tried their hand at tackling the problem, but there isn’t a clear winner yet. I came across a Jobrary resume even before taking up this app for a review and liked what I saw. Could this one be the winner?
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It was a only a little under 3 months ago that we called Draft “The Word Processor for the Web“. A just-launched app that I’d been testing with a few of my colleagues, Draft was one online writing app that’d captured my imagination — and got me to rethink how I write my articles.

If you’ve already tried out Draft, it needs no introduction. Otherwise, here’s a quick summary: it’s an online markdown writing app that saves version of your documents as you write, lets you open and save files on your online storage services, and has built-in collaboration tools to let others edit your work.

That in itself is a lot, enough to make quite the dent in the online writing market. But Nathan Kontny, the developer behind Draft, hasn’t stopped working, and today Draft has quite a few extra features that make it better without making it more confusing or cluttered.

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As I may have mentioned before, one of the great things about the web is the fact that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people from many different places. No longer do you and a coworker have to be in the same room, looking at the same screen in order to discuss a project. The web has made it so that distance knows no boundaries for two or more people to connect or work together. It still blows my mind that there are developers out there that create apps and they haven’t even met face to face. But yet, they are able to crank out amazing apps by being able to communicate and collaborate through the web.

One of those apps that can help people connect and work together is one called Kollaborate and it does exactly what the name says. It is a web tool to help people collaborate with each other in real time, so that they can work together. I had the chance to take it for a spin and I was intrigued by its possibilities.

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With so many project management and team collaboration apps in the market, I’m fast running out of words for the opening paragraphs of my reviews! After three years of watching the web app space closely, it’s easy for me to spot trends from time to time.

These days, each and every individual uses a bunch of cloud apps to communicate, collaborate, share, and store data. Apps that tend to integrate with popular third party solutions to create a productive synergy have a bright and lucrative future ahead.

Azendoo positions itself as one such productivity app that taps into the power of popular cloud apps like Evernote, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. It’s a useful tool that brings together everything else your business is using for productivity so you can use that data in your projects.
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Most people are familiar with spreadsheets as a way to organise their data into a way that is easily read and is simple to use. However, due to their relative simplicity and ubiquitous nature, they are often seen as the do all data storage platform. This leads to over-sized and over-complex, linked spreadsheets that are very fragile and hard to work with.

I’m sure you have all seen it: the spreadsheet abyss that is tucked deep into your office network. You know, where all the spreadsheets are linked and only one person knows which bits you can edit to get the results you need and which bits if changed by one decimal point will ruin all of the sheets and linked calculations.

So, the obvious solution is a database. The way that databases are designed allows for separated data, layered processing above it to calculate anything that you need, and best of all, they are robust (if implemented correctly) and scale well. “But,” I hear you say, “I don’t know how to design or implement a database!” This is where Ragic! comes in. (more…)

Document collaboration is an area that many are trying to innovate in. For general usage, Google has been at the forefront of increasing collaboration with Google Drive but the options become significantly limited when you want to specialise in a specific genre.

Authorea is all about writing educational and research papers in your browser in a convinent and intuitive manner while easing the process of collaborating with others. (more…)

I’m always on the hunt for good plain text editors. I use them for just about everything now: I write in plain text for every one of my clients and for my own personal website. I even use Fountain, a Markdown-inspired plain text plain text syntax, to write movies. On my Mac, I’ve got a bunch of different apps that handle this kind of thing, but I’m not always on my Mac when inspiration hits. I’m not necessarily on my iPhone or iPad or Android devices either. Sometimes, I’m at a library.

So what then? I’ve been looking for a great plaintext/Markdown/Fountain editor that can handle all my needs that exists on the web. I haven’t found the perfect one yet (and really, what is perfect?), but Scribbler is so close that it’s nearly frustrating. Read on to find out why I think you might want to bookmark Scribbler. (more…)

LaCuenta is a powerful, new invoicing and business management application from Luxembourgian company BeeWee. The first time I read the name I didn’t put two and two together, but after a couple of minutes I realised that the name is Spanish for ‘the bill’. I think the name is rather fitting and well thought out.

You will be able to see from the screenshots that the design of the app is very slick. Often design for invoicing or financial apps suffer as they are primarily seen as function over form. LaCuenta shows that they are not mutually exclusive, there’s no reason why you can’t have function and form in the same application. (more…)

Somehow, I am attracted to certain types of apps. When it comes to mobile, it’s the image editing and manipulating genre and in the case of the cloud, it’s the quote generation apps. I have reviewed a handful of them here over the past few months and today, it’s the turn of Sparkling.

In a sales process, it is very common for businesses to haggle over the price and in turn, a quote ends up edited and updated multiple times. There will be customer specific charges and fees as well. So, it’s imperative that the quote creation app is flexible enough to accommodate all the crazy changes.

That’s exactly what I’m going to look for in Sparkling. Join me!
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