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There’s plenty of plain text writing apps on the web. If you need a place to bang out some text, there’s plenty of options. There’s even starting to be a selection of collaborative writing apps, and blog engines that are focused on plain text. It’s a nice time to be a plain text geek on the web.

But what if you want to do more with your text? Perhaps, make outlines, collapse sections, display markdown as you’re writing, and move lines of text around? Then you’ve got to check out Oak Outliner.
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If you’re looking for a great markdown-powered plain-text writing app, there’s dozens of apps out there — native apps for your device, or web apps that’ll run anywhere. There’s awesomely minimalist writing apps like Typewriter, or newer apps like Draft that make it easy to track your document’s revisions and get others to check your work.

But even if you love web apps, and need something that’ll work on any platform, sometimes apps that run online aren’t the best option. And native apps … well, chances are they won’t run on all the computers you use.

How about something that combines the best of both worlds? That’s exactly what Textdown — an offline Markdown writing app for Chrome — is. Spoiler: it’s really great, too.

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Within education there is a big debate going on about whether or not it is a good idea to let students bring their own mobile device (BYOD) to school to use in the classroom. As an educator who has been given the opportunity to test pilot an iPod Touch adoption in our school district, I definitely have my own thoughts on this issue. I think, whether we like it or not, we have to prepare and encourage students to bring their own devices. But, no matter what side of the debate we land on, one thing is for sure, the web is going to be a powerful place for education. It is a space that if developers can conquer and create great products, they will do well in the education space.

Now, we can also debate for a very long time about the future of technology in education and the how the web will or will not play a part in that. But, for now, I think it is the way to go, especially for its low cost and its accessibility. For example, for the past few weeks, I have been playing around with Presefy, which is a web based application that you can use to share your presentations. I originally started using it to see if it could work in my classroom and as a way for others to use it as well.

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In the past couple of years, my writing workflow has evolved to accommodate my changing habits, which now include working from wherever I am, thanks to my handy smartphone and physical-keyboard-and-tablet combo. I use them to jot down notes at events and conferences, take screenshots to illustrate points and of late, I’ve begun to record voice notes and calls for interviews, which greatly reduces the time I spend preparing content for articles.

There’s just one problem with recorded notes though: you have to convert them into editable text yourself. Transcribing requires you to listen, pause, type, and repeat until you’re done — and I had not come across a way to do this elegantly, until recently when I stumbled upon Transcribe Pro. This clever app combines robust audio playback control and note-taking for a simple web-based solution to your transcription woes. Today I’d like to show you how I get my work done, and how you can get the most out of Transcribe Pro.

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Over the years, AppStorm has reviewed a number of writing tools. For writers, these apps can have special meaning, as many of us earn our livings by using these apps. A good web-based word editor can be indispensable in daily life, both for us and for many of our readers as well.

Whenever I stumble upon a new one I can not help but try it out. So was the case recently when I happened upon WriteApp, which bills itself as a “distraction-free editor”. It boasts support for markdown, live preview, public notes, post by email, and much more. Plus it is free to use, though you need to register for an account. It was something I knew I’d have to check out. (more…)

When it comes to saving things from the web, there are a lot of different ways to do this. For me, when it comes to saving articles, I am a huge fan of Pocket for many reasons that I won’t get into here. But, now that I am going back to school, I find that I am having to save a lot more information from the web than I have in a long time. The main reason why I don’t use a service like Pocket or Instapaper for this is because I want a place where I can dump whatever I find into something temporarily. I don’t like to mix up the articles that I want to read or save for later with my snippets of research for my thesis.

I have used Evernote before for this purpose, but then I came along a web app called Dragdis, which takes a different approach to saving things online. Instead of saving articles or texts to a service, it lets you drag and drop what you want to save so that you can come back to it later. It is actually a pretty neat idea and with some help from HTML 5, this is a slick app to use. Let me show you more about what it can do.

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The year’s 1981. A newly incorporated computer company in Washington State decides to make a word processor to give people a reason to use computers. Launched for DOS in 1983 and the original Macintosh two years later, Word became the #1 way most people around the world write on their computers for over 30 years, and counting.

Word’s nice, in its own ways, but it’s designed for the world of the 1980′s, and the most important way to share documents of that day: paper. It’s designed to format documents for print, not digital sharing. Word has even made the transition to the web, but it’s still focused on print documents laid out on a virtual piece of Letter or A4 paper. Google Docs and other online word processors are no better suited for today, centering still around publishing on paper.

The year’s 2013. We need a word processor, one designed for online publishing that lets you write anywhere, save your files online, and collaborate with others.

That app is here, and it’s called Draft.

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If you run or are part of a business that entertains clients by appointment only, such as a clinic, salon or consultancy, you know how difficult it is to keep staff and visitors on track — you not only have to schedule appointments, but also avoid clashes, remind clients to show up and stay sane enough to make your sessions worthwhile. A secretary could surely make light work of this, but what’s a professional to do if he/she can’t afford to pay another employee’s full salary?

For starters, you might want to try Ubooq, a new service that lets your clients see when you’re available, book appointments and receive reminders via text message — all from your website or standalone booking page. Meanwhile, you’ll get notified of new bookings and stay on top of things, allowing you to deliver the best possible service your customers have ever experienced. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s see if Ubooq is really up to the task.

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After Microsoft’s IE6 held the web back for so long, hardly any web developers find time to praise Microsoft. It’s not that Microsoft’s the scary giant these days, so much, but that they’ve made so many mistakes over the years that few want to give them the time of day. Even Microsoft fans are calling out the company over decisions they’ve made in Windows 8. The company has made its share of blunders in recent years, missing out entirely on the smartphone and tablet market growth since 2007, and they’re beginning to lose ground in the PC market as well. Bing has taken tons of cash to develop and market, and it still is a distant second to Google’s namesake search engine.

Yet, there’s some things that Microsoft’s doing right, and many of them are on the web. For developers, Microsoft’s Azure provides an alternate to Amazon’s cloud computing, and for the rest of us, Skydrive offers a decently priced online storage competitor. It’d be forgettable if that’s all it offered, but it has one extra thing that makes it much more interesting: Office Web Apps.

Let’s take a look and see why, perhaps, you should be using Office Web Apps instead of Google Docs, or at least why you should keep them in mind in case you ever need them.

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Hardly anything in today’s economy is cheap, especially not legal help. Contracts, business agreements and other standard legal documents are mandatory to close a business transaction, but getting them drawn up is often a costly proposition.

Docracy is an online repository that offers free contracts and other legal documents, socially curated by the communities that use them. The web app is filled with legal documents from reputable, transparent sources and social proof to help you find something as close as possible to the perfect document. Not just the tax forms and stuff you can find on government sites; these documents are those you might otherwise need to pay a lawyer to make for you.

After the jump, we shall learn how to take advantage of this amazing new app!

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