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There’s Alfred and Quicksilver for the Mac, tools that make help you get tons done just with your keyboard. On the PC, there’s Launchy that does much the same thing. And even in apps like Sublime Text, you can just type in the Command Palatte to get stuff done without resorting to hard-to-remember keyboard shortcuts or your mouse.

On the web, though, the best alternate we have is bookmarklets — typically javascript-powered bits of code that make sharing and tweaking sites simple. In Safari, you can access the first 10 in your bookmarks bar with simple CMD+number shortcut, but everywhere else you’ll have to click your bookmarklet or make workarounds for the ones you use most. It’s far from the efficiency of keyboard-driven launchers.

That is, unless you install the new Backtick.


Sadly, much of the work done by those in the creative arts isn’t terribly creative. This isn’t because all the talented designers, musicians, film-makers and photographers out there aren’t capable of producing works of stunning originality. It is actually due to the irritatingly small amount of time that they can dedicate to making beautiful things, and the frustratingly large volume of time dedicated to the trials associated with a service-based profession.

One such trial is the toing and froing of work between the professional and the client. Many of the platforms that are technically capable of performing this task are not focused on the client-facing niche of file sharing, and as a result, few prioritize both straightforward operation and high quality presentation.

This is why I think the concept of Sitedrop, a new beta hot off the Betaworks press, makes sense. Based on Dropbox for storage and hosting, Sitedrop wants to make the delivery of your work within a beautiful interface as simple as moving a file. Is that too much to ask? (more…)

My former workplace had very restrictive IT policies and so every computer was locked down, which meant that to install any software, you needed the administrator password. And the last time Canonical released a new version of Ubuntu, it was a living nightmare for me. I needed to download that OS as quick as possible to write about it, but as anyone who has downloaded Ubuntu on day zero knows, it’s pretty much impossible to do that through the direct HTTP download. And here I was, stuck on a PC that wouldn’t let me grab it off the torrent like I usually do.

How I wish I knew about BitTorrent Surf at that time…


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.


Web apps are typically single-purpose: you use one app for one thing. That’s in sharp contrast to most desktop apps, where you might use the same app (hello, Excel!) for dozens of different things. Being focused is great, but it can also sometimes be limiting.

Take Microsoft Office Access, for example. For years it’s been the go-to app for small businesses when they need a new form-driven internal app. Instead of buying some new app, anyone with the tiniest bit of computer skills can put together a custom solution without too much trouble. It might not be as powerful as a full-featured app for the same purpose, but it gets the job done without too much trouble.

Papyrs, an intranet tool we covered a couple years back, has recently added a new Apps mode that makes it easy for anyone to turn a Papyrs form into a custom database app. It’s Access, reinvented for the web.


The independent cartographer’s future business options are looking a little shaky at present. There’s only one platform most of us use for visualizing addresses and researching locations, and it just happens to be attached to the world’s most popular search engine.

I am, of course, referring to Google Maps — a service which, due to its general-use popularity, seems to provide about nine out of every ten maps you see embedded around the web. There’s nothing terribly surprising about this, even when the restrictive nature of map-building with Google is taken into consideration — convenience, after all, is king. What is surprising is that no competitor has produced a similarly easy-to-use platform that also offers greater freedom. But things are changing.

A startup named MapBox, three years in the making, is out to corner the online cartographic marketplace. Its original breakthrough came in the shape of TileMill, an open source native mapping app. Now, however, MapBox has its own online platform — but can it snatch Google’s crown?


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.


Working in large teams creates all kinds of problems. Communication lines are stretched, working relationships are difficult to form and the customer suffers as a result.

Fuseboard is a new team productivity app. Based online, the platform uses social media inspired tools to foster better communication among team members. It also has a range of features for delegating work, discussing files and dealing with customer queries.

Essentially, Fuseboard is aiming to replace internal email as the primary company communication tool. It has an interface that’s familiar to the social media generation and some really innovative business features. They’ve definitely come up with something worth trying. But, will it work for your team or company?


I’ve written on AppStorm before about how much I love Pinboard, a bookmarking service that allows you to privately collect and tag webpages for easy access later. Pinboard is one of those services that sounds completely ridiculous — until you try it. It’s a great service, and its developer, Maciej Ceglowski, is truly dedicated to improving it and keeping it consistently up.

As many people know, the service can also operate as a great Read Later service. You can mark webpages as unread. Pinboard tags them as such, and you can catch up later on the Web or with your favourite Pinboard app of choice. Until recently, there weren’t any apps designed to make Pinboard a true Read Later service in the same vein as Instapaper. With Paperback, we finally have a Pinboard Read Later client focused purely on the reading experience.


I have a ludicrous number of links stored away in my browser, saved in my Pocket account, and clipped into my Evernote library. What I’d like is a simple, efficient system for sharing my bookmark collection. Thus far, I haven’t had much luck in finding one. Given our collective obsession with sharing pages, posts, photos, videos and Rickrolls, this seems a remarkable state of affairs.

Of course, there are a few aids out there for sharing links. If you belong to the small population of Delicious users still roaming the web, or you moved on to a service like Pinboard, you’ll be wondering what all the fuss is about. The problem is, not many of us do use these services any more.

So, what about a really simple way of collecting links together — perhaps in a theme — and making them accessible on one page? Enter Streme, a new platform which has been designed to make the creation of shareable link collections as easy as possible. But can it really fix link sharing?


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