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?
There’s been an explosion in new RSS feed readers since Google Reader was shut down, but most of the best are are only designed to help you read your feeds from an app or the web. The brand-new throttle is a brilliantly reinvented RSS reader app that not only makes it simple to read your feeds on any device, but also helps you discover the very best feeds in curated lists and based on your interests.
Throttle starts off with a simple, light-colored UI that makes it easy to read all of your feeds. You can import your feeds from your OPML file or add them directly in the app or with throttle’s bookmarklet, then organize them into groups so you can read feeds about similar topics together. There’s the sharing options you’d expect, as well as an option to save articles for later reading right in the app.
Then, what’s really great in throttle is its Discovery tools. You can browse through popular sites, find stuff you’d be interested in reading, and follow lists of sites curated by throttle readers. We’ve put together a list of all of the AppStorm sites you can follow directly on throttle, as well as lists of some of our favorite Web and Mac app blogs, and you can do the same with your favorite sites.
Go try throttle!
Whether you’ve already found an app to replace Google Reader, or have given up on RSS feeds altogether, you’ve got to try out throttle. It’s a brilliant new RSS reader experience that’ll help you discover great new sites to follow, looks great on every device, and is 100% free. Go try it out, then follow our AppStorm RSS lists to keep up with our articles and the sites we follow right on throttle with one click!
Google Maps is a fantastic resource, whether you are using it to figure out your bearings or exploring the world through its Street View mode. But did you know it offers a lot beyond the mere utility features?
For some time now, developers have been using the Google Maps API to make cool games. Whether it’s figuring out where in the world a photos is taken from or diving from the skies towards the Statue of Liberty, Google Maps games are a whole lot of fun.
Here are a few you should be playing.
When Apple first released the iWork for iCloud web apps, I noted that the apps included far more features than Google Docs, especially for page layout and formatting. There was just one major thing missing: collaboration. That was rectified this week, when at the Apple announcement they went to great lengths to show off (with, of all things, what’s essentially Word Art) that their office suite now has real-time collaboration.
Google Docs — and smaller apps like Etherpad — pride themselves on letting you collaborate with others in real-time. I’ve used it to great effect in the past to work with others on translating documents, among other things, and we share a number of documents at AppStorm on Google Drive — though we rarely if ever are all editing at once. For the most part, it just seems like real-time editing is too much, an opinion seemingly shared with the newer writing and editing apps Draft and Editorially.
And yet, live collaboration seemed like a big enough need to Apple that they added collaboration to their iWork web apps over what others would consider more-needed poweruser features in Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for Mac.
That made me wonder how important live collaboration is to you. Do you regularly live co-edit documents with others, or do you just share documents with others and each edit them at your own leisure? We’d love to hear your thoughts on live editing documents — and, if you’ve tried them, on Apple’s iWork for iCloud web apps — in the comments below.
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.
When you need to do serious teamwork, simple todo lists aren’t enough. And yet, most project management apps force you to work in one way that likely isn’t the best for your team, either. That’s why the brand-new BamBam! is so exciting.
Built by the Springloops team, BamBam! is a brilliant new project management tool that’s designed to work the way you do. It’s flexible enough that it’ll work great for everyone on the team, since everyone can adjust their workspace to work exactly like they want. You can have your tasks and activity stream show exactly what you want, where you want — and the activity stream is smart enough to highlight the info that’s actually important to you, so you’ll actually want to read through your stream. Then, when you want to find what you need to get your work done, BamBam! has powerful search and filtering tools to help you only find what you really need.
BamBam!’s got every feature your team could need to keep your projects and personal tasks on track without making anything overwhelming or difficult. You’ll find quick search for the stuff you’re most likely to need, custom notifications so you’ll hear about everything that’s most important, back links to old tasks to keep all your info together, milestones, email integration, and more. It’s even got time estimations for tasks to help your team manage your Kanban or Scrum projects, and integrates with Chime to track your time and Springloops to version control your team’s code in one integrated family of apps.
Get Your Team Working Together with BamBam! Today
BamBam! lets you work just like you want, and it also gives you a lot less to worry about with pricing. Your first 10 team members can use BamBam! for free, and then it costs just $7 per user per month for each person after that. No storage limits, no set number of projects or tasks, and no paying for more users than you need. So go signup for a free BamBam! account today, and see how productive your team can be with a project manager that works the way you do.
Passwords dominate our lives these days; they are part and parcel of spending time online. There are now so many applications, service, devices and websites that require us to log into our secure account using a password that the sheer number of passphrases we have to remember has spiralled completely out of control.
For the best level of security it’s advisable to use a completely different password for each website and service — just off the top of my head I can think of 20 websites that I need to log into (there are probably at least double if I were to sit down and list everything properly); how the heck am I supposed to remember 20 completely unique passwords, each of which comprises a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Oh, and don’t forget… you’re meant to change these passwords every few weeks!