Share Your Family Moments Privately With Origami

For me, family is very important, and I was raised to always think of them first. Well, now that I have a family of my own, the term has taken on a whole new meaning. With my son growing and growing and with my family thousands of miles away, it makes it hard for me to share with them all of the funny and cute moments of his life. We have tried a couple of different avenues to make this happen. We tried to get my parents onto Facebook, but that was short lived. Then we tried to set up a website, which works decently well, but privacy was an issue.

That is why Origami was very intriguing when I first read about it. It is a platform that caters toward sharing your memories with your family members and just your family members. For the past few days I have been testing it out and I have to say I really like it and I look forward to using this with my family.

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I often proclaim myself to be platform agnostic and as one who doesn’t belong to any popular fanboi groups. In reality though, I have a soft corner to all things Google. I use many of their services even when there is a competent alternative in the offing. I strongly believe that Google is one of those companies that get things right most of the time.

That’s all changed with their announcement of shutting down Google Reader on July 1. It’s not a mass market product that was making money hand over fist for Google, but was used by thousands of vocal advocates of Internet and technology. By shutting it down, Google has unwittingly reinforced the notion that free services from Internet giants aren’t always in the best interest of the users.

I could cry a river about the loss of a faithful companion that brought sanity in this era of information overload, but thankfully, a handful of worthy big name alternatives have emerged in the past couple of weeks. I tried and dumped most of them and finally settled down with AOL Reader.

After the break, I’m gonna tell you how the popular choices – Feedly, Digg Reader, Ino Reader, and more fared in my evaluation and why I went with AOL instead. Read on!
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Forgive my tampering with a traditional idiom, but images really do make the world go round. Well, the online world at least. In this age of multimedia, a website without a photo or two somewhere within its contents sticks out like a sore thumb. Equally, a quick browse through your social timelines should reveal that photos are constantly being shared at an astounding rate, and it is these visual status updates which tend to be the most popular.

It was this trend which Pinterest latched onto just over three years ago now, and after an extraordinary early surge in the size of its user-base, it has gone on to become one of the web’s hottest social properties. The simplicity of a network which allows users to “pin” virtually any image, from any website, is both the main driving force behind Pinterest’s popularity, and the reason why the service is particularly popular with creative folks. As a method of digital scrapbooking, however, Pinterest disappointed many with its original near-requirement of its users to be social. Pinterest now allows the creation of secret boards, but as a network, it still isn’t terribly suited to private collation.

A new invite beta product named Board – the first from developer Creonomy – is based on a system of image collection which is similar to that of Pinterest, but it has been deliberately set up to be a private space for creatives to store their visual inspirations. Is there really a need for yet another web-clipping service, though?

There’s only one way to find out…and it involves a lot of image browsing…

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The end is finally here: Google Reader gets shut off, for good, on Monday, July 1st. Well before then, you should be celebrating your independence from Google’s feed reader, with an app that works just as good — or perhaps even better for your needs — than Google Reader ever did.

In the months since Google first announced they were going to shut down Google Reader, a ton of new RSS reader apps have been released, and many older, less known ones have become popular all over again. It’s actually a great time if you’re a fan of RSS readers, and chances are you’ll find yourself happier with one of the alternates today than you were with Google Reader.

But you’ve got to move now, before Google turns Reader’s power off. Here’s the apps you need for this weekend project — one that should take a whole of 5 minutes if you don’t get distracted reading through your feeds. (more…)

Blooki.st Makes it Simple to Publish Your Book Online

Creating things on the web has started to become easier to do with the help of some of the amazing web tools and apps that are out there. One area that seems like it is becoming more prominent on the web is eBook and magazine creation. When books and eBooks first came out, publishing was somewhat of a pipe dream unless you had a great book or you knew how to get it published, which meant that it wouldn’t be able to get in front of a lot of people. Now, with the web, book creation and content distribution is a lot easier to do. That is not to take away from people who work hard on their own to get published, but the web is providing a platform for the average person to be able to get more exposure to their writing than before.

Today, I am taking a look at a web application that offers the mass market of people the ability to create their own ebook/magazine. Blooki.st gives people a platform where they can easily create content on the web so that it can be distributed to the world. They aren’t the first web app to do this, and they most certainly won’t be the last, but there was something about how clean and easy it looked to use that I thought I had to just try it out for myself.

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Luma7: Your Personal Brainstorming Assistant

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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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…)

We're used to paying for lots of things — coffee, computers, cars — but for some reason, many people seem to have an aversion to paying for software. Even if we'll pay for programs for computers and apps for smartphones, paying for a web app seldom crosses most people's minds.

Maybe it's the ecosystem's fault, though. After all, most web apps are free. We've been spoiled with the likes of Google Docs and Gmail, Office Web Apps and WordPress, and even the freemium apps like Evernote and Dropbox that many use without paying a dime. There's so much good stuff out there for free, why pay?

But then, there's a lot of great stuff to pay for, too. If you're a designer or developer, you've likely considered paying for a CMS or hosted site service like Squarespace, and if you're a digital packrat you might already pay for Evernote or Dropbox storage. There's great apps like Pinboard and many of the new feed readers like Feedbin and Feed Wrangler that are paid-only, but they're of course the minority among web apps.

That's why we're wondering if you've ever paid anything for any web apps. If you've ever paid to use a web app, subscribed to the premium version of a web app, or bought a self-hosted web app, it counts, and you can check yes. If you've never paid for any app, or only have bought content online and have never paid for a web-only app, then check no. Then, feel free to share more on your thoughts about paying for web apps in the comments below. We'll look forward to seeing your feedback!

Get $1500 Worth of Web Apps for $37 with the Hacker Bundle

Whether you’re starting a new company, are working on your own personal side projects, or trying to manage a team at your existing firms, there’s a ton of web apps out there to help you out. From online code management tools to dashboards to see how your team’s doing and services that’ll take much of the work out of building new apps, it seems there’s a web service for everything these days. The only problem is, they can all add up to be fairly expensive over time.

You don’t see many discounts or bundles on web apps, but this week, the folks at Hacker Monthly — a magazine version of the popular tech forum Hacker News — have put together quite the nice bundle of web apps for anyone who’s developing web apps: the Hacker Bundle. It’s got Geckoboard to make a status dashboard for your team, BugHurd to track your app’s bugs, Beanstalk to privately host your code in Git or Mercurial, Twilio to add voice calls and SMS to your app, Mandrill to add email to your app, Visual Web Optimizer to make sure your app is running great, and more!

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Most of the subscriptions included are for 3-6 months, and all together would cost $1500. In the Hacker Bundle, though, you’ll get them all for just $37 — less than the price of just the Beanstalk plan.

If you’ve considered using any of these web apps in your startup, be sure to check out the full bundle of web apps within the next week or so while the bundle’s still live!

Jobrary: Resume Management Made Simple

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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