The reasons for Myspace‘s fall from the zenith of social networking were the usual: neglect, user boredom, and a sparky new competitor offering an exciting, fresh alternative. Not terribly surprising. What has surprised me is the subsequent spooky quietness of the social music void that MySpace vacated.

Of all the would-be successors to MySpace, Last.fm has come the closest to being a direct replacement; but it provides poor listening options. Spotify and Grooveshark both have social aspects, although in both cases, the main focus is on music playing. And then there was Ping; as far as Apple is concerned, the less spoken about that car crash of a network, the better.

So it’s going to be interesting to see where new music discovery service Seevl fits in. With artist profiles, a comprehensive search engine, and integration with a plethora of streaming services, it looks well equipped to meet the needs of the contemporary listener. But can the app live up to its own, appealing feature list?

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I’ve always been in the lookout for tools to make niche writers’ lives easier. Screenwriting is a product category that I’ve become really passionate about. It’s an area of interest for me — screenwriting is a hobby of mine, and I’d love to see the tools used to write them improve. After all, we’ve all been stuck with the same few standards for years — Final Draft being chief among them

Final Draft is really unwieldy, though. It’s one of my least favourite programs, and for a while, it was also one of my most used. Today, I spend a lot of time using apps like Slugline, which use a fantastic Markdown-inspired markup syntax called Fountain (developed in part by John August, the writer of Big Fish). But for many people, a new syntax can only do so much in our Internet-based world. Enter Writer Duet, an online screenwriting app built for writers who want to collaborate on the go. Read on to find out what makes this product so unique in a sea of contenders.

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The simplest apps are typically designed for individuals. Everything from the original iPhone to minimalist writing apps to simple file sharing apps were designed to help you be more productive and enjoy your work better. Even Word started out as a pretty simple app that just ran on your personal DOS computer.

Then, over time, more and more features are added and the product goes enterprise. That used to always mean that the app would have way too many features aimed at businesses and be insanely complex for individual use, and someone would have to start the cycle all over with a new, simple tool. And yet, lately, a number of simple apps have started taking on business-focused features while still staying simple. It’s pretty magical to see.

Droplr‘s new Business plans are the original simple file sharing tool’s first shot at growing beyond their current file-sharing tool into something businesses rely on. Best of all, they’ve maintained their trademark simplicity while adding features that make sense for teams.

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It was only six months ago that I was testing, and seriously enjoying the newly released Barley, and its intuitive take on website management. Featuring tag-based installation, editing that is almost entirely inline, and a beautiful admin area, it has been a hit with web designers looking for a client-friendly option.

Now, however, Barley wants to encroach on the territory of another CMS. But not just any CMS – it wants to take on WordPress, via a plugin.

Few in the web industry would describe WordPress as the leanest editing machine, nor as the friendliest environment for the hapless, technophobic business owner. But can a plugin really outdo the system it is plugged into?

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Having trouble keeping up with your company’s support needs? It can be overwhelming to manage support for multiple products and divisions of the same company, and even more confusing if you’re running support for several companies at once. That’s why you need Vision Helpdesk.

Vision Helpdesk is the support app that lets you manage support for multiple companies in one place. All of your staff can login at the same staff portal, and each company can have its own client portal — and you can manage them all together. It integrates with all of your companies’ email and social media accounts, and even gives you live chat and phone support integration.

You can automatically organize tickets with custom rules, make support centers so customers can help themselves, and even let your staff communicate internally with Blabby, Vision Helpdesk’s built-in social network. You can even integrate your Vision Helpdesk with over 180 web apps through Zapier, and support your customers on the go with Vision Helpdesk’s mobile apps. It’s everything you need for the perfect support setup.

Start Using Vision Helpdesk Today and Save!

Best of all, it’s Cyber Monday, so you can switch to Vision Helpdesk today and save even more! You can run Vision Helpdesk in the cloud starting at just $24/month, or download and run it on your own server for 30% off its normal price with the coupon code 30promo.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

As a freelancer and small business owner (you’d probably be surprised at how often those two coincide), I’ve spent some time looking for ways to track how much I’m working and what I do with my days. For me, this has a couple purposes. If my hours are billable (they’re usually project-based, but once in a while I bill by the hour), I can keep track of how much money I’m owed. The second purpose is simple time management — it’s a lot easier to keep on task and on track if you know where your time is going.

I’ve recommended a couple different apps for the latter — my favourite is still iDoneThis — but I haven’t had a chance yet to talk about the former. With Ding, I’ve finally found an app that really hits the spot for tracking billable hours. Let’s talk about what makes Ding worthwhile for freelancers and why you might be interested in adopting it for your own small business.

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Trying to schedule a meeting at a time that's great for your team is difficult even if everyone everyone’s in the same city. But if your team works remotely — or you’re collaborating with a freelancer or company in a different country — you’ll need a lot more than just luck to get a meeting scheduled. And it’s not just meetings: if your family or friends live around the world, just planning a Google Hangout for the holidays can be quite the stressful undertaking.

There’s a ton of apps to help navigate the time zone issue, but the new World Meeting Time app is the best I’ve seen yet. Built by the Tectonica design team, World Meeting Time for once makes it simple to figure out what time it’ll be in any locations you need on earth at once. You just drag your markers to the spots where you and your colleagues live, and it’ll show the locations and current times on the left. Then, set your meeting time in your own personal local time on the top, and you’re set. You can then email each of the collaborators with the schedule right from the app, or use the time info on your own. It’s simple and easy.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 11.17.45 AM

Another great time zone app I’ve recommend for years is Every Time Zone, which is quite a great visual reference for the current time in major cities around the world. It’s what I use when I need to quickly think about times in other places without precise scheduling. But World Meeting Time has the edge in quickly finding the current time in a number of places at once, and the built-in email tool to finish scheduling the meeting seals the deal.

For your next conference call or family holiday video call, be sure to give it a try. It’ll help you keep your sanity without having to remember what GMT± everyone lives in.

We’d like to say a special Thank You! to our sponsors from November. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.

If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!

Xehon

Xehon is a new app for keeping up with almost everything in your digital life in a totally new way. It’s got an incredibly basic interface that lets you add in the modules you want to turn it into your own web app. You can make your own file storage system, design basic graphics and flowcharts, organize pictures, write online documents in specific sections that can be moved around as you want, keep track of your appointments on the calendar, and even blog or run a forum, all from one Xehon account.

Atmail

Email’s still the main way most of us privately communicate and collaborate online. That’s why your business’ email service is crucially important. You can manage your own local Exchange server, but then you risk downtime if anything breaks locally. And both Google Apps and Microsoft’s hosted Exchange can get expensive, and have their own differences you’ll have to work around.

Or, you could get an hosted email service that’s just $2/user/month and is fully standard compliant with IMAP, CardDAV, CalDAV, vCard, and even ActiveSync push: Atmail Cloud. It works with all the apps your team already uses, and has a beautifully designed web app that your team will actually want to use. It’s easy to manage, lets your team share contacts and calendars across accounts, and supports SPF and DKIM checks to keep your email secure.

Nutcache

There are so many different invoicing apps out there, but you’d be nuts to miss out on Nutcache’s online invoicing app. It’s free, which counts for a lot – especially if you are self-employed. Times are hard, and accounts are harder, which is why working with Nutcache can make your life a whole lot simpler and brighter – our diligent blue squirrels are certainly more appealing than fraying ring binders and paper cuts.

ONOR

If you’re reading this, you’re among the 76% of team leaders who already know that improving employee experience is the best way to drive company culture and revenue. Taking time to give team members the public recognition and awards they’ve earned has never been easily possible — until now.

ONOR is the first app that enables teams to instantly encourage, share, and create thriving culture on any device, anywhere.

And a special thanks to you, our Web.AppStorm readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We hope you continue to find our articles interesting and helpful!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Simplenote started out as a plain text notes app on the iPhone, one that was pretty breathtaking compared to the iOS Notes app and early contenders on the App Store. With its slightly skeuomorphic web app and fast sync with native apps on other platforms like the popular Notational Velocity and its forks, it became the notes app of choice for many of us. Yet, it started to grow a tad long in the tooth. Its parent company, Simperium, used Simplenote’s sync technology to help other developers sync data from their apps, and that took the focus away from the less profitable notes app.

Then early this year, Automattic — WordPress.com’s parent company — announced that they’d bought out Simperium and planned to make Simplenote better than ever. Their first investment into the app was giving it the domain name it deserved — Simplenote.com — but the app updates took a bit longer. But they were worth the wait. This fall’s brought a brand-new Simplenote for Mac app that was the first app to use the iOS 7 flat design on the Mac, as well as a redesigned Simplenote for iOS and Android with a similar beautifully clean UI.

And now, that same new design has finally reached Simplenote’s web app. Just head over to app.simplenote.com, login with your account, and you’ll see the same beautifully clean UI with your notes ready to search, view, and edit right in the cloud.

The new, clean Simplenote web app.

The new, clean Simplenote web app.

There’s little new in the new Simplenote, other than the new design. Everything else works the very same as before: you can search through your notes, share notes by adding your collaborator’s email address as a tag, format notes with Markdown, and even publish them online (though that seems to not be working just yet). It’s once again the nicest plain text notes app in the cloud. And, its new distinctive flat UI makes it look the most like an iOS 7 app on the web than anything else we’ve used other than the new iCloud web apps. It’s nice, clean, and still works great. And with the new apps, you can use Simplenote everywhere without needing 3rd party apps: on the web, iOS, Android, and the Mac.

The original plain text notes app is back and better than ever, and we couldn’t be happier. Be sure to try it out!

There’s so many new focused writing apps for the web this year, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But they almost all have one thing in common: they require you to use Markdown for formatting. You could just write in plain text, but if you want italics or bold text, or just want to add a list or a link, you’ll have to use Markdown. It’s not hard to use, per se, but not everyone loves typing extra characters for formatting. That’s why there’s still the tried and true rich text formatting like you’d see in Word, Pages, and even the Gmail editor. It’s just not something most focused writing apps use these days.

If you love rich text editing, and still love focused writing apps without all the clutter and nonsense, you’re in for a treat. The brand-new drft is just what you’ve been waiting for, and we’ve got exclusive invites for our readers. (more…)

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