It’s gift buying season again — that time of the year when you’ve got to rack your brain to figure out what would be a good gift for everyone. But one gift idea that keeps popping up from a number of web apps is the gift of a subscription.
That sounds like a great idea at first. Who wouldn’t love a few free months of Netflix or Spotify or Evernote Pro? Or, for those a bit geekier, a free domain name or hosting might sound nice. You could even make sure your family’s data stays safe by giving them a year of CrashPlan. There’s even the more traditional gift subscriptions — Amazon, for instance, has every newspaper and magazine you could think of ready for gifting in paper or digital. Even newer web apps are getting in on it, with Draft offering gift subscriptions as well this year.
And yet, something seems a bit odd about gifting a subscription. It’s great while you’re using the gift subscription for free, but what about next year? It’s almost like you’re giving your family and friends more work — they’ll have to upgrade to their own subscription next year, or cancel their gift subscription when it runs out. That makes it a bit less nice of a gift than, oh, just about any other physical product.
So how do you feel about gifting subscriptions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Christmas Tree icon via Eighty8four
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!