Twitter’s IPO yesterday gave the company an eye-watering market cap of over $24 billion, all for a company that got us to share our thoughts in 140 character public messages. Twitter has private messages, sure, but the value to advertisers is in those public messages. But not all communications is meant for public, and LINE — the hugely popular Asian private messaging app — is reportedly eying a $10 billion IPO for its decidedly not-public messaging service.

It’s insanely easy to share your thoughts with the world these days thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but it seems like it’s increasingly hard to privately message everyone. You’ll have some friends you need to email, some to private message on Facebook, others to WhatsApp or Line message, not to mention old-fashioned email, SMS, Skype, and traditional IM. You might even need to thrown Snapchat and BBM into the mix, and perhaps a few more obscure messaging apps to cover everyone. It’s quite the mess.

There’s simple ways to cross-post to multiple social networks at once (hello, IFTTT, Buffer, and the awesome Draft for iOS among others). But when it comes to private messaging, everything’s separate, which is quite the pain unless all of your friends, family, and colleagues prefer the same app for communications.

So: if you could pick one way to private message, and had to get rid of the rest, which would you pick? I’d personally pick email, old though it is, since it’s far richer than the other messaging tools. But there’s something to say for short and simple newer services — so how about you?

Email’s the original online communications tool, but it hasn’t aged as gracefully as it counterpart HTML in browsers. There’s so many different email clients and oddities in email rendering — not to mention the fact that email should be mobile first these days, with over 40% of messages opened on a mobile device — it’s terribly difficult to make a rich email message that looks great everywhere.

On the web, you could hand-code a responsive site, or you could just use a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation as the base for your site so you can focus on your design and forget about the complexities of making it work great everywhere. And now, you can do the same thing for HTML emails with ZURB’s new Ink responsive email framework.

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Working together with your team in the same room can be noisy and chaotic, and odds are you’ll get a lot less done thanks to constant distractions. People will stop in to tell you what they’re working on, or ask for help, or your manager will want updates on what you’re doing. That’s one of the many things that make remote work so enticing: it lets you find your own quiet zone to do your best work, and shut out all the distractions. Of course, then it’s tough to know what everyone’s working on.

That’s why the MetaLab Design team built the new Peak app. It’s the automated way to keep up with what everyone’s working on, and more, without taking up any of your team’s time for needless questions.

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Self-hosted web apps are a great option if you’re worried about your favorite service going offline. Google Reader’s shutdown has made that potential painfully obvious, and yet, most of the best alternate RSS services are still hosted apps that could be shutdown on a whim. Or, if they’re hosted on Amazon S3 like so many services are these days, they’ll go offline along with a significant portion of your apps if Amazon has a bad day.

JellyReader is a new, simple RSS reader app that, while not self-hosted yet, is designed to make sure you can never lose your RSS reader data. Instead of trusting someone else’s cloud with your data, it stores your feeds and saved articles in your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

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It’s easy to assume your customers love your products and services, or your readers love your site, until you get an angry email telling you how terrible your stuff is. Getting your customers’ ongoing feedback would be far better, but most people simply won’t take the time to fill out a survey or write you an email unless something is really bugging them.

What if there was a way to get feedback quickly without bugging your customers? That’s exactly what Temper is designed for.

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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.

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The internet is constantly changing. It’s rare when a site stays the same for years — far more often, sites change so often that you almost can’t rely on older links at all. It’s a terrible problem for citing sites in research papers, and an even worse problem for historians and geeks who’d like to look back at the beginning of the internet, since it’s largely already disappeared.

That is, it would have all disappeared if the Internet Archive wasn’t around. This ambitious non-profit project aims to build the definitive internet library by snapshotting much of the crawalable web and makes it available for anyone to sort through in the Wayback Machine, among other projects. It’s an incredible tool to look back and see, say, how Apple.com looked in ’98, and it just recently got a facelift and an API that makes it even more useful.

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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…)

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.

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From experience, we know happy employees are 31% more productive, post 37% higher sales, miss 15 fewer days of work each year, and are 10X more engaged than their unhappy counterparts. ONOR allows your company to authentically create these supercharged team members — without losing precious hours each day.

ONOR is developed on scientific research. Creating happy team members requires a sustainable mixture of positive verbal feedback and tangible public awards. That’s exactly what ONOR enables teams to do, plus more!

Managers and team members all contribute, add photos/videos, “like”, comment, and publicly acknowledge everyone in the group, while getting the most out of each hour. ONOR allows admins to create awards based on point totals or timelines; it’s simple and establishes a fair, automated system of tangible incentives within your team.

Large organizations can share privately within their network. Companies can assign individuals into smaller units, so recognition is seen by those who matter most: peer workgroups. ONOR combines science and socializing together like never before to engage and motivate every member of the team.

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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…

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