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…
We’d like to say a special Thank You! to our sponsors from this past month. 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!
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. It’s got the great reading and and sharing tools you’d expect, along with brilliant 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. All of that for free.
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.
Mojo Helpdesk is a brilliant way to give your customers the personalized support they need, and the new Help Center gives you an easy way to let your customers support themselves. They can easily search through your knowledge base to find answers to any questions they may have, and then send you a support ticket if they still need help. And if they do need more help, your support team will easily be able to keep up with all your support tickets and more right from Mojo Helpdesk.
Webydo lets you design a website without any coding at all. Just drag-and-drop the elements you want onto your site design, rearrange them as needed, and make sure they’ll look just like you want on every device. There’s everything you’d want, from web fonts to eCommerce tools, to make your sites just like you want. Once your website is created, it’s easy to keep it updated with Webydo’s content management system. You or your client can change anything on the site with Webydo’s sophisticated yet easy to use CMS & DMS (Design Management System). It’s simple enough anyone can use it, while still giving pros the features they need to make pixel-perfect websites.
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!
Web apps are typically single-purpose: you use one app for one thing. That’s in sharp contrast to most desktop apps, where you might use the same app (hello, Excel!) for dozens of different things. Being focused is great, but it can also sometimes be limiting.
Take Microsoft Office Access, for example. For years it’s been the go-to app for small businesses when they need a new form-driven internal app. Instead of buying some new app, anyone with the tiniest bit of computer skills can put together a custom solution without too much trouble. It might not be as powerful as a full-featured app for the same purpose, but it gets the job done without too much trouble.
Papyrs, an intranet tool we covered a couple years back, has recently added a new Apps mode that makes it easy for anyone to turn a Papyrs form into a custom database app. It’s Access, reinvented for the web.
It’s all too surprising these days when books aren’t available in eBook format. J.J. Abrams’ new book S. was most surprising for being a paper-only book — one that, comically enough, was released the same week that the FAA relaxed their rules for using electronic devices (say, an eReader) during aircraft takeoff and landing. It’s an eBook-centric world in publishing these days, enough that it takes something big to break us away from eBooks, and even a plane taking off isn’t a big enough reason.
It’s great, for the most part. You can read books anywhere — Kindle has a great web app, apps like Booki.sh let you read your DRM free eBooks from anywhere with a browser, and there’s online libraries and innovative new services like Safari Flow that make eBooks even more accessible. Apple’s even brought their eBook library to the Mac, and now that they put iWork in the cloud, I’d venture a guess that they’ll make an iBooks web app eventually.
And yet, some people still don’t like eBooks. There’s something to the feel of a paper tome in your hand, the faint ink and aged paper smell in the air, and the beauty of the printed word that makes paper books something that many still love. But it’s still hard to argue with the convenience of eBooks that can go anywhere you do.
I’ve switched my book buying to eBooks almost exclusively, and can’t imagine going back — but how about you? We’d love to hear your book-buying thoughts in the comments below!
The most exciting new open-source blog platform this year, Ghost 0.3 beta has finally been released to the public and is ready for you to use for your own new blog. It’s not 100% finished yet, but it’s already good enough that Envato has used it to launch the new Inside Envato blog — and it’s a great platform for you to start a new Markdown-powered blog that gives you an easy way to share your thoughts with the world.
Ghost is a bit more involved to get running than, say, WordPress, but we’ve already covered everything you need to get a new Ghost blog running. And once it’s running, Ghost is insanely easy to use. You’ll likely find yourself writing more than ever when it’s this simple to publish.
But what good’s a new blog without a shiny new theme? The default theme’s pretty nice, but if you want more than that, you’re in luck. There’s already dozens of beautiful Ghost themes online, ready for you to add to your Ghost blog or tweak to look just like you want, including over 30 on the ThemeForest Ghost marketplace, a handful of nice themes from the new Theme Spectre and Polygonix teams, and free themes on GitHub. Here’s our dozen favorite Ghost themes from across the web:
Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive are fantastic, but they don’t solve all the file-sharing needs you would have online. For starters, they require you to have an account to use them, and there’s no anonymity in sharing the file itself.
In the course of using the internet, you will often need different file-sharing solutions for different tasks. There is no one-size-fits-all service that gets everything done. So here are the best services for file-sharing, depending on what you need to do.
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!