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.
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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!
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.
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…)
It’s US Thanksgiving today, the day we set aside to eat turkey, play (or, more likely, watch) American football, and hopefully spend at least a few minutes of reflection about what we’re thankful for from the past year. And so, why not think about the web apps you’re most thankful for at the same time? They’ve changed how you worked, freed you from legacy apps, made you more productive, and likely saved you money. That’s a lot to be thankful for.
And it’s been a great year for web apps, especially as a writer, with so many new writing web apps coming out. It’d still be hard for me to pick my favorite, but I must say that I’m very grateful for Draft, Editorially, and Penflip, all three of which have already proved useful in my work this year. Draft especially has been rather phenomenal at getting so many new features over time, which has been so fun to see — and helpful as a user. Penflip, the newest of the bunch, is going to be very interesting to watch over the coming months.
That’s far from all of the new web apps this year — it’s hard to think of the world of web apps in 2013 without thinking of Typeform, Apple’s new iWork for iCloud apps and the redesigned core iCloud apps, and more. But that’s for later, when we’ll soon be rounding up the best apps of 2013 for your reading pleasure.
So today, we’d love to hear what brand new web apps you’re thankful for in 2013. Tell us why you love the app, and how you use it – and it just might end up being featured in our best of 2013 roundup.
And while we’re taking about being thankful, hey: thank you for being part of our community!
A lot of what we all do with our computers these days is online. A very large proportion of us forego the comfort of an email client and rely instead on a web based mail service such as Gmail or outlook.com. In recent years there has been a big push from a lot of big name companies — the likes of Google, Adobe and Microsoft — to encourage their customers to work increasingly in the cloud.
It is likely that the widespread use of webmail has helped to make the idea of breaking away from the confines of desktop software, but the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets can probably also claim some responsibility. The ability to work on the move on a smaller-screened device is obviously very liberating, but there are new considerations to keep in mind. It is all well and good being able to work away from the desktop, but there will probably come a time when you want to work on a regular computer rather than a portable device. Of course, you can plug your phone or tablet into your computer and copy files back and forth as required… but this is too much like hard work!
Collaborative writing has been one of the many things the web was supposed to simplify, and yet it’s still as broken as it’s ever been. Live co-editing like Google Docs offers only works for a very few niche scenarios, and newer tools like Draft and Editorially only work great for one writer and one editor giving feedback on a finished work. And the old style of emailing documents back and forth — or the slightly updated version of saving them to a shared Dropbox — is still far from ideal.
There’s one tech tool that’s seemed promising recently, though: git. The geeky version control system used most famously by GitHub is designed to let software developers collaborate on code, and is the very reason people around the globe can contribute to open source projects. Code is just text, of course, so earlier this year two dozen mathematicians wrote The HoTT Book collaboratively using GitHub. That was quite an undertaking, both for its unprecedented collaboration and for using git for writing even when it wasn’t exactly designed for it.
But what if GitHub was reinvented around writing? That’s what Penflip, a new git-powered writing app, aims to find out.
There once was a time when I followed gaming with verve and passion, soaking up every out-of-ten score in the Official Playstation Magazine, and cursing Nintendo for somehow making the latest Mario Kart game even more irritating than the last. But time has passed, and I no longer have my finger quite on the pulse.
However, I still do hear about most of the latest releases, one way or another, and I pay special attention to game launches with something interesting, unusual, or notable about them. A recent example was the launch of Zoo Tycoon, of which I learned thanks to my AppStorm colleague, Marius Masalar, and his fine taste in tweeting.
Whilst the sight of yet another Zoo Tycoon game was not terribly striking, the initiatives that Microsoft has taken, alongside the production of the game, are.