Google’s new packaged Chrome web apps are radically different from what we’ve been calling “web apps” all along, since they run 100% offline and their online parts feel no more “online” than a native app that syncs. For all intents and purposes, they’re “real” apps. We’ve been making fake “real” apps from web apps with tools like Fluid for OS X for years, letting web apps run in their own separate windows outside the real browser, but in the back of your head you always know that it’s little more than a trick. Let your internet connection go out, and boom — most web apps will loose your data at best, and totally fail to keep working at worst.
So, let’s say there’s two types of web apps: the normal kind you can visit in any browser, and the ones you have to install like Chrome packaged apps. The latter make perfect sense to run in their own window and launch from the Start Menu or Launchpad — they’re real native apps, really. But how about web apps that require you to be online anyhow, ones you can run from any browser just by visiting their site. Should those live in their own windows, too, like a normal app, or do you prefer to keep them in a browser tab where they feel like just another website and you’re reminded that they’re really virtual apps? We’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not web and native apps — and the halfway house between the two that is Chrome offline apps — should have a difference, or if we’d all be better off if we treated all apps the same.
When you want to make a quick flyer to advertise your yard sale or pull together a quick birthday card for your Mom, what app do you open first? Odds are, Word or PowerPoint. The former’s ubiquitous for page layout designs, even though its not really meant for it, and the latter was the app I used to reach for simply because it’s easy to use for basic graphics-heavy layouts. Either way, you could always get something basic whipped up in 5 minutes, flat, and it’d look ok.
Don’t settle for ok anymore, and don’t worry about needing more than 5 minutes. Canva, a brand-new online design tool, makes quick graphics design simpler than ever — and its results actually look great.
Consider broadband’s contribution to music. Without it, we’d all be stuck in our pre-Napster bubbles, unable to hear any harmonies on demand other than those we owned; no wonder music TV shows did so well back then. Without broadband, “iTunes” would just be a weird way of describing your CD collection. And without broadband, we’d still be sharing our playlists on tape. Nowadays, we can access virtually any piece of music ever recorded, and instantaneously share our latest audio discoveries with our friends. Thank you, broadband.
However, despite being spoilt for listening choice, we now have 2013 problems to deal with. Streamed music is a highly fragmented marketplace, and if you are trying to build a cloud-based library, it is unlikely that every track you’ll ever want will be on Spotify, or Rdio, alone. As a result, playing your internet-derived library may require a haphazard tour around the likes of YouTube and SoundCloud, just to get the sounds you’re after. That’s just silly.
The makers of the beta, music curation platform, Cumulus.fm, want to make the musical site-hopping game a thing of the past. But is a slick, cross-service, music library really achievable?
There’s plenty of ways to blog today, but one has caught the imagination of bloggers and developers more than any this year: Ghost. And today, it’s finally ready for everyone to try out.
We tried out Ghost when it was first released to Kickstarter backers a few weeks back, and found it to be a brilliantly simple way to blog in Markdown — that is, once you get it installed. That last point is far simpler today, thanks to the efforts of Ghost’s partners including our whole Envato team.
Here’s the tools you need to get a new Ghost-powered blog today:
Giving your customers great support can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Mojo Helpdesk, our sponsor this week, has a brand new Help Center tool that makes sure you’ll get less support tickets than ever — while still giving your customers the best support possible.
Mojo Helpdesk’s 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.
From the team that makes the acclaimed Das Keyboard, the Mojo Helpdesk team is focused on helping people be productive. You’ll find that same dedication to solid functionality and performance in Mojo Helpdesk. You can customize your help center to look just like you want, and fully integrate it with Google Apps and email to keep your team productive in the apps they already use. You can even use its API to add support for Mojo Helpdesk to your own apps. It’s got everything you need to give your customers the stellar support they deserve.
Try Mojo Helpdesk Today!
Ready to get a better helpdesk for your team? You can try out Mojo Helpdesk for free for 30 days, then continue giving your customers the great help desk experience they deserve starting at $24/month — a small price for all the support features it’ll give your team.
If you’re a programmer, or if you spend a significant amount of your day working with plain text for any reason, you’ll surely have at least heard of Sublime Text. The one paid text editor that’s won over both Emacs and VI fans, Sublime Text is the gold standard in text editors. And, it’s cross platform, so you can run in on your Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.
There’s only one place it won’t run — Chrome OS. And, of course, it won’t run on any Mac or PC if you don’t have a copy — plus, keeping your settings synced can be a pain at best. That’s why Caret is so exciting. It’s a full-featured code editor in an offline Chrome web app that can run anywhere Chrome runs, for free, and it’ll keep your settings synced along with the rest of your Chrome data.
As a longtime user and huge fan of Rdio, I was thrilled to hear about its new free service to combat iTunes Radio and Pandora (along with many other services). But I had a lot of questions about the new service, and nobody was answering them for me in a clear or concise way.
A lot of us at AppStorm are fans of the service too, so pitching the idea seemed natural. For us, Rdio is a way we find new music all the time. Understanding how it works for new users with an unpaid subscription is important to us, because we really want our friends on the service. (Say what you will, but I think its social features are top-notch.) Read on to find out what you need to know about Rdio’s free subscription tier.
When WordPress gets too complex and you want something more personal than Medium, what are you going to use to blog? There’s Svbtle, but it’s invite-only, and most of the cool new Markdown blogging platforms are self-hosted apps, which is more trouble to manage than many want to take on.
Silvrback is a new project that’s trying to bring simple Markdown-powered blogging to everyone. It’s got a bit of Svbtle and Medium’s style and the simplicity of pure Markdown blogging, without having to worry about invites and uploads and servers.
Remote working definitely has its advantages. That’s an assertion I can back up with my own experience, not least in terms of my writing for AppStorm. The opportunity to work anywhere within range of a Wi-Fi signal provides wonderful freedom, and the lack of workplace distractions can make a significant, positive difference to productivity.
Not that it’s perfect, by any means. One of the key challenges of employment-by-broadband is trying to work with a team. An on-site employee or employer needs only to get up and walk a few steps to give or receive feedback, share ideas, or simply have a chat at the water-cooler. Of course, those of us who work from afar do not have that luxury. It’s not surprising, then, that there are plenty of video-calling and instant messaging options aimed at suiting the needs of geographically spread business teams.
Whilst no online platform can replace the instantaneous, spontaneous communication available in person, the next best thing, in my view, is a chat platform which works swiftly and efficiently. New beta collaboration service Fleep is aiming to provide just that, together with productivity aids such as file sharing. Fleep is up against some tough competition though (we’re all very impressed with Slack here at AppStorm, for example), but can it shine through?