Happy Thanksgiving! For Americans around the globe (including your editor in Thailand), Thanksgiving a time of family and friends and football and more food. And, of course, it’s the time we’re supposed to take a few moments to think of all the things we’re thankful for. Most of us have life far easier today than the original settlers and native Americans did back in the 1600’s, but there’s still a lot to be thankful for.
Truth be told, almost every device and app we touch today would have seemed magical only a decade or two ago, and the internet itself is almost a modern miracle. Here’s some of the biggest things in the world of web apps the AppStorm team is thankful for this year.
Life, Liberty, and Internet Connection
Quick: how many of you remember struggling to connect to the internet over shaky, slow dial-up connections? Seems like an eternity now, but even 6 years ago, dial-up was one of the surest ways to get online from anywhere. Today, we’re so hyperconnected, we feel panicked if there isn’t at least an EDGE signal available. We’ve been spoiled by fast internet connections, always-on availability, and modern browsers that can render complex animations without Flash.
The internet has truly changed our lives. For many of us, we wouldn’t even have the jobs we have today without the internet, and you might stay in touch with a totally different set of friends if it wasn’t for social networks and chat. We zip money around the globe with Paypal, make routine video calls in Skype, stream videos from YouTube, and are dumbfounded when anything takes a half of a microsecond longer than normal. The internet is truly amazing, and as a team of writers that work with web apps day in and day out, it’s one of the biggest things we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Those Special Apps
There’s far more web apps out there than any one person could actually use, let alone use productively. I personally use over a dozen web apps on a regular basis, and most of us rely on the standard apps such as Dropbox, Google Apps, and perhaps a bookmarking app like Pinboard or a notes app like Simplenote. The neat thing, though, is when a new app comes out that fits into our life so perfectly that it becomes one of the apps we rely on. Here’s a list of the apps that each of us on the Web.AppStorm team started using regularly this year and are thankful for:
Matthew Guay, Web.AppStorm Editor
As odd as it may sound, I’ve only honestly started using Google Docs on a regular basis this year. Sure, I’ve opened random files and checked out shared public documents in Google Docs, but I always defaulted to using Microsoft Office whenever I really needed to crank out an essay or spreadsheet. This year, though, it’s become one of the web apps I use the most.
The thing that’s made the real difference for me is live co-editing in Google Docs documents. That sounds at first like a gimmicky feature that wouldn’t have much use in real-life, but it’s surprisingly useful. Over the past months, I’ve used it to work on several translation projects with friends hours away, and it worked seamlessly. Throw in a Skype video call running at the same time, and it’s almost as good as working together on a document. Sure, you wouldn’t even want that for many things you write, but I’ve found a ton of reasons to need to use it, and it’s worked perfectly every time.
I’m so thankful for TeuxDeux. I have tried almost every GTD app (both on mobile and web) and none of them helped. It may be because it was so difficult to move things around when I couldn’t do them on time (which happens very often). Since TeuxDeux offers a unique perspective – all the tasks I have planned for the entire week, I am more aware of the state of things now more than ever. And it takes a simple drag and drop to get tasks rescheduled. It has been a while since the app got any new features, so I would love to see a few and a native iPad app too!
I am thankful for Fitbit, which gives me the proper tools to start making lifestyle changes, while also appealing to my inner number-cruncher.
I’m also thankful for Rdio, which has made my musical life much better and provides an alternative for suffering through YouTube videos to listen to a particular song.
I’m most thankful this year for Crowdbooster, which has really given me an unprecedented (for me) insight into the impact made by my social media presence. Also, I only recently started using Wunderlist, and while I mostly use the Mac/iOS flavors, the web has proved extremely useful in a handful of situations.
I’m thankful for Remember the Milk, which I just recently rediscovered. Syncs to my phone/tablet, allows multiple lists, and keeps me super organized!
I am personally thankful for Remember the Milk, because it has allowed me to become more organized with my time and remember what my priorities are. I love its ability to intuitively schedule for future events, sync with both my iOS and Android devices, and generally just be a great application through and through. I am still learning all the shortcuts built into the system, but I know that this is one tool which can only increase my productivity the more I use it. For bloggers, job seekers, or even someone trying to set up a schedule to work out or stick to a diet, it’s a great tool for following up on your end of year (and new years) resolutions.
I’m grateful for YouTube, as I’ve been able to learn a ton from it, Reddit, where I get tons of news and amusement, Google Docs, which I’ve been using to do all writing and editing for school, and Google Reader, which I use for all my news feeds and keeping up with what’s going on in the tech world.
For me its Do It (Tomorrow). It allows me to quickly add items to my todo list – for today, or tomorrow – nothing else. This simplicity helps me manage a reasonable todo list and usually no item is left undone too long!
I use Google Reader and Google Analytics every day, but access both via apps on my iPhone, Mac, and iPad, rather than via their respective webapps. The webapp I use and value most is Runkeeper, which logs my runs and walks and gives me access to great and useful measures of my fitness. I’ve used Nike+ in the past, but it’s been Runkeeper all the way for the past year. For that, I’m very grateful.
The app I’m most thankful for is Google Docs. In the past, I’ve stuck to editing documents through desktop word-processing software but over the past couple of months, I’ve migrated slowly to Docs and I’m really glad I have. The recent redesign has meant that the interface is much nicer and ensures that while I’m writing, I’m not stuck staring at the same old boring interface that graces so many desktop writing apps. Thanks Google!
What apps are you grateful for this year?
And if you’d like to try out some of the apps we’ve fallen in love with this year, here’s our reviews about some of them:
- TeuxDeux: Getting Things Done With Simplicity & Style
- Get Things Done with Remember The Milk
- Taking Web Apps Beyond Their Limits: 6 Unique Ways to Put Apps to Use (including YouTube, Simplenote, and Google Docs)
- Do It (Tomorrow) – A Beautiful and Simple Task List
- Use Social Media More Effectively with Crowdbooster
- Fitbit: Using the Web to Lose Weight and Stay Fit
- Rdio vs. MOG: All-You-Can-Eat Music Buffet