Posts Tagged

News

It’s been a tragic week for the US with the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as the events that have unfolded over the past few hours with gunfights and more in Boston. There’s also been a factory explosion in Texas, ricin-laced letters sent to the president, an even worse bombing in Iraq, and more. Scary stuff.

There’s so many ways to get the news, and you’d always figure the internet would be the best way. Often it is; cable news seemed incredibly slow compared to Twitter, say, in the events of the past few hours. But local TV — which, incidentally, I watched over the internet — had some of the best coverage, as did Reddit, a site most of us wouldn’t trust for authoritative information (sorry!).

And then, if you were actually in the area of the disasters, authorities were requesting that cell phones be turned off, and during the marathon bombing the networks were nearly overloaded with calls, making internet use, at least from your phone, not such a good option. Suddenly, old-fashioned FM radio made the most sense.

It made me wonder what you turn to first when you need immediate news. Do you turn a dial on a radio still, or are you more likely to turn on the TV? Or is Twitter the first place you’d think to check?

About two weeks ago, Google dropped the bomb on many of us who use Google Reader by declaring that they are going to shut it down this summer. Many of you have been looking at different alternatives to see what will work for you. I have been doing the same as well and although I am not convinced there is something that will replace it just yet, I was able to test out a web app that I thought had some similar qualities to Google Reader and could be a decent replacement.

Taptu has gone under the radar for a lot of people, but it’s an RSS app that’s actually been around since 2010. I played around with the app back then, but stopped because I knew that it couldn’t come close to what I was doing with Google Reader and not only that, I was used to what I was already using and it was working fine. Like the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So that is what I had decided at the time, well now, Google Reader is not broke, but it definitely will get there. That is why I decided to revisit this app and give it another try.

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It’s pretty much considered common knowledge that most people just don’t get RSS, and that people would rather follow your site on Twitter or Facebook, add you to an app like Flipboard, or just visit your homepage for updates. Email newsletters, people get, but not RSS. Now, RSS can’t be too complicated, seeing as thousands of you follow this site via RSS, but most RSS readers – even Google Reader – make it too complicated.

If Skimr had always been around, though, perhaps complicated and confusing wouldn’t be the first thing people think of when they hear of RSS. Skimr is a beautifully simple new online RSS reader that makes it simple to browse the headlines from your favorite sites without feeling like you’ve got an overloaded inbox to clear out. If you’ve never found the perfect RSS reader for you, it’s the one you should try. (more…)

One of my favorite rituals is to wake up early in the morning, while the rest of the family is sleeping, make a nice pot of coffee and sit down and read the tech news of the last 24 hours. This is something that I have been doing for the past three years or so, and it is my time to just sit and be. I love using Google Reader to collect all of the tech news that I am interested in reading and over time, I feel like I have crafted a pretty solid list of blogs and news outlets to stay on top of the latest and greatest.

But, how I consume all of this information is a little more difficult than putting together a list of great tech blogs to read. For me, Google Reader on the web just doesn’t cut it. I tend to do most of my reading on my iPad Mini and I have been faithful to The Early Edition because I liked their newspaper layout and the settings. The other day, I was introduced to Feedly – the web app – by my editor, and I was instantly hooked. It’s a nice, iPad style news reading app for the web, one you should be sure to try out.

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As a writer for the App Storm network as well as a tech fanatic, I am constantly keeping up on all the tech news around the world. For the longest time, Google Reader was one of the easiest and best ways to consume news on the net. But as time has gone on, there have been other apps out there that have gained traction on it and have also incorporated Google Reader into their own app. One of the that comes to mind is Flipboard, who has added their own twist to consuming news while incorporating Google Reader feeds into their app as well, instead of trying to fight Google’s dominance directly.

Then, another major trend is that Facebook and Twitter have become popular ways to consume tech news. There are some developers out there that have recognized this and have come out with some great apps. One of them, called Prismatic, has done this well, enough that I took it for a test drive for a few days and came away impressed. Can it replace your Google Reader feed? Well, I guess you are just going to have to read on and find out.

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Weekly Poll: Have You Subscribed to an Online Newspaper?

Paying for content online continues to be a contentious issue. Online publications need to make money to keep servers running and writers fed, but readers are so used to getting news online for free, it’s hard to fund journalism online. From the New York Times to sites like AppStorm, we all have to find ways to make money while still providing value for our readers.

Back in the day, many of us would have purchased a paper subscription, and then would have had to deal with getting rid of hundreds of pounds of paper each year. Then, along came the internet, and we swapped a paper subscription for a net connection and free news sites. Publishers were more than happy to oblige, making money from ads online and print subscriptions.

The ad equation worked out fine for some online-only publications, but for larger organizations, there was no way to, say, pay to send journalists to Afghanistan on ads alone. The past year has seen more sites start to work behind a paywall, making it necessary to buy a subscription to read articles. Most, including the New York Times, give you a certain number of free articles, but then you’ll have to pay to keep reading.

That’s why we’re wondering: have you ever paid for a news site? Have you bought an online newspaper subscription, or perhaps paid for an indie tech blog membership?

Say Hello to the Latest Tuts+ Site: Mactuts+

We’re excited to let you know about the latest addition to the Tuts+ family — Mactuts+!

Mactuts+ is focused on teaching you how to use your Mac more effectively, efficiently, and powerfully. You’ll learn about the basics of OS X, how to switch, how to use accessories and time-saving software, work with your Mac in an enterprise setting, and how to save time with advanced productive tips and tricks.

Read on to find out more about how the site will complement Mac.AppStorm, and learn about our $1,000 competition!

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If you are a regular reader you should probably know about a major gripe of mine – lack of quality feed reader apps on the web like the ones available for iOS. While remaining loyal to Google Reader for the time being, I am constantly looking out for that one awesome web app that will make me jump a creaking ship.

As and when I find some hopefuls, I never miss a chance to take them for a spin and share the results with our community. Subpug brings all your favourite websites, blogs and news sources into one convenient place. It’s totally free and there’s no need to sign up. You don’t even need to give us your email address. So, is it the feed reader that’s gonna make me ditch the good old Reader?

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That’s right! AppStorm has now landed on Google+ and will be delivering you app related goodness right to your Stream! We’re excited to let you know that now, in addition to Twitter and Facebook, you can get involved with Web.AppStorm over at Google+! We’ll be using Google+ to let you know about the latest app news, reviews, how-tos, and roundups. Read on to find out more…

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Track Your New Game’s Publicity with Promoter

How many games have you bought based on good reviews and recommendations? One of my favourite games of all time, Portal 2, was bought following a recommendation from a friend, and I’ve bought countless apps on my devices based on reviews I’ve read across the internet. Reviews are a great way of discovering and judging apps and games you’re interested in buying.

However, they are even more important to developers where bad reviews can make or break there game. Reviews play such an important role in a game’s reputation and marketing that a PR firm contracted for the game Duke Nukem Forever threatened to blacklist publications for giving bad reviews to the game. (However, the publisher soon parted ways with the firm due to the scandal.)

Promoter is a web app that can help developers, publishers and PR firms by aggregating mentions and reviews from a wide range of mainstream blogs and sites for a game. This means a user can be left with a timeline of their game’s activity on the web, as well as presenting select reviews with a public page on Promoter.

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