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.
With the advent of the tablet, specifically the iPad, book and magazine publishing has gotten a lot more attention than they thought they would ever get. Gone are the days of just publishing your book for print and selling millions of hard back copies to make the New York Times bestseller list. You have to also think about publishing for ebooks and for some, targeting devices like the iPad or another tablet. The same goes for magazines, more and more I am seeing them being tailored to the tablet or the web because frankly, that is where the audience is at or heading toward.
The same can be said for content creation as well, it is moving toward creating for not only a hard back, but also for the web and other devices. But, what is also pretty cool is that content creation is becoming easier for the average Joe to get his/her hands on and come up with something pretty decent. Zeen, is one of those services that make this possible for people like you and I to create something beautiful on the web, and then be able to share it out with the world in a way that looks presentable. It is one of those apps that if you are willing to be a little creative, it has a lot of potential to be a useful tool.
How many of us are connected to Facebook and Twitter 24/7, but couldn’t pick our next door neighbors out of a lineup? Well there’s a new service that aims to bridge this gap: Nextdoor. Yes, it’s another social network, but this time, it’s one designed to help you get to know the people that really live around you in your own neighborhood.
Nextdoor was launched in October 2011 and has over 4,500 neighborhoods signed up in 48 states. You can use it it to get recommendations for babysitters, see recent crime activity, and invite neighbors to your upcoming Halloween party. Instead of posting fliers on your neighbors’ doors, post to Nextdoor when you want to throw a party or get a recommendation for a lawn service.
Or at least that’s the idea. Let’s see just how easy it is to create an online neighborhood and get your neighbors to join and participate.
A little over a year ago, I remember reading an article about how eBooks have finally taken over paperback books here in the United States. We’ve all known that sooner or later this was going to happen, and there’s no turning back. With tablets and eReaders gaining more traction each year, as a teacher, I needed to start to look toward how I can embrace the eBook rather than ignore it. And as you can probably tell, I am not the only one thinking this too. Authors, journalist, bloggers, and other professionals are also thinking and strategizing for the eBook revolution, so to speak.
One thing that hasn’t necessarily evolved just yet is the ability to create an ebook. Of course there is Apple’s iBook Author app, but that is limited to making books for the iPad. But a new web app, Bookletsworld, is working in its own way to democratize eBook publishing. Yes, I say that with hesitation because what they provide is not necessarily the ability to create your traditional eBook that we all know, but more of a way to create booklets on the web. Sound interesting?
Pinterest is one of the newest popular social media services and it’s especially great for brands with easily shareable photos. But because Pinterest uses pictures instead of words, it’s hard to track your brand when people aren’t actually mentioning your name.
That’s where Curalate comes in. It’s a web app for brands who want to manage and track their brand presence on Pinterest. It automagically finds your brand images on Pinterest using image recognition algorithms, and allows you track and monitor what your fans are saying and how they’re sharing your products and pictures.
Let’s see how easy Curalate is to use and whether it’s a good resource for brands. (more…)
Let’s be honest, powerpoint presentations just don’t cut it these days, at least in my opinion. As an educator for my full time job, I am always challenged with ways that I can engage my students in their learning. To most students, school is boring, and we need to spice it up so that they can enjoy it. Gone are the days of just throwing up a powerpoint and wowing students, customers, etc with your cool graphs or transitions. We need to move past this if we are going to captivate our audience.
Present.me does exactly just this by giving you an intuitve way to create presentations that are engaging and can create communication between you and your audience. You want to engage your audience and have them conversate around the presentation so that learning can happen in a greater way. Present.me gives you, the presenter, various ways to present your material and gives your audience the opportunity to interact with you.
If you have kids, you can probably relate to my dilema of the fact that I have a ton of photos of my kid and not a convenient place to store them. There are many options out there, like putting them on an external drive, uploading to the cloud, burning them onto DVD’s. All of these options have good things about them and bad.
One solution that has always intrigued me is cloud storage for photos. The nice part about this solution is that you don’t have to worry about drives breaking or losing DVDs. It also saves you from having to worry about precious hard drive space on your computer. There are a variety of cloud services that you can use and I had the opportunity to test out one called ThisLife for the past couple of weeks. I have to say, I haven’t seen a cloud service like it and I was impressed.
Up until recently, we all knew Bitly as one of the most popular URL shortening services on the web. It was one of the pioneer’s of URL shortening, and I relied on it heavily for this exact reason. I loved how I could customize my URL as well as track stats on it through the service. Back before Twitter automatically shortened links, it was one of the most important services for tweeting links.
But, recently, Bitly did what is commonly know in the tech world as a “pivot.” Yup, they completely changed the direction of their service into something somewhat completely different than their original plan of a URL shortening app. Granted, when a company does something like this, they are bound to take some flack for it and Bitly has been no exception to this. But, after I started to play with it a bit, I found that this new service is a good one and I plan to keep using it.
Get ready to meet the new Bitly: a social bookmarking service that just happens to shorten URLs, too.
In the internet age, people spend a lot of time making things to share with others with no promise of financial compensation for their time – it’s simply shared because people enjoy doing it. Bloggers, software developers, and artists share their content with the world, often for free, and so it’s natural that some of the people coming across this may want to give back. Naturally, some of these creators put donation links on their websites but with the extortionate fees of some of the payment processors, it can often be useless donating small amounts. Then again, if you did want to help out every creator by donating a large amount, your wallet would probably empty pretty quickly.
Flattr is a compromise. Well, it’s a lot more than that.
One of the things that is a catch twenty-two with me is the fact that I love to find shortcuts and an easier way to do something. Although it does come in handy, there are times, when it comes back to bite me. But, you have to admit, when it comes to your workflow, if there is a way to cut down on time, we are all for it. I know my time is precious, and I want to maximize it the best that I can.
That is why when an app like Wappwolf comes around, I get pretty excited. Wappwolf has a suite of apps that connect to certain cloud services where you can create automations to help with your workflow. I have been using it for the past week or so and I have definitely loved the different ways that I can use it to help me in my every day life.