Well look at that! Just after announcing it would discontinue Reader, Google has decided to release a simple note-taking service, one with the name Keep. When I first heard about it, I thought the service was aiming to compete with Pocket and Instapaper to be an official Google project that allowed you to save anything for viewing later. Something like this would have been fantastic after seeing Reader leave, but that wasn’t Google’s aim for this basic notes service.
When I say basic, I mean it, but there might be more to this little Web and Android app than meets the eye, and the mere icon invites creativity. I investigate after the break. (more…)
Anyone who has to write at any length at their computer will know that it’s all too easy to get distracted. Using many modern word processors is akin to working in a cartoon with endless brightly colors buttons vying for attention, and when you add in the risk of being drawn to browsing the web in the name of “research”, it’s a wonder any words ever get written.
Writer is a distraction-free online word processor that has been designed to make it easier to focus on what you need to get down on the page. It’s like an online version of the popular Mac app WriteRoom, and might be just what you need to help you stay focused when writing online.
For many people, Google is the internet. It is one of a handful of companies that have become part of everyday language of the young and old. I’ve grown up with Google, and recently realized just how many of the company’s tools I use on a daily basis. I’m not a fanboy, but I’m living in a Google world, and loving it.
It could be argued that Google has gained something of a monopoly, but even still, Google is a company that has earned a place in many people’s hearts. It is generally looked on rather affectionately, rather than with the suspicion that is reserved for Microsoft. That may be changing, but for me – and many others – it’d be hard to imagine life without many of the tools the company has produced.
The Chrome web browser has a great deal going for it: fast page rendering, a clean interface, powerful extensions, and the marketing of Google behind it. If there are any complaints to be made about it, though, I’ve found that it can be slow to launch when when you’re reopening it with a large number of tabs.
You may well have tried out Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and any of countless other lesser known web browser, but you’ll likely find that Chrome’s not the only one with this problem. Chrome does, however, have a solution: Session Buddy. Session Buddy is an extension that could make your tabs easier to manage and help to dramatically improve Chrome’s performance. Let’s take a look.
A big part of development, coding, or web design is repeating yourself. No one likes to admit it, but a lot of the work we do is repetitive. A great way to reduce the number of times you have to write something is to save it to use again later using code snippets. Snippets are little bits of code that you have written before that you think you might find useful again later, they could be a specific way to show images on a site, the SQL to create a handful of tables in one stroke, or an entire class for the backend of an ASP.NET web application. Whichever it is you need a place to keep the snippets so that you can get to them when you need them.
This is where the cloud based snippet storage comes into its own. You can access it from anywhere that you have an internet connection, which is everywhere these days. It saves you messing around with memory sticks with your code in text files on, or sending yourself snippets by email (we’ve all done it!) and allows you to find what you want when you want it. I’ve compiled a list of 17 super slick snippet storage sites below in no particular order, check it out, you might find the perfect one for you.
The internet continues to amaze me all the time, and that is one of the reasons why I love it so much. What really gets me passionate about consistently using the web is the ability to do things in a virtual world that before wasn’t possible. Take for example the topic of collaboration. In years past, you wouldn’t dream of being able to have a company or business where the people who work at it are all in different states or countries.
A perfect example of this is Web.Appstorm, where although I have been writing for them for almost a year now, I have never met my editor or the other writers face to face. Yet, we are able to work together and produce quality content for all of you to read.
So where am I going with this? Well, the internet has given us the opportunity to have no boundaries when it comes to getting work done together. One web app to help with this, called Dispatch, has given us the ability to collaborate on documents and other things regardless of whether we work in the same building or miles a part, and all we need is an internet connection.
When I think of AOL, I cannot help but also think about the “You’ve Got Mail” tone that they made famous. As you take a look back on email, AOL was a pioneer in the field as they were one of the first companies to offer it to the masses, way back in the late 90’s. But outside of that and Instant Messenger, they have been very quiet now for quite some time.
Well, that all has changed recently, with their newly, upgraded email client called Alto. Yes, email has come a long way since AOL last came out with a client, and some would even say it is an already crowded space. When I got into the beta for this, the main thing that I wanted to see was whether or not this could replace the apps I currently use for email. I tried to use it by itself for the last couple of weeks and I came away with some interesting thoughts about it.
Looking at and analyzing data just does not excite me like it does for some people. There is something about it that is just boring. I am not sure what it is, but it is not my cup of tea. Needless to say, in my job one of the things that I have to do is prepare charts, graphs, etc. and use them to make presentations. With that being said, I am always trying to find web apps out there that can do this for me so that I don’t have to rely on something like Excel to make this happen.
A little while ago, I was given access to try out Infogr.am, which lets you create graphs and charts on the web. Their whole goal is to give you, the user an easy way to create interactive infographs on the web. There were two things that immediately got me a little excited about trying out their app. One, it looked super easy to use and two, it was web based, which is always a plus in this ever changing world of cloud computing.
Website creation nowadays can be a slightly gruelling task, especially given the demands on web designers and creators to produce high-quality, professional-looking and intuitive websites. Often with these kind of sites there is a steep learning curve as CSS, HTML5, and even Flash in some ways play huge roles in modern websites and I’m sure everyone knows that learning these coding scripts isn’t an easy task.
There are plenty of programs that will help you design a site without too much input (or too many hours poring over HTML and CSS for Dummies). Now, you can even design a website without having to leave your browser. One of these apps is called Breezi and it couldn’t be any easier to use.
Let’s delve straight into it.
Although I love writing for the AppStorm network, I do have another full time job as a teacher. One of the biggest things that I have learned over my 7 years as a teacher is to be organized and to always plan ahead. Not only do you want to plan ahead, but you want to plan with purpose. You need to have short term and long range goals for your students, and having a master plan is a great way to do this.
That is where a web app like Planboard can come in very handy. It is a great way to stay organized and help you as a teacher to plan for the week, month or for the year. It also gives you an easy way to share your plans with others. Let me show you what I am talking about.