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The Christmas season provides us with plenty of “Kodak Moments”: the kids with grandma and grandpa, someone eating fruitcake, mistletoe disasters. Odds are, though, your “Kodak Moments” now are captured on your smartphone, digital camera, or possibly even tablet, and they’re likely never printed out on paper. We used to wait for weeks to get that great shot of the whole family together from relatives on the other side of the country. Now, we’re tagging people in pictures on Facebook before we’ve even said goodbye.

There’s zillions of ways you can send pictures to others nowadays. You could email your three hundred huge 10 megapixel shots, but everyone going to hate you for the whole next year. You could post them on Twitter or Facebook, upload them to Flickr, or blog them on your own site. You could tweak them with Instagram or your favorite photo app, and share them through specialty networks. You could even share a whole Dropbox folder with all of your family and friends, so everyone gets everyone’s best shots.

What’s your favorite way to share pictures? I’m personally most likely to upload files to and then share the links on my social networks and via email for those family members not on Facebook. For bigger events, sharing a Dropbox folder is my favorite option whenever possible. I still don’t use Instagram and other photo apps much, but that might be due to my smart device being a 3rd gen iPod Touch without a camera. So how do you usually share pictures, and do you plan to change anything in sharing pictures this holiday season?

Camera icon by MugenB16

Our Disqus Pro Giveaway is now closed. Thanks everyone for entering and voting! We’re excited to announce that won a free year of Disqus Pro, with an overwhelming 52.8% of the votes, while won a free 6 months of Disqus Pro with 29.6% of the votes. Congratulations, and we hope these sites find Disqus Pro useful over the coming months!

Last week, we featured a review of Disqus Pro’s new features, and launched a giveaway with 2 free Disqus Pro accounts for our readers. Disqus Pro has many features that can enhance your site’s community spirit and increase your feedback on articles. We got a number of great entries for our giveaway, so we’re now back with the second part of our giveaway.

This time, we’ve included a list of all of the sites entered in the contest with a brief description of their site. Feel free to check them out, and then come back and vote for the site you’d like to see win our Disqus Pro giveaway. If you really like a site, share this article’s link and get your friends to vote to give them a better chance. The site with the most votes by midnight on Friday, December 16 CST will win a free year Disqus Pro subscription, while the one with the second most votes will win a free 6 month Disqus Pro subscription.


It’s the season of giving, the time when you have to rack your brain to figure out what to buy your Mom that she’d actually like, while trying to simultaneously figure out how you’re going to cram in that one extra Christmas party in your already packed schedule. It may be the season to be jolly, but looking at people’s faces in lines and parking lots, you wouldn’t know it. And that’s sad. We get so distracted by the preparations for holidays that we forget the very meaning behind the special days we celebrate.

This year, more than ever, some of the best things you could think of to buy your family and friends are virtual. Whether you want to give a copy of Cars 2 to your nephew or copy of Steve Job’s biography to your coworker, often the digital copy is the best way to go. If I made a wish list, it’d have more digital items than physical items. Even a new Dropbox or Evernote Pro subscription would make an idea gift for many people on your list.

Only thing is, it seems somewhat odd to give a virtual gift. There’s something about giving a big wrapped box with a bow, the anticipation of ripping off paper, and the surprised delight with the actual gift that digital items just don’t have. It simply isn’t as exciting to pull an iTunes gift card out of a stocking or open an email telling you that you’ve been gifted a book or web app subscription, even if it is just as useful and fun.

I’ve personally given a number of digital gifts, and am sure I’ll continue to do so in the future, but I feel odd giving them without a little something extra, perhaps a candy or some other trinket. So how about you? Do you give digital items, or are boxes still essential to your Christmas? Perhaps Dropbox should start selling gift subscriptions in real blue boxes…

After nearly 2 decades of commercial internet, domain names are as important as ever. In the late ’90’s, Aol keywords started popping up on business signs, and today you’re likely to see a company’s Twitter @username or Facebook page on marketing material. So many people do a Google search for everything that they paste domain names into a Google box and then click the link that Google shows. Still, through it all, domain names have remained one of the most important things a business can own online.

It’s not just businesses, though. Many individuals own their own domain to keep their own personal blog or portfolio site with their own identity. Having your own domain makes it much easier to move to a new site and bring your traffic along with you. Plus, you can run your own email services on your own domain, or use your domain with Google Apps for a personalized Gmail experience. That way, even if you want to go use another email service, you’ll always have the same email address and won’t have to get your friends to update their address books.

Most of us have at least some web presence, and I was curious how many of our readers own domains. I personally own 3 domains right now, and use my own domain for my personal site and as my main email. Do you use your own domain for your own site, and do you use it for email as well, or are mainstream services sufficient for you?

No matter where you live on Planet Earth, odds are you’ll have a holiday (or 3) before the end of the year. In America, the Christmas season seems to get longer each year, while on the other side of the planet in Thailand, my town of Tak has a week long festival celebrating the 18th century King Taksin right around New Years. And if November and December’s holidays aren’t enough, Chinese New Years is only a few weeks later.

This week, though, it’s Thanksgiving time for Americans (even Americans in Thailand), a time to remember the things we’re thankful for with the ones we’re most thankful for. Sure, there’s the usual festivities and food, but for web-addicted people, it can be a trying time away from your computer. Most of us spend too much time in front of screens already, but it can be tempting to pull out your smartphone under the table and check Tweets instead of eating turkey.

What’s the point of get-togethers, anyhow, if you’re going to stay online? So, that’s why we’re curious: how do you deal with internet on holidays? Do you try to stay offline and make more time for family? Or do you end up posting more pictures of the celebrations on Facebook and Instagram than ever before?

And by the way, here’s an early Happy Thanksgiving (for our American readers), Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years from the Web.AppStorm team!

Christmas Lights photo via lavandarfields on Flickr

Google’s never been known for the best design. They once lost a designer after one too many tests for the right shade of blue, among other oddities. But any sweeping change to their entire suite of web properties would surely be welcomed with open arms, right?

Not entirely. The design changes that were launched with Google+ have now rolled out to most of Google’s properties, and even less consumer-orientated sites like Adsense have seen a refresh. For the most part, the changes seem nice, but the new style in Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Reader have been the most controversial. Gmail’s new design has been well received for the most part, but the new label-less buttons seem unintuitive and downright un-googley (isn’t Google known for text over icons?). Google Reader sparked the most controversy, with a more confusing interface and less sharing features. Google Docs’ interface seems blander than before, but it’s still hands-down the best online office suite for most purposes.

Our recent article on the changes got a number of comments, with most readers agreeing that the new Gmail was mostly nice, but the new Google Reader was frustrating at best. Across the web, the sentiment has been mostly the same. So we’d love to know what you think. Do you like Google’s new design changes, or do you want the old Gmail and Google Reader back? Should Google try harder with design, or are they best with sticking with spartan text-driven interfaces?

Breaking News: There’s another new project management app! Stop the press!

Perhaps not, but it does seem like there’s another new project management web app coming out every day. We’re not complaining: many of the newer ones are really good, bringing fresh new design and a new spin on the feature set to help our wired world stay productive. And it’s not like traditional project management apps like Microsoft Project are getting any less popular. Still, when you’re looking for new web apps, it’s incredible how many project management web apps there are.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Basecamp is likely the most well-known and possibly most widely used online project management app. We even use it here at AppStorm to share article ideas, collaborate on posts, and send bulk updates to the whole team. But it’s far from the only tool, and many of us have used everything from Flow to Producteev to Strike to Trello. I’ve even used shared Simplenote to-do lists to manage projects before.

That’s why we were wondering if you use a project management app. Do you find it indispensable, or do you wish you could live without it? Are you excited to try out new apps and see if they fit your project management needs? Do you just need a to-do list, or do you need to break everything down to steps? We’d love to hear your thoughts on project management in the comments below!

If you read Techcrunch’s Deadpool articles, it would seem that most of the apps that come out are destined to become parked domains and distant memories in the Internet Archive. Time and again, an exciting new app comes out, but without a business model or a sufficient user base, it soon falls on the wrong side of the Survival of the Fittest. Or, perhaps, the company gets bought out, only the purchasing company saw it as a talent acquisition and didn’t care the least bit about the app they purchased. Worse yet, the app you’ve come to rely on could decide to “pivot” and change their product or business model, breaking the very thing you liked about it.

We love how many new web apps are always coming out, but sometimes it can be hard to fall in love with an app when so many disappear. The rapid iteration can both be beneficial and harmful at the same time. It means new features and exciting new apps, but it also means that the odds of an app sticking around for the long term are worse than ever. With native apps, you’ll at worst lose support and updates if you purchased an app from a company that later died. But, with web apps, the app and your data are gone along with the company.

Have you ever had trouble from an app getting shut down? Are you excited when new apps come out and quick to try them, or would you be more likely to wait and see if the company’s going to be around for the long haul? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Ever since we heard about iCloud from Steve Jobs’ last WWDC presentation, we’ve been excited for the potential of the new service from Apple. It promised to make it so simple to keep documents, pictures, email, contacts, calendar, tasks, and more synced between your devices, you’d never have to worry about it again. Then, once we got a sneak peak at the web apps, it was even more apparent that iCloud was a huge web app initiative for Apple.

Fast forward to today, and iCloud is now in the wild, ready for anyone with an iOS 5 or OS X Lion device to signup for free. That’s the most interesting twist, though: iCloud is free, but you have to have an Apple device from the past 3 years with the latest software updates to signup for an iCloud account. Alternately, if you already had a MobileMe account, it can be converted to a new iCloud account. Once you’re signed up, you can get a free email address, and take advantage of Apple’s beautiful mail, calendar, and contacts web apps. Plus, you can keep data synced from compatible apps.

So, have you gotten your iCloud account yet? If so, we’d love to hear what you think of it. If not, what are you waiting for? Do you plan to get an iCloud account in the near future?

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