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If you’ve used computers for any length of time, you’ve surely been annoyed by updates. Right at the worst possible time, or so it usually seems, your computer will remind you that you need to install this latest update, or that you need to purchase an upgrade to make use of the latest and greatest features their dev team has cooked up.

Web apps avoid most of this frustration, since you’ll never have to manually install updates. All of the software is on a remote server, so you’ll just login and see the changes. Except, sometimes that can be frustrating. You’ve gotten used to how the menus and features work in an app, only to find it changed around the next day.

Some web app developers are going back the the more traditional upgrade route, adding small features over time but then coming out with fully new versions of their apps with more new features but a steeper learning curve. Basecamp is one of the more notable apps that’s had a fully new version released recently, but many web apps are taking that approach now.

Which do you prefer? Would you rather your web apps get minor tweaks that add up over time, or would you rather have all the major changes come at once with a fully new version of the web app? We’d love to here your thoughts in this week’s poll.

This morning (or last night, depending on where you live), Amazon had severe network issues with their EC2 service, taking a good portion of popular web apps offline. I discovered something was wrong when I tried to upload a screenshot with Cloud App, and found that the service was down. A quick check on Twitter, which incidentally wasn’t down, showed that people were complaining that Reddit, Geckoboard, Instagram, Quora, and more were offline thanks to Amazon EC2’s outage. Then, on the other side of the globe in the US of A, I discovered my Facebook friends were complaining that Netflix was offline, robbing them of their evening entertainment.

While the whole population of the internet seemed in an uproar over EC2, I was personally more frustrated over my home internet going out last night, just as I was uploading the images needed to finish off an article. Internet access has become almost more crucial than electricity now; after all, if the power goes out, you can still work from your laptop or tablet with a cell internet connection. In fact, without internet access, I wouldn’t even have the jobs I have right now!

So what do you do when the internet or your favorite web service goes offline? Do you rely on the web enough for your work that it makes you lose billable hours, or can you keep working offline? Or is the internet being off in the evening when you’re ready to relax more of a problem? We’d love to see what you think!

Just like apps on all other platforms, web apps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. Many if not most web apps have a free basic version available, while some like Pinboard cost a one-time signup fee. Most web apps are built on a subscription model, though, so if you want more than the basic version offers, you’ll have to pay a monthly or annual fee.

For business apps, these monthly expenses can be easily justified if the apps help your team stay productive and work together. However, for individuals, the monthly subscription fees can quickly add up. Even if premium web apps are cheaper initially than their desktop counterparts, over time they can be more expensive. Plus, many people see adverse to paying for anything online: news, music, or apps. The iOS App Store has proven that many of us are glad to pay for high quality apps on our mobile devices, but does this carry over to web apps?

That’s why I’m curious: do you pay for any web apps? I personally pay for a Dropbox Pro subscription, and purchased a Pinboard account last December. I also currently have a Simplenote Pro account, and am currently deciding whether or not I should keep it. What about you? What web apps do you pay for, and what would you be willing to pay for if you’ve never paid for a web app? Would you be more likely to pay for an app once, or do subscriptions seem better for you?

Email: it’s the one part of the internet that has stayed a huge parts of our lives from the time we first started using it until now. There’s no end in sight, either. In spite of the growing popularity of social networks, and bold attempts to replace email with new services like Google Wave, email has stayed the backbone of our online communications. Even Facebook has now added full email capabilities to Facebook messaging.

Your email address is likely one of the first things you signed up for when you first got online. Over the years, most of us have managed to accumulate more and more inboxes. We’ve got work email, school email, personal website emails, Facebook email, and that Yahoo! address you signed up for just to get a Flickr account. You can forward your messages all to one account, or add all of your accounts to Outlook, Sparrow, or any other program. Either way, it can be confusing and difficult to manage.

So, how many email addresses do you have? I personally have over 10 email accounts, including, yes, a Facebook and Yahoo! address that I never plan to use. Fill out the poll, then let us know your most frustrating experience with managing multiple email accounts in the comments below!

For most of us, Dropbox has become one of the one app we can’t imagine living without. Sure, we need to write documents, edit pictures, render movies, keep up with todo lists, email, and more, but if you can’t get to your data, you might as well have not made it. Founder Drew Houston imagined Dropbox as a box to store all of your files, so you wouldn’t have to keep up with flash drives any more. But even better than flash drives, it keeps your files synced between all of your computers and the cloud, so you’ll never lose that important file.

Best of all, you can share folders with others. I’ve shared folders with coleagues around the globe, which lets us send documents and pictures back and forth as easily as if we were in the same room. It’s transformed the way many of us think about files. For me, I keep my Documents, Pictures, and Music folders synced with Dropbox, and it’s the primary place I store most of my files, program settings, and more

So, how important is Dropbox to you? Do you use it enough to upgrade to a Pro account? Do you have your main Documents folders synced with it, and do you share folders with others? Or have you found an even better tool to sync your files that all of us are missing out on? Enter your choice in the poll, then we’d love to have you join the conversation in the comments below! (more…)

If you’ve ever worked in teams, especially large teams where everyone is located all over the world, you’ll know just how important efficient and effective team communication apps are. Communicating via email is generally standard, but let’s be honest, email works but isn’t efficient or effective enough for many situations — it’s too slow, difficult to use with more than a few people at once and and, depending on your organizational skills, can get wildly out of control.

There are plenty of great team communication apps around for varying purposes ranging from instant messaging to forums to real-time group chat rooms. No single app will work best for everyone’s specific communication needs. I’d like to put together a roundup covering the varying types of team communication needs and the best solutions available.

So let us know which, if any, team communication apps you and your company uses to stay in touch with co-workers, clients and everyone else. We’ve listed a few popular apps in the poll to the right but be sure to submit other’s we’ve not listed. Thanks!

For most, music is a core essential in day to day living. We hear it while shopping, waiting in elevators, perusing the mall, while driving and just about anywhere there’s electronics. Thanks to developments in web technology, we’re able to enjoy more music that we prefer and even build online libraries — in some cases for free. There’s even been speculation that Apple is preparing to offer some sort of online version of iTunes while Amazon has already delivered their version, called Cloud Player.

With so many fantastic music streaming (both radio and full library) apps available, it’s hard to decide between them all. With your help, we’d like to put together a comparison between the most popular music streaming apps and all their different offerings. This overview should help many of you make a more definitive decision and ultimately a more satisfying one.

So which app(s) do you use? If yours isn’t in our poll list, let us know what it is. Why is it your preferred music streaming app?

There’s about a billion task management apps available and we’ve reviewed quite a few. There’s so many available though, we want to hear from you — which task management app (or apps) do you use? We’ll list a few that we’ve reviewed in the poll, but if you don’t use any of those, just submit the name of the one you do use or leave a comment below.

We’ll use these poll results to put together a comparison between the most popular task management web apps with a bird’s eye view on aspects such as pricing, features and platform compatibility.

Make sure your suggestion(s) are for task management web apps rather than strictly project management apps. They’re similar but we’re looking for apps with a focus on task management. Thanks!

If you haven’t noticed (or don’t visit the sites), Gawker launched an all new design across their sites (Gizmodo, Lifehacker, etc) that’s quite different. Many people think it’s terrible and a poor decision. I can’t help but see various similarities between the new design and designs you’ll see on tablets such as the iPad.



Performance issues aside (which are being worked out by their staff), the new design’s usability makes more sense for tablet-type devices than the prior blog style design. Personally, I like the new design more than the prior one, even on my desktop. It makes more sense from a usability standpoint; no new page loads or tabs when navigating to a post, a quick overview of recent or popular posts, etc.

The question, though, is whether or not people really want mobile web UX when they’re on their desktop computer? I think the web and computer technology is slowly evolving into more dynamic, interactive and “go anywhere” hardware and software, so I see designs such as Gawker’s as an expected step across all platforms.

As you can tell, I clearly prefer the newer design and the idea of mobile web UX making its way onto the desktop, replacing our older viewing methods. What do you think? Do you prefer iPad-type web designs over their desktop counterparts while on the desktop? Or do you think desktop web UX will, and should, always be different than other platforms?

Time and time again we’ve said computing is increasingly moving towards a cloud-oriented platform. Web apps continue to evolving into alternatives to their desktop counterparts, and in some cases they’re more powerful. However, the concern for the security and privacy of your data will always remain. It’s one aspect of desktop data storage that’s certainly more attractive.

With all the benefits cloud storage has to offer, it’s hard to argue that it shouldn’t be used, especially when used in combination with desktop storage. On the flip side, the web has proven to be a highly insecure space for the storage of sensitive data, even with all the security advancements that’ve been made over the years.

When you take into consideration the privacy concerns apps like Facebook has presented users with, I often wonder if I should ever trust storing any of my data anywhere in the cloud except on my own controlled server. Even knowing those issues exist, I continue to maintain full backups of all my data in the cloud, even in multiple locations. This, of course, is in an effort not to lose any of my data, under any circumstance — ever.

Though I do store my data in the cloud, I’ve never fully trusted those who maintain the storage facilities it resides in. I don’t know that I ever will; though I don’t have anything to hide so it’s not much of a concern for me either. Do you trust storing your data in the cloud? Do you trust those who manage your data?

Do you think cloud technologies will ever reach a point where we can trust our data in the hands of others?

Like the intro. graphic? Get Security Lock at by RubyFOX.

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