Many businesses that offer services online struggle with this decision eventually – should your organization offer a proprietary app or build a website optimized for mobile devices. There are many nuances to both options, when it comes to access, connectivity, and sharing capabilities. There’s no fast and easy answer to this question. You’ll need to look over the following considerations and see if your organization will benefit the most from an app or a website optimized for mobile devices. [Read more…]
Blogging has become a time consuming professional job. Long gone are the days that blogs where kept part time or as a hobby. If you write a lot for one or different weblogs, it is essential to have to the right tools to keep organized and work fast.
Having a standard work-flow is essential and for that you need the right tools for you. Personally I prefer web apps which are accessible from any device. Must I find myself away from home without a laptop, I can still do some writing.
Even small things matter to spare time e.g., when I need to use several photos in a post, I edit them in order I will be putting them in the post. When I upload them in WordPress they’ll be automatically sorted by last modified date. This way I don’t have to look through the whole list for a photo. I just start from top to bottom.
I write in Google Docs, I use no HTML tags, and once in WorPress I just copy paste the links into tags. The Find and Replace option comes in handy when adding HTML tags in bulk. This works for me, while others have their own system.
I compiled a list of different web app, applications, plug-ins and extensions that might come in handy. Too muchmany tools isn’t good either. Get a couple of tools that does what you need without giving too many distractions.
Keep track of your posting schedule withing WordPress dashboard.
Be it for personal or professional use, Keep on Posting will email you when you are slipping out from your posting frequency.
Scrivener puts everything you need for structuring, writing and editing long documents at your fingertips.
Available for Apple only, cost $45. Public beta for Windows.
Windows Live Writer makes it easy for anyone to tell stories like a professional blogger. You can create beautiful blog posts, and see what they’ll look like online before you publish them to your blog. Plus, you can publish your posts to any of your favorite blog service providers.
Diigo is two services in one — it is a research and collaborative research tool on the one hand, and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site on the other.
Whether you love HTML or can’t bear the sight of it, MarsEdit’s editor will thrill you. If you prefer the best of both worlds, you can switch easily between the two.
Works with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, TypePad, Movable Type and dozens more through standard MetaWeblog and AtomPub interfaces.
If you like making to-do lists, you will love TeuxDeux. Use the free browser-based TeuxDeux at work/home and then take your to-dos on the road with the iPhone app($2.99).
With LittleSnapper it’s easy to start capturing webpages and your desktop. From entire webpages – including the bits that are out of view in a standard browser window and important metadata such as the web address – to specific windows on your Mac.
FireShot is an extension for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Seamonkey and Thunderbird that captures, edits, annotates, organizes, exports, uploads and prints screenshots of your web pages.
Free, simple and powerful. Personally I only use Google Docs to write, keep track of links and keep notes. The sharing capabilities are the best, live editing and collaboration works smoothly. The integrated chat comes in handy when collaborating at the same time with more people.
IMHO, one of the best things about the Internet is having access to online tutorials. Whether you need to advance your PHP skills, discover what Google Analytics is all about, or learn how to customize your Twitter profile, it seems that there are video tutorials for nearly everything these days.
If you’re looking to create an online video tutorial (also called a screencast), you’ll need some tools to allow you to capture your actions and audio. These are the top screencasting tools I recommend:
JingProject (Windows and Mac)
If you’re new to screencasting, you simply must try out Jing. It’s free and very easy to use- and it records your audio as well (which is something other free software I looked at don’t do). Once you’re ready to get more serious with screencasting, their Pro version is just $14.95 a year.
Many professionals swear by TechSmith’s Camtasia, and it’s easy to see why. This is powerful screencasting software, which takes you from recording to editing to publishing all in one place- and it’s used by some very big names (e.g. Google, IBM, Stanford University…). If you’re on Windows, this is definitely one to look at- they have a free 30-day trial, and after that it’s $299 for a single-user license.
Until I discovered ScreenFlow, I was suffering from some serious Windows-envy (see Camtasia, above). But ScreenFlow, also a commercial application, is an amazing piece of software- and it’s made for Macs (specifically Leopard). It’s got gorgeous titling support, and the latest version allows you to produce WMV format recordings and create custom cursors. Little things that mean a lot. The app costs $99, and they offer a free trial as well.
iShowU HD (Mac)
shinywhitebox’s screencasting app, also made for Macs, might not be as snazzy-looking as ScreenFlow, but is powerful in its own right. There are two versions of the app, iShowU HD ($29.95) and iShowU Pro ($59.95), and it’s a good idea to view the feature comparison before selecting one. With features like on-the-fly scaling, full-screen OpenGL app support (World of Warcraft, anyone?), and the ability to embed watermarks, this is definitely one to look at.
Adobe Captivate (Windows and Mac)
Finally, if you’ve got the bucks, be sure to check out Adobe’s screencasting application. They call it “eLearning authoring”, and it really does seem to be targeted more for education purposes, giving you the ability to create quizzes with scoring among others. This is definitely for the serious screencaster, and also costs the most at $799.
Have you tried screencasting? What software do you use?
The featured sites this week know how to use lighter, lower contrast hues of brown to evoke a professional, comforting mood.
Designs of the Week
I love how calming this site looks. The light colored wood, the etched/letterpressed text, the shadows underneath the paper, and of course, the tea!
When I first saw this site I thought, “he makes Georgia look so good”. Really, the typography here is inspiring. I also like the ample use of whitespace and ornaments for the welcome blurb.
I know that company sites tend to stay away from serifs because they’ll come off as too stiff and old, but this site looks striking exactly because every other company is using sans serif text these days. I also like that instead of stock photography, nicely shaded illustrations were used (except for the inner pages, sadly).
Social Media Weekly
Design – 42 Pagination Design Inspiration
Programming – Safari’s text-shadow anti-aliasing CSS hack Revision
Programming – 10 Creative & Rich UI & How to Create Them
Tick is an upcoming web 2.0 app with a different flair. Once again, it’s another tracker, but this time, it helps you manage time. In an exclusive insiders look at the current pre-release version, we’ll let you know if Tick has a future as a successful web app, or if it should be swept away in the web 2.0 craze.
Upon joining Tick (currently invite only, lucky for me being the admin of a site like this, I get into all this private previews ;)), I was immediately greeted with a beautiful looking login screen. It was just a sample of what was to come.
Logging in took all but a few seconds, before I was greeted with a web 2.0 app familiar dashboard. The three main dashboard tabs included timecard, projects, and reporting. The initial login view lands you under “Timecard”, with a faded away background to represent what the page would look like if you had something there yet (37signals like).
Creating a project
It took me a few minutes to have a look around the interface and figure out what was what. Once I was settled, I took the advice given on the homepage view and created a new project.
I was presented with a “Create New Project” screen, with a few options such as Client Name, Project Name, Total Project Budget (time, not money), and Email Notifications. Once again, Tick allows you to have multiple users included in a project, so you can notify them of updates and deadlines.