I’ve been loath to invest in Marsedit when my blogging is so intermittent and patch but have been enjoying my attempts with Pixelpumper – a super clean, super simple offline blog editor for OSX. It has a clean, modern UI and thus far seems fairly idiot proof.
It is pretty light on options in its free mode (it has a ‘nerd mode’ for the keen, for premium purchase), but thus far is doing a reasonable job at helping me get back into it. It is annoying that ‘CMD-K’ does strikethrough instead of hyperlink, though, will need to figure that one out.
Argh! I’ve begun to notice a fatal shortfall in Evernote’s capabilities. When used offline, it’s fine. When used online, it’s fine. When used in that grey area of theoretical connectivity or fuzzy mobile reception, it often blanks the notes you’ve written as you’re making amends, making it very, very easy to upload a ‘blank’ note over your other work. And the only way to retrieve other versions of notes you’ve synced is to cough up the $5 a month Evernote asks for the premium version (for which I have no other use).
Damnit, Evernote. You were so close to perfect.
I’m trying out, on Damian’s recommendation, the new Chrome app for Offline Gmail. It looks a lot like the iPad mail app and that should be a good thing… but with a keyboard, and no keyboard shortcuts I can discern, I find it vaguely annoying!
The truth is, when I’m on the move, I tend to use my Macbook (which has the superb Sparrow Gmail app on it), and when I’m on a PC I have pretty decent broadband access. So the offline capability isn’t sufficient to capture my attention alone. Here’s to v2.
My colleague Naomi secured an opportunity for me to contribute a review to B2B Marketing magazine on a newish app of relevance to B2B marketers. Following the tip from Giles I looked at Flipboard and the review was published yesterday.
Check it out only if you have the vaguest interest in the topic :-).
I’ve taken it upon myself to write up a few thoughts on the new version of the LinkedIn iPhone app. Have a look over here!
Most people who know me that even in the reams of sci-fi and fantasy I consume there are a few authors that have a special place in my heart. Douglas Adams is one of those; notwithstanding his personal history with my family – my brother co-adapted Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency years ago and I sat next to him at a performance of it in Oxford – Arthur Dent is perhaps the greatest sci-fi/fantasy semi-hero ever. He’s the British equivalent of Spider-man, trading witty banter for sarcastic whinges and web-slinging for tea. And powers for a dressing gown. Otherwise, the same.
I’m not sure how to feel about the news that an H2G2 app is coming. I have a feeling that 90% of the stuff you put into it will come out with some generic, smart-arsey, “we don’t have an article on that” response, because – after all – how could the app genuinely be about everything in the galaxy? And – if we’re being true to Douglas’ narrative – the entry for Earth as a whole – it’s people, history, plant-life, etc., – simply reads ‘Mostly harmless’ – then what use is it on this planet? It’s been a while since I saw a pan-galactic Gargle blaster on the menu at any unfashionable London bar. Certainly not one that uses real gold.
Anyway, it’s piqued my curiosity. I gather the people making it are true gaming experts, so might have successfully ‘gamified’ the guide… but I’ll believe it when I see it. Read more over on Wired.
I persuaded some colleagues to try Yammer a few years ago and it didn’t really go anywhere. The enterprise collaboration tool that works like the corporate lovechild of Facebook and Twitter, however, seems to have grown up; a more polished Facebook-esque interface, excellent private group collaboration and other features lends it great potential – which I’m only just beginning to scratch, a week in to a new wave of testing.
The real challenge is in driving adoption and the strategy this time around is to define where in the business it’d be useful before we roll it out. I’m exploring lots of different options, as well as working up a dev wish list of the nice people at Yammer (it’s not perfect; what tool is?). Oddly, having told people that its just in testing and not to worry about signing up, I’ve got half the company on there – which is a significantly greater impact than I had when I was trying to get a group of testers together three years go…
A few specific bugbears are beginning to emerge – "open" groups cannot be made private (I can understand why the reverse might be true, but no this), there’s no Tweetdeck integration, the Chrome extension is OK but made by a third party and requires you use a browser to actually view updates, and there’s limited built-in collaboration- you have to spin out to Google Apps or some other third party cloud collaboration tool… And it probably needs a bit more M’sft integrations (vcards, calendar invites).
Still, definitely having fun yammering away. See where it goes.
@patrickyiu introduced me to the Ultimate Guitar Tabs app for iPhone (£1.99, Appstore), and it may help me get my routine on with the guttering I mentioned a few weeks back. If I’m honest, my promised practice routine hasn’t quite materialised but I’m blaming this on my inability to get a new playlist configured on my iPhone as my Media Centre/music library has been in the shop (bring on iCloud).
The app lets you access thousands of tabs from UG’s website ‘in-app’, complete with automated key-changes and auto-scrolling through the tab, so you don’t have to pause to flick down and see what chords/tabs come next.
It’s a lovely bit of code. I’ve also downloaded the iPad app, but mysteriously this app was free with in-app subscription modes, and I can’t quite bring myself to pay for the same service twice – so will see how I get on with the iPhone app in the weeks to come.
My friend Ali’s fuel-price finding app made it onto Radio 4 last weekend (last 10 mins). I didn’t know Ali had an app, but was pleased for him that it got some profile (and apparently lots of new downloads), and even more pleased that it seems useful – it helps you find cheap petrol based on reports from other app users. Hampshire seems pretty well covered by Fuelsmart’s users so it’s going to be bought soon.
More info in this helpful review or on the website.
The Google+ iOS app isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. It’s buggy, crashes a bit and/or loses threads from notifications, occasionally fails to load beyond the login screen, and doesn’t seem to let you filter your stream by circle. Which seems a fundamental error. It also seems a little limited by way of available features for sharing, etc.
That said, Google is clearly iterating fast – the first bugfix release was out within 24 hours. And it has a nice, clean UI and a good touch interface. So we’ll see what happens.