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One of my favourite things about App.net, apart from its fantastic user core, is its wide open API. The folks at ADN are genuinely interested in ensuring that third-party developers can make great products using the site’s features, and sometimes, there are apps that come along that are so genuinely interesting they make me question how I ever doubted the social network in the first place.

One of the other great features of ADN lies in its storage capabilities. Each free account gets 500MB of storage with a 10MB file-size limit, while each paid account gets 10GB of storage with a 100MB file-size limit. I think that even the free account’s offering is really generous. Combine ADN’s open API with its storage capabilities, and you end up with ingenious little Mac gems like Swing. (more…)

Slicereader 0.2 is now on the App Store, with a bookmarklet to make it easier to add websites to read, support for Markdown, HTML, and plain text, and more.

It’s been an amazing past few years for writers. With full-screen distraction free writing environment pioneered by WriteRoom, Markdown formatting from Gruber, focused writing from iA Writer, the exporting wonders of Marked, the brand-new hidden Markdown formatting of Ulysses III, and more, it’s amazing how far we’ve come from the cluttered days of drafting our work in Word.

Reading apps, unfortunately, haven’t gotten much attention at all. Yes, there’s a number of apps for reading articles later on your Mac, some of which are even very nice (I’m particularly fond of the new ReadKit). But, sadly, none of them are totally new. They’re not changing the way we read on the Mac, the way iA Writer and Folding Text and others have changed the way we write on the Mac.

This weekend, that’s just changed with the brand-new beta app Slicereader. Designed by Mutahhir Ali Hayat, a programmer at Hog Bay Software that works on FoldingText and Oak Outliner, Slicereader is the most innovative reading app on the Mac yet. It’ll change how you read longform text. Here’s why.

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If you were a pixel on the wall of our team’s Basecamp, listening to our conversations, you’d know that we’ve been looking for the perfect Markdown-powered Mac blogging app. There’s blogging apps for the Mac, but if you like writing in Markdown in apps like Byword and iA Writer (and we do), there’s none that fit your workflow perfectly.

So instead, we each have our favorite writing apps, export our text as HTML, and paste it into WordPress. It works, but it’s far from seamless.

That all changes today, with the hot-off-the-press Byword 2. It has built-in publishing to WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Scriptogram, and Evernote, and a handful of other improvements. If you need a focused Markdown writing app and a blogging app, it’s the one app you need. (more…)

Oh, another application for screenwriters. Before you wonder about niche-dedicated applications, think about that day you had an epiphany that would be an awesome movie. One of those you would pay twice to watch, like you did with Avatar. Then you looked for an application to write a screenplay only to find out it would cost you more than what you’d expect it to sell for. So you opened your everyday word processor and began typing your story. As you’re finished, you sent to a few movie agents.

You never got a reply, even after your mother got high hopes that her child would become famous. That’s because writing a great story is not enough. The screenwriting business also requires your script to to follow a strict presentation style, which those expensive apps help achieving. Fountain changed the table, allowing regular Jacks to write screenplays in plain text. Slugline takes the game to the next level.

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If you are a writer by trade, or have to do a lot of writing in your trade, you have likely (certainly?) had to deal with writer’s block. You know what I’m talking about. The dreaded staring at the screen blankly while your mind wanders aimlessly or just seems to stop working altogether. Sometimes writers block is just plain lack of motivation. Of course there are things you can do to overcome writer’s block. For me, nothing works better than a good workout or caffeine to clear the cobwebs or a pomodoro timer for a little extra motivation.

I was actually struggling with writers block at the very time I noticed Flowstate, an app that claims to help users fight through writer’s block. That’s a pretty big claim, and I couldn’t resist putting it to the test.

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Have you used apps like Byword or WriteRoom? They are simple text editors, and the reason they are so popular is that they embrace minimalism and provide a distraction-free environment for getting your writing done.

As a big fan of apps like Evernote that allow you to store and organize notes, I’ve always wished for a note-taking app that took a hint from those kinds of apps. I recently came across such an app, and it’s called Lenote. It’s almost just what I was wanting from a notes app.
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Undoubtedly the first time you used a real-time collaborative web tool like Google Docs, you were wowed. I definitely was, and the way it lets multiple users make changes to the same document at the same time even when they’re halfway around the world from each other keeps me using it to this day. The only problem is that it’s limited to a few Google tools, and is only for Google users. You can’t just flip a switch and use Google Docs’ collaboration in Photoshop or whatever app you’re using.

Enter Screenhero, an app designed to bring real-time collaboration to any app, or website, or anything for that matter. And it actually really works, though not perhaps quite as smoothly as Docs sharing. Here’s why it’s worth checking out.

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In the continuing search for the perfect task management app, I’m trying out Organize:Me. More than just simple todos, Organize:Me gives you lots of awesome tools for creating and organizing everything you need to get done. With smart lists included, plus projects and categories, I should be able to finally stay on track.

Will Organize:Me be able to unseat my favorite task manager? I’ll take a look and see if it has all the features I need in a great todo app! (more…)

I sincerely believe that one of the reasons for the slow descent of information managers, or anything buckets, has been the absence of modernization. Opening an application of this sort is often a strike from the past. A visit to old design trends and a user experience that didn’t catch up with the evolution. We ended up with powerful applications with plenty of features, without a reasonable way to manage them.

Among them all, Together stood up on their previous versions, overcoming as one of the better thought-out information managers for the average user. Yet it held its share of issues. The new version is a wave of change that came out of nowhere to improve our data library organizations. This refreshing update covers several disabilities and lights up the path to the use of iCloud sync, a long expected getaway card from the Evernote servers.

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When I get into the flow of working I often lose track of time. I find that my best work often comes in these periods when time seems to almost disappear. Much of the time this poses no problem, but sometimes I need to be reminded of something no matter how engrossed I am in my work. There are also times when I start something that will take a long time to finish, but I want to be able to work on something else and still be reminded when it’s complete. Either way, I need something to remind me what’s going on.

For events that take place at a specific time, the calendar works well. A reminder for a meeting at 10 A.M. or to meet someone for dinner at 7 P.M. does the job simply. It doesn’t work as well for things that are less tied to the clock. When I start laundry I just want to be reminded to check on it in thirty minutes. When I start a backup I want to be reminded to check on the status in an hour.

Timebar is an app in the Mac App Store that provides a simple countdown timer in your menu bar. This lets you keep an eye on the timer while keeping it out of your way. Let’s see how well it works.

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