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11 Top New Web Apps of 2007

11 Top New Web Apps of 2007
11 Best New Web Apps of 2007

I’ve been on something of a web app kick lately.  I really like the idea of creating,editing, and sharing documents and computing power “in the cloud”, accessible by whomever you want from wherever you want on whatever system you have handy.

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The field of web-based productivity is growing by leaps and bounds, and seems to be on the brink of becoming mainstream and ubiquitous.  That’s good news for mobile workers like me, who can never be completely sure where, or on what kind of computer, we may need to access our files. 2007 has been a good year, with great strides in core productivity apps like word processors and presentation software, and some interesting developments in specialized areas like collaborative brainstorming and todo list management.

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Because I love you, lifehack readers, here are 11 of the best web apps released in 2007!

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  • bubblus
       
      bubbl.us: Flash-based mindmap creator  bubbl.us allows you to quickly and easily make effective, attractive mindmaps that can be exported as images or as HTML outlines, or shared with others who can add new items or draw new connections between existing ones.
    • buzzword

        Buzzword: I’ve raved about Buzzword before, but it bears repeating: this online word processor is both gorgeous and a joy to use. Running in Flash, as you’d expect of an Adobe product, Buzzword works well and has a pretty full set of features already, and promises off-line functionality and PDF export in the near future.
      • empressr

          Empressr: Another Flash-based app, Empressr allows users to create and share slideshows using text, images, videos (including webcam captures created on the fly), and other rich media.  Presentations can be shared on the Empressr site and can also be embedded in users’ own pages.
        • highrise

            Highrise: From the good folks at 37signals comes Highrise, an enterprise-grade contact manager and customer relations manager.  37signals sets the standard for web 2.0 apps, so you know it’s good: clean design, a highly functional interface, and interconnectivity with other 37signals apps.
          • jott

              Jott: A combination of speech recognition and live workers backs this “note to self” service, allowing Jott to produce remarkably accurate transcriptions of your spoken messages.  Originally Jott simply recorded your message, transcribed it, and sent it to you to someone in your contact list, but their new Jott Links service connects up with various web services allowing you to post to blogs, add appointments to your online calendar, tweet with twitter, and add todos to your todo list.
            • mint

                Mint: Online money management made almost frighteningly easy, Mint allows users to add all their bank accounts, credit cards, stock trading accounts, and other financial information into a simple, clean view.  Although some have raised concerns about the security of all this sensitive information, Mint’s model was impressive enough to garner the TechCrunch40 Top Company Award (and $50,000 seed money).
              • nozbe

                  Nozbe:Modeled on David Allan’s “Getting Things Done” approach, Nozbe aims to be the ultimate GTD app. With easy-to-add next actions associated with contexts and projects, Nozbe comes pretty close!
                • sandy

                    Sandy: Sandy is a virtual assistant centered on your email.  You email Sandy with (almost) natural language statements, like “Remind me to call John Smith at 8am tomorrow”, and Sandy emails you a reminder at 8am tomorrow to call John Smith. Coupled with Jott, Sandy is a really exciting service!
                  • scrybe

                      Scrybe: The much-anticipated release of Scrybe left some feeling let down, but hype aside, Scrybe could well become the online calendar of choice.  Flash-based Scrybe uses a natural-language parser similar to Sandy’s, allowing new entries to be created quickly and easily.  The developers say they’re hard at work on integrating Scrybe with Outlook, which would make Scrybe a hard one to beat.
                    • todoist

                        Todoist: Billing itself as “useful, fast and easy to use”, Todoist can be nothing more than a todo list — you start typing into the text box, select a due date, hit enter, and move onto the next.  With a little specialized syntax, though, you can format lists, search for multiple criteria, manage your lists from Gmail, and integrate with external services like Launchy and QuickSilver.
                      • vitalist

                          Vitalist: Another contender for the GTD app, Vitalist also offers next actions, projects, and contexts (unlike Nozbe, you can create your own contexts), as well as a virtual “tickler file” and a mobile-optimized version. GTD apps are a highly personal product — one person’s way of getting things done might be nothing but a series of obstacles for another — so it’s good to see so much competition and innovation in this space.

                        While not all of these are necessarily the best in their class, they do compare favorably with more established apps like Basecamp for project management, Remember the Milk for todo lists, and Google Calendar for scheduling.  Some, like Sandy and Jott, essentially create new classes — try explaining to your grandmother just what, exactly, Sandy does!

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                        What excites me is that these represent only the first, or in some cases the second, step for web-based applications.  Any of these apps will help you be more productive, but imagine them integrated and refined 5 years from now — using Jott to call Sandy to schedule a payment in Mint and placing a todo in Todoist telling you to call in three days to make sure the payment is received. Maybe it won’t be these apps or these companies, but if not, the ones that follow will have the creators of the apps above to thank for blazing the trail.

                        So, what have I missed? What else came out this year that’s exciting you? What rounds out this list to an even dozen? And what have I included that’s old news around your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments!

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                        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                        How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                        How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                        Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

                        “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

                        But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

                        Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

                        1. Always Have a Book

                        It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

                        Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

                        2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

                        We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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                        Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

                        3. Get More Intellectual Friends

                        Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

                        Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

                        4. Guided Thinking

                        Albert Einstein once said,

                        “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

                        Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

                        5. Put it Into Practice

                        Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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                        If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

                        In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

                        6. Teach Others

                        You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

                        Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

                        7. Clean Your Input

                        Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

                        I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

                        Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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                        8. Learn in Groups

                        Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

                        Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

                        9. Unlearn Assumptions

                        You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

                        Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

                        Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

                        10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

                        Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

                        Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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                        11. Start a Project

                        Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

                        If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

                        12. Follow Your Intuition

                        Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

                        Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

                        13. The Morning Fifteen

                        Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

                        If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

                        14. Reap the Rewards

                        Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

                        15. Make Learning a Priority

                        Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

                        More About Continuous Learning

                        Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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