Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flipboard - a cloud magazine

Flipboard, an iOS app for iPad and iPhone, was Apple's iPad app of the year 2010. The iPhone app was published in the end of 2011. Driven by pure curiousity I downloaded it instantly. Now it is one of these quite rare homescreen apps that I use on a daily basis.

The main menu of the iPhone app is designed in a tile style. Every tile represents a news section (e.g. Business and Politics), a social network (twitter and facebook) or a certain website. Additionally, there is an iPhone-only (Flipboard update from 2012-03-01) feature called Cover Stories which is meant to show the most important news from all your selected streams.

I use the news sections only for a fast skim of what is going on. For me, the core function is the integration of several social networks. For instance I have integrated GoogleReader, Twitter, facebook, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Normally, I do not open the Twitter app, instead I only open Flipboard. This is possible, as you can use the favorite and the retweet functionality directly in this app. This applies for the other integrations as well. Of course, you will not be able to replace the official apps for your social networks with Flipboard, but for the daily use, it is the best way to get fast impression of all networks.

One functionality, that really shows the love for details of the developers, is that you can even add a "read later" service (you can choose from Read it Later and Instapaper). In every article you read, you can just select "Read Later" to save it in the respective service.

Both the iPhone and the iPad app look great and make it a pleasure to navigate through the news.

-- Update on 2012-05-05: --
Flipboard is coming on Android.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hojoki - everything is in a flow

Hojoki is an extraordinary web app from Germany, a collaboration tool that integrates cloud apps in a news stream.

How to use Hojoki

When you sign up, you can add several cloud services (I use Twitter, Dropbox, GoogleCalendar, GoogleReader and GoogleDocs) to your accout. If there are any changes, these are added in a Twitter-like way in an activity stream.

For collaboration purposes, you can create projects and add people, who are Hojoki users, to your project team. There are two possibilities to show your activities in the project stream. First, you can do it manually for every new item. Second this can be based on rules, e.g. everytime a document that is created/edited/deleted in your GoogleDocs-folder "Project X", this activity is shown in your "Project X" on Hojoki.

The design is simple and and clear. On the left side of your activity stream, there is a list of your projects, where you can create new and configure existing ones. On the right bar there are filters (like "bookmarks") and additional information (my favorite: "Recent Files & Folders").

How Hojoki uses Hojoki

The service is perfectly explained by the developers in their blog: "How Hojoki uses Hojoki" - part1, part2, part3 and part4.

How I use Hojoki

One of the most recent integrations is GoogleReader. All starred texts are listed in your activity stream. It goes without saying that the GoogleReader tags are imported to Hojoki. If you add own tags to the article before starring, these are used to. This allows you to share articles about certain topics with a specified group of persons (e.g. tag "family"). Hojoki has mentioned this in their blog: "Bring social sharing back to Google Reader". In my opinion, this could be extended to other services like Evernote or ReadItLater. The documents and texts I save here fulfill different requirements for me, but could be also interesting for a certain group of people.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Egretlist - an Evernote TODO-List

Egretlist is a TODO-List-app for your Evernote todos, i.e. for notes with checkboxes, for your iPhone. It is a basic GTD app, where Evernote tags are used for the different GTD categories, like Next, Contexts and Projects.

This is the main menu. You can see it is designed like a real notebook. The app is completly designed on this principle. 

main menu of Egretlist

By clicking on "+" you add a task. You can also link attachments like pictures, links, audio notes to those tasks. These attachments are synchronized in the Evernote notes.

add tasks in Egretlists

task in Egretlist

As checkboxes are so last millenium I only use Egretlist as a tool for checklists. For task management my choice is Zendone

As I have recently found out, the developer MindsMomentum was bought by Evernote to build the coming todo app. Maybe you get a first impression what it will look like.