End of the year lists are here to stay. Here are my two cents. I decided to share the five apps I got hooked on last year – blended with some The Next Web travel stories. Hope you dig the read and most of all, share your favorite five programs of 2008. Best wishes, dear readers!
1. Evernote – a second memory for everybody
I met Evernote director Alex Pachikov during the Altsearchengines meet-up in San Francisco, last April. He showed me the beta version of my memory. I can make snapshots, text notes, sound messages on my iPhone, sync them with my Mac and the Evernote server, and access them whenever I want. At first, I didn’t really use the service (also because I didn’t own an iPhone yet). But when I found myself on a beach in Italy for two weeks, I started collecting my new ideas – which popped up like flying fish in the flat Adriatic sea. Ever since those two weeks, I write my drafts for blog posts on the go, note down lessons learned from great books, and save inspiring pics. I’m also digitalizing the best parts of my old paper notebooks. Evernote rocks, it’s as simple as that.
2. Things – getting things done, really
During The Next Web Open Office Road Trip I spent the hours in the car reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. The new blogger lifestyle required a new way of working. Maybe the Allen way. While Arjen and Patrick blasted the car across the roads from Amsterdam to Brussels, Paris, Ghent, Geneva, and London, I realized that there was know way I could escape a GTD tool.
On another trip, this time Krakow, Next Web mobile editor Peter Evers advised me to use Things. This is a beta product which will be released in January 2009 for around forty dollars. But during 2008, you could use it for free. So why not give it shot? Well, it will cost you money in the end. The program is so simple and damn good that you can’t escape paying the forty dollars – plus eight dollars for the iPhone app (which syncs with your Mac through Wifi). Yep, I feel ripped off – but I’m also getting things done.
3. Tweetdeck – organizing the total mess on Twitter
During the China 2.0 trip last November, Shel Israel, Mike Butcher (TechCrunch UK) and I found ourselves in many Chinese offices – listening to the presentations of the entrepreneurs who will take over the world. We tweeted it all – there was no way you could ignore the #china20 hashtag. I noticed Mike used Adobe Air app Tweetdeck in a rather effective way: sorting a group of friends, the China hashtag, his replies, and DM’s in four columns. Ever since then, I Twitter via Tweetdeck. On the iPhone, Twitterific is the way to go. But it’s not nearly as innovative as the awesome Tweetdeck.
4. Boxee – throw your tube out the window
“Hi, I’m Avner from Boxee“. Another cool New York 2.0 guy pitches his product at the preliminary rooftop party of Web 2.0 Expo New York. But hey, this friendly chap actually has a great story. He turned a XBMC open source revolution into a commercially interesting product that will shape the future of online social media centers. Boxee integrates local and Internet content with social networking and overlays it with a good-looking remote-friendly interface. You can either watch a ripped DVD, content from CNN.com or BBC, or videos from popular video sites like YouTube, Blip.tv, and Revision3. All by flipping through the screens with a remote or arrows. This is the stuff major TV companies will copy. Tivo? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
5. Yahoo Pipes – boring but oh so good
Yeah I know, I know. After all this glamorous cool, hip, and shiny start-ups, Yahoo Pipes is a bit like the boring corporate cousin at a Christmas party. But you know what? This cousin actually does some very useful work – organizing the life of a from-the-information-overload-suffering blogger. I won’t follow thirty major tech blogs. Screw that. It will limit my vision and I’ll probably get as sucked up in the bubble like the very persons who think Twitter is as mainstream as gasoline. Thus I pump all their RSS feeds into one pipe. They get pushed through a filter and only the articles which have mentions of a European country, language, city, or company will make the cut. Saves me a lot of time. And have I already told you how I use Pipes to build a community around The Next Web?
[Photo credit: Toni Blay]