My iOS App Picks for 2014 — eBook Readers

It’s that time of year again — the year is end­ing, com­ing to a close. And we often take time to look back at things we’ve done. In my case, I thought I’d look back at the iOS apps that have most engaged me over the last year.

I’ll basic­ally select a ‘win­ner’ and a ‘run­ner up’, and give a few reas­ons why the app cap­tured my atten­tion and interest.

So, without fur­ther pre­amble, here’s my first cat­egory and selec­tions: Con­tin­ue read­ing “My iOS App Picks for 2014 — eBook Read­ers”

Things you find when cleaning out your Google contacts

If you’ve got a Gmail account, you’ve got Google Con­tacts. These are entries of all the folks you’ve ever emailed with Gmail, or inter­ac­ted with in any oth­er Google prop­erty.

We’re work­ing on a Christ­mas pro­ject and wanted to get a good list of friends, so I pulled my con­tacts from my Gmail account.

Over 800.

Includ­ing Lady Gaga and ‘the Woz’ Steve Wozniak. (yes, I was sur­prised)! I assume Steve’s name is upside because he enjoys prac­tic­al jokes 😉

 

Look who’s in my little black book!

 

After a bit of research, it seemed that I’d fol­lowed them on Google+ and their G+ pro­file was added to my con­tacts. Inter­est­ing…

Back to my dig­ging… I won­der who else I’ll find? And who’s in *your* con­tacts? Just log into email, select con­tacts and export. And have fun!

Ello’s a thing, like the other thing, but more.

 

You’ve prob­ably heard about Ello, a new, Face­book altern­at­ive that prom­ises to be ad free, and not sell your data. Sounds inter­est­ing, so I’m try­ing it out.

Giv­en my recent obser­va­tions on Face­book — mostly that the stuff I share there isn’t really seen by my friends who fol­low me there, I thought I’d give Ello a try.

Of course, it helps if my friends are fol­low­ing me on Ello too!

So if you’re inter­ested in Ello, let me know by using my con­tact form here. Include your email and I’ll send you an invite.

Read more about Ello here. And read the Ello mani­festo here!

Hope­fully I’ll see you on Ello soon!

Free online storage — what I’m doing now

Back in 2012 I wrote about a few cloud stor­age options I was explor­ing. Well a few years have passed so I thought I’d update / annot­ate the old one. So here goes. New com­ments will be col­oured red.


UPDATES Wow, anoth­er one today (Thursday, April 12, 2012). Log­MeIn has entered the ‘cloud stor­age space’ space by announ­cing the invite-only beta of Cubby — which gives you Drop­Box-like access to 5GB. I’ve reques­ted an invite and will post about it when I have some hands-on time. Meh. Cubby’s noth­ing to write home about. Log­MeIn has been a bit of a dis­ap­point­ment since they sig­ni­fic­antly changed their remote desktop applic­a­tion and left iOS users in the dust.

Drop­Box has doubled the amount of free space they’re giv­ing out through refer­rals and Spider Oak is also in my test­ing suite. It starts out with 2GB free, and I’ve just opened my account so I’ve just star­ted test­ing, but you can expect I’ll write about it in a week or two. If you want to check it out, here’s an affil­i­ate link (which will get you one extra GB of stor­age!).

Drop­box is still cool and still used by me on mul­tiple com­puters and mobile devices. Well worth it if you’re look­ing great stor­age and 3rd party app sup­port through ser­vices like IFTTT and many mobile apps.

Cur­rently, the latest buzz is all about a pos­sible April launch of Google’s much-anti­cip­ated free cloud stor­age app called dubbed GDrive.

GDrive is clunky — not as eleg­ant as Drop­box or Copy.com (more on that later).

Reports say it’ll come with a loc­al, desktop cli­ent for most oper­at­ing sys­tems that will enable you to store and access about 1GB of files in the Cloud. Nice.

But it’s not here yet, and there are already oth­er excel­lent cloud / drive solu­tions that offer the same or bet­ter. While it’s hard to com­pare apples to apple (dif­fer­ent pro­viders offer dif­fer­ent stor­age and util­ity pack­ages) here’s my thoughts on the cur­rent lead­ers:

Drop­box
The cur­rent mar­ket lead­er, offers 2GB free, desktop and mobile cli­ents for all lead­ing hard­ware. Recently, Drop­Box has become more act­ive in the enter­prise space offer­ing solu­tions for groups and teams.
Affil­i­ate pro­gram allows you to expand your stor­age space by sign­ing up friends etc. Nice that it’s pretty seam­less. Install the app on your device, log in, and your files are instantly access­ible. I’ve writ­ten before about Drop­box here and here.

My affil­i­ate link is here, if you want to check out Drop­box.

Drop­Box is still best-of-class. If you’re not using it yet and want to explore, please feel free to click my affil­i­ate link (we’ll both get small bonuses 🙂

Sug­ar­Sync
Sug­ar­Sync ups the ante a bit by offer­ing a free 5GB account. They also have a nifty desktop cli­ent, great web inter­face, and the abil­ity to extend your stor­age capa­city through an affil­i­ate pro­gram (sign­ing up your friends, blog­ging about it, etc). Here’s my affil­i­ate link if you feel so inclined to check it out

Stopped using it recently. Not so much of an improve­ment over any oth­er and the cli­ent wasn’t work­ing well on one of my desktops.

Box
Recently made the news by announ­cing Box OneCloud — a col­lec­tion of mobile apps designed to work with Box’s cloud stor­age sys­tems:

Sign­ing up to Box gets you an ini­tial 5GB of stor­age, but they often run pro­mo­tions with prizes up to 50GB.

While Box does offer free cli­ents for mobile devices, if you want to have the seam­less integ­ra­tion of Drop­box or Sug­ar­Sync, you’ll have to upgrade to the $15/month Box busi­ness plan.

I’m still using Box. More of a slow online backup of some doc­u­ments and stuff. It works well, has a very robust busi­ness mod­el and sup­port.

Microsoft Live Sky­Drive
This is the big sur­prise — Microsoft is offer­ing 25GB of stor­age, Mobile apps, online MS Office integ­ra­tion (and you don’t need to have Office installed loc­ally), group col­lab­or­a­tion, and pub­lic file shar­ing.

For example, here’s a pub­lic link to an Empire Aven­ue pro­mo­tion­al video, stored in my pub­lic Sky­Drive space.

Cur­rently there isn’t a desktop cli­ent avail­able, so you will need to use the web inter­face (which is quite slick, even in Chrome and Fire­fox) to man­age your files. But a Win­dows and OSX desktop cli­ent is rumored to be avail­able shortly.

Now called OneDrive, you get 15GB free cloud stor­age, and MS Office online too. Not a bad setup if you use the Office suite of apps.

New Entries

Copy.com
Starts with 15GB free stor­age, and you can gain an extra 5GB per new user you invite using your unique invite code. Feel free to try Copy.com out by using my Invite Code 😀

iCloud.com
Apple’s cloud stor­age entry is inter­est­ing. You can store doc­u­ments in iCloud, then access them from any oth­er iCloud-con­nec­ted device. One thing, you only get 5GB free, and that iCloud stor­age space is also used for your iOS device backups, if you have iCloud backup enabled. Still, a cool option from folks at the fruit stand.

Mega.co.nz
Kim dot com’s file shar­ing and stor­age site. Free accounts start at 50GB, but you have lim­ited file sizes and trans­fer band­width. I use it lightly.

One or many?
Well, for me, I’m actu­ally using a mix­ture of these. Drop­box is my daily go-to stor­age solu­tion, simply because I’ve been using it for so long.

Sug­ar­Sync I’m using to keep some backup files stored safely. Box, well, I’m not con­sist­ent in my use of it, and Sky­Drive, well that’s my new darling. I’ve neg­lected it for a while but now will be try­ing to integ­rate it into my work­flow wherever I can. And yeah, you’ll here from me if there’s prob­lems.

So, did I miss any­thing? What’s your online stor­age solu­tion look like?

Goodbye Apple. Hello Alberta School of Business!

I guess it’s about time I men­tion it broadly, rather than simply hint at it or just let a few folk know.

As of the end of the month, I’ll be leav­ing my very cool and amaz­ing world-class fam­ily at Apple retail and join­ing the team at the Alberta School of Busi­ness at the Uni­ver­sity of Alberta.

It wasn’t an easy decision, leav­ing the industry-lead­ing unique cul­ture of Apple retail. But it basic­ally boiled down to life­style; I wanted my week­ends and even­ings back to spend time with my fam­ily.

I leave with very fond memor­ies. Apple is an amaz­ing organ­iz­a­tion. I con­sider it a per­son­al priv­ilege that I was able to learn and grow with­in, and per­haps help influ­ence and con­trib­ute to the growth oth­ers.

Yes, I’ll miss the people and the unique Apple cul­ture.

In my new role at the Alberta School of Busi­ness, I’ll be work­ing with the mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions teams to bring my social media, PR and com­mu­nic­a­tions know­ledge to bear on the School’s stra­tegic plans. Sim­il­ar to what I’ve done with the AMA, Empire Aven­ue and BioWare.

So, yes, bit­ter­sweet, and full of prom­ise and excite­ment!

I can’t wait!

A sid­e­note: it’s very cool when the Dean of the school fol­lows you on Linked­In and you’ve not even star­ted yet! Reas­sur­ing, in fact.