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Posts tagged ‘Publishing’

Mini App Round-Up: Jan 27, 2011

Our Mini App Round-Ups cover smaller apps that rock. If you have a suggestion for an app, send it our way.

ma.rs

noresizeMa.rs gives anyone the ability to launch a sophisticated mobile web app in a matter of minutes. Instead of writing code, users drag-and-drop elements into place. Its simple interface allows anyone to get started. Ma.rs provides the hosting, which means more time building your web app and less time setting up. Basic web tracking analytics are also included. Plans start at $30 per month.

The Daily Startup

noresizeFor our entrepreneurial readers, The Daily Startup pulls in quotes and case studies from business and startup books. Each day, the website posts a new concept from a book. They take a no-frills approach to each article, as in, “Skip the details, and just tell me why this matters.” Their writeups are concise but still provide enough value with actionable advice for your business. The Daily Startup launched this month.

Ledgerble

noresizeLedgerble is a full-featured accounting web app. It breaks away from desktop software by providing your books in the cloud. Ledgerble can handles banking and bookkeeping, and it even has the ability to import your banking data from your account. The service just launched, and pricing currently stands at $14 per month for all features.

The Feed: Stylized Google Reader for iPad

If the iPad is the best way to view the web, then The Feed may just be the best way to browse your RSS feeds.

Using a highly stylistic interface, The Feed pulls RSS feeds from your Google Reader account. Unread posts stand out with what we’ll call an “RSS burnt orange” edge, while read posts turn gray and show a bite mark.

View your feeds rendered with full text and images, or toggle the view to only show a snippet from each post. Either way, The Feed manages to display both perspectives well, allowing you to choose the setting that fits your mood.

Your feeds are organized into stacks of paper, which is unlike anything we’ve seen. Interface designers typically use badges to indicate the number of items remaining. But The Feed uses a different approach. It tosses out badges and simply uses proportionately deep stacks of paper to indicate how many unread posts are remaining. After all, when it comes to things like feeds (versus unread email messages, for example), concrete numbers aren’t really necessary. For The Feed, an indication like “only a few unread posts remaining” or “a lot of unread posts remaining” is really the most vital metric. It’s this kind of fundamental interface decision making that surprised us in The Feed, and it feels right at home on your iPad.

The Feed is completely free from the App Store. We’re willing to call it a must-have for any iPad owner.

TinyLetter: Write and Recruit a Following

We all subscribe to email newsletters, but TinyLetter makes is easy for us to create our own and gather a following.

When you visit the site, you’re instantly given the option to pick a username and then decide whether you want people to subscribe for free or for a cost per month. Then, drive people to your custom tinyletter page, which is nothing more than a single field to submit an email address. That’s it.

Newsletters have been used for the purpose of broadcasting a message since email was invented. I think the verdict is still out on whether paid email subscriptions will reach critical mass. At the moment, they exist, but they are severely limited based on low demand. Even popular management consulting firms that have charged for email subscriptions for years, like McKinsey & Company, are lifting the paywall.

Paid content or not, TinyLetter is the perfect solution for people looking to put together a list of subscribers. Their front page includes an alphabetical directory for everyone who has ever registered.

Mini Sprout has always focused on providing young startups with the tools to grow their customer base. Services like TinyLetter are sure to be a part of anyone’s marketing plan.

DailyLit: Books By Email and RSS

Who needs an e-book reader? Your smart phone is capable of viewing text, especially if font size isn’t a concern. DailyLit gives us the option to read books either by email or RSS feed. We may start our mornings sorting through inbox emails and e-newsletters, but now we can read the book of our choice.

When you select a title, instead of DailyLit sending you the entire book as one email message, they break it up into bite-sized installments. That way, your inbox isn’t hit with a multi-megabyte attachment when you decide to tackle War and Peace. Installments are around 750 words, or about three pages. A 500+ page novel like Dracula may be divided into 176 installments, but it’s up to you how often to receive each installment. You can also specify a relative length for the installments, like “Normal”, “Longer” or “Longest”, which dictates how many installments you receive at a time.

Every listing is available for free. Their library boasts quite the selection, from about 600 classics to dramas, business related, banned books, self-help and even tours from Wikipedia’s collection. Browse by title, category or author among more than 900 listings. The layout is slick, and it’s easy to spend a few minutes bouncing around different categories.

They launched with public domain and Creative Commons titles, which allowed them to avoid royalty fees. They also work with publishers to release books for free.

The service is compatible anywhere you check email, which means we’re able to carry our novels on our phones. With DailyLit, we can stop making excuses for not having time to read. Imagine that.

Scout Books: Custom Pocket Notebooks

Pocket notebooks are the perfect travel companions. Think of them as field notes guides for anyone. And their cover designs are just retro enough to be cool.

Scout Books lets anyone design their own pocket notebook. Download their Adobe Illustrator or Acrobat page templates and size your work to fit. The template also includes Scout Books’ color inks and additional formatting instructions. The inside pages can be blank, lined, grid or—brace yourselves—a custom design. All products are printed on 100% Recycled Papers. Pricing for prints is tiered in groupings. Depending on the quantity ordered, the cost per book can range from a little less than $5 to under a buck. Free shipping in the U.S. too.

It’s pretty surprising to see what customers have been able to accomplish on the book covers. Scout Books also post some of their own designs available for purchase. Browsing their site catalogue may just be tempting enough for you to purchase one of their existing designs. But take their examples as inspiration and show us what you can create.