27 Apps Designers Can’t Live Without | Co.Design | business + design Maybe it’s just Gmail, or maybe it’s something more esoteric like Processing, but there are certain apps we rely on so much that if they suddenly went missing, we’d have a hard time getting by. That’s especially true for designers. Their livelihoods depend upon great software. What’s more, as people who dissect design details all day, they have unique insights into what makes an app great. They can see UI/UX friction points the way Superman can see microscopic structural flaws in steel. So we combed out rolodexes and reached out to more than two dozen designers to ask about the apps they couldn’t live without.
Library web hosting provider LISHost this month launched Library CMS, a modular, Drupal-based content management system template tailored to the needs of library websites. The move follows the March debut of Prefab, a WordPress-based CMS template designed for libraries by user experience (UX) consultancy Influx. Both are offered in conjunction with web hosting and are positioned as affordable, comprehensive website redesign services for individual libraries and small systems.
The closure of Google Reader has put a spotlight on RSS and apps that people use to help make their way around the long tail of internet content. Lumi is tapping into a similar concept, but taking a very different approach.
RSS requires users to proactively select sites and information they wanted to track online — and some might argue that this proactive, sometimes technical element is what has prevented RSS readers from really going mainstream. Lumi, meanwhile, has been created with inactivity in mind. People can do nothing and still get relevant, current content delivered regardless, using algorithms that track where you travel online to provide links to what else you might like to see.
As long as you have downloaded the extension, which monitors whatever else do you on your computer, “you don’t have to do anything extra,” Stiksel told me in an interview. “You don’t click buttons or subscribe to new feeds. You can go away for two weeks and it’s even more fresh when you return. Because the system knows more about you.”
This is what lumi looks like. The sidebar menu will disappear once you scroll off of it. Lumi reminds me of Stumble Upon, except at the content-specific level, rather than the website-specific level. Unfortunately, lumi is not recognizing my version of Safari at this time though it supposedly does recognize Chrome, Firefox and Safari, so the extension could not be installed. A cool and colourful new content discovery web service!
My personal preference was to discover new music based on recommendations from previous purchases or my library content, rather than listening to the radio. Or I would be watching a TV program (e.g. So You Think You Can Dance) and hear a track and absolutely must have it. Its time-consuming to find new music, so more and more I’m using recommender systems for discovery. There are so many options available now to discover music, its hard to decide which one is best for you. I’ve used Shazam in the past for recognition and just signed up for This is My Jam to follow what my friends like and Noon Pacific (because who doesn’t want handpicked music recommendations delivered by email!).
(Note: For music within an academic context most academic libraries offer a music library portal or music subject guides.)
Music curation and discovery is shifting from computer-generated algorithms back to including human recommendations and integrating social media and sharing within music streaming and radio services. The article Human Editors Are Returning To Music | FastCompany discusses services Pandora, iTunes, NPR and Rdio in this context.
There seems to be no end to the options for music streaming services, offered offline, online or as apps, free, freemium or subscription-based. Some services put social discovery at the forefront, rather than streaming. Here is a non-comprehensive list of music discovery and streaming services, with emphasis on discovery. Some of these services, such as Pandora (only offered within the U.S), have restrictions based on country.
2u.fm. Free. “Finds music from music sites all over the web.”
8tracks. Sign up for free. Internet radio created by people not algorithms.
Accuradio. Free. Also free mobile app.”Internet radio crafted by music lovers.” 600+ free Internet radio stations.
Amazon MP3. Shop 20+ million songs. Recommendations and Discover Music services.
Beastmode.fm. Free. “Random music to make you happy.” Music published on blogs courtesy of Shuffler.fm.
Blip.fm. Free. “Internet radio made social – free music streaming and sharing.”
Deezer. Free basic account (ads, restricted listening, discovery only) and subscription (no ads, mobile requires subscription). 180 countries – not in the U.S. “Discover, enjoy, share the music you love.”
Earbits. Free online radio. Connect with bands, support artists. No Top 40, no ads. Awesome “About Earbits” video.
Groove. Remixes your music library based on listening habits.
Grooveshark. Free basic account. Paid subscribers have access to cloud storage. 15+ million songs, 35+ million users. Listen to music online. Grooveshark Community and recommendation application. Full-featured.
Jango. Free Internet radio and on mobile that “plays what you want.” Simple. Search by artist. “Making online music easy, fun and social.”
Last.fm. Free and premium subscription. “Personalised recommendations based on the music you listen to.” Requires Scrobble plugin.
Live365. Free (with ads), 5 day unlimited with signup. 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions. Network of 5000+ radio stations, 260+ genres. Personalized recommendations. Create your own Internet radio station.
liveplasma. Discovery search engine for music, movies and books. Search results are browsed using a graphical interface.
MOG. “Music On the Go.” Find, play anywhere, share with friends. Listen for free with ads (basic account). Subscriptions for unlimited music and no ads. U.S. only. 16+ million songs.
Musicovery. Free. Graphical interface Internet radio. Music by mood.
Noon Pacific. Free. Weekly playlist of the best songs handpicked from the best music blogs. Email delivery.
Rdio. Discover (following friends, tastemakers, critics and artists), collect and share. 14 days unlimited trial. Up to 6 months free on computer. Subscription required. Many devices and full-featured.
Rhapsody. “More than just Internet radio.” Follow members, artists interviews and reviews. Full-featured. Subscription required. 16+ million songs. U.S. only.
seevl. Semantic music discovery plugin for Deezer and YouTube. Free.
Shazam. Music recognition app. Share to Facebook, Twitter and email.
Shuffler.fm. Free. An audio magazine made by music blogs. “Channel surf the music web through thousands of music sites and blogs, curated by tastemakers who filter the music information overload.”
Slacker Radio. Free. Subscribe for commercial free and offline listening. “The Best Music — Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device.” Curated by 200+ experts. 10+ million songs. Highly customizable.
Songbird. Free. Connect artists and fans. Handpicked YouTube playlists.
Songza. Free. Curated by music experts. Choose to customize music by day, time and situation. No listening limits.
SoundCloud. “The world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.” Distribution platform for artists.
SoundHound. Music recognition app. Also identifies by songs you sing or hum. Share and bookmark.
Spotify. Free and premium accounts. Desktop application. 20+ million songs. 20+ million users = many “eclectic playlists.” Full-featured.
I have used the Evernote service for years. I have found the more organized your notebooks and notes are, the more useful the service is. For search and discovery metadata is key – add tags, create explicit titles and create hierarchies of your notebooks. I especially like the eClip plugin for Internet browsers, the sync function and using the service across multiple devices.
Google has a history of retiring applications and emphasizing social. The social element is not important to me and i’m resentful of Google’s actions regarding the retirement of Google Reader and the most recent changes to its algorithms in Google Search. I will be not be switching to Google Keep, and for my current needs, I only need one note-taking service.
“We tested out Google’s newest app — looking at everything from its interface to its functionality — and put it all on video. Watch our hands-on with Google Keep.”