Dec 032013

I’ve switched away from Google Keep and now using the best state-of-the-art note-taking app called Simplenote. With its latest version, Simplenote got a clean & lean rebuilt code base and its new ownership by the makers of WordPress (which runs over 20% of the Internet) signals to me that it’ll be around for a while.


What I was looking for in a notes app was:

  • multi-platform (covering the whole span of web, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac)
  • cloud-synced (everything gets sync’d manually or automatically between all those platforms)
  • useable offline and online
  • fast and lightweight, plain text and searchable essential, tags and design and low-price/free are bonus

Simplenote delivers all of the above most wonderfully! The only other fast multi-platform notes app I had found was Catch, and I had used it for over a year. But that company shutdown end of August 2013.

The next best lightweight notes app was Google Keep, so that’s where I migrated to after Catch’s demise. Unfortunately, Google Keep has had a stagnant code base, and it crashes the Safari and Chrome browsers on iOS, and there’s not an official iOS app. Granted the Google Keep app for Android is great and the web-based version is good, but as I’ve created more notes, it’s gotten more sluggish. The sluggishness might be attributed to its infinite-scrolling user interface, so it’s loading too many notes at once, and maybe that’s why the iOS web browsers crash too.

For the record, I’m also an active user of the ever-popular note-taking app Evernote; and I do pay the annual subscription fee for the extra features and storage that comes with Evernote Premium. But, it’s slow to sync, slow to search, slow to respond on those moment when I need to jot a quick note. What I do use Evernote to store my big archive of documents, caching web pages, and that kind of stuff.

Jun 152011

There are times when you want to get a message to someone and typing a text message takes too long or won’t fit in 140 characters. Or, you don’t have the time to talk on the phone so you don’t call because you’re not sure they won’t answer and you don’t want to wait for voicemail. And you don’t want to be “that guy” who calls someone in the middle of a meeting.

Talking is faster than texting. What if you can send a voice message?

There’s an emerging genre of mobile apps that let’s you send voice messages! These apps go by a different names, like: voice messenger, push-to-talk, touch-to-talk, walkie-talkie, voice notes, multimedia messaging. Here’s what’s out there:

KakaoTalk app on Android and iPhone. Send/receive text, photo, voice, video. 16 million users.

WhatsApp app on Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia. Costs $1.99USD per year. 15 million users.

TiKL – app on Android and iPhone. 10 million users.

HeyTell – app on Android and iPhone. 4 million users.

TalkBox – app on Android and iPhone. [ed.note: I like the name, its simplicity, and easy-find of my Facebook friends] app on Android and iPhone. [ed.note: best looking design]

PingChat app on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Send/receive text, photo, video, voice notes.

Palringo app on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows mobile, and PC or Mac desktop. Send/receive text, voice, and photo. $$ for extra features. [ed.note: seems like a multi-network IM that can send audio]

CloudTalk app on iPhone and Android, has multi-media messaging (voice, text, photo, video) and public forum to meet new people.

Voxer app on iPhone only. Send/receive text, voice, photo, location. Android app on the development road map.

Jawbone Thoughts – sender must have the iPhone app, receiver can listen via app or web

Voice/multi-media messaging could be the next big thing, and will be mainstream if more people get smartphones and install these apps. Down-side: it requires a smartphone with a internet data plan; instead of using minutes on your calling plan. These apps have been around for months, but, unfortunately, most people in my contacts aren’t “in network.” Yet. I’d love to connect. My username = djchuang.

My hunch is that many of these voice/multi-media messenger will be around, like how we still have multiple instant messenging networks, a la AOL, Yahoo, Google Talk, QQ, etc. Will Facebook or Google or Twitter get into the game or buy out one of these? We will see.

Feb 212009

With my Twitter followers and following lists into the 100s, I wanted to streamline them, so I don’t get too many tweets from verbose twitterers tweeting off subject, follow back with the follow-worthy, and opt-in or opt-out a handful of randoms to keep the twitter stream interesting. Here’s 4 web apps that are super for follow management:

  • PeopleBrowsr – wowwie! this is the swiss-army knife of twitter apps.. dices & slices & everything.. even things I’ve never thought possible.. I think of it as the web-based Tweetdeck.. plus, it’s an ultimate dashboard for twitter and also other social networks too, e.g. facebook, plaxo..
  • FriendOrFollow – enter your username, no login required, and sort your lists as following, fans, and friends.. avatar-based sorter
  • MyTweeple – login with username and password, sync with twitter, then manage followers and friends with follow / unfollow / block
  • TweetBuddy – “promoting the ethical acquisition & management of Twitter followers”.. login for TweetBuddy Prune Tool to manage following, followers, and two-way follows.. Prune Lite lets you see your lists without using your password.. I dont’ like how the developers identity is hidden.. a newer design would be more inviting..
There are a bunch of other web apps in the follow management category at the Twitter Fan Wiki. 2 other web apps that look really useful for house-cleaning: UnTweeps [unfollow tweeps who have not posted recently] and MyCleenr [rids inactive accounts that you're following].