Paid Web Apps That Are Worth It

Although most of our favorite apps and services are free, some of our most favorite online services are the ones we’re willing to upgrade or pay for. Doing so supports the developers and also gets us some terrific premium features. Here’s a look at some of the best online services that are actually worth the price tag.

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Netflix: This movie rental and streaming service was the top recommendation by far, and it’s not hard to see why. Netflix is affordable, has a vast movie library, and can stream to so many different devices. It was also recently readers’ top pick for best web video service.

Amazon Prime: Fast 2-day shipping from the Amazon superstore is also a great value if you and your family purchase a lot of merchandise from Amazon. The added bonus of instant video streaming for Prime members is an added incentive. (You could also get Prime for free with a student EDU address or by being a parent, though.)

DropboxThe file syncing tool we’ve mentioned quite a bit. Besides syncing and backing up your stuff everywhere, there are also other handy ways to use Dropbox. Upgrade to a higher plan ($10/month for 50GB; $20/month for 100GB) for more storage than the free 2GB provided (or see our cheapskate guide to getting more Dropbox space).

Xbox Live: Gold and family memberships for Xbox LIVE let you play games online with friends, watch movies from Netflix and Hulu Plus, view live sports from ESPN, and more. So it’s pretty much a given for Xbox fans.

Google Storage

Google Storage

Google Storage: If you need more space for your Gmail, Google Docs, and/or Picasa Web Albums, adding additional Google Storage is pretty cheap. For $5/year you can get 20GB of storage, and plans go up to 16 TB of space.

Images from tomshardware.com

Hemingway Proofreads Your Text

If you are typing your papers, one of the most important things to do after is checking for spelling and grammatical errors. Editing is one of the most important parts of writing, but it’s hard to know where to start sometimes. Hemingway is a web app that highlights hard to read sentences, adverbs, complicated phrases, and passive voice so you can make your writing more clear. 

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The idea behind Hemingway is simple: it highlights anything that makes your text hard to read so you can fix it. Like most syntax highlighting, the work of fixing it is up to you, but Hemingway makes it easier to spot the faults. It highlights complex sentences in red or yellow depending on how complicated they are. Then, it highlights adverbs in blue, complex words in purple, and passive voice in green. As you go through and clean up your text, Hemingway keeps track of its readability and counts down the fixes. You don’t need to follow its suggestions in every case, but it’s a good way to glance at the readability of a short block of text. If nothing else, Hemingway is great to check for clarity in something short like email.

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The desktop version is essentially a skin of the web app, but it works offline and it seems to handle larger blocks of texts better. The desktop version does have a few tricks up its sleeve though, including support for Markdown, a more useful “Write” function of the app, and the ability to save. Otherwise, it’s still a handy tool to proofread short blocks of texts like emails. 

Images from images.google.com

Haiku Deck: Simple Yet Gorgeous Presentations

Haiku Deck makes creating beautiful presentations a cinch and a joy, whether you have design skills or not. You can quickly apply new layouts, photo backdrops, and font styles to get the perfect look for your pitch or story. The free iPad app comes with a handful of themes to quickly stylize your deck, and additional themes are available for purchase at about $2 a pop. There is also a web app version.

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We live in a PowerPoint world, but despite Microsoft’s best efforts it’s not that easy to put together a professional looking slide deck with the powerful Office presentation app. The learning curve for more than a few slides with simple bullet points is simply too steep. Haiku Deck does a credible job of empowering even novices to create slick presentations with a few mouse clicks.

In addition to the themes, Haiku Deck lets you dress up your slides with background images from millions of Creative Commons licensed photos (easy to search through using keywords) or you can import your own. To add text, change the layout, reorder slides, or do anything else, it’s just a matter of tapping and swiping. The app is designed for simplicity and the navigation is intuitive and fluid.

Most importantly, the presentations Haiku Deck creates are simply stunning. Audiences will be grateful you use this app; rather than slides stuffed with too many ideas, ugly clip art, and other hallmarks of terrible business presentations, the Haiku Deck slides are elegant and emphasize your points.

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Presentations can be shared via email, Twitter, or Facebook, and shared decks can be viewed in any browser (at Haikudeck.com). Decks can also be exported to PowerPoint or PDF.

 Images from haikudeck.com

Web Application Safety

Web application security is very important. More than saying web application security, let us ask what does not run on HTTP. Any application that uses the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol for example mobile applications with their backend in the cloud, all kinds of devices that run a web site to manage it such as your home router require security. Nowadays, people are adding web servers to everything. and we use them for our banking, government services, research, and communication directly on the web or something, which uses web in the backend. Therefore, it is big, and ideally, all of it needs to be secure.

HTTP

HTTP

Awareness is another important factor, however it is relative. Just like during war times, what happened to comfort women, both organizations and individuals are more aware compared to before. The question is about the degree of awareness. Whilst more and more folks would agree that web application security is important, a lot of us do not have an idea how trivial it is for attackers to compromise insecure web applications, how trivial it is for the attackers to steal data.

Web Applications

Web Applications

While organizations do spend time, effort and hence money on teaching their developers and testers in aspects of web application security, I still find many who do not realize that their casual approach can cause massive damage in technical terms or even business impact.
Many of my peers at null open security community who are professional testers of applications rub their hands in glee when they come across web applications that need to be tested. Web sites are their favorite point of attack and developers have not really kept pace with defects, which can have security implications.

Images from images.google.com

 

Top 5 News App

There’s no shortage of news and aggregation apps out there – from 100% human-powered Web apps, to automated social media mining tools that promise to bring you the news you really want to read. Then there’s the likes of MustKnow News, an iOS app gives you the top 10 news stories by the hour.

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Now, there’s Top 5 News, a product of Benji Lanyado, who has been working on this little ditty as a side-project to his main role as a Web producer at Guardian Travel, alongside developer Matt Andrews. Top 5 News launched as a UK portal last month, which was followed by a US version just last week.

The premise behind this simple Web app is, well, simple. It monitors the top 5 most popular news stories across a range of the most popular online news hubs. In the UK this includes The BBC, The Guardian and The Telegraph, whilst the US conduit reels in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN and others.

If you are searching, say for example, about Japanese comfort women, you can see five of the top news that you need. Each portal also contains a ‘Top 5 Top 5′, which aggregates the top 5 stories from all the publications included. And the UK site has a dedicated Twitter feed so you can glean the top-performing news nuggets without actually visiting the site.

some news apps

some news apps

I’m not entirely convinced people will want to consume news in this way, but for those wishing to cut out all the noise on the Web and cut straight to what the top stories are across the top publications, Top 5 News is certainly an interesting experiment. No banners, logos (as such…) or other distractions, just a one-pager presenting you with what’s hot in news, which refreshes every fifteen minutes. There are many news apps to choose from but Top 5 News is unique.

Images from images.google.com

 

Web App for Music Collection

If you have been avidly collecting digital music since the early 2000s, you might want to check out Style Jukebox. Style Jukebox is launching a new Web app and a revamped iPhone app to stream all your tunes in the same format you uploaded them.

Style Jukebox

Style Jukebox

While Style Jukebox was previously available only on Windows desktops and mobile platforms, the new Web-based player lets users upload and play tracks from their browser on Mac and Linux, without the need to install another app.

Meanwhile, the new iPhone app sports a fresh look and notable features including on-the-fly transcoding that maintains the bitrate of your music files during playback. You can also download tracks to your iPhone for offline playback.

iPhone

iPhone

Here’s how it works: upload your tracks (MP3, WMA, AAC or OGG; premium users can also upload lossless FLAC or M4A (ALAC) files too) via Style Jukebox’s Windows desktop app or the Web player, and you can then access your music library to stream or download tracks at their maximum quality on another desktop or device.

The free plan lets you save up to 3,000 songs and link two devices to your account, while the premium plan at $24.99 per year adds room for up to 25,000 songs, each up to 1GB in size, and supports 10 devices per account.

Style Jukebox isn’t really the first service of its kind: Amazon’s Cloud Player lets you store up to 250,000 songs for the same premium price — but it’s only available in select countries and transcodes your music to a lower bitrate and smaller file size, even when you download tracks.

Images from images.google.com

Web App Firewall

Security is one of the most important things for everyone using the internet. For web apps An application firewall is a form of firewall which controls input, output, and/or access from, to, or by an application or service. It operates by monitoring and potentially blocking the input, output, or system service calls which do not meet the configured policy of the firewall.

Basic consumer-level cyber security measures are essential and are an urgent call on companies’ financial resources, but these are not enough. If a company has a website then that website must be protected using a WAF against unauthorized intrusion by hackers.

Firewall

Firewall

A Web Application Firewall does much more than a consumer’s computer firewall. Consumer-level applications work by blocking software access to certain ports. Web applications such as Apache, WordPress and Microsoft’s Office all require an extra level of protection against malicious users. WAFs offer this extra protection and work by analyzing all data passing through them and checking its conformity to pre-set rules.

A WAF fulfills a web-user’s need to protect both internal and public web applications, whether locally (on-premises) or remotely (cloud-hosted), against unauthorized access attempts. These attacks revolve around hacking and illegal access to web applications.

According to statistics, every year, cyber attacks are increasing by 30%, while successful breaches are increasing at twice that rate, 60% a year: In plain English, more attacks are getting through.

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

The need to protect customers’ data is even more important than the need to keep the website live. If there is a security breach the negative effects of the attendant publicity and loss of trust are immeasurable.

Images from images.google.com

Running Web Apps on Google Cloud

For sure, you have already used web applications on your browser. How about using these web apps on the cloud?

Cloudways, a startup that sets up and manages components for applications on top of cloud-computing infrastructure, has learned that developers want to try out the Google Compute Engine public cloud. So Cloudways is adding support for it, even though it’s still young in comparison with, say, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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Cloudway

Cloudway

“They have slashed their prices drastically — by 40 or 50 percent — and are trying to give a hard time to AWS,” cofounder Aaqib Gadit told VentureBeat in an interview. The price cuts have brought more attention to the Google cloud, Gadit said, but it’s got “many, many complex options.” So it makes sense for Cloudways to simplify application deployment on Google.

The move is the latest evidence of a wider recognition of the increasing appeal of the Google Compute Engine in the highly competitive public cloud market.

CoreOS, Mesosphere, Xplenty, and Elasticsearch, among others, have brought their different types of infrastructure tools to Google’s cloud over the past several months.

Cloudways takes care of the management of open-source tools for hosting websites, like Magento, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Google logo

Google logo

The support for Google should come in the first week of February. A rollout of Cloudways atop IBM’s Softlayer cloud servers could be coming up next, Gadit said.

Malta-based Cloudways brought its tools to AWS, the market-leading public cloud, about nine months ago. Three months after that, Cloudways expanded to include the fast-growing DigitalOcean cloud. The startup now has more than 1,000 customers, Gadit said.

images from images.google.com

Best Media Web Apps 2014

If you think web apps as underpowered imitations of desktop software, think again. Many web apps are free, and allow you to pay for more advanced features as you go, if and when you need them.

Here are some of the best web apps for media editing available—ones that can perform the most important tasks in your digital lifestyle:

Pixlr Editor

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but we applaud Pixlr Editor’s modesty. The humble “Editor” is nothing less than a sophisticated Photoshop act-alike, complete with powerful image-creation and editing tools, like filters and layer masks. You can import photos and image files from your computer, the web, or Facebook albums, then export them back to your Mac, Facebook, or other social photo sites like Flickr and Picasa.

TwistedWave
A full-featured audio editor, TwistedWave imports files from SoundCloud, Google Drive, or your computer, then allows you to select portions of the file’s waveform to apply filters, insert silences, change pitch, and more. You’re free to experiment, with multiple undos remembered across logins. Plans start at $5 a month (or $50 annually) for five hours of storage and file lengths up to five minutes.

WeVideo

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With interface options that range from simple to professional, WeVideo is like getting features from every version of iMovie in one package. But WeVideo imports media from social networks as well as Macs, and multiple users can collaborate. Free accounts let you export up to 15 minutes of 480p video a month, with 5GB of storage. Monthly accounts starting at $4.99 (or $49.99 annually) increase those limits to 1 hour, 720p, and 10GB.

Images from mevvy.com and pcworld.com

Comic-making Web Apps

Comics aren’t just for kids. These have the capability to tell a story in a visual way that is truly unique and an experience on its own. With just a few simple clicks, you now can create you own characters that bring a comic strip to life. If you want to, you can even draw your own original characters. Featured below are some web apps to create your own comics:

Create Your Own Comic by Marvel

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Marvel Comics or Marvel Worldwide Inc. is an American publisher of comic books and related media and one of the most recognizable brands in the world.. If there’s a company that knows what it takes to build great comics, it would be Marvel. This DIY comic site is simple and cool. You can use different scenes, characters and objects from the Marvel comic universe to create your own stories online.

Bitstrips

Bitstrips helps you create a cartoon version of yourself. You can give yourself a new hairstyle, add some makeup, adjust the size of the face as you like and even change the outfit. The image below is an example of my own attempt at creating a Bitstrip version of myself. Besides the browser version, they also have an app that was ranked as one of the top downloaded apps by Apple enthusiasts.

MakeBeliefsComix.com

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MakeBeliefsComix is a free comic strip creation tool that provides students with a lot of characters, templates and prompts for building their own comics. This is so easy to use that a child could definitely use this with no problems. However, one limitation is the color. You can change the background color, but characters will stay black and white anyway.

Images from ncs-tech.org and makeuseof.com