applications best of browser facebook gaming google hardware iPad mobile phones movies music social social networking Twitter web apps web2.0: 2010 Android angry birds app of the year apps best of chrome facebook game of the year google google voice grooveshark hulu hulu plus iOS iPad iTunes movie of the year netflix pandora technology The Social Network web apps worst of
Best of 2010:
My ‘Best of’ list may help you save a few bucks next year, be more (or less) productive, or just keep you busy clicking links for a while.
I take it everywhere. It’s my GPS, MP3 player and radio while I drive. It’s my pencil and paper at work, it’s my computer of choice, even if it’s not capable of everything I need at all times. My top uses and apps:
- Safari: Email and web surfing (including Facebook, Google Docs, and Google Voice)
- Netflix, YouTube, VLC Media Player, and TED Talks for video video video
- Twitter, Flipboard and Newsy for news
- Pages, Evernote, and Keynote for word processing and work
- Pandora and Clock Radio for music
- Sketchbook Pro and Adobe Ideas for drawing
- Kindle for reading
- GPS Drive HD and Maps for driving and directions
- Skype (with subscription) for phone calls
All around app: Google Voice
This app is totally free (used in a browser) and has saved me $15 a month in texting fees by routing the SMS texts thru my email and data plan on my phone. I can also use the Google Voice app on my Blackberry to send or receive texts if I wish. I get my voicemail transcripts in email to read when I can’t take a call. It’s a game changer for saving money.
Biggest Surprise: Google Chrome
The most secure browser out there and perhaps the fastest one too. I now know why they made this little browser into it’s own operating system. I’m already living in it. Customize it with extensions and without the (Firefox) lag. Here’s a few I like:
- Google Voice – get notified and answer texts without leaving your tab
- Google Tasks – a to do list
- Google URL Shortener – keep it short, tweet from there
Everyone uses Pandora. The fact that it’s on every device I own makes it ultimately useful at all times. Gooveshark is another great web app where you can actually listen to the songs you want. I’m not sure how they are making this happen since it seems to be peer to peer (P2P) sharing. Make a playlist, listen to whole albums, Tweet a song with a tiny URL… all for free! Sorry iPad users, this puppy uses (ugh) Flash.
I cancelled my cable bill this year and saved a bundle with Netflix on my Wii, iPad, and laptop. The streaming library is ever increasing and if you like TV, are willing to give up new content full of commercials, this is your last stop. My favorites:
- Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe (yes, I’m a sci-fi dork) – all seasons
- South Park – seasons 1-12
- Firefly, Dollhouse, and Buffy (the Whedon trilogy) – all seasons
- For the kids: Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents, and Invader Zim (ok, those are for me)
Although I don’t own a device running Android, the fact that I want one so badly is proof that the fastest selling mobile OS on the market kicks ass. It has a huge development team, an open system, and took Linux from being a joke (sorry Linus) to what could end up being the most widely distributed OS of our time.
Worst of 2010:
Devices: Google TV / Apple TV
The biggest let downs of the year. A device that could change everything. A device that could have brought the best mobile operating systems (Android and iOS) to our TVs and give us millions of apps to play with… instead searches our cable box for content and giving us more ways to pay for overpriced content. Boo. Fail.
All Around Worst App: iTunes
For the 10th year running: iTunes. What a beast. Slow to start up. Hard to use. Copying all my files to who knows where (whenever my hard drive is suddenly out of space, iTunes is to blame). Here’s an app by the maker of the iPad whose iTunes app doesn’t even perform the simplest task: subscribe to podcasts – i.e. automatically download new content. This year iTunes also introduced Ping, a social network (as if we needed another) for music. Note to Apple: Concentrate on usability and usefulness.
Music: The Social Network OST
My biggest gripe here isn’t with the music. I’m a huge Trent Reznor / Nine Inch Nails fan! My problem is with the price. Facebook is free. Everything Trent does is free. This is one piece of musical soundtrack that should have been free.
Movies/TV: Hulu and Hulu Plus
What a joke. Limited content, too many commercials, and an over priced app for shows that eventually expire. Hollywood really has to be reaching with this last ditch effort to save commercials. Forget it. Put a Pepsi or McDonalds logo (linked to a limited time offer) down in the corner and drop the commercials and the charge for the app.
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I say Twitter should buy Delicious. Talk about a powerhouse combo! So many people use Twitter to aggregate and pass links, often times never saved or seen again (just like the tweets themselves). But wouldn’t it be great if every link you ever tweeted was automatically bookmarked and stored for you? What if every posted by everyone you ever follow was stored too?
What’s even greater is that Delicious does tags (folksonomy), something long missing from Twitter. Could Twitter put that tag system to use, not only for links, but to get rid of this silly hashtag stop-gap measure and get down and dirty with some real taxonomicial mojo?
A few years ago, links were the currency of the web: traded, saved, and stored. Very few of us keep detailed records of links, unless doing research or a paper or something. If we did keep track, we had a myriad of resources to choose from: blogs, wikis, and RSS through sites like Delicious. Today however, we’re still passing links every day, but with Twitter as our aggregator. Where Digg.com succeeded over Delicious was in its community. Where Twitter succeeded over Digg.com was… in its community (and respect for community). Where Twitter fails is in its storage and search for past links and other metadata, i.e. who passed it to who and how.
Twitter is growing up fast and has made only one big purchase: Tweetie, the best Twitter iPhone app at that time. In doing so, it strangled the market for Twitter apps and put a solid stamp on its mobile product. By buying Delicious, Twitter could do the same for the short URL, which was developed entirely on the premise that most links take up too much of the 140 character limit. There are security concerns with such links and where they might land. Giants like Google have stepped into the foray with http://goo.gl/ and Delicious uses http://icio.us. But services like http://bit.ly/ and http://tinyurl.com/ seem to be ruling the day. But for how long? By buying Delicious, Twitter could shore up the shortened URL market and with deeper integration and tools then they currently use now.