Five apps for creative & curious minds

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There is tons of amazing content out there on the internet to read and be inspired by. Yet, stopping to read articles or blogs every few minutes isn’t particularly helpful when it comes to productivity.

That’s why these five apps rock my world. They help me devour, share and process inspiration on my own time. Plus, they’re gorgeously simple and easy to use.

You may be using many or all of them already.
If so… good.



INSTAPAPER

Quite possibly my favorite app ever. Drag the “read later” button to your bookmarks bar. Then, whenever you find an interesting article, click it. The article will be beamed to your phone or ipad where you can read it later. Say, on the subway. Or on the airplane. Or standing in line at Starbucks. And the article is formatted for readability – so it’s no longer packed with ads and teeny-tiny type.

Bonus points, because it downloads the articles to your phone or iPad, so you don’t need an active internet connection to keep reading. (Hence it’s awesomeness for the subway or airplane.) Bonus bonus points for being able to file your favorite articles into folders for handy reference later.



FLIPBOARD

The best magazine on the iPad isn’t actually a magazine. It’s a reader that pulls a bunch of stuff you like together and turns it into a magazine. You can read your friends’ Facebook updates like a magazine. Tweets, like a magazine. You can even pull feeds from other magazines into a brand-new customized-for-you magazine. And best of all, if you use Google Reader to manage your blog subscriptions (and really, you should – It’s super-easy) then you can flip through all your blogs like a magazine.

It’s only downside is that it doesn’t load the full articles right away. So if you don’t have an internet connection, you’re kind of stuck.



REEDER

Another superb app for handling your Google Reader subscriptions. It’s a case study in simplicity. One of the best user interfaces I’ve ever seen.

Where Flipboard randomizes the articles so you get a bit o’ this and a bit o’ that, Reeder is better at easily navigating through the different blogs you like.

And it downloads the full articles. So you’re cool on plane trips.



DROPBOX

Dropbox is brilliant at many, many, many things. But one of my favorite uses is for PDFs or presentations. I hate looking at 50+ page powerpoint decks on a computer screen. I hate printing them out even more.

Now I just drag the file into my Dropbox, grab my ipad and have a seat on the couch. I can immediately pull up the presentation and flip through it.



MINDNODE

Once you’re done ingesting information, Mindnode is a great way to reflect on it and spit out a bunch of thoughts of your own. It’s the best Mind Mapping app I’ve found on the iPad. (Not saying it’s THE best – just the best I’ve found. If you’ve found a better one, I’m all ears.)

And if you haven’t tried mind-mapping, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. It’s a fantastic tool for a busy mind. You can capture every random thought you have, then drag it around the screen to organize and make sense of it.



ANYTHING I’VE MISSED?

If so, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for cool stuff.




2 Comments

  1. timleake wrote:

    Good suggestion. I’ve been using an app called SelfControl (http://visitsteve.com/made/selfcontrol/) which does the same thing and is free. Even re-starting the computer doesn’t help. :-)

  2. Name * wrote:

    when writing, i love the app called freedom, which is amazingly simple. It blocks all internet access for specified periods of time so you can write without distractions! – http://macfreedom.com/
    I bought the app for 10 bucks after the trial because i got tons of writing done with its help.