This is a post to show some of the web apps that I’ve tested on my Chromebook. I’ve mentioned before I like to try to push my Chromebook. Can I get it to do everything I need or will I be forced to another device? As time moves on this keeps getting easier to do. That is in part because of the continual development of the Chrome OS. It’s also because of the development of newer and better web apps. I expect that the recent arrival of progressive web apps (PWAs) is going to mean big changes. I intend to update and return to this post on a regular basis as I try things.
This one was the obvious first one. I’m on a Chromebook. Of course I’m using Gmail. These days using Gmail for email is almost akin to using Google for search. It isn’t perfect. A lot of people have problems with it. For some, it’s a justified issue and for some, it’s a preference thing. Years ago I Switched to Gmail because I was fed up with the sluggishness of the desktop alternatives. Also because I wanted the convenience of accessing my email from anywhere and on any device. Someday I want to see how well I can do everything with alternative (to Google) apps.
Same answer as above for this one really. The continual development of these apps is a major selling point. I use Google Drive almost daily and aside from a few quirks now and again I’m very satisfied with it. I often tell a story of how I was once writing an urgent quote for a client and my laptop died (I just didn’t bother plugging it in). In Word that would have been a disaster. In Google Drive, I just took out my phone, connected a Bluetooth keyboard and finished the document and sent it.
I always have Workflowy open on my Chromebook. It’s my brain dump. We all have the experience of a call asking you to do something or giving you some information. What do we do with that information? I drop it into Workflowy. Emails with information I need to keep or tasks I need to follow up on get dropped in there. If I’m researching something and have lots of tabs open, I put them in there for later reference. I use the Clip to Workflowy extension for this and I find it fantastic. I’ll do a post or tutorial on Workflowy someday. It’s a fantastic app and I couldn’t be without it. There are lots of apps and services that do something similar. For me, though it’s hard to beat its speed and simplicity. Here’s my post on how I use Workflowy
Paydirt is one of my most important web apps because I’d be broke without it. It’s a time recording and invoicing application. I’ve always been terrible at both of those things and have tried many many methods and apps down through the years. I was always late with invoicing and I hated doing it. By the time I got around to invoicing, it had become a huge horrible job to do. My notes and time records were all over the place. I have to gather them all up, figure out what I was doing, then make an invoice and put a cost to it. I procrastinated over that until I was so broke I had to do it. Then I’d start the cycle again.
All that changed when I found Paydirt. There are lots of time recording apps out there. There are many that look better and have better integrations and mobile apps. For me though, Paydirt just worked (and continues to work). My process is to always have it open while I work. I start the clock when I start working (or arrive at a client’s place). I write a short note on what I’m going to do and then I get to it.
One great thing about Paydirt is that it reminds me when I forgot to stop the clock and helps me to go back and stop it. It sends me an email in which I can pick the time I want to stop the clock. Then when I’m ready to invoice I can pick a client and Paydirt has all the entries against that client in one place together. I can then make changes if necessary and send the invoice. I use Xero for my accounts. Xero has it’s own invoicing module and would make more sense to use. It doesn’t make sense for me to pay both Paydirt, and Xero. The thing is though, Paydirt has solved and continues to solve a major problem for me and it costs so little on a monthly basis to do that, it makes complete sense then.
Paydirt also makes it very easy to export my invoices and then import them to Xero. There are some things about it I have problems with, and somethings I’d like them to do. For example, it has a Chrome Extension that I don’t use because I’ve found it to be unreliable and slow to load. I just keep the Paydirt webpage open in a pinned tab and that works perfectly. I’d like if they had integrations with things like Xero etc (They integrate with Trello, Basecamp, Redbooth, and Zapier as of this writing). I tried sending my invoices from Paydirt to Xero using Zapier but I couldn’t see any way of doing that.
Those things in another app would cause me to change, and definitely not want to take it on, but Paydirt works so well for me and has solved such a big problem for me I’d find it very difficult to change now. My brother uses it in his accountancy business for recording his and his team’s time and I know it has made his life easier in terms of recording and billing for client time.
Photopea – Online Graphics and Photo Editing
I’ve discovered Photopea recently and it has become one of my indispensable web apps. Photopea was designed as an alternative to Photoshop for those of us that want something lighter and easily accessible. I love the idea that this fast and functional photo editor is available online. More on Photopea in my post here