Escape emails and get work done with Slack [50 Essential iOS Apps #45]


Slack iOS app on iPhone in front of computer
Slack helps you get work done by opening up direct lines of communication.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Slack Email can be a total productivity bottleneck. Following conversations between multiple participants gets confusing. The unfortunate result of all this email chaos? Important tasks get lost in long email chains.

Luckily for collaborators everywhere, messaging app Slack replaces the need for internal email, allowing for real-time productivity and communication for teams. Instead of redundant threads and signatures, Slack strips away the cruft of the email inbox. It turns your communication into what it was meant to be — a conversation.

How to use Photos’ Shared Albums for team projects


shared albums on iOS and mac
Here' our hastily-created Cult of Mac album. Imagine the productivity we're about to achieve.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The Photos app is where all your memories live, and the place you go to share photos. But did you also know that it can make a great professional tool? Any time you need a group of people to have access to the same pictures, you can use Photos, and Photo stream sharing, as a great, slick alternative to clunky collaborative tools like Pinterest. Here’s how.

How to use two powerful tools to collaborate on writing projects


Literature... and latte. Photo illustration Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


These days you can easily share data and collaborate on almost anything, from Rdio playlists to photo streams. But when it comes to plain old written text, your options are terrible. You’re pretty much caught between working on a shared file in Google Docs or shuttling versions of your work back and forth via email. Add more than one collaborator and this becomes a total nightmare.

Thankfully, tools exist to smooth the process of collaborating on writing projects. I’m currently editing the second draft of a novella, and I’m looking for a way to work with “beta” readers. I’m testing several pieces of software, and so far one called Draft is in the lead. Not only does it let you share a document with other people, it lets the team comment on any part of the source document and also allows them to edit a copy. Then, when they submit their versions, you can preview any changes before accepting or rejecting them.

Better still, because Draft can sync with a document in Dropbox (as well as several other cloud services), you can sync the edits from your beta team with a local app, like Scrivener. Here’s what you need to make the collaborative magic happen.

This iPad Game Restores Your Faith In Humanity


Move blocks to solve levels.
Move blocks to solve levels.

Spend some time with physics-puzzler, Drei, and you’ll get a first-rate gaming experience on your iPad.

Spend a little more of that precious time with this game, and your faith in humanity just might be restored.

That’s the idea here with this innovative game: work to solve puzzles together with an another anonymous player somewhere in the world, and remind yourself that we’re all interdependent.

Maybe that’s a good idea, considering all the things we need to work together to solve in real life.

Taito’s ‘Groove Coaster Zero’ Teams Up With ‘Puzzle & Dragons’ Soundtrack For Collaborative Explosion


PuzzleDragons GrooveCoasterZero

Looks like the venerable video game company is looking to get in on some of GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons action with Taito’s own arcade-music mashup iOS game, Groove Coaster Zero.

The two companies have just announced a new collaboration in which Groove Coaster Zero gets original and remixed background music from breakout hit Puzzle & Dragons as playable levels in Groove Coaster Zero. In addition, Puzzle & Dragons will get some special Groove Coaster Zero-themed dungeons along with classic Space Invader characters. That’s a mouthful, but super exciting, and it’s coming August 12.

Tim Cook Explains What It Takes To Be A Great Collaborator At Apple [Video]



Ever since Tim Cook ousted Scott Forstall last year, the Apple CEO has preached a lot about how collaboration within Apple is one of the most important aspects of the company’s culture.

Speaking at a reunion for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Tim Cook outlined what kind of attributes he looks for in employees and what it takes to be a great collaborator.

Here’s what Cook had to say about collaboration:

Free Project Collaboration App Moxtra Now Collaborates With Evernote and Salesforce




Moxtra is a great, free app that allows groups of users to collaborate using files — video clips, images, PDFs — that they’ve stored in virtual notebooks; some collaboration can even be conducted in realtime.

Back in January, when Moxtra launched, I described the app as a sort of Evernote-Pinterest blend. Now there’s even more blending with the former, because Evernote has added Moxtra integration.

If Evernote and Pinterest Ever Had a Kid, She Would Look Like The Moxtra App [Daily Freebie]




A year ago I was working on a pretty large project with a buddy. We were hundreds of miles apart, but since we both had iPads, we figured, hey, no problem — collaboration will be easy.

But it wasn’t. Despite the wealth of iPad apps, none of them were quite the collaboration tool we wanted; too expensive, or lacking a particular feature, or not easy enough to use. I wish Moxtra had been around a year ago.

Good Keeps Your Work From Spilling Over Into Your Personal Life On Your iPhone Or iPad


The latest release of Good for Enterprise delivers more security and separation of work and personal data on an iPhone or iPad.
The latest release of Good for Enterprise delivers more security and separation of work and personal data on an iPhone or iPad.

One of the first secure business solutions for the iPhone and iPad was Good for Enterprise, a secure collaboration tool that allows companies to separate business email, calendar, and contact systems from Apple’s standard Mail, Calendar, and Contacts apps. Going beyond simply separating work accounts and data from a user’s personal accounts, Good’s alternatives securely encrypt all data and must be unlocked using credentials other than the passcode used to unlock an iOS device.

Good released a significant update to Good for Enterprise this week, one that makes the solution more streamlined, user-friendly, and offers powerful new features – some of which are worth considering for their business functionality as well as their innate security.

Colligo Update Expands SharePoint Options For iPhone/iPad Users


Colligo offers an impressive set of features for accessing and editing SharePoint content on iOS devices.
Colligo offers an impressive set of features for accessing and editing SharePoint content on iOS devices.


Colligo Networks today announced a major revision of its award-winning line of iOS SharePoint clients. SharePoint has become an indispensible tool for many businesses. Having access to SharePoint resources on the iPad has become equally crucial to many mobile professionals.

Colligo Briefcase is designed to provide secure access to SharePoint sites, documents, and resources. The apps in the Colligo Briefcase lineup include core features like the ability capture, view, edit, and share files and list items. They also provide a range of ways to view SharePoint content, support for editing content in other iOS apps, and the ability to print to AirPrint-enabled printers.

Why The iPad And Social Networks Succeed In Business


Beyond user choice, the iPad and social networking  are business hits because they enable more direct communication.
Beyond user choice, the iPad and social networking are business hits because they enable more direct communication.

Increased productivity is one of the most common rallying cries when people, myself included, talk about the consumerization trend in business technology and the related growth of personally owned mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad in the workplace. Increased productivity and the comfort of choosing and using the best apps or devices for the job is one big advantage that these trends have to offer, but it isn’t the only one.

The ability to collaborate is being unleashed by these trends in businesses around the world. That, perhaps, points a finger to why the iPad, cloud services like Box and Dropbox, and social networks have gained so much popularity in so many offices. They allow people to interact and collaborate in ways that traditional business collaboration tools do not.

Mountain Lion Server Preview – It’s All About Small Business [Feature]


Server app is Apple's current approach to OS Server Installs
Server app is now Apple's primary OS X Server interface

Apple’s 2007 launch of Leopard Server was the beginning of a new business strategy for the company. Leopard Server included a number of new features – shared calendaring with iCal Server, Apple’s wiki-based collaborative tools, and streamlined Podcast creation and hosting through Podcast Producer were some of the highlights. The biggest new feature, however, was the introduction of a simplified setup assistant and Server Preferences – a utility designed to look and feel similar to System Preferences that enabled easy management of key server features for smaller organizations with limited technical knowledge or resources.

Fast forward nearly five years to today and you can see the focus that Apple introduced in Leopard Server has become the core of Mountain Lion Server. You can also see that many features that used to be OS X Server staples are gone (or at least are being handed their hats and coats). What remains is a very inexpensive but still relatively powerful server OS with a focus on easy setup and management as well as collaboration.

CloudOn Teases New Group Editing And Collaboration Tools For Office-On-iPad App


CloudOn wants to beyond just offering Office on the iPad with new collaborative functionality
CloudOn wants to beyond just offering Office on the iPad with new collaborative functionality

CloudOn is one of the more interesting options for working with Office documents on the iPad. The company offers a cloud-based version of the core Microsoft Office apps plus Adobe Reader. Unlike a virtual desktop solution, CloudOn provides just the applications and not a full Windows desktop. When it comes to creating and editing documents, CloudOn’s app relies on popular cloud storage options: Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

As a startup, CloudOn has seen strong growth since it launched its service earlier this year. The company announced a new round of funding this week ($16 million) and used the opportunity to tease users with details of its upcoming plans, most notably support for group editing and collaboration as well as expansion beyond the iPad and Android tablets. 

Apple Isn’t Just Disrupting Industries, It’s Changing Business Itself


The iPad's biggest role in business is changing how executive think about technology
The iPad's biggest role in business is changing how executives think about technology

One way to look at the consumerization of IT is as a democratization of workplace technology decisions. Executives and employees alike have become much more sophisticated users of technology. Through iPhones and iPads, they see how well-designed devices, platforms, and apps can create enjoyable and, more importantly, productive user experiences. As a result, they don’t tolerate clunky business systems and slow IT responses as much as they did a few years ago.

Many executives and pundits believe this has already changed the balance of power between the CIO/IT management and the CFO and other executives. A recent Gartner survey found that overall, CFOs are leading IT decision-making more than they were just two years ago. One could even argue that in addition to disrupting industries like music and mobile technology, Apple is subtly disrupting IT and business itself  (with some help from other tech and business innovators). Brings Sharepoint To The iPad But Don’t Use It While Walking [Video]

By launches iPad Sharepoint app launches iPad Sharepoint app.

There are plenty of iOS apps that deliver the core functions of Microsoft Office – Apple’s iWork, Quickoffice, Documents 2 Go, and Office2 being the most common selections. There are, however, gaps in what all these products deliver.

From a business and collaboration standpoint, the biggest missing features are integration with Microsoft’s Track Changes feature and the ability to access Sharepoint. While there hasn’t been any progress on the Track Changes front (OnLive Desktop and CloudOn are still the only real options), there are options for Sharepoint – the most recent being Mobile.

Cloud Squatting – Great And Free For Users But A Big Headache For Business


Multiple free accounts can mean unlimited cloud storage but with serious tradeoffs
Multiple free accounts can mean unlimited cloud storage but with serious tradeoffs

Almost every cloud storage service on the Internet operates using a freemium model. Anyone who signs up gets a certain amount of storage for free. When someone uses up all their free storage, they can add more for a fee. Cloud providers usually layer on a few extra features for paid customers like the ability to stream audio files or the ability to restore deleted files or older versions of documents. Just like most companies now, they to outsource the support process making it easy for clients to resolve issues easily. Netzen is a company that provides IT support to businesses in the UK, consider checking them out if you need help with your IT.

With so many free options, however, it can be tempting to use multiple services simultaneously. Add files to a free Dropbox account up till the free 2GB, then create an account with Box for the next 5GB (Box’s free limit), then create a SugarSync account and on and on.

This approach, known as cloud squatting, effectively nets users unlimited free storage so long as they’re willing to play an ongoing game of musical chairs with their data. iOS and other mobile apps that can access and edit files across different services make it surprisingly easy for users to become cloud squatters – and it’s surprisingly difficult for a business or IT department to prevent or deal with cloud squatting employees.

Quickoffice Launches Connect – An Amazing Cloud Service For Collaboration And Mobility


Connect by Quickoffice iPad app
Connect by Quickoffice iPad app

Quickoffice announced its new cloud service known as Connect at the end of last month. The service is designed to sync Microsoft Office documents between your iOS devices, Android devices, Macs, and PCs. It’s an extension to the Quickoffice apps for iOS and other mobile platforms that offer the ability to create, edit, and view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the go.

Connect by Quickoffice is now available from the App Store and it’s a very slick app and a great addition for any iOS user or mobile professional.

Forget Jailbreaking, Cloud Services Are What Are Building A Usable File System For iOS


Cloud management can be a great option
Could/developer partnerships fill the file management void in iOS

It seems that every week for the past few months, there’s been at least one or two announcements of app developers, cloud service providers, and mobile management vendors developing strategic partnerships to create or integrate their products into a single unified workflow.

Box’s OneCloud initiative, in which the storage provider teamed up with more than two dozen app developers to create seamless workflows for several different business and productivity tasks, is probably the biggest example of this trend. Others include Quickoffice launching its own cloud service as well as integrating with Accellion’s kitedrive, LogMeIn’s new Cubby service, and CloudOn’s virtualized version of Microsoft Office that integrates with Box and Dropbox for storage.

CloudOn Brings Office To iPad With Great Interface, Key Features


CloudOn updates its cloud-based Office suite with some killer features
CloudOn updates its cloud-based Office suite with some killer features

Today CloudOn released the first major update to its cloud-based Microsoft Office solution. Like OnLive Desktop, which recently made changes to comply with Microsoft’s Windows licensing model, CloudOn delivers virtual copies of Windows versions the three core Office tools. Unlike OnLive, however, CloudOn doesn’t provide a virtual Windows desktop and the company doesn’t provide its own cloud storage for user documents.

Instead, CloudOn integrates with Box and Dropbox to provide document storage and sharing. The interface of the company’s iPad app provides a simple launcher and file browser. When one of the Office apps (or the newly added Adobe Reader app and File Viewer) is launched a virtual instance of that app is provided from the CloudOn servers.