Whenever I’m walking, driving or bicycling somewhere alone I always listen to a podcast on my phone. It’s a great way to turn potentially boring time into the exact opposite. Instacast has been my podcast player of choice since it first came out, so it was sad to see it get discontinued a while ago.
I used AlternativeTo and a few Apple blogs I trust to find some alternatives to try out, and I finally ended up with a great solution. It’s called Pockets Casts and it has a ton of features like auto downloads, reliable syncing and speed adjustments. But what I like the most is the ability to create custom filters for your podcasts episodes. Pocket Casts sync between all your devices running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and there’s even a web version.
Other good alternatives to Instacast and Pocket Casts are Overcast and Castro.
Check out Pocket Casts or alternatives to Pocket Casts!
There’s a huge battle going on right now between different services who wants us to pay them use their specific platform when listening to music. Most people see streaming as the only way into the future of music and our fellow Swedes at Spotify was one of the first to go this route. According to us they’re also doing it very well.
Spotify apps are available on most major platforms, and they also offer a web version. Their main strengths include a huge music library, great curation, a very clean UI and an overall fast and streamlined experience. The company recently announced support for videos, podcasts and features for running, which sure is interesting.
Check out Spotify or alternatives to Spotify!
The killer feature of any messaging app is always the fact that your friends are using it, or that they are willing to start. While this factor is different for everyone, having apps available for many platforms is a good start. Telegram is used a lot by the AlternativeTo team and it is available on almost any major platform, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.
We really like that Telegram is open (API), free (forever) and heavily focused on privacy and security. It is also feature-rich without feeling overwhelming. Your chats sync to all your devices, if you want them to, and the support for group chats is very powerful.
Check out Telegram or alternatives to Telegram!
Yes, websites can have birthdays! Six years ago today we published the very first version of AlternativeTo, and today more people than ever come to the site daily in search of better alternatives to applications and tools they want to replace. They come from countries all over the world, and according to Google Analytics we have actually had visitors from almost every (244 out of 247) country in the world. That includes 505 from Cook Islands, 129 from North Korea, 10 from Vatican City and 1 from Western Sahara. We sure hope they and many, many others found applications that made their lives better, easier and more fun.
Soon our team will meet up in Italy and make more plans for the future. At the moment we’re working on a major design update, and we have some interesting new features planned for 2015. We will also be focusing more on content creation, curation and social features. We can’t wait to show you more later this year.
If you want to help us make the site an even better resource then feel free to add your favorite applications to the site, click like on the applications you enjoy using so more people get the chance to experience them and send us any feedback you might have.
(Original image by Nicolas Raymond)
Apps that transform paper documents to digital versions are a crowded space, especially on iOS. But after testing many of them over a period of many months I have found a clear favorite. Scanbot has all the features you will ever need without feeling overcomplicated or bloated.
Most importantly, it’s very quick and easy to use. Start the app and you’re directly in camera mode. Scanbot can be configured to operate automatically from here. The app then identifies the document you want to scan, snaps a photo of it and then edits it to correct blur, perspective and colors. It can even automatically upload the file to Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote or your choice of cloud storage. No buttons pushed.
Check out Scanbot or alternatives to Scanbot!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the massive flow of blog posts, news articles, videos and other links coming at us every day via social media platforms. The people we follow on Twitter and Facebook have a ton of interesting links to share but sometimes you just can’t handle them all. If there only were a way to have all those links automatically curated…
Well, there is a great solution: Nuzzel is an iPhone app that lists the most shared links from your friends on Twitter and/or Facebook. The real killer feature of the app is a setting that lets you receive push notifications when three or more of the people you follow have shared the same link. The end result depends a lot on who you follow, but our experience is that the system works very well.
Check out Nuzzle!
These weekly recommendations will always be about apps and services that one or more of us in the AlternativeTo love and use. Slack is the latest product we started using as a team and it has really changed the way we work together.
Slack is a powerful, fast and beautiful platform for team communication. They claim to be on a mission to kill email between team members and they sure have succeeded with the AlternativeTo team. You can create channels for any project, team or topic that you need to keep a separate discussion for. At first sight we felt some vibes from the years we spent on IRC back in the days, and we mean that in a very good way.
Besides discussions, private messages, inline images and videos, Slack also integrates with a large number of external services like Dropbox, Google Docs, Github, Pingdom, IFTTT and more. They also have an awesome API that lets you integrate Slack with your own systems. Apps are available for iOS, Android and OS X, with Windows and Windows Phone versions on the way. You may not know that you need this tool yet, but trust us, you do!
Check out Slack or alternatives to Slack!
Welcome to Apps We Like – a weekly, hand-picked app recommendation by the AlternativeTo team. The first pick ever is Authy, a powerful two-factor authentication app that provides extra security for services like Google, Facebook, Evernote and Dropbox.
Authy is a popular alternative to Google Authenticator that lets you share your two-factor authentication accounts between all your devices, and it can even make a full, encrypted cloud backup of all your accounts. Authy is available on all major mobile and desktop platforms such as iOS, Android, OS X, Windows, Linux and more.
Check out Authy or alternatives to Authy!
We have always believed that smaller websites have more important things to think about than handling their users logins. We also believe that users should be careful about entering their email address and password into random forms on the internet. We think that as few websites as possible should store your passwords in their database and that centralised (preferably two-step) login systems are great. That is why we always have had support for third party logins and not provided one of our own.
But, there is always a but. We have now decided to implement our own email/password login option now for a few reasons:
- OpenID didn’t really take off as we thought it would. We still think OpenID is great but unfortunately it has become a niche product that not many people support or use. The reasons for this can be discussed, but not in this blog post.
- A lot of people have asked for a email/password login method over the years.
- We now have great resources to store your password in a way that is as safe as we want our own passwords to be stored.
If you always wanted to log in to AlternativeTo with your email and a password then it is now possible to do so. You can still, of course, log in with a third-party provider, and it is also possible to connect multiple login methods to your AlternativeTo account.
Please remember folks: Never use the same combination of password and email adress on multiple sites, and use a password manager to store your (hopefully) unique passwords. There are many awesome password managers available today and they help you staying safe and organised.
Five years ago today we made AlternativeTo available to the public for the first time, so we consider March 11 to be our birthday. It has been five very fun, interesting and special years to us and we’re happy that we’ve made it this far.
During the Summer of 2008 we came up with an idea to build a different kind of software site. We wanted to go further than just listing applications in different categories, but instead focus on providing relevant alternatives to software, based on input from the community. We think that we have succeeded pretty well with the task. Here are some stats about the first five years of the site:
We have alternatives listed for 30.000 apps, tools, games, websites, online services and other stuff.
Our users have clicked the like-button about 300.000 times on these applications.
More than 15.000 forum posts, reviews and comments have been posted to the site.
AlternativeTo have had about 67,000,00 visitors and 186,000,000 page views over the years.
Statistics is nice, but more importantly we have received an overwhelming amount of praise, press coverage and nice feedback from you users. The fact that people use and enjoy AlternativeTo has been a great inspiration to keep improving the site.
We want to thank all our visitors for these fantastic years. Especially all of you who have helped people all over the world to find better software by contributing with your knowledge and time by helping us build up our powerful database.
Happy Birthday to the whole AlternativeTo community and please continue to spread the word!
/Ola & Markus