ReadWriteEnterprise recently published "The Four Essential Apps for Distributed Teams." It's a list of the four types of applications you'll need for groups who work from geographically separate locations — and some examples of the popular places to get them.
One type of tool you'll need according to RWE: IM & Chat. And Campfire "can't be beat."
Group chat is slightly less common a need than IM, and is less useful for informal access in your daily workflows. But for certain use cases, only group chat will do. Skype and Campfire from 37Signals can't be beat from our perspective...
Another recommended type of tool: Task Tracking. Basecamp makes that list.
By task tracking, we mean any tool that exists to keep track of the group's work. These can be issue trackers like JIRA, Trac, or Redmine. For those less-development oriented, it might be something tailored only to project management, like Basecamp, LiquidPlanner, or the offerings from Microsoft and Oracle.
Evan Bartlett is a member of the business development team at Angelsoft. Lifeinlists is his digital sandbox and he recently published his Top 10 most useful webapps of 2008 there. On the list: Highrise.
Highrise became a big-small contender in the CRM space this year by adding Deal tracking and full data export. Not to mention, no CRM comes close to making it this easy to keep track of your contacts in detail. After falling off the wagon with Salesforce (multiple times), SugarCRM, and PipelineDeals, Highrise is the only one that became critical to my day-to-day activites at work.
Thanks for the mention Evan.
We've just had a journal article (Visualizing a silicon quantum computer) published in the relatively prestigious New Journal of Physics. This is a special issue on visualization, and our article is specifically targeted at scientists looking to successfully lead production (i.e., project manage) an animation. If you search the text, there are a couple of shameless Basecamp plugs ;-)
A couple of quotes from the article that mention Basecamp:
At EDM's behest, the popular web-based project management tool Basecamp was used for discussion threads, to-do lists, project milestones and file exchange."
It is important to appreciate the cultural differences between the science and animation communities. Ongoing communication is important. Given that the team was scattered across two continents, appropriate project and task management software was essential for success, and Basecamp served the purpose for us.
Do you use a 37signals product in an interesting or noteworthy way? Let us know.
Three 37signals tools made the list at Ditch the backpack: 100 essential web tools for virtual students. Here's what the list is all about:
While learning at home offers great opportunities for working on your own time and schedule, it can also offer drawbacks when it comes to working with others or getting immediate help on a problem. Whether you need help, collaboration, or just want a little extra knowledge when completing your assignments, these web tools will help you find what you need. From note taking to researching to staying organized, the following resources will have you making top grades in your classes.
And here are the 37signals tools that made the cut:
Campfire. Set up instant chat rooms with your study group or classroom using Campfire and make communicating as a group much easier.
Writeboard. Create a web-based text document with this tool, then use it to either edit, share, or send yourself a text file of your document.
Backpack. This tool can organize anything from just your own studies to that of an entire class. Make pages, use calendars, post announcements, get email or text message reminders, and more.
Rave reviews are already pouring in at Twitter:
sldinteractive: "loving Highrise's new 'Deal' feature -- did 37Signals read our mind or something?!"
edraynham: "Highrise 'Deals' is genius!"
lovati: "Deals is fantastic, we really love it."
Jonathan_Clarke: "Deals is great, just what I was looking for!"
obie: "Props to @37signals for adding Deals functionality to Highrise. Being able to use Cases the way they're intended to be used is a big win."
bstangland: "love the new feature!! I think this can really help organize our proposals."
dkalmbach: "deals is the best improvement to Highrise I have seen. Just what our president was looking for."
And here are some of the positive comments from the announcement at Signal vs. Noise:
Matt Carey: "I started using this yesterday and it looks like it will be really useful!"
Bob Martens: "Awesome, anther useful feature. Backpack + Highrise are becoming the backbone of my little personal business."
Laura: "I quit using highrise about a year ago, but you may have won me back with this feature."
Bradley Skaggs: "Awesome addition to Highrise! Love it and have needed it since I first began using it a back when it first launched."
Rajarajan: "Thank u so much. Now i can get everything together with ease."
Corrie Haffly writes in:
I've would like to thank you and the 37signals team for constantly trying to improve Basecamp without making it too complicated. Not only do I find Basecamp invaluable for working with clients in my web design/development business, but it's also been great for my small but growing side business, Custom Shadow Box. I thought you might like to see how a screenshot of Basecamp made its way into a set of illustrations I made for explaining how my process works.
Do you use a 37signals product in an interesting or noteworthy way? Let us know.
If you're a student wondering how Backpack can help you get organized, check out "Technology Focus: Backpack" over at Student Blogger.
Situation: Your student life is in disarray. Papers are here and there, deadlines and assignments are floating around in your head. Sure, a notebook could help. But you need something digital. What do you do?
"What the World’s Healthiest Guys Know" [Men's Health] talks about quitting smoking. The magazine's hot tip? Use Backpack to send yourself daily text messages encouraging quitting. A study showed that reminders like that double your chances of success.
Here's an area where the United States kicked butt: Only 19 percent of American men smoke, as opposed to more than half the men in South Africa, China, and Ukraine. And 70 percent of U.S. workers are covered by smoke-free rules.
What you can learn from your brothers: Still one of the 19 percent puffing? Set a quit date and rally support. A study published in Tobacco Control reports that people who received daily text messages encouraging them to quit were twice as likely to stop smoking 6 weeks later, compared with those who went textless. Go to backpackit.com to send text messages to yourself on preset days and times.
You can use Backpack for more mundane tasks too. In response to the article, Twitter user Warren posted this: "i have Backpack send me reminders to shave. seriously."
David Duran emailed us to say, "I've seen a post here and there about planning travel with Backpack but for me it is one of the aspects that pays for itself time and time again especially now that you've enhanced the sharing features with multi-user accounts and share-by-email." David even wrote a blog post called "Backpack for Travel Plans." Here's an excerpt.
Glimpse of What’s Coming
The first thing you’ll find is that when travel is in the works, I create a page with a consistent naming convention and add it to my sidebar such that the upcoming trips sort chronologically. This isn’t a direct replacement for my calendar, just a quick look at where we’re pretty busy and when we have some down time. Plus it’s a great unobtrusive reminder that something is getting closer and needs to be looked at more closely.
Capture the Basics Early On
With Backpack, I can create a page far in advance to capture the basics of the trip. I was recently at a conference in Copenhagen for example where I had registered about 6 months in advance. I created the page, forwarded my registration confirmation to it, and the info was there waiting for me to polish off the details later on when the event was closer.
Flush Out the Details with Rich Content
With the ability to forward emails directly to Backpack, create links, add images, and more, Backpack is incredibly robust in capturing a range of information. You can even embed live Google Maps which is absolutely brilliant for travel. For my parents’ trip coming up we started with some basic ideas and gradually filled in the blanks.
Speaking of my parents’ trip, thanks to the newish sharing features (also brilliant), I can securely share the page with my folks so they can access and contribute to all the information without even having to sign up for an account.
All in One Place Ready to Go
Finally, and one of my favorite parts. When it’s time to head out, I open the page, embedded email attachments, and maps, and print them out to take with me. They’re all in one place so it only takes a few minutes and it saves having to hunt through old emails for reservations and flight confirmations. Easy peasy!