Why We Love the Web

A Month-Long Look at Web Tools, Trends and Cool Stuff Merge Is Thankful For

Oct 31, 2011 | Skip to comments » | Share | |

November is here, and although I can’t believe how quickly 2011 flew by, it’s once again the season to reflect on the past year and share all we are thankful for with friends and family. As per Merge tradition, this month we will be sharing the top things we are thankful for with our friends as well- you! I could write you a book on the technology I am thankful for this year, but I’d like to share a few of my top picks that I make use of on a daily basis.


For almost a year and a half I have been working remotely from Orlando, FL. As the first employee to work out-of-office, there was a bit of an adjustment period for both locations as far as how to handle meetings and collaborative work from a distance. Skype has always been part of the equation, but as of late it seems to be the primary means of communication between myself and the rest of the Merge team. I take part in weekly production meetings via screen sharing, am able to “sit in” during our monthly Lunch and Learns by video chat, and make use of both features on a daily basis for many purposes throughout the website production process. It has been an invaluable asset to my remote working experience and am thankful to have such a great (and free!) tool on hand. We have yet to experiment with Skype mobile video chatting, although this now gives me the ability to tag along at the monthly happy hour socials. Unfortunately, the beer is not included!

Video for learning

Merge's own Kevin Dees has some great videos on his blog

I’ve always been a huge fan of Youtube for learning. You can seriously find a tutorial for anything on Youtube! I take advantage of these for work (for Photoshop and development tutorials) and personal endeavors (Halloween costume makeup tutorials, anyone?) on a regular basis, and recommend you trying it out the next time you want to learn how to do something.

On the flip side, there are a multitude of video resources for the web industry. I’ve been using our Think Vitamin membership for training purposes, and am a big fan web shows such as 5by5. Suzy and I also took part in the Landing Page Success Seminar, which is one of the many video seminars available on the web.

iPad 2

AppStart is a beautifully designed app for iPad newbies or those who want to do more with their iPad

I had been wanting an iPad from the get-go, but put off purchasing one until recently.. To be honest, my biggest reservation was that I wasn’t sure if I’d put it to much use after the shiny new gadget excitement wore off. However, about a month ago, the time came when the Murphy household was in need of a new laptop. We opted for an iPad 2 instead, since it met our on-the-go laptop needs. We haven’t put it down since! Browsing the web, email, books, recipes, notes and documents, social media, movies and video, a small but handy external monitor, personal agenda, and not to mention the apps... we use it for everything. The iPad has been a great tool for productivity, and has been a lot of fun for entertainment purposes.


In the past I occasionally used Kindle for Android on my phone if I had the urge to read a book instantly and didn’t want to make a trip to the bookstore or wait for an Amazon order. If you’ve ever used your phone as an ebook reader, you know it’s not the most enjoyable experience. Now with the iPad, I have become a huge fan of ebooks, both for reading for pleasure and learning. With the new line of Kindles I’m sure many who weren’t initially on the ebook wagon will soon share my sentiments.


This one is purely for fun: Pinterest is an online pinboard, which simply allows you to create multiple pinboards (example: design, crafts, food, home inspiration) which you can “pin” inspiring photos to and share with your friends, social media circles, and the masses. It has become wildly and increasingly popular, and I’m interested to see how businesses might make use of it in the future (Company pinboards? Promotional pinboards?). The site is a fantastic source of inspiration and can be used for organizing ideas, but has the ability to suck you in if you’re not careful! If you want to get it on the fun, you can request an invite to their Beta.

What technology are you thankful for this year?



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