Simplicity To The Rescue: 4 Apps You Can Use To Tame The Web

Akshata Shanbhag 18-11-2013

As a netizen wading through a busy and messy web space, you can be easily overwhelmed by your online life. Add to that the number of devices you juggle and the amount of content you take in, and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown right there.


Is there some way to tame this clutter, you ask? Of course there is! Taking a digital vacation may not be possible for most of us. But you can learn to keep the web from throttling you, by simplifying your daily online activities. We have four apps lined up to help you do just that.

These apps are not of the regular bursting-with-options variety. They come with simple features, simple interfaces, simple everything, all of which translate into a smooth and hassle-free workflow for you. The best part is that all of them are web based, which means you can easily access them from any of your devices as long as you have an active Internet connection.

For Writing: Editorially (Free)

Editorially’s plain-text environment may be just what you need to tune out all distractions and get on with your writing. One of its top features is the option to write collaboratively. You can ask colleagues and friends for feedback right within the draft you’re working on, and even highlight specific sections as needed. These feedback sessions appear as comments in the sidebar and can be hidden easily.


The app’s versioning feature helps you compare your current draft with previous ones, so that you can ultimately come up with a polished piece. Editorially also lets you import plain text files, export your writing in Markdown and HTML formats, and back it up to Dropbox or WordPress. It is currently in beta.


Alternative to Editorially: Draft, a collaborative online text editing tool.

For Feed Reading: Newsvibe (Free)

With so many excellent blogs floating around the web, you’re probably tempted to subscribe to hundreds of them. Well, we won’t blame you for that, but we will tell you about this distraction-free feed reader called Newsvibe, which can help you manage your feeds better.


This secure and ad-free reader presents RSS feeds in a collapsible list format. You can import your existing feeds, organize them into folders, and bookmark your favorite articles. The sidebar has options to display feeds by reading status, favorites, and by folders. You can even hide the sidebar for a cleaner reading experience.



What’s more! Your feeds will stay synced across all your devices, and you can even tweak your browser’s settings to make them available for offline reading.

Alternative to Newsvibe: BazQux Reader, a minimalist RSS Reader BazQux Reader - A Worthy Minimalist Replacement To Google Reader If you are a power RSS reader, I'm sure you mourned the passing of Google Reader. Once we were past the mourning, we began to search for replacements. Mine became BazQux. Read More .

For Blogging: Silvrback (4-Day Pay-with-a-tweet Free Trial)

Sometimes, you just want a blank webpage to express your thoughts, without having to bother with web hosting, endless themes, plugins and such. Silvrback gives you that webpage.


It is a hosted, Markdown-powered blogging platform that lets you use your own domain. The design tweaks are limited to the UI colors and the brand icon. You can use the bio page to bring all of your projects in one place and classify them using custom categories.


Silvrback also supports Disqus comments and Google Analytics. Its archive feature veers away from convention to list articles based on your recommendations, so you can classify your posts based on custom tags like “read this first”. Image upload and hosting, color schemes for syntax highlighting, and unlimited bandwidth are some of the other features of this platform. Interestingly, the dashboard is as minimal as the blog itself.



Tweeting about Silvrback gets you a free 14-day trial, after which you have the option to choose from monthly, half-yearly, and yearly payment plans.

Alternative to Silvrback: Roon, an easy-to-use blogging platform Roon Is A Slick, Easy-To-Use Blogging Platform You May Want to Try While WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr dominate the blogging scene, there are a few minimalist platforms that strip down the blogging experience to focus entirely on simply sharing your writing. Roon keeps things simple, all blogs... Read More .

For Planning and Note-taking: Daystack (15-Day Free Trial)

Daystack is a day planner and notebook rolled into one.

To make a to-do list all you have to do is select a day from the tiny calendar in the sidebar and type in your task(s) for the day. Once you complete a task, you can mark it done by selecting the checkbox that appears alongside the task. The app has other handy features like autosaves, built-in encryption for your data, email and mobile reminders, search, and plain text exports.


You can also use Daystack to store recipes, project ideas, quotes, etc. as notes and access them on the go. The notes appear as a list in the sidebar. If you go through the two default notes (Getting Started, Tips & Tricks) you’ll learn the ropes in no time at all.

Beyond the free trial, Daystack has two monthly payment plans based on the number of notes you require.

Alternative to Daystack: Slim Organizer [No Longer Available], a web-based task and event planner.


Once you have tweaked their minimal settings and UI to your satisfaction, bare-bones apps can help you eliminate annoying distractions and really focus. Finding the right ones might take quite a bit of experimentation, but once you do find such apps, you hardly notice them because they blend in so beautifully with your workflow.

Which apps make your day simpler? Which of them make the web a little less overwhelming for you? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits: hand touching Via Shutterstock

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  1. WorknMan
    November 19, 2013 at 7:54 am

    We need an extension to block all of these css/div popups that are becoming increasingly more popular with dumbass web devs who don't understand why popup blockers were invented in the first place.

    • Matthew
      November 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Expect more perishing CSS junk, there was a giveaway a couple of days ago of a program for creating them.

      Wonder if Stylish can help - with suitable styles, there are many elements it can hide, such as taking out the massive adbanner from my ISP webmail ... not blanked, REMOVE and get the space back (yay!)

  2. Rick
    November 19, 2013 at 6:39 am
  3. Brad K
    November 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    My mistake. That was meant for a different article.
    I have got to quit doing >3 at a time. ;-)

  4. Brad K
    November 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    What OS are these for? I should not have to research it. And, if ALL of them are for Windows only, change your title!

    • Alexey L
      November 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      I think everything is clear from the title...all are web based

    • Keith C
      November 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Actually, no, it isn't clear from the title. Although it is implied. I'll leave you to work out why