freckle Offers Hassle-Free Time Tracking

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Based on the number of time tracking applications we’ve covered here on WebWorkerDaily, and the frequency with which new ones are being introduced, it’s obviously an area that’s in high demand.
Even among the team here we all seem to be on our own missions to find the perfect time tracking solution. Dawn recently wrote about her experience with Harvest and I’ve certainly tried my share of apps over the last few years. But after a couple of months of trialing, testing and tweaking, I’m ready to commit to freckle.
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On The Job 3.0

On the Job 3.0 Icon

It’s been nearly two-and-a-half years since we reviewed On The Job here at TheAppleBlog, and we gave it high marks back then. Today Stunt Software has released On The Job 3.0, their time & expense tracking and invoicing application. The new version has some nice new features, but it keeps the excellent simple, yet powerful feel we praised it for back in 2006.

On The Job greets a new user with a sample client and a sample project. It is easy to get in and edit what you need to get started right away. A helpful addition to Version 3 is the properties panel that is shown in gray at the bottom of the window. This replaces an info panel that you had to call anytime you wanted to make a change to a job. Anything you need is within arm’s reach. Before this addition, even simple changes took a few more clicks than it felt like were needed.

On The Job 3.0 Initial Screen

Timing projects is just as straightforward as it was in Version 2. You just click the big “play” button and it starts timing it. You can also start and stop the timer or even switch tasks from both the dock icon or the menu bar item. If you accidentally leave On The Job running while you go grab some lunch, no problem. When you come back, a little idle timer pops up asking if you want to subtract that hour or not.

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Setting Your Rates: Another Approach

We’ve given some advice for setting freelance hourly rates before, including a rough rule of thumb for those leaving more traditional employment (multiple your hourly pay as an employee by 2.5 to 3.0). But a new blog post from Pat Allan offers another way to think about this, and one worth running through if you’re new to freelancing.

There are basically three variables to juggle: your total income for the year, the number of hours you’re going to work, and your hourly rate. If you know what any two of them are, you can figure out the third. So, if the goal is to come up with an hourly rate, you need to determine your target total income and work hours.

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iPhone Tops J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey

It may have garnered its fair share of complaints, but Apple’s iPhone is still a hit with consumers, at least according to marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates. In their 2008 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, the results of which were released yesterday, the iPhone came out on top, beating perennial favorite Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry devices.
Note that the survey measures the satisfaction of business customers specifically, which is good use for Cupertino’s efforts to make inroads in the Enterprise market. Results drawn from the 1,388 person respondent pool were gathered over two months, between August and September 2008. Devices were scored out of 1,000 total possible points, using criteria like ease of use, operating system, design, features, and battery.
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CurdBee Could Be The Billing Service For You

CurdBeeThere are a multitude of invoicing options available for the web worker, and we have covered our share of them. A new entry that just crossed my desk is the oddly named CurdBee.

I gave CurdBee a quick run through and found that it covers the basics of invoicing and payment reasonably well. I was able to get up and running quickly and found it easy to get test clients and service items entered for my first invoices. It hooks into Paypal Standard and Google Checkout for payment processing and also supports multiple currencies.

Be aware that there are no time tracking features and the overall functionality is sparse compared to more fully featured services like FreshBooks or Cashboard. It is also missing a lot of the nice “usability touches” that a more established product will typically have.

But if your needs are simple and you just need to send out quick invoices to your clients, CurdBee might be a good option for you. Accounts are currently free with no apparent limitations.

Are you using an online service for your billing? Could CurdBee work for you?

Q&A: Jimmy Kimmel Live’s Jake Lentz

scribe-helmer.jpgWriter Jake Lentz helps craft Jimmy Kimmel’s words for his late-night show monologue every night; Lentz says he prefers the title “scribe-helmer.” His show has been putting out some of the best viral stuff on the web these days — Sarah Silverman’s “I’m [email protected]%king Matt Damon” followed by Kimmel’s “I’m [email protected]%king Ben Affleck” — with a one-uppable formula of celebrity + shocker + going for it full-throttle.

Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s staff is also pretty great at finding clips online and giving them a broader audience; in particular, we remember one about a beauty pageant contestant playing the Star Wars theme on her trumpet that got a ton of play after appearing on Kimmel.

But all this savviness is somewhat isolated from the rest of the web, since ABC rarely offers clips, much less embeddable clips, online. The show’s writers, 30-year-old Lentz admits, are finding other ways to get their bits out there. He doesn’t straight-out admit to seeding clips himself, but it’s pretty clear he knows his way around a YouTube account.

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Is It A Steal Or Did They Blink?

Microsoft (MSFT) today announced “The Ultimate Steal” deal for Microsoft Office 2007 that gives students a chance to buy Microsoft Office 2007 for $60, a deep discount of 91%. (In comparison Microsoft Office for Mac costs $150 for Student and Teachers Edition.)
This might be small price to pay for the company since it is ensuring that people continue to use its productivity suite. But is it too late? Paul Stamatiou writes:

Granted most of my classmates pirated Office 2007, use Google Docs or use OpenOffice, had Office 2007 been priced under $100, things would have been much different.

I wonder what the students think about this offer – that should be more telling. On a different tangent, will this discounting prompt other customers to ask for deep price cuts as well? If that happens, then it could put Microsoft’s cash cow on a crash diet, giving Office wannabes a chance to gloat.
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan sums it up best when he writes: god bless competition.

Working on the reviews as fast as I can

It’s been a slammed week at work, this of course since receiving two of the coolest mobile devices around, the OQO Model 02 and the HTC Advantage.  I have started a dual review of them both and will get it posted as soon as I can.  Honest, I haven’t even had enough time to play with them.  🙁

March of the iPhone Extras

As we’ve been counting down to this iPhone morn, our inboxes have been stuffed with applications and accessories geared for the year’s biggest phone phenom. Most are just addons that could likely fit on any phone, and are using the launch to goose sales, but some are a little more interesting. There’s even a new search site for iPhone applications at AddFone. Here’s a few we’ve been hearing about (we haven’t tested any of these, so be forewarned):

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