This week I've discovered a new good App: Ember.
What is Ember
Ember, as the creators define it, is:
" Your digital Scrapbook "
It's basically a digital collection of photos and screenshots, that you like and you want to collect.
There're few uses for Ember, for example I'm using it to collect all my Instagram photos and to collect other things that I like. I've created few collections, as you can see in the gallery below, to collect not only my Instagram shots but also other photos that inspire me and I've found on web.
Few days ago I've also discovered a new cool way to use Ember, as a read-it-later service. I've always used Pocket as my read-it-later service and it's quite handy, because with the Pocket App on my iPhone I've always the articles with me. However, looking at my way to use Pocket I've understood that I was using it, not only to mark few article as read-it-later, but mainly to save and remember nice things that I've found surfing the web. Basically, I was using Pocket as a save-for-later service and not as a read-it-later. So, I was saving many web pages, to have inspiration for my future articles or saving blog posts that impressed me for their contents.
It was not the best way to use Pocket, in my opinion, because at the end, I found myself with lots of articles saved, not really sorted into categories and many times I've deleted them because I couldn't find a way to really enjoy these saved-memories.
Well, here comes Ember. Nowadays, when I find something interesting on the web, I simply click the Ember button on my Safari Extension and magically it saves all the page in my Ember Library, perfectly sorted into a collection. It saves also the web link to the page that I've visited. It's a better way to surf the memories and my saved-for-later articles, because it allows you to see the page, the images and read the original article as you're reading it on the original web page. Moreover, there's always the direct link on each article, so you can easily find it on the web and never forget a site, or a blog post.
Ember it's nice for this kind of use, but it has also some other great feature. For example you can use it as an RSS reader. There's a section called "subscription", where you can browse your feeds and it's basically an image feed reader. I use it to browse the popular Dribbble posts, to read the latest 9GAG or to save some inspirational photos or icons. Obviously, you cannot replace your favorite feed reader with Ember, because it doesn't allow you to read the articles, as it only shows the images, but it's a nice way to sort and collect these particular feeds that have only images in their content (as Dribbble for example).
Ember interface is really minimal but functional. There're three many sections: Library, Subscriptions and Web. I principally use the first two sections, because I prefer to snap the screenshots on my Safari window, and not from the build-in web browser. However this section remains a good alternative to surf the web and easily snap the picture you want. A nice feature in Ember is the "color recognition", which allows the user to browse the library using colors as keywords. It comes in handy when you want to browse into many images and find some light or dark pictures.
There're not many preferences, and in my opinion there're many details missing: for example I couldn't find a way to sort my subscriptions feed, to show the latest downloaded items first, or there's not a feature in the Ember Safari Extension that automatically recognizes and crop the images on the web (this feature it's only in the built-in web browser I think). I'm sure that these options are going to be added soon.
Throughout the rest, the App interface it's nice, well done and very curated (a compliment is due to developers, saw the beautiful design of all their applications). Finally, a praise goes to the icon of Ember, which is really beautiful and nice.
Ember is a nice App. It has some good features, and it's a great way to save pictures and web pages that inspire you or to save things that you want to remember.
However, this quality has a price, and for Ember is quite high. It's a professional App and, by that, the price is not certainly low. You can find Ember on the Mac App Store, at 44.99€ (49.99$).
The developers are working hardly to improve the App (I'm sure that Ember is going to be even better in future), as you can see from their blog and I would certainly recommend Ember if you're looking for a nice way to organize the things you find on the web (and all the rest). Ember is not meant to replace a photo library (iPhoto and Aperture are still the best solutions) but it should be considered as a good alternative to an unsorted folder full of random pictures or as a saved-for-later service.