SXSW: 5 More Great Sites for Progressive Media Types

SXSW Interactive: Austin Convention Center.Photo: Laura McClure

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Yesterday I blogged about 5 online bon bons and what makes them so sweet. But wait! There’s more in that digital candy dish! Forthwith, five sites and apps joining Storify, Tumblr, Readability, DocumentCloud, and MuckRock as my picks from 2011’s SXSW Interactive. (Read my first 5 reviews here.)

1. Freedom.

Tagline: “Freedom is a simple productivity application that locks you away from the internet on Mac or Windows computers for up to 8 hours at a time. Freedom frees you from distractions, allowing you time to write, analyze, code, or create.”

Sweet spot: Nora Ephron, Peggy Orenstein, and other great writers swear by it.

2. Ushahidi.

Tagline: “Ushahidi is a platform that allows information collection, visualization, and interactive mapping, allowing anyone to submit information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email, or web form.”

Sweet spot: This free, open-source crowdmapping platform makes lo-tech phones a smart choice for crowdsourced data viz. (See: Japan people finder.)

3. Scribd.

Tagline: “Millions of documents and books at your fingertips! Read, print, download, and send them to your mobile devices instantly. Or upload your PDF, Word, and PowerPoint docs to share them with the world’s largest community of readers.”

Sweet spot: Presentations, spread sheets, and how-to manuals of all stripes find a good home here.

4. Instapaper.

Tagline: “Save long web pages to read later, when you have time, on your computer, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle.”

Sweet spot: Instapaper shines when paired with the #longreads twitter feed.

5. Longreads.

Tagline: A free, daily dose of timeless, community/editor-curated “long-form journalism, magazine stories, interview transcripts, and even historical documents” from top magazines.

Sweet spot: The Top 5 Longreads of the week will change your commute. Even better: Each story comes with a time estimate of how long it’ll take you to read it, and you can search the site by 15-minute reads, 30-minute reads, etc.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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