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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shareaholic - One-Click Sharing, including FriendFeed



I'm always trying to find the easiest tool for sharing links on the Web.
Usually I use Sharethis, but Shareaholic looks pretty good as well. It's a Firefox addon that supports all the big social networks, and within one-click you can share a link, or send it via email. To send an email you'll need to sign-up with Bzzster account first, but it's actually good because the service is automatically saves all your shared links - same as any bookmarking site.

So far you can find the same features on Sharethis, but here's the differences: First it is the FriendFeed button, which I like because it's saving me space on my Firefox toolbar. (instead of their bookmarklet)

Second, the Delicious & Digg state for any link you're sharing (see screenshot). No doubt it's an important tool for bloggers, but even for people who don't blog, it's good to know from time to time how well is an article or a service rated.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:00 PM 1 comments

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Cubedesktop Providing 6 Virtual Desktops with 3D Visualization


Cubedesktop aims to increase your working space by allowing you to use multiple desktops. Each virtual desktop is a distinct working environment where you can place different icons, wallpapers, and name it. The taskbar shows only the applications opened on the current desktop, and within one click you can easily navigate through different areas.

Cubedesktop masterpiece must be its 3D visualization - It has at least 5 phenomenal ways to preview and switch between desktops (see screenshots & DEMO below). The 3D visualization also allows you to set personalized backgrounds and 360º panoramic skyboxe.

The software is for both Windows XP and Vista users, but for Vista users, who familiar with some of the graphic effects, it can definitely improve their Vista experience. In fact, it looks like a Vista addon more than anything else. However, CubeDesktop is not like the classic utilities for Windows. Everything is live. When you switch between desktops using the 3D interface or the desktop explorer, you see a live preview of what's happening. All windows update in realtime, allowing you to see what you're really looking for.









Check this DEMO for more:


You can download a free trial version, but it is good for only 120 minutes(?!)
Prices however, are very reasonable for what you get:
Basic edition - $9.95/Pro edition $19.95 (per license)


Overall it was a really fun to test it, even though it is client software which I'm trying to avoid from... but for individuals, 6 desktops is way too much for my opinion, I'd be happy with 2 or 3 desktops only. But having said that, for people who works on the same computer (organizations, families etc,.), this can be the perfect product.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:13 PM 2 comments

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hey Kid, you're too small for Facebook



The idea for this post was born when my cousin asked me to open a Facebook page for her daughter who is 8 years old. I kid you not, the girl's dream is to have a page on Facebook, and it's probably came after she saw her Mom's profile, which is loaded with fun applications.

Anyway, I thought why not and started the registration on Facebook. The only thing is I didn't know that you can't sign-up to the service unless you're at least thirteen years of age or older (14 on Myspace)


I agree, Facebook is not a kids' place, but if you are a parent, you can definitely share with them some of the fun like becoming a fan of this page for example...

OK, so I don't have kids (just yet!) but I took this mission on to find the best applications on Facebook that are also suitable for kids. Don't forget that Facebook allows you to add applications in a personal mode, so you don't have to show the whole world what you're adding, if you don't want to.

Here's a list of Facebook apps that are pure fun and not (just) grown up content :-)

(fluff)Friends allows you to adopt a cute pet on your profile. You can give it a name and a personality, then you and your friends can pet it, feed it, give fluffy gifts, or even leave messages on each other pet's wall. Also check out the Haikoo Zoo

Create a page for your dog with DogBook, where you can upload photos of your dog and tag them, pet your favorite dogs, explore dog pictures, find other users' dogs in your local area, and basically share information with dog lovers. (more: Dogs/Cats)

Favorite Candy is just a long list of candy pictures to choose from and place on your profile, in case you want your friends to know what you like to eat best. No doubt it is the sweetest application you'll find here.

Start your own virtual aquarium. You can send fish, sharks and even octopus to your friends, and they can send items to you as well. Put your virtual aquarium on your profile page for everyone to see.

Save an Alien is a cute platform that asks you to save aliens' lives by adopting them. You can choose from 10 million unique aliens (!) Once you adopt one, give it an earth name, download a wallpaper with your alien on it, create a photo with your alien, play with it, and share the fun with community & friends.

Create your own cool Dinosaur Park, and show it off on your profile.

My Family allows you to add stick figure icons of your family to your profile page and also name them. Create your mini-family and let your Facebook friends know who you care about.
With: Which Disney Princess are you? You can pick to be whichever princess you want to be, and make your friends into the princess or prince that best fits them.

These Are My Kids allows you to privately share photos and status updates about your kids. (you can also check My Kids application)

This application is for all ages from kids to even us adults. Just a great set of Disney pictures that you can you watch with your kids or share on your profile...
Have fun.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 2:56 PM 3 comments

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jeff Pulver's TV Cube

PrimeTimeRewind is one of those sites that excites you immediately. The 3D cube in the middle with all these great TV shows on it from Fox, USA, CBS, NBC and more, gives a different experience from the one we all familiar with today.

You can play and rotate the Cube (which is a much better name for the service if you ask me), in order to find the best show for you to watch right now. The navigation is easy and pretty smooth, you spin and control the cube by using the mouse or arrows on your keyboard - When you find something you like, you simply click on it.

So basically the service aggregates all the good TV show out there, and presenting them in what may be an easier way for the users to search, find, and watch.

Usability problems:
  • Search becoming a problem when a user need to go back to the front page and wait for the cube to load again. I suggest to place a search box on top of left sidebar as well.
  • Comment area should stay static - Can be really annoying when you watch a video
  • Problem with the design when the left sidebar is closed - Maybe showing the arrow is enough.
Overall the site is fun and useful, but something is definitely missing. I'd like to see some connections between the users themselves (surly I didn't signed-up just to save the page as favorite). I'd like PrimeTimeRewind to suggest me a list of relevant videos, maybe show favorite picks from other people who watched the same video as I did.

I liked the service but after the first click, it's getting too plain and I have to admit, I expected more. In my opinion PTR should posh it few steps forward (and I know they can).

Read more on RWW and TC.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:01 PM 2 comments

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Something Worth Waiting For - AUDIOYO



I haven't yet tried AUDIOYO, but after watching their DEMO I'm sure this is something I'd like. Apparently, the new service will allow users to meet other people based on their music taste. Users will be able to create playlists and share them with friends, or on social networks such as: Myspace, Facebook etc,.

What makes it interesting for me is their interface that looks very similar to the iPhone music navigation, and also their easy-to-use drag & drop functionality. It may be an iPhone application only BTW, but right now it looks like they have both versions: Web and Mobile.

Watch the impressive DEMO, and sigh-up for your account here



Update: I had a feeling that this video will be removed by its user (AUDIOYO). That is too bad, especially for them.

Update2: New video is up (check comments for more)

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:26 PM 3 comments

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Online Form Builder Powered by Google Docs & Spreadsheet



I'm a big fan of Google Docs' Management. The service I utilize the most is their WORD Online application, which is part of my daily tasks. However, once in a while, I use their Spreadsheet application as well. I have to admit, it is the best online Spreadsheet I've ever tried. Unfortunately, this application has some features that are not as exciting as the ones on their WORD app, such as: The ability to chat with other collaborators while editing (I'd love to have it on the WORD Online creator), other than that, the spreadsheet is richer and almost every week or two, the GoogleDocs team adds something new so it's worth using and makes frequent visits more inviting.

One of the features that is almost hidden from users is 'Create a Form." It actually doesn't have much to do with the Spreadsheet itself, it's just a cool feature to have in combo with the app.

The new feature enable users to create a form and send it out to anyone with an email address. They won't need to sign in and they can respond directly from the email message or from an automatically-generated web page. Here are the full instructions for how to create a form on Google Docs and Spreadsheet.

I just want to add a little tip I got:

If you use blogger, you know that there are options that allow you to post directly to your blog via email. Along those same lines, if you "invite" your blog (from Google Docs and after you finish the form), the form will show up as a post in your blog that people can fill out. How awesome is that? (Thank you JR)




More online form creators:

Wufoo is an Internet application that helps anybody build great online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, backend and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun. Because Wufoo host everything, all you need is a browser, an Internet connection and a few minutes to build a form and start using it right away.

icebrrg allow you to make all kinds of form that you need and share them on the web for free. The drag & drop interface makes it very easy-to-use and the results are simply good.

Completely web-based control panel so you can create and configure forms with a web browser (supports Internet Explorer 6, Firefox and Safari). No need to install additional software. Easily create multi-page forms with skip/branching logic to hide non-applicable questions. Use the FormSpring form importer to automatically generate forms from an external webpage or HTML file.

JotForm is a web based WYSIWYG form builder. Its intuitive drag and drop user interface makes form building a breeze. Using JotForm, you can create forms, integrate them to your site and collect submissions from your visitors.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:48 PM 5 comments

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Convert your Twitter Status to Image

This service will generate code linked to your Twitter account that can be used as your digital signature in forums, webpages, social networks, or blogs. Just enter your twitter user-name and it will immediately generate your last update from the site:



If you'll choose the HTML code, it will change each time you'll update twitter.

Too bad links (inside the status), are not clickable...
posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:57 PM 0 comments

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

FriendFeed Bookmarklet is Niiice!

Honest to god, I'm starting to get confused. I'm finding myself jumping from Twitter to Facebook, to FriendFeed, and then back to Twitter again... Man, I thought things were about to get easier, especially with FriendFeed.. but unless they offer a better track on the sharing content, it is just not good enough!
Like at Facebook, I want to know when someone comments on my stuff, or comments after I comment on other people's submissions, otherwise, it is very hard to keep up with the dialogue.

However, I like the FriendFeed Bookmarklet.. It allows for grabbing any picture you want from the link that you're sharing, and it's so nicely done!





Too much to share. So little time :-)
posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:47 PM 4 comments

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

My New RSS Reader provided by my Friends


Lately I realized that I'm not using my RSS Reader as much as before. Instead, I'm reading my friends' activities & recommendations from sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pownce etc,..
I'm not saying that my RSS reader is dead for me (still visiting once a day), but for fast updates it doesn't get any better than my friends themselves. Funny though... I worked hard to create my RSS list, and now it is almost like my friends doing this for me by suggesting interesting links, and in real-time.

It starts with the fact that if you subscribes to a friend feed, it means that you care enough about what he's doing right now, which also includes: What he's reading, thinking or submitting - So you are most likely to get stuff that you want to see and read. But this leads to this question:

What is the best platform that lets you see all your friends' updates from a single page?

You may be OK with Twitter, but for people with different groups of friends from several social networks, Twitter is not the best option - BUT it is definitely a service that all the new platforms are taking under consideration (so don't worry, you'll always have your Twitter with you).

I'm pretty sure it was Plaxo-Pulse that started with the mixed social network page that can show all your friends' updates from in one place, but somehow it didn't get too much attention from the users. I gave it a second look today and noticed that now Plaxo lets you add RSS feeds from even more social network accounts. In fact, their list is the longest from all the services below. The thing that I liked the most is the activities that you can perform from a single status: You can comment, share, hide from your main feed, save as favorite, and more (again, the options are wider than the rest of the services here). Overall it must be the best platform choice, but this can work only if your friends will use it too.

Quite similar to Plaxo-Pulse, the service that enables you to keep up-to-date on web pages/blogs, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. Like Plaxo-Pulse it also offers ways to discover and discuss information among friends.
So how come FriendFeed nailed it? I can think of some reasons:
  • Simplicity - Clean design (no distractions on the page), easy to operate, good usability
  • Imaginary feature - Even if your friends didn't signed-in to FriendFeed, you can still create a mixed feed from their public updates (Blog, Twitter, last.fm etc,.)
  • Facebook APP - Saving you time by automatically updating your Facebook profile with stuff that you're going to post anyway: Blog stories, Flickr photos, Youtube videos, Twitties, and many more.
  • You can get a daily email of your FriendFeed activity
  • Lots of good buzz around the net.
BTW, it's kinda odd that the biggest social network is not listed:

However, if you do want your subscribers to get your Facebook statuses along with the rest of your updates, you can enter the RSS feed for that into the blog option on FriendFeed.


I've tested Socialthing today and my guessing is that it will be hard on them to hang in there, though they do have a cool feature that enables to sort lifestream by user or time. But since Socialthing allowing to stream from only 5 services at the moment, it can't really give any "fight" to Plaxo or FriendFeed. However, surprisingly, the service gives the ability to see your Facebook friend activities in a very nifty way.

The only one that actually looks like an RSS Reader is Spokeo, which can aggregate content from blogs that you like, and/or content from your friends at Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Flickr, and the list is long... They do have some annoying bugs though, that can ruin the whole experience.

Bottom-line: The more you use social networks, the more you have friends. The more you have friends, the more it is harder to follow or update them, .But I'm counting on those services above to make life simpler (at least for me). And if that will not help, somebody already thought about the next solution. Sigh...
posted by Orli Yakuel at 3:16 PM 2 comments

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Create Music Playlist for the iPhone in 3 Minutes

I've chosen this title to get your attention (worked?)
But don't worry, this application is actually much more than just that.

UBUKET allows you to store media files (video, music, photo), and create playlists online. Once you upload, you can edit the file names, make and receive comments and create playlists to enjoy and share with friends. Your friends will be able to stream the music online, but not download it to their computers. However, you can choose not to upload any of your private files and use stuff that are already existent on Web platforms such as: Youtube, Picasa, seeqpod (other services like: Flickr, Photobucket, last.fm are coming soon).

Back to the iPhone: First, go to UBUKET on the Web, sign-up and create a list with your favorite music and pictures (takes only few minutes), then open your iPhone browser and type iphone.ubuket.com. Login and browse UBUKET. You can start listen to songs and view photos. Unfortunately the iPhone makes it difficult to play playlist automatically from a browser, so you'll need to play each song at a time... (no video support at the moment either)




UBUKET also owns AIR application, so you can access your playlist from your desktop even when your browser is closed. (find it under 'Download')

and of course, UBUKET for Facebook - Enables you to create playlists and share them with your friends. Look at their UBUKETs, rate and comment on multimedia. You can also upload pictures, videos and music from your own computer.

It doesn't matter BTW, from where you're editing your playlist, it will automatically SYNC with the rest of the applications. (AIR, Facebook, Web and iPhone)

Coming soon: Plugins for iTunes and Songbird

Check out their interesting embedded player (it's like Pandora with a twist :-):
posted by Orli Yakuel at 1:21 PM 2 comments

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Send a Link with Highlighted Text

The Awesome Highlighter is a quick tool that easily lets you highlight text from webpages, then send a new generated link to anyone you want. You can also post it directly to your Twitter account.
  1. Insert a web pageURL (use the link story, not the main blog/site link)
  2. Select text with your mouse on the following page (there's limit of 2,000 characters per highlight)
  3. Save (you can highlight more than just one section from a page)
  4. Copy the small URL into email, blog etc,.




posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:09 AM 1 comments

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Monday, March 10, 2008

FACEinHOLE - Let the FUN Begin!


A quick recommendation of a service that, at first glance, looks like one of those plain applications. But when you actually try it, you can feel it has other qualities.

FACEinHOLE allows you to choose one of their scenarios, upload and adjust a photo in the prepared "hole", and basically have fun with it. You can also use your webcam, but I focused on their editing picture tools, that can give you such great results, as if you were doing it from your own Photoshop. Which again proves how it is getting easier and easier to create something on the web, up to the point that anyone can do it. Even my mom!

Before:


After: (hopefully he'll forgive me)


Another view of the service from Downloadsquad
posted by Orli Yakuel at 6:34 PM 1 comments

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

iMedix seems to have the one thing Google Health is Missing: Community


I wasn't surprised when iMedix recently won the Best New Startup at the Crunchies 2007 competition. I can actually see the need in a community such as iMedix, and clearly I'm not the only one thinking like that.

Israeli-based iMedix is a free service that helps users find and share health information. Now, you may think... health information? Who the hell wants to share their health problems? Well, more than 340,000 monthly unique visitors think differently and so am I, and I'll explain why: We all know that sharing info over the Web today is very common, and it doesn't need to stop when it's come to your personal stuff, as long as you have control over your data, you can enjoy the benefits instead of thinking otherwise. One of the things that I learned over the last two years or so is that people like you and me are building the biggest database in the world. Everyone can join along and share something from their knowledge. This is the beauty in open platforms. This openness and transparency invites users to share just about everything, and it's simply because EVERYONE has something to share.



As for iMedix, it is almost like they took a scene from real-life and placed it on the Web. When you have a medical problem, you are most likely to talk about it with your family, friends, or even with several doctors, to get as many opinions as you can. Same on iMedix, you can get a second opinion but from people that have the same symptoms, conditions and went through the treatments. Not only that, you can share your experiences, insights, maybe fears in a secure, supportive environment that was built specifically to fulfill this important need. Within one click, users can find and communicate with each other in real-time using the iMedix web chat (That I must say, impressed me by not being so intrusive), or send personal messages between them, which is wonderful because you always know someone is there for you when you most need it.

Besides that, iMedix is able to quickly search a large database of health information that contains millions of articles of any symptom, condition or treatment. Those articles are ranked by the community, so you can be sure you'll get the most relevant result to your search and save hours of valuable research time.

I've been exclusively told that iMedix is about to release a new design which will include these new features (some of the features are already live):
  • New and easy to use navigation and header – live as of now.
  • People Search – search engine for patients! Now you find patients that suffer from similar conditions and filter them by age, gender, geographic location, etc - live now.
  • New and improved auto-complete (interface + smart health dictionary) with more than 100,000 symptoms, conditions, drugs and treatments – live as of now.
  • Entirely new homepage - live in a week or two
  • People who searched for also searched for… Similar to Amazon’s recommendation engine, iMedix is now developing a system that will recommend better ways of searching for health information using successful terms that were used by other community members. The first version will be released soon.



I'd also like to explain why I'm thinking Google Health is missing this one, and I'm basing my thoughts on an alpha demo that I saw last week: So of course, I was very impressed by this upcoming application that is able to connect you with your healthcare provider like never before, but what about the truly needed 'patient to patient' approach? Because frankly, when it comes to this Internet era, this need can't be ignored.

In the mean time, if you do have medical problems, don't fight them alone, join a community that really care because they simply know how you feel.

iMedix growth:



posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:58 PM 3 comments

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