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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Putting an Eyeball on YackTrack



A week ago I wrote in my blog that a tool which will allow us to search and track our (and others), opinions & comments on the web, is extremely necessary and is unfortunately missing. Well, YackTrack might be just it!

YackTrack is a simple tool where you can enter URL and get all its related comments from around the net (Mixx, StumbleUpon, Disqus, FriendFeed, Technorati, WordPress, Blogger, and from many more).

There's an intensive post about YacktTrack on RWW which I really recommend you to read. I just want to second that post, and add that I would love for YackTrack to enable anyone to create a customizable widget, where they can choose the services they'd like to pull the comments from, and easily integrate it on their blogs. This can be a great way to pull the conversation back to the original post.

A quick example to what I mean:
When I publish a link from my blog to FriendFeed or wherever, I'd like to be able to see all the comments about that blog post, back in my blog, otherwise the conversation is just everywhere...

Another service that YackTrack owns is a search engine for terms, that works absolutely great! Enter any keyword, and YackTrack will run a search through: Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Blog Search, Technorati, and Mixx, to get you all the relevant results.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:36 PM 1 comments

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eluma as a Desktop Client for FriendFeed



Eluma is a light desktop client software that allows you to collect anything you want from the Web, organize it however you like, and share it with whomever you choose. You can also discover collections or tidbits of information that someone with similar interests has created and Eluma users recommend.

Overall, it looks like a nice RSS reader to me, but the reason I tried it at the first place, was this DEMO that show how to use Eluma alerts with FriendFeed:



After playing with this for a while, I've noticed it misses two important features:
  1. The way Eluma displaying the messages, is not readable:
  2. There's no direct link to a certain update:
But you know what? Eluma has good potential to become something VERY useful, if they'll fix these problems. I just threw a bunch of RSS feeds from FriendFeed, Twitter and Facebook, set their alerts (flexible setting), and got an ultimate alert system for all the stuff that I care about on the web, in just 5 minutes of work!

Sign up for Eluma private beta, if you wish to try this yourself.

Update:
100 invitations to the service!
posted by Orli Yakuel at 1:21 PM 2 comments

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Monday, May 26, 2008

FriendFeed vs Twitter - There's No Such Thing!

With so many fussing about Twitter & FriendFeed lately, I just couldn't stay out of it and not say something myself.

It is very clear to me that those who attempt to compare FriendFeed to Twitter, either use only one of the two or had enough of the Twitter downtime.

When I first began to use FriendFeed, I liked the service because it made my life easier. Nowadays so much content is being shared and produced, and it is many times difficult to follow. FriendFeed helps with that and released their product right at the correct time. The ability to share items on the web without actually physically being there seemed like a brilliant idea to me, and it surely was a great solution for most of those using their service. FriendFeed led to a new trend on the web, but its base was built on Twitter philosophy.

I recently read an article titled: It's time for FriendFeed to kill Twitter. Immediately I thought, ‘Why the hell would FriendFeed want to kill their #1 traffic provider?’. As far as I know, most of FriendFeed’s population set their Twitter account on FriendFeed, so they'll be able to track their friends from both services. This makes me believe that FriendFeed needs Twitter, and lately it also seems that Twitter needs them - to keep the conversation alive.

When Twitter is down, the alternative is FriendFeed (for Twitter users), but when the site is back, most flock back to Twitter again. Why is that? Because FriendFeed is an aggregator of content; even if you can start a conversation there, it will be very hard to track it in the ocean of different content. Now, with FriendFeed “Rooms”, it's even more difficult.

With Twitter, conversations are a lot easier to follow, and a submitted link can actually shine in the crowd. Moreover, Twitter begins with the people, and then about the stuff they submit. Even more important is that most of the conversations are not common property.

Oh, there is something else! When I first signed up to Twitter, it took me a while to understand its qualities, until I found the mobile setting. Since then, I'm simply hooked. Sending text messages from the Web is not new, but the way it performs in Twitter is the best you can find: it’s easy, it lets you stay up-to-date only with the people you wish, and it's free. Can anyone top that?

Anyway, Twitter is just one of the many services on FriendFeed.
So why kill just Twitter? Why not kill Pownce or Jaiku as well? You know what? I think we kind of did...

This actually brings me to Facebook, when I was concerned it will kill my Gmail.

I do actually see many more people use Facebook as their main mailbox (and with the upcoming search, it will only grow). My point is that I really wish services will actually work together rather than bring the demise of all these daily services we use.

Since I already mentioned Facebook, allow me to point you to another problem which is about to get larger: the new feature that allows you to import all your favorite applications to Facebook. This feature clashes with other services that we are already using, and this ends up spamming our own friends:


Back to FriendFeed. It does actually kill something else – my RSS reader.
I don't know about any of you, but not only I don't have time for my RSS reader anymore, it doesn’t seem as necessary as before; because my friends seem to know about everything first.
The good thing is that you get what you mostly care about, because you are making friends with individuals of similar interests, and they are the best filters ever! The bad thing is that you could get the same articles twice or even MORE, but with FireFox and Greasemonkey, you can bypass this problem simply with: “Remove visited links script”.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if some of the RSS readers will integrate opinions from FriendFeed on the actual links presented?

Twitter latest problems can easily be seen on this graph:


But it is far from trashing their achievement.


The Bottom-line is that the only way I think FriendFeed can be the new Twitter, is if Twitter will just take down their site for good.

One final word about commenting on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, etc: I feel that a tool which would allow us to search and track our opinions & comments, is extremely necessary and is unfortunately missing.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 4:29 PM 9 comments

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Uncompress Files Online



WobZip allows you to unzip files from your computer or a URL.
If you're at school, work, or anywhere, WobZip is just a simple free tool that quickly unzip group of files (as long as you have access to the Internet), and no longer will you be limited by the inability to install programs onto admin-protected computers.



WobZip supports so many formats: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZHCHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS, so if you send someone a compressed folder by email, and he can't see it, or don't know how to open it, just point him to WobZip - It will easily do the job.

Maximum size per file is 100MB.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 7:17 PM 2 comments

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Michael Arrington at Startup School 08

Michael Arrington speaks at Startup School 2008 about how to get, and how to respond to press for your startup.
If you own a young starup, there are some interesting insights for you in this 15 min video. As a blogger, I found lots of inspiration in this lecture, which reminds me why I admire Arrington so much.

<div><a href='http://www.omnisio.com'>Share and annotate your videos</a> with Omnisio!</div>


Thanks Eyal Shahar for sending me this.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:52 AM 0 comments

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Import Stories Into Your Mini-Feed From More Sites

Yesterday Facebook announced on their blog about the possibility to import more services to your Mini-Feed. Going from this short list (including digg that I don't see here):

To a longer list of applications:


I'm guessing the next step will be this:


I don't know what about you, but the more I'm importing stuff to Facebook or Friendfeed, the more I'm not going to my accounts there, simply because it's moving by itself. I actually don't feel that I need to visit those sites and check what's going on there so often...

This way of sharing is a bit mechanical, don't you think?
posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:07 AM 1 comments

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Major Update to Feedalizr (Air app for FriendFeed)



When I first wrote about Feedalizr, there were still lots of bugs and issues to take care of. But now, with a major UI changes, Flickr integration and video recording, it is definitely a download worthy.
In fact, Feedalizr own a significant feature that I didn't yet saw on AlertThingy nor Twhirl. However, those two are much more richer in terms of other features, and flexible setting.

But you know how it is, eventually you end up using whatever suits you best, and if recording videos from your desktop, directly to your FriendFeed account is what you're looking for, Feedalizer is the one for you. How does it work: The video is created on Feedalzir and then injected into Friendfeed. Feedalzir then make it available through both: the app and feedalizr website. You can see the video in the friendfeed stream displayed in the app, which you can play right there. No need to leave your desktop and go to Friendfeed or Feedalizr website. The only problem is the video recording time limit- 30 seconds. What can you possibly say in 30 seconds?

Other features that can be found at Feedalizr:
  • Flickr integration -upload images from your desktop to flickr
  • A single filter button - allows you to filter by user or service
  • Ability to add comments and likes
  • Tweets to Twitter or Friendfeed
  • Support of International characters
  • Dynamic display of your Friendfeed's comments and likes




Feedalizr based in Cape Town, South Africa and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:16 AM 3 comments

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Make some Room for LetsProve - Much Better Life-Stream Service



It took me a while to understand what LetsProve is all about, but when I got it, I was simply blown away from the idea. At first I thought it is a FriendFeed clone, but I realized pretty fast it is much more than that. Yes I know you probably had enough of all those lifestream sites, and yes, I know how frustrating it can be to jump from one service to another, but I guess this is what it takes to find the best tool that will serve you well on your daily basis surf/work.

LetsProve is an online lifestream service which help you to keep up-to-date on activities that your friends and family are doing. Any activities like bloging, photos, reading news etc... it also enables full syndication with your twitter account (allowing you to post updates automatically to your twitter account).

It looks like LetsProve understand the need in more services in your lifestream, therefore they allowing anyone to build their own application. People can create applications that integrate their service into the LetsProve activities feed and messages. So overall it looks like a nifty mix of Facebook & Friendfeed & Twitter concepts, on a very well built application (PHP/Ajax).

As I said, LetsProve is basically an open platform that enables anyone to build applications, so when I browse some of the applications they already have, not only that I found all the social networks I usually use, I also found some great blogs that I read anyway, so the first thing that came to my mind was that this could be my new social RSS reader.

Lets take for example Techcrunch application: you can choose to get all the news from the blog (like RSS), or, choose to get notifications only from stuff that interest you, by writing keyword like: google, yahoo, twitter etc - Awesome huh?



There's so much to see in LetsProve so I suggest you warmly to take a deep look at this one, first of all because the experience is a must, but beyond that, if you know one thing or two about the web today, you'll know to appreciate this one.

BTW, LetsProve is a based in Bangkok, Thailand, and I was very surprised to find out it built by one person only (23 years old guy).

Screenshots:








Befriend me: http://letsprove.com/orli
posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:00 PM 0 comments

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Manage your Social Life with Minggl


Minggl (ToolBar), allows you to easily participate in more than just one community. Manage your social life from one place, and stay up-to-date on friends' activities from these social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linkedin, Digg. (and many more coming soon)

Minggle brings all your social sites together, enables you to have a quick access to your profiles, mail, and photos. Consolidates friends from across sites into one list, and notifies you of emails, comments and friends activity.

Watch their Demo:


kudos to Scoble, I just saw he mentioned Minggl on his post here.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:48 PM 1 comments

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Twitter Alerts


Want to know if someone talk about you, or your company on Twitter? Set up an alert on TweetBeep. Very similar to Google Alerts service, you enter the keywords for your name, company, product, favorite hobby, or any topic you want to keep track of. (alerts will ignore your own messages). TweetBeep can check alerts on an hour or a daily basis, with or without URLs, and even from a specific user only!

Two alternative ways to see if someone is talking about you on Twitter are: to simply grab the RSS link with your search results from Summize or Tweetscan, and place it on your desirable RSS reader. Or, search for the data yourself each time you want, on the same services.

But what can be more convenient than get the alerts of everything you want right into your inbox?
posted by Orli Yakuel at 4:20 PM 0 comments

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Some Thoughts about Blip (twitter for music)



I wrote about Blip.fm last week and since then, I'm pretty much addicted to this application.
Blip lets you search for your favorite music, then recommend song tracks to your friends, and you can add a short message to go along with the song link. Blip also connect you with Social microblogging sites such as: Twitter, Friendfeed, Pownce, Tumblr, Jaiku, and more. With a simple setting, all the music that you listen-to on Blip, will show on those services as well.

This is how Blip displaying the messages:

On Pownce (better):

On Twitter:


I have to admit, I like this new way of communication through music. It gets even better on the site (blip) itself, because you can exchange music with friends. Unfortunately, when someone answers you back, you won't see it in your Twitter replies tab. BUT, you can catch it if you'll search @+username on Summiz's search (as long as you have the same username):

BTW, Summiz is also a good engine if you want to find people that use Blip.

Overall, Blip is just a fun place to find new friends through lots of good music, but also a useful service that lets you update friends from other social sites, with music that you like. Don't know what about you, but for me, music is a big part of my daily life that I'm always happy to share with the rest of the world.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:28 AM 2 comments

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Private Journal and Diary



I love clean and easy to use application that you actually need for a daily work on the web.
Penzu is just a really nicely done service written on rails, that allows you to write and save private notes or posts (with images), print the entry, or share it by email.

If you're looking for a smooth private blogging service, signup to Penzu. The experience itself, worth the try. Penzu designed like a notebook page, and this is the exact feeling you get when you write on it.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:33 PM 2 comments

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Best Screen Capture Tools

A must tool for a daily work on the computer, is a screen-capture that gives you the ability to snap or crop something from your desktop or web, then share it with co-workers, friends, family, etc. There are some good old softwares that can help you with that, such as: Snagit and FastStone, but if you're looking for a simpler solution, free of charge, and one that can connect you with your social life, check out this list:

Desktop client

Recently I downloaded Jing, and was very surprised by its performances. Not only you can snap a picture of anything on your desktop or web, you can also record video of what you do, or what you see. Then, you can share the screenshots via email, IM chats, and blog. You can also, upload them directly to Flickr.

Evernote is like a personal screen capture management - it allows you to capture information from anywhere on the web, using whatever device or platform your find most convenient. The captured info can be searched later on from your computer, web or mobile. You can also share screens with whomever you choose.

ControlC lets you store, save, and share data from your clipboard at your discretion. All content uploaded from your clipboard is encrypted to protect your data completely. However, you can store the data in your account, and share it with the world.

This service allows you to capture and upload desktop area image to the web really fast. Just select the desktop area and it will be uploaded to the Internet. You will receive link to the image and code to use for publishing image on your blog, forum or web site.

Mac users only: Skitch has an impressive application for snap, capture, screenshot anything you want, plus a full editor where you can adjust the picture as you please. Then you can share via IM chat or email, post on Myspace, Flickr, blogs, forums, and more.
Click to watch Skitch's shiny Demo.

Adobe AIR

WebKut, allows you to capture web pages, or parts of them in a very simple way. You can capture the whole webpage or crop part of it. The only feature that missing is sharing. (be sure to check out: Shrink-O-Matic from the same creator)

WebSnapshot is pretty much the same as the other AIR application - you enter a URL, and get a snapshot in the size that you choose (thumbnail, browser size, or full page).

Firefox Extension

Screengrab! makes it easy to save a webpage as an image. With it, you can save anything that you can see in a browser window - from a small selection, to a complete page.
(grabs Flash screens as well)

FireShot - provides a set of editing and annotation tools. Screenshots can be saved to disk (PNG, JPEG, BMP), copied to clipboard, e-mailed and more. All features has described in this screenshot.

I wrote about Kwout a while ago in my blog. I've noticed that since then they added the FireFox plugin which gives you the ability to capture anything from the web, including Flash! Save the file on your machine, or copy it to clipboard. Finally, you get an embed code, which can be used in your web site. In addition, you can post it directly to Flickr or Tumblr. (hopefully, they'll add Twitter as well) - I highly recommend this!

Web Tools
  • ClipClip - is like a scrapbook maker. Click on everything you want from the web (text and images), then share it with rest of ClipClip community or via email. You don't need to download anything, just sign-up and use this bookmarklet.
  • Websnapr- Enter a URL, get a screenshot, It's as simple as that.
  • Thumbalizer - Thumbe your webpage
For Twitter!

How come no one yet thought about the need to capture something, and upload it directly to Twitter?! Well, I kinda find a way to achieve that, with Twitterlights.
Twitterlights is a FireFox plugin that in few clicks enables you to highlight any text you want from the web, and share it via email, post it on your blog, or on Twitter (Yay!) the good part is that it can work with images as well. The bad part is that the plugin is not that cool. In my opinion, it misses some usability... but hey, it's the best I could find right now.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:27 PM 10 comments

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Blip your Favorite Music



Mark Hendrickson (Techcrunch), wrote yesterday about Blip - Twitter for Music.
I've tried Blip this morning, and I think it's absolutely an AWESOME service for people who love music! (and twitter)

After a quick sine-up, you'll be able to search for music tracks (powered by seeqpod), then simply "tweet" about them. Your chosen song, will be streaming in your message. You can also check what everyone listening-to right now on Blip, and follow the people you like their music taste.

Really liked this one, but oh I wish it will be integrated in Twitter or Pownce. Even a Facebook application will be fun to have.

Go try this: Blip and follow me if you want :-)


Blip service powered by Fuzz (community of music fans), which already own a nice Facebook app called: Mixtapes

UPDATE:
Apparently, you can easily set that every song track you're listening to, will appear on Twitter, Friendfeed, Pownce and more! Which is very good news (thank you Arin)
posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:17 AM 1 comments

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Browser 2 Browser Internet Phone



Lately I was trying to find the easiest way to make phone calls from browser to browser.
I don't know why exactly, I just know I'm fascinated by this technology... and I'm not talking about services that you need to download something in order to hear the other side, like: Yommba, or Loudtalks - I'm talking about a simple application that does this with browser & Java only.

So I found C2Call, which supposed to be a Web Call service that works like an email. Meaning, you invite someone via email, and both of you can talk, and chat from the browser, or from a popup widget. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me, so I can't recommend it...

However, I found something else, that seems to work:
The Switchboard is a simple to use B2B internet phone that does not require any installation. The switchboard only uses your internet connection and CPU when you are placing a call.

Features list:
  • Internet phone calls
  • Conference calls
  • Voicemail
  • Instant messaging
  • File transfer
  • MSN, AIM, and ICQ compatibility
  • Works in corporate network environments (i.e. works through web proxy servers)
  • Email notifications
  • Portable
  • Works over modem connection
This service is Free, but if you want to create your own private Switchboard for your website, the cost will be $1 per simultaneous user, per month. The minimum number of users per account is 10, so the minimum charge is $10 per month (which is really a FAIR price).

After completing the simple sign-up and inputting your site details you will simply need to add a bit of Java-script code to your Webpage, or blog. Also, you can control the color, behavior, and the language of your Switchboard, to better match your website (currently supports: English, French, German, Swedish, and Polish).

One important tip: when you try it, you may hear an echo while talking. To get rid of it, make sure that both you and the other caller are using headphones, and that the speaker sound is turned off.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:34 PM 2 comments

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Snooze Reminders on your Desktop with Google Talk

While updating my Google Calendar today, I noticed that now you can get notification through Google Talk (the desktop client), from the following services: Gmail, Orkut (this should be interesting), and Google Calendar (reminders that you can snooze).

Still in experimental mode, but if you want to give it a try, you can download it by clicking - here.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 6:49 PM 1 comments

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Muxtape on AIR


Muxtape is an easy-to-use application that allows you to upload music from your computer, create playlists (12 songs on each one), and share it with friends around the net.

Though the site is so simple to use, it's not so easy to find songs you may like. But I found this great AIR application today, that enables you to browse through random playlist, or search by Muxtape name. While searching for Muxtape, related playlists will also be loaded, so it's most likely that eventually, you'll find music that match your taste.


Download Muxmaster!

posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:59 PM 0 comments

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