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Monday, September 29, 2008

FireStatus - A Status Update Utility for Twitter, Facebook & FriendFeed



FireStatus is an experimental Firefox plugin that allows you to quickly send notes to: Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed. It also displays updates from these services in notification popups. If you wish to share a certain URL, just stand on the desirable webpage, open FireStatus, add a short note, and fire your status away.

Overall this must be a useful plugin for people who use these services on a daily basis, and I have to admit that I love its location on the browser - bottom menu bar. However, if the guys from FireStatus reads this, please add the ability to close the popup notifications in one click (I still want to get updates, but I also want to control them if streaming gets too busy).

posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:10 PM 1 comments

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Watch out TinyURL, Cligs is much better for us!



I think we all understood why it's important to make long URLs shorter when we needed more character space in the limitation of 140 characters on Twitter....
So far TinyURL is doing a great job on that, but prevents you to see statistic data that can be valuable for you.

Cligs is taking one step forward and allows you to see the stats of the submitted links. Within your Cligs account, you can create an unlimited number of cligs, with an unlimited number of cligs pointing to the same destination URL. This means you can drop different cligs into different sites and watch their traffic evolve over time.
For example: two cligs pointing to the same destination can be used one in a forum and one on twitter and then the traffic from each one is tracked by Cligs.





At the moment, the available analytics are:
  • Total number of hits
  • Referral statistics
  • Recent mentions of the clig itself on twitter
  • Recent links (mentions) of the clig on blogs
  • Recent web links to the clig
  • Recent mentions of the destination URL on twitter
  • Recent blog links to the destination
  • Recent web links to the destination
  • Delicious bookmarks of the destination
  • Total number of links to the destination
You need to sign up to the service if you want to track your link stats (you are the only one that can see the statistics). However, you can use the service without registration as well.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:18 AM 4 comments

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

6 Simple Ways to Create & Share Greeting Cards

In few days we're going to celebrate the The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah (new year) in Israel. I've gathered some easy-to-use tools to help you people create greeting cards within seconds, and share them privately (or in public), with family and friends.

I deliberately chosen applications that you don't need to register for, in order make your life easier. And of course anyone can use these apps for any occasion.

Flowers 2 Mail
It's not the first time that I'm suggesting this flash tool - I guess it's one of my favorites. Flowers2mail is a single page service that allows you to send a bunch of virtual flowers to people that you care about through their email address. Bottom line, it's fun and easy to create. (everyone loves flowers, don't they?!)


Photo Notes
Customize your Polaroid style image with Photo Notes. Choose an image file from your computer (or from the Photo Notes gallery), select a frame, add a short note and send it to anyone you want via email. Photo Notes uses the Plaxo address-book tool, so you can draw email addresses from your favorite email platform.


Bubble Joy
For those who like to send a quick greeting card as a video message - use Bubble Joy. The service allows you to create interactive video with festive frame that you can easily share via email. All you'll need is your webcam...


Vox Cards
A cool app that helps you create an audio card in a flash. You don't even need a Microphone to be able to record & add your own voice to the card. Just customize the card the way you want other people to see it, call the Vox Cards number that you see on your screen, and follow the instructions you hear.


Phreethings (Photo + Greetings)
Very similar to the Photo Notes service (above), only that you can't upload pictures from your computer directly. You can however, search for a specific Flickr tags, get the results and choose a desirable photo to create the card.

ImageChef:
I love ImageChef, it contains so many little tools to make sweet widgets that can put a simile on people faces. I've chosen the: "write a short message in Flowers" flash widget (just because it was so easy to make), but ImageChef is a full playground for these things - I'm sure you'll find more fun activities in this site.


Shana Tova.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:39 AM 1 comments

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Animal Scribble comes to Live


Remember Tamagotchi? The little electronic game that allowed you to grow a virtual pet, that you could feed with piece of food or a snack? I remember I had that game somewhere in the late '90... Anyway, I've tested an application today that somewhat reminded me of Tamagotchi, but this time I'm talking about a Web app.

It's called Shidonni, and it's an Israel-based service suited for children in age 4 to age 14.

If you're a parent, trust me, your kids will love it! With the assistance of Shidonni editor, anyone can draw a simple animal that will come to live in seconds. Once your kids draw their favorite animal, it will start move around the page, allows them to click and participant in cool activities, and be part of the environment they've created.


One of the craziest things in Shidonni is the 'My Food' tool that lets your kids draw any kind of food, drag & drop it on the page, and watch how the animal eats it. But there's so much more than just that. The animal become the main character in each of the games that Shidonni offers. And I'm 100% sure it will make your kids proud about their little creation.


In a social aspect, Shidonni allows your kids to connect with new friends, share & play games together, and publish their pets in public.

Unfortunately, I do see an obstacle in Shidonni and it's the fact that the platform based on Silverlight. However, if quality time with your kids is important to you, I suggest you download the damn thing, because frankly it's worth it.

Shidonni works well with all Firefox versions, and IE browser. 
More in this Demo:

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 3:17 PM 4 comments

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

User Generated Platform for Twitter Themes



Finally someone created an open platform that enable people to share their favorite Twitter theme creation by upload it to their site. Users can also browse through the categories and choose the ones they like from the site gallery.

I have to admit that this idea is just brilliant. Most of the Twitter users I know, loves to change their page background & color from time to time. Actually, it's very trendy to show-off your Twitter page. OK, maybe not... but it's most definitely fun! And with Twitter Gallery you already have the set designed for you, so all you need to do is to grab the wallpaper, and copy-paste the data to your Twitter setting area.

I have the feeling that this gallery will grow in no time.



Additionally, the site also offers some free 'Follow-Me' button that can be embedded in your blog.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:30 PM 1 comments

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Shel Israel Puppet & Me

One of the greatest things at Techcrunch50 were the people themselves. I had the chance to meet new people that I usually "see" in the virtual world through Twitter, FriendFeed, their Blogs etc.

This year I've met so many people, had interesting conversations, and discovered wonderful new blogs, so for me it was a very intense experience.

One of my highlights from this whole event was meeting Loren Feldman from 1938 Media. The guy is amazingly funny, a bit crazy, and enormously smart.
He's also the only person that I had a video interview with - in Hebrew, and I've heard that I'm the only girl that kissed the puppet...

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:47 PM 4 comments

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Have you tried the New Flickr Home Page?


Last week, Flickr released a sneak preview of their new Flickr homepage that can be tested by all members. To be able to see this page, search for this message +clickable link (image below), at the bottom of your existing homepage:

Once you click on it, you'll be transferred to your new Flickr page that contains the new design, with some handy features. The new page divided to categories and enables you to get an easy access to stuff that you really care on Flickr. Your friends & family pictures, the latest from your groups, your picture stats and more.

The main change is the Recent Activity Stream Page that gives you a full view about everything that going on in your account - All from a single page. Comments, favorites, notes, people who added you as contact, Flickrmail etc.



Another feature that I found useful is the statistic page that shows you interesting data about each photo of yours. It's not a new feature at Flickr, but there's a possibility that you miss this one. With the new design, this option is one click away, and it's always fascinating to see where are people coming from to watch your images:


The New Flickr

More on Flickr Blog.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:47 AM 3 comments

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Short. It's Not Necessarily Better, but it is Faster.


Picture taking by Steve Maller
I'm back from SF after three intensive days at the TechCrunch50 conference, and I have one main conclusion from this whole event: Blogging culture has changed. Actually, it's still changing and bloggers will figure it out sooner or later.

Now, I'm not saying that blogging is dead. But I can say that most of the bloggers at the TechCrunch50 conference were focusing on Twitter/Friendfeed/Facebook, than their own blog.

Why? It's faster.

My guess is that last year, at the TechCurnch40 conference, live blogging was way more intensive than this year. However, the LIVE CONVERSATIONS at Twitter were probably much higher this year.



The way I see it: it's either you make conversations with friends and readers in real-time or blogging live. You can't really do them both. I've chosen to create more conversations about the companies on stage, than to blog about them while I'm there, because I can simply blog later about stuff that I saw and care about. And it was more exciting to actually transfer the feeling to people who couldn't come to this event.

The problem is that this web behavior doesn't stops at TechCrunch50 or at any other conference/event/meetup. I know for sure that I'm using my blog less and less because sometimes it's just easier to submit short message than to write a whole story. And the more people read short updates, the more they get used to this reading habit and suddenly long posts are too long to read (like this one for example).

When this is became a real problem?

When people are not visiting your blog as often as before, when people are not linking to you back, when people are writing you a comment anywhere else but your blog, and when people are smiling at you when you know for sure they didn't even read the story you posted.

I'm not making money from my blog, but their are lots of other people that do blogging as a day job, and this can be a huge deal for them. So please remember that, and link back to a blog source instead of their username on @twitter or whatever. Same goes for comments - Most conversations should be inside the blog and not outside of it.

As for the conference itself:

For me it was less networking this time, and more hearing the companies on stage. I think the tech blogosphere has enough new companies to explore, test and write about for months to come.

Kudos to TechCrunch team for outstanding event.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 6:28 PM 15 comments

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Our Own Little Silicon Valley - Part 2



I have to admit that one of my highlights from Techcrunch50 so far is the high Israeli presence at the event. It's not just the list of startups that I've listed on the picture above (6 finalists on stage, demopit & exhibition presenters), it is also the large number of Israeli attenders that came all the way from Israel to support those companies.

I wrote a post, almost a year ago, called: Our Own Little Silicon Valley  - because I strongly believe in the Internet industry market potential that we have in Israel. Techcrunch50, just proved it right! In one of the great panel sessions yesterday, Yossi Vardi, which I have to say is one of the smartest, wisest, and actually funniest person I've ever met, told Marc Benioff (chairman and CEO of salesforce) that he should start investing in Israeli companies. And that was the best insight that I've heard on stage yesterday.

In the next few days I'll try to cover some of the Israeli companies that are showcasing their products over these three busy days - especially the ones that not presenting on stage, and probably will not gain the same amount of buzz from all the press around, yet you might want to check them out.

My first recommendation will be - 2Pad.

2Pad grabbing all the files that you got on your email inbox, and turning it to a gallery that you can easily search in & share. With 2Pad you have the ability to quickly find and filter images, videos, and mp3s by searching keywords (from subject & body text), sender, recipient, date when photo was taken, date received, file type (photo/video), and file size. In addition 2pad’s Web gallery enables dynamic resizing of the user interface according to your screen size, with your choice of thumbnail sizes. This allows you to have a quick glance at many images and then zoom-in.

The main difference between 2Pad and Xoopit is that 2Pad is working with more webmail platforms (currently Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, MobileMe and all IMAPservices). And because all your files are stored in 2pad’s servers they will be preserved even if something happens to your hard drive. You are not limited to images recovered through your email, you can also upload photos and videos directly from the 2pad gallery and even import from Flickr, Photobucket and YouTube. You can also log into your 2Pad gallery from an iPhone or iPod Touch, and it will display your files in a suitable format. 

Another great feature is the ability to actually edit your pictures right from your 2Pad gallery:


I've tested the service and I definitely think there is so much to enjoy from this product. If you wish to try it yourself, simply sign up to site, or if you're in the Techcrunch50 conference, check out their exhibition at the Alumni Hall.

Update:
Adding Personalria to the list of finalists! (pretty sure those guys are Israelis)

Also: ConTrust (demopit presenters)

And also: VideoSurf - another finalist.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 3:07 PM 2 comments

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Postcard.fm - A Postcard with a Song



Postcard.fm is a nice little application that generating a postcard from the image+audio files that you're uploading to the site. All you need to do is to choose image & song (20MB max) from your computer, add a short message (if you like), and send it to your desirable recipient email address.

Well, it seemed cool to send private music postcards to friends, but I reallly don't like services that don't write few words about themselves. And I certainly have no idea where all this music files are going... so use it at your own risk. 
No sign-up required.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:32 AM 1 comments

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How To Create A Visual Bookmarking Blog in a Snap



When I first downloaded Monkiri Firefox plug-in, I seriously thought it's just a little screen capture tool. But apperantly it's a whole lot more.

Monkiri is a user friendly Firefox/IE addon that enables a web user to capture and share interesting web pages or part of a web page with others. Monkiri lets you grab any part of the web page and instantly publish it either on your Monikri blog, or send it to Blogger/Wordpress blogs.

What comes as a surprise to me is that Monkiri is actually a full blogging system with blog editing management where you can choose and edit your template, organize your entries (you can also post from your mobile), track comments, add links, feeds, manage members etc.





Since I don't need another blog, I quickly opened myself A Monkiri Page where I can easily capture and store stuff from the web, like if it was a bookmarking site, only with pictures. As you can see my page is public, but you can set your privacy default for new entries the way it suits you.

Bottom line, Monkiri is a very useful tool, and even though I wish it had some compatibility to Twitter and Flickr, I'm pretty much impressed with the service as it is.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 1:02 PM 4 comments

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Thank you tweetSMS for Bringing me my Social Life Back



This post is for us, middle eastern & european Twitter members, that unfortunately can not enjoy Twitter free SMS anymore. (oh wait, that actually goes to anyone that live outside of USA, Canada or India)

Anyway, I am really happy to say, that this lousy period of time is over for me - I paid small amount of fee to get my social life back and in real time.

tweetSMS allowing you to send and receive all of your tweets to and from your mobile phone. After signing up to the service, you can immediately start tracking all your twitter history from a very neat control panel, and you'll get some free SMS (credits) to test it. If it works for you, you can easily add more credits to your account through Paypal. Simple as that.

tweetSMS supports 190 countries - here's the pricing list.

Another similar service that I've tested today is TwitSMS, but that one didn't worked on my phone... However, I've heard from someone else that this option is good as well, so you might want to check on them both.

As far as I'm concerned, Twitter just missed a good business model.

posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:21 PM 0 comments

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