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Friday, May 29, 2009

A User Friendly, Customizable Web-based Toolbar for your Site (or Blog)

Wibiya allow users to customize a social toolbar with services, applications and widgets of their choice into their site or blog. The platform offers a one-stop solution for integrating, managing and tracking third-party applications without writing any code. Wibiya also gives you the ability to create a community using Facebook Connect.

This is not a downloadable Toolbar. All you need to do is to create your account, select a theme & apps, then Wibiya generates a code that you can embed into your blog template. The whole process takes a few minutes really, and you can change the Toolbar at any given time, it's 100% dynamic.


Currently Wibiya offers a fixed set tools such as Twitter search and trending topics, but will be adding more and more application through time, so I expect it to have a large directory of apps to place over your Toolbar.

Wibiya somewhat looks like Google Friend Connect Toolbar (which I have here in my blog), but it already offers more tools that your readers actually need: Translation, Blog Search, Post Navigator, Image Gallery, Web Notifier, Live alerts from Twitter, and more.

See examples of this Toolbar in action: here & here.

Wibiya is an Israeli startup company, founded in 2008 which is backed by Dr. Yossi Vardi.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:08 AM 2 comments

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

50 Mixero Invites Available to Fast Decision-makers

Mixero is the new cool twitter client on the block. It's based on Adobe AIR and designed to help you reduce the content overload that you're getting from Twitter. By creating groups, you'll be able to easily track your friends update. But moreover, you can also reduce the group list by creating an active list with only the people you want to read at the moment (you can change it over and over again easily).

The active list looks like an RSS friend list. What's interesting is the fact that the notifications are actually the number of updates you've missed, in the list view that you care about the most, RSS-ish.

You can do so much with the Mixero filter: First you can choose to see your twitterstream with or without replies (something that Twitter could learn from). You can show "unread" posts only, or mark everything as "read." One of the most important tools for me, is the ability to easily jump from one person to another and read his/her tweetstream in the most silkiest and easy way. With navigation so easy, you can be sure you won't miss updates from your favorite twitter friends.

I have to say that the UI is a winner in my opinion. You open Mixero and you see something else for a change... most Twitter clients, look pretty much the same, but with Mixero, you'll have a great user experience, I guaranty that.

There might be a problem, however, if you're following too many friends though, I don't seem to be able to see all of them, but I hope this is only a bug for me :)

I have 50 invites for you guys, grab them as fast as you can:
First Download Mixero, then enter this code - go2web20com

Mixero based in Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 7:32 PM 3 comments

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Real REAL-TIME Twitter

I wrote about Tweenky when it first launched, and I'm happy to write about it again. The service let you see your twitter updates in real-time, exactly like in Friendfeed. In addition you can see your own tweets, replies, and private messages. Also, see the list of Twitter trend, or search for any terms you want.

You can of course send tweets, reply, send direct message and retweet any tweet. If you see a tweet that you like, you can Chirp.it, and it will automatically send to TopChirp which is kinda like Digg, but for Twitter.

Kudos @derek for the good work.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 6:25 PM 1 comments

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Fun Educational Online Platform for Kids

Raylit is a new online service that entertains and educates kids with interactive games, videos and fun activities.
I liked the service right from the registration where you first sign up yourself, then write your kids name & age so when you log in to the service, Raylit knows to offer you different sessions suited to your kids age.

The site has been specifically designed for 3-7 year old kids in preschool, kindergarten and first grade, taking into account their mental and physical development. Three friendly characters will guide the kids through their daily sessions so parents don't have to babysit. Unfortunately, the characters voice generated from a text-to-voice service, so it sound really mechanical and not so attractive to hear. But if Raylit will fix that, it'll be a very pleasant site for kids to spend some time in.

Right now, Raylit has over 750 educational games, videos and topics. I went over the list of activities and it's absolutely impressive. Everything is clear and colorful, like you'd expect from a kids site. Kids only need to use the mouse during the sessions as it is natural and easy for them. There're also games that don't require registration such as: Coloring Pages, Printed Puzzles and Handwriting Workheets.

Finally, Raylit limit kid's session to just an hour a day to prevent addiction, which is, in my opinion, a very important and thoughtful feature.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:09 PM 0 comments

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Put A Poll On Your Twitter Page



I usually use Twtpoll when I want to send a poll through Twitter, but I found PollYour Followers to be charming as well, and even easier to function.

With a same concept as in VidTweeter, all you need to do is to enter your Twitter name, ask your question, write the answers and get a link to share the poll, or tweet it directly. The poll displays on top of your twitter page where you track how many people view it. Example.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 10:07 PM 4 comments

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Manage Your Online Social Life From A Browser Sidebar

First of all, if you're a MAC, this post is currently not for you... Gathera supports only Windows at the moment.

Gathera (experimental Firefox addon), organizes and integrates Web applications & services into the browser sidebar, and offers an easy user experience to you. You'll get a fast access to these social networks: Flickr, Facebook, Digg, Twitter (supports multiple accounts), Delicious, and Windows Live. As well as to email based services such as: Gmail, Yahoo! and AOL. You'll be able to seamlessly share, view and respond across all of those online services.

Additionally, you can search through your accounts all at once, or search through a specific source (Google, Wikipedia, Youtube, Twitter, etc).

Overall I thought it's a pretty nice sidebar to have, but it missed the notifications and real-time functionality. From the "My Place" area I can see the number of updates I missed, but when the streamline is open, the sidebar is static. You have to refresh it yourself to see new updates, which is somewhat useless if you want to keep an eye on friends activity while you're working.



Based on the information on their site, it looks like that previous version contained real-time notifications, but I couldn't find this function on the current version.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:01 PM 1 comments

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Latest Member of the Bookish Social Network: Readernaut

This is a Guest Post by Valerie Russo, the author of Literanista. Currently works at Hachette Book Group, scouts the ever-changing Web landscape & is working on her debut novel, among other things.

Late last Summer, a new contender to the literary social network arena, quietly moved into the somewhat already crowded space. Readernaut, joined the fray, albeit in Beta, attempting to perhaps rival the top three contenders, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari, which was recently acquired by Amazon. Almost a year later, curiously there has been little coverage of Readernaut, which is still currently in Beta. We wondered "what's the hold up?" and so here's our attempt to change that and see if it makes a difference.

Currently, Goodreads leads the book set with 1.3 million unique visitors monthly, in the US alone, while Librarything is the eldest of the pack and probably has the most academic/professional cred. When Shelfari launched a couple of years back, it was touted as one of the prettiest and shiniest sites of the year but they've gone through various updates that have since drawn away from that aesthetic cool factor, at least for me. Of course, these are just the top three. There are many more in the book community space, such as; Booksprouts, Readingtrails, Weread, Filedby, Shortcovers, and even Barnes & Noble, the book retailer added social networking tools to their site with MyBN.com a while back.

So along comes Readernaut, created by developer and designer Nathan Borror (we learned after some Googling), who is quite active on the site, and it has the usual fare of book social communities: You can build your personal profile page, import and catalog your book lists, follow other members, add tags, write reviews or notes, see what others are reading or who owns the same books. Visually the site has gotten kudos for its simple and streamlined sparsity. However, I found it hardly made an impression on me personally, perhaps because I prefer content rich sites with lots of inter connectivity and easy navigation. It's a lot easier to unearth all the features that way instead of needing to hover over or click on various items to see what's being offered. At the same time, it's refreshing to see it changed up and be taken out of one's comfort zone.

While Readernaut seems to be lacking in the widget department (i.e., the 'grab your bookshelf' department) it does currently offer its own public API although I didn't see that on the site itself. I also like the fact that it allows you to import books from other book social communities, such as Anobii or by ISBNs. As someone, who is an avid reader and owns hundreds of books and has read thousands, there is no way I am importing my book collection manually so this scores cool points. It would be nice to also see an option to import books from accounts with book retailers as well.

Readernaut, offers more socializing aspects than on it does on the books themselves. It's main focus is on member activity, which can be viewed in Facebook feed status-like stream. As we have learned from Twitter and Facebook, this voyeuristic river of data can be quite addictive and entertaining. Members can see an overview of other members' activity or view a timeline, which offers that sense of 'knowing' them. Another interesting insight is offered when you click on some one's profile - you can see their stats; numbers of cataloged books, amount of lists they've created, notes, followers, comments and how many friends they have.



Perhaps my most preferred feature is the Reader Progress. Members are invited to manually update their reading progress on whichever book they are reading. While other sites have this feature, Readernaut goes one step further by offering a visual scale of the progress as a timeline, which also has specific book data. If you view some one's progress you can see whether they've been on the same book or page for three months or read a book a day. If this feature was converted into a widget or app, I can see many book bloggers adding this to their sidebar or site.

I'd love to see some added features on Readernaut to make it really out of this world: Currently, I don't see an option to import my friends or peers from any of my email accounts or any other social network, other than Twitter and Flickr. However, I do like how very easily I can find friends from those two, all you do is enter your username. It would be nice to get some interaction with Facebook or my blog, which is a literary blog. I also don't see any features to distinguish authors from regular members. Book authors don't have profile pages or a place to add any biographical information or blogs/twitter, etc., There isn't anything offered to book clubs in particular or any book data associated with the books on their profile page such as book description, book website, reading group guide. There is an option to buy the book but only through Amazon.com.

You also can't create groups or events nor can you list a book giveaway. That would also be nice to see. In addition, I don't see any option for publisher or author engagement. None of the latest look-inside widgets are offered, which allows readers to 'read' an excerpt of the book online. I also don't see a way to post any related media, like book trailers or author interviews.

On the upside, there aren't any visible ads, ugly or subtle ones nor any sign of a business model. Unfortunately, there isn't any contact information or "about us" either and none of the "press" or info links on the site work, making it seem like the just a forgotten pet project of the developer. We hope this feedback offers some useful data and we invite Nathan to give us an update on his plans for the site.

It would be nice to see all of the above needed features added and then also go beyond that beause otherwise it's just another place to see what friends are doing online.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 7:23 PM 0 comments

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Google Analytics on your Desktop

Polaris, officially launched recently, is a fantastic free Air based application for everyone who manages one website profile on Google Analytics and want to keep data always instantly available.

The dashboard gives you nice overview of total visits, pageviews and other useful metrics. Other than that, Polaris has 7 different individual reports: Visit Overview, Map Overlay, Traffic Sources, Referring Sites, Top Content, Keywords, and Goal Value.

For those who are managing multiple profiles, the upgrade to the full version is $15/year. Both the free and the full version will get regular free updates with new functionality and features.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 2:24 PM 0 comments

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Friday, May 08, 2009

An Excellent Facebook & Twitter Desktop Client (Windows Users Only)






Sobees just released a new desktop client called bDule where they integrated Facebook Open Stream API, Twitter and Twitter search all in one place. bDule is based on .NET and is installable on any Windows 7 computer as well as Vista and XP if .NET is up-to-date.

After downloading, you'll be asked to choose a template from a variety of options, then you can track your Facebook stream in real-time with some filters, likes and comments (update the status, likes and comments within the application). bDule also enables Twitter multi-accounts view, groups, single or multi-column view, and Twitter search topics setup.

Since I already had .Net installed in my computer, it was a real fast download for me, and at first glance I can say it looks amazing, has good usability and works smoothly and fast. But the important bottom-line is that you get to see all the activities & stuff you care about from a single view.
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bDule

My only problem is the resources it takes from my computer memory.. (too high)

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:55 PM 11 comments

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

2BAR - Enhance your Browser with Daily Functionality


Zoom in & out.

We created this toolbar to help people with their daily work & habit on the web. Simple as that.
And I have to confess: I was actually against that at the beginning, because I don't really like Toolbars (or at least I thought so), but after working with 2BAR for 2 month or so, I admit - I'm addicted.

Take a look at the picture above to see a full view of the features - We really tried to think about all users while created this one, so whether you need to get quick information about sites, update your friends, share links (or make short URLs), translate a page, listen to podcasts/music, search for whatever, and more.., this Toolbar is for you, and we hope you'll find it useful as we did.

2BAR brought to you by Go2web20 Directory, and powered by Conduit.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:40 PM 1 comments

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Twitter as an RSS Reader

Steve Gillmore announced the death of RSS, yesterday in a very informative post at the Techcrunch IT Blog.

Being a blogger that's seeking the hottest tech news and needs to be on top of everything constantly, I tend to agree with most of Steve's post. Except for the fact that I don't think RSS is dead at all, I think RSS readers are not well-known by those who get used to getting updates delivered by their friends instead of by their favorite reader. I actually wrote a post about the same issue a year ago, where I explained why I'm wasn't using my RSS reader(s) as much as before. A year later, I can honestly tell you that now I don't even open my RSS reader anymore at all.

I'm sure some of you will disagree, probably because you used to reading your RSS reader once a day or so. But if you use Facebook or Twitter or any of those services that stream you & your friend's daily updates, you must've felt a change in the way you are reading & tracking content over the web.

It's also about what really interests you. If you've followed people that post stuff you care enough to read about, then you don't really need to build your RSS reader, the content will eventually show up in your main Twitter page. In most cases, this will be faster than anything else, and the best part is that the content is filtered inherently by your friends, and because good stuff is always retweeted over and over again, you can't really miss it.

But what about all the noise that has no relation to posts and stuff that you actually want to read? Well, from my experience, I just learned to deal with it. Sometimes, I ignore things that I don't care about yet show up in my twitterstream, and sometimes, I track a conversation just because someone else replies. Bottom line, you can't have a live conversation from within your RSS reader. Today, with Twitter, you see links posted by your friends and can immediately create a discussion around it. The web was never as accessible as it is today.

One last thing, in my opinion the biggest change over the last year, is that people are tracking topics instead of sites. From this perspective, Twitter still look & feel like RSS Reader, but really, you follow updates from your chosen topics, which can be a person, a brand or anything you care about. Screenshot of my twitter vision:
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posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:30 PM 9 comments

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bmlet - Your Source for Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets are small application that stored in your computer browser. They are very easy to function (like any bookmark), and allow fast access to lots of activities & tools that can help you in your daily work. The best part is that you don't actually need to download anything to your computer, you just drag & drop your favorite bookmaklet to your favorite browser (even Chrome).

I found this useful Bookmarklet Directory today, and already spent too much time browsing through its content. It's kind of addictive though. I constantly upgrade my browser toolbar with more efficient tools, it never stops..

On Bmlet you can search, rate, share (directly to twitter & facebook), and comment on bookmarklets. You can also add new ones to the massive list Bmlet already has.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 7:20 PM 2 comments

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

TidyRead Makes Webpages more Readable

TidyRead extracts the text from almost any web site and displays it on an easy to read page that removes all of the clutter that can make reading on the internet so hard sometimes. The tool comes in the form of bookmarklet (or Firefox add-on), so all you really need to do is to drag the bookmarklet to your favorite browser (all supported), then click on it while you reading stuff over the web. Instantly, you'll be able to change the font size, choose your page style and adjust the margin.



TidyRead also works on iPhone or iPod touch, follow the instructions here.

Basically it's just a simply & smart tool that I don't see any reason why you won't use it in your browser (at least the bookmarklet). But personally I think TidyRead should enable people to grab the code for their own blog or site, and allow anyone who read them to simply click on a button for a better reading experience. I know I'd like to provide this kind of tool to my readers.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 8:39 PM 6 comments

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