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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Innovative Online Flash Game Platform



Gambolio is helping gamers to create and manage their library of Flash games. The service contains a library of 6,000 free games from which you can build up your collection. With more control of your games, you decide precisely what games go in your library. And once they are in your library, they remain there (unless you decide to remove them, of course) - so basically your online game environment built from your favorite games (you can also create individual playlist inside this library)

Additionally, Gambolio turns your library of games into a social network where you can share your games with family and friends, read other people's advice on particularly tricky bits of games, track your performance on high score tables, win trophies and badges, and more.

The gaming experience with Gambolio is fresh, fun and addictive due to its innovative layout. Some screenshots below:

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:32 PM 3 comments

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Digsby Major Upgrade Is Coming Later Today!

If you're not familiar with Digsby, in short: It's a desktop client that lets you manage most of your existing IM, email, and social network accounts from a single place.

Later today a new and improved version is about to be released. The new update includes several significant improvements:
  • Performance: Digsby optimized performance from the ground up, reducing overall CPU usage by about 50%
  • Buddy List Search: Press Ctrl+F to easily search your buddy list or the web
  • Emoticons: Added four new emoticon packs to choose from
  • File Transfers: Improved the reliability of AIM, ICQ, and MSN file transfers
  • Over 100 other bug fixes and enhancements.
I guess the major news is the software optimization. Lots of desktop clients are cool to have but when it comes to CPU usage, some of them are unbearable and if you don't have powerful RAM in your computer, it is most likely that you won't use them anyway.

What I was hoping to see in this version actually, is a Friendfeed support, but unfortunately it looks like we need to wait to a next version for that to happen.
posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:13 PM 4 comments

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Online Banner Maker Platform for Brands

I can't say I like banners, but I do love Flash and for a long period of time in my life I was struggling to understand how to build stuff in Flash, so I know how hard it is!

This is why I can appreciate service like BannerSnack. If you have a brand, you can quickly create amazingly looking Banners, with no previous knowledge, that can be easily placed in your website. It contains tens of transitions, effects and filters that will enable you to easily create text and image animations. In fact, BannerSnack is so easy to function, you may consider build something your own before paying a great deal of money to a professional designer. The service also provide easy tutorials to help you make those banners.

The app is free to use, but BannerSnack attached a small watermark on the bottom of your banner. If you want it to be watermark free, you can check the premium pack offered.

In general you don't have to use this just for banners, you can also create greeting cards, Myspace comments etc, just for fun. BannerSnack gives you the ability to share your creation in social networks, via email or just a link that can be shared with anyone.

I've created a short DEMO to show how it works:

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:47 PM 0 comments

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Friday, June 19, 2009

A Perfect Birthday Gift for your Friends



If you're looking for a fun way to surprise your friends, you've got to try GreetBeatz! The service produce a highly personal, original song from your choice of lyrics, combined with the name of the friend you want to send it to. You don't actually have to write a whole song, you can also provide a few helpful suggestions to the artist, and the artist creatively weaves them into a song.

How does it work:
  • First you need to log in to your Facebook or Twitter account (with facebook/twitter connect), and pick a friend
  • Then you provide lyrical inspiration, and
  • GreetBeatz produces your special song in 3-5 days.
After a song has been prepared, you'll receive an email notification where you'll be able to preview the song first before you send it to your friend.

Listen to this cool example | More examples.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 2:05 PM 5 comments

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grab your Twitter Follow Badge

Since more and more sites and blogs are adding a twitter follow button, we thought it will be nice to have an easier way to do it, so we've created this "twitter follow badge" generator. It will allow you to simply create a nice looking twitter tab to place at your site/blog.

Just customize the design and position of the badge, and grab the code.

Please keep in mind that this is only an Alpha version of the badge so we're welcoming any feedback and suggestions. In fact we'd love to hear whatever you have to say about that :)

See examples on the site, and here on the blog.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 5:41 PM 20 comments

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Monday, June 08, 2009

This Twitter Search Engine is doing it Right!

When I first wrote my impression of Twazzup, it felt like they were doing a better job than the rest of Twitter search engines out there. But lately I've noticed they've taken another step forward by collaborating with several events/conferences' organizers, such as Google I/O | JavaOne | WWDC09 and a few more, to build a personally customized Twitter search page.

The event pages have all the Twazzup search and real-time analysis features, but applied to a configurable sub-tweet stream (all tweets matching #javaone for instance, but it could also be any more complex query).

Featured queries can also be configured to make it easy for conference attendees to find information to specific sub-topics



Twazzup also has some specific modules that can be enabled on any event page:

Speaker Module
Feature the tweets from specific subject experts. It enable conference organizers & speakers, to make announcements using twitter.

Video Module
To feature official videos from the event (can be configured to pull content from any given users and hashtag)

UStream Module
To feature follow the UStream from events

Contributor Module
This module featured the people tweeting on the specific Twazzup query. By default for a conference it will show all the tweep tweeting about the conference. If you drill down to a sub-topic, it will show the people tweeting about that topic.

TV Mode
Twazzup also worked on an optimized mode for TV screens. This already enabled the organizers of Google I/O and JavaOne to feature the event tweetstream on a flat screens - you can see an example here.
In my opinion, it is way better to show only the tweets without additional models on the sidebar when showing on a big screen
, it only causes distraction.

I believe that the more partnerships Twazzup will have, the more they'll add features and models to expand their service, but the real question is: can they back-up the tweets on the event page so it'll live longer than it live on Twitter today?

Update:

I've asked Twazzup a few questions about their event page availability, and here's what they had to say:

Q) For how long whould you keep the event URL?

A) Currently we can run up to 8 custom events in parallel, so we have been redirecting the old event URLs to www.twazzup.com as needed. In practice the traffic to an event page tends to die down quickly once the event is over.

With the new solution we are working on, we will make the process of creating an event page self-service, and we will not be limited with the number of concurrent events we can support.

Q) Twitter is not saving updates more than a year (maybe less), what about you? For how long the content will be available?

A) Currently, we have the same restriction as twitter. In practice so far, it seems like the interest is really more in the real-time access during the event, and traffic to the event page dies down quickly once the event is over.

On the other hand, conference organizers have been interested in getting metrics, and better reporting from what was said during the conference, so we are looking at an archiving solution that will most likely be targeted at reporting.

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posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:36 PM 0 comments

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Introducing Expono - A Rich Social Photo Sharing Platform


It's been a while since I've tried a true photo sharing platform that is not made by mashup of elements taking form other services on the web. Expono is much more richer and it looks like a safe place to store your photos, where you can organize and share picture/album with family & friends. A platform that is built with your privacy, data portability and security in mind.

So yes, there's a list of similar services: Flickr, Smugmug, Webshots, Photobucket etc, but there's definitely a room for a new player in this photo sharing arena. And moreover, Expono is connecting you through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed, something that unfortunately even Flickr is not doing. Post stories of photo activities, tag & share album and photos with your friends on Facebook, and Auto-announce photo uploads and activities, with your subscribers/followers on Twitter & FriendFeed. (I don't like Auto-updates on Twitter though)

With Expono your photos are stored in their original formats and sizes. Your originals are kept unmodified for backup and restore purposes. Photos uploaded are location tagged automatically if they contain GPS information. You define who can see this information in your privacy settings. You can manually tag the places where your photos where taken and have them displayed on a Google Map. You can also tag people in your photos in two ways, photo by photo or multiple photos at once. You may let other people tag faces in your photos too.

There are so many other features in this service, and to start with you get 1GB storage space for free. If you need more space, you can expend it to 10GB for $45, which is very reasonable price if you ask me.

The service is not open to the public yet, but Go2web20 readers can sign up through this special link! Visit my page at: http://www.expono.com/orli

posted by Orli Yakuel at 11:15 AM 5 comments

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Joost Media Player - An Excellent AIR Application!

To be honest, I haven't used Joost so much before, but this Adobe AIR app is about to change that. Surprisingly, it's not an official application from Joost themselves. It made by brilliant Paul Yanez which also attempt to create the first Web Joost Platform, way, way back.

I know for sure that I'll use this Joost Media Player mostly because of its music collection (amazing one), but there's a massive list of great shows & films that wroth the download as well. The player, built with Joost API, has over 400 television shows, a library of over 10,000 music videos and a large selection of film.

In the instillation you can enter your Twitter credentials and the player will auto-update your Twitter account. While some of you may think it's a great feature to have, I found it annoying when you listen to 10-20 songs at once - that means an update to each song. I still want the Twitter integration, but I need to be able to control my tweets.

You can also search Twitter, by default the search term "Joost" is selected to let you see what others are viewing. But you can enter any search term you like. If you want to view your own Twitter timeline you simply click on the friends tab.

Though I like this player a lot, it misses two critical features:
First there's no search engine. You can search for content only by its gender or by a specific category, and it simply takes too much time to browser all the media channel options. The second missing feature is the ability to create a playlist.

But other then that, Joost Media Player is a real treat for your desktop!



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posted by Orli Yakuel at 12:21 PM 0 comments

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Picture Your Dream Wedding

If you plan to get married soon , you might need some inspiration.
Bridal Canvas has an ultimate database of wedding ideas. You can pick from the elements & pictures supplied by the site, or upload your own images that will build your dream wedding.

Additionally, you can sign up to the site and save your creation. Once you upload your canvas, people can comment on it, and share it in their site or blog. You also able to add your favorite music to each of your canvases.

Overall, a very sweet site. But might stress out people who haven't got married yet. I already spent way too much time on this site simply because it's fun to explore and create. It actually can provide occupation for those who are waiting for their upcoming wedding...

posted by Orli Yakuel at 9:09 PM 1 comments

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