The new service will tie in to MySpace's current videos platform, although there's no word yet on whether or … Read more
I sat down last week with Matt Mullenweg, co-creator of WordPress and kingpin at Automattic, the company that runs the blog host service WordPress.com. As you might expect, Mullenweg has an well-formed perspective on blogging. So what's the state of the blogosphere? He sees the field as "nascent," despite the presence of large and influential blogs that are well on their way toward challenging incumbent media (including CNET).
We talked about blogging, freedom of speech, and how candidates' blogs in the U.S. are usually not much more than platforms for "pre-canned ideas." However, … Read more
The Flickr API has opened up a lot of fun tools over the years. This morning we got a tip about Image Mosaic Generator, a free service that creates neat-looking picture mosaics of uploaded images. The service uses Flickr images to make up each mosaic and lets users save the end result to their hard drive. Images have a fair bit of variation, although you're likely to see a few repeats close up. The service doesn't link back to the original Flickr images, which is a bit disappointing, but as a result, handles the conversion from image to … Read more
It's a little early for a hands-on with SharedView, but it feels polished for a work in progress. Here are my impressions so far:
Sending invites to join SharedView is fairly simple, although Microsoft assumes you're using their services, including Windows Live Hotmail and … Read more
The midrange Web site design and hosting service SiteKreator (previous review) got an update recently. A new design theme called Aurora (available only to SiteKreator Power users for $39.95 a month), gives the Web manager a lot of design freedom while protecting him or her from egregious design errors.
Everything in the Aurora designs is integrated and color-matched, including art options: if you change your color scheme you get different choices for the image on your home page, as well as your typography selections. (Users of other plans, including the free version of SiteKreator, can still use SiteKreator templates, … Read more
One of the updated features is the Analytics dashboard, which is now completely customizable and has simplified data. Users can relocate, add, and remove the various data widgets, in a similar fashion to that of iGoogle. Also new is the option to e-mail or export reports as PDFs, which can now be scheduled to be sent out automatically every day, week, month or quarter using a built-in calendar. Previously you were only able to export it as a non-human-friendly XML file.
The service is mainly an extension of Google's AdWords program, which lets site owners purchase words that link to various parts of their site via contextual ads that show up on Google or partnered search engine results. But even if you're not interested in making money it's a free Analytics solution that requires no software, just a line of code on any page you want to keep track of. If you're a WordPress user, there's even a plug-in to automatically add it to your site. Blogger users are also able to add it by tweaking their blog template.
One big change regular Google Reader users are bound to notice is the updated control scheme. To jump between feeds just hit the "1" button, which pulls up a slick looking pop-up with a listing of all your feeds. It's almost an easier system than the one … Read more
Sun Microsystems on Tuesday plans to introduce a friendlier way to write Java applications for consumer devices, an attempt to derive more profit from Java and stake a greater claim in the next generation of Web applications.
At the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, Sun's Executive Vice President of Software Rich Green, is expected to unveil JavaFX Script, a simpler scripting language for writing applications on Java-equipped desktop PCs and handheld devices.
If you're the owner of a blog, there's a chance that, come one day, you might lose some or all of your posts. In order to avoid this, there's BlogBackupOnline, a free solution that will grab everything you've ever done and make a backup of it off site.
Registering your blog (or anyone else's for that matter) is easy, just give it the URL, and if the site is on a popular blogging platform like Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress, it will start backing up posts right away. You don't actually need to give it … Read more
Review Basics works with a variety of common office document standards like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. It also can handle uploading an entire zipped folder, so if you get a zipped attachment in an e-mail, you can upload it straight to the service without having to unpack it and send files one at a time. Review Basics also handles videos, although they have to be in the .FLV Flash format, which despite its popularity on the Internet, isn't a consumer-friendly standard compared to .MOV and .AVI. Files are capped off at 25MB apiece, so if you're working with any video clip over a minute or two, it's likely to be too large.
Annotating media is fairly simple. Users get five different tools to mark what's on the screen: boxes, arrows, a highlighter, call-outs, and emoticons. There is no drawing tool, which is one thing I enjoy and make use of on other collaborative workspace services like ConceptShare [hands-on] and Octopz [hands-on]. I think at a basic level it makes things feel familiar, like using a pen. There are still boxes which can be resized and color coded, but for irregularly shaped elements, you're out of luck.
To separate which feedback is being displayed, you can toggle each person's edits on and off. It's a lot like PhotoShop when you show or hide layers, and useful when you have more than two or three people working on a piece of media at a time, as things tend to get crowded.
Review Basics is very versatile for a free app, but it's missing a few things I think would make it far more competitive in this space. I'd like a way to leave audio or video notes. Some people (like me) find it easier to hit a record button, say something and move on, instead of writing it out. I'd also like to see live chat or live video conferencing, something that can take telephones out of the equation for both businesses and customers. The service is planning on moving to a paid model in the future, adding these things would certainly put it in the realm of some of the other services charging monthly fees.
The team has put together a series of hands-on demos you can play with to get a feel for the service. [More screens after the break.]