Monthly Archives: May 2007

Palm’s Foleo vs. VTech and er, Fisher Price


The Palm Foleo is a 10″ screen with a keyboard, wifi and bluetooth for syncing with your Treo or some other smartphone.

“However, the Foleo uses an underpowered processor that isn’t really suited for video, Hawkins admitted. It gets five hours of battery life. It wasn’t designed to be a standalone product apart from its smart phone, although it can use its Opera browser to surf the Web over a built-in Wi-Fi connection.

It doesn’t sync calendar appointments, just e-mail and contacts. And it doesn’t work yet with widely used mobile e-mail products such as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry software or Motorola’s GoodLink software.” CNET NEWS

And it’s $599 (well, $499 with intro rebate … because … why?)

You know, for $300 less, I can get the V.Smile Touch Tablet.


It even has a trackball while the Palm Foleo only has a nubbin pointer.

PLUS, It has 100 activities to teach age-appropriate content in English, math, science, geography, history and Spanish through arcade-style adventure games! And apparently includes more “business” applications than the the Palm Foleo as the V.Smile includes a word processor, personal organizer with address book, calculator and savings tracker.

Or for $149 dollars in HOT PINK, I can get the Barbie one with a mouse included!


Or for $29, Fisher Price’s Fun 2 Learn Laughtop Laptop not only has Pong, games and can even “check e-mail.”


What is the Palm Foleo? A mini laptop to project/beam your Treo (or a limited selection of smartphones) to so you can read or see it better?


Palm’s Jeff Hawkins’ vision is probably going, I understand, I need some better glasses myself but if he can’t read their tiny Treo screens, maybe instead of a giant kids laptop to act as a monitor, maybe they should upgrade to an HD resolution screen or maybe for $30, something like this?


Sure, nobody likes to have to hang a giant piece of looking glass around their neck but it’s a way cheaper solution that spending tens/hundreds of millions to reinvent a Fisher Price toy at 10 times the cost? Because then aren’t you just using that giant magnifying glass to set fire to a pile of the shareholder’s money?

Or of course, a solution to make you feel like a 9-year old kid again … it’s technology so old you can only buy it used …


That’s right. it’s a magnifier for your GameBoy – I think it was around $10 new? About $3 used on ebay now. It’s HIGH TECH (well, for 1995). Think about it Jeff, the Palm Treo Foleo Mini – better mark it up to cover the cost of developing a laptop without any real functions except a keyboard – $149.99 (with a $50 rebate because you need more overhead at Palm).

Or maybe it’s the wave of the future to always get a giant attachment, when you buy a 40″ plasma, you also buy a 70″ screen with granite legs to beam the guide portion of your screen … not the TV image – just the guide.

Good luck Palm, though you might want to take some bits of advice. Remember, to follow Microsoft guidelines and you’ll be okay:

SHIPPED is as good as “sold” so use whichever number is bigger.
Always say it’s exceeding expectations.
Blame Apple’s “flashy” marketing.

Of course, it helps to have $12 billion in annual cash flow to hide any billion dollar boondoggles … you do have $12 billion in cash laying around, don’t you?


Filed under Computing, Gadgets, Internet, Media, Retail

iTunes EMI DRM Free + 50 Other Online Mp3 Stores for Your iPod


Yesterday, most if not all of EMI tracks on the iTunes music store went DRM-free for $1.29. You can pay $.30 to convert your tracks from Fairplay AAC 128kbps to AAC 256 kbps. Since Apple keeps track of your purchases, after you download and install iTunes 7.2, you will be presented with a list of your tracks from EMI you purchased for $.99 and you’ll be asked if you want to upgrade/convert. Click YES and you get a second confirmation before the downloading begins.

There is a new additional choice – it will ask if from now on, if faced with a choice between a DRM track or a DRM-free track at $1.29, do you want the store just to list for you the DRM-free version. You’ll have a new setting in STORE>VIEW MY ACCOUNT (see below)


You can change back at anytime.

Of course, all along there were plenty of other choices for iPod owners to load tracks on their machines LEGALLY split between PAID stores and SOCIAL COMMUNITY sites. Just download the tracks and then drag into a PLAYLIST in iTunes. Takes a few seconds literally to load and sync with your iPod and of course, in a few weeks, your iPhone.


STORE CHOICES – 2nd largest online music store. Smallest plan is $9.99 gets you 30 tracks or about $.33 a track. 2-million tracks from 13,000 labels – they don’t have a lot of tracks from the major 4 labels but lots of interesting alternative, A3, classical & jazz.

Audio Lunchbox – also 2-million tracks from independent labels. They offer a ala-carte plan in addition to $9.99 for about 40 tracks. Most tracks are 1 credit but some apparently are more. If you like music outside of the top 40, check them or out.

Beatport – They rep 3,000 dance labels and offer 320 kpbs tracks for $1.49, $1.99 or $2.49 for promo releases. You can choose mp3, mp4 or WAV.

DanceTracks Digital – another huge dance track site – tracks are 320 kpbs and around @1.39 a track.

MBop Megastore (UK) – Excellent online store with lots of unique, different and interesting tracks hard to find elsewhere – most mp3 tracks around $.99

DJMR Music – Another large & huge selection dance & DJ tracks online store – also 320 kbps & around $1.99 a track.

7 Digital – UK based, selling some EMI tracks at @$1 for 320kpbs mp3’s.

Bleep – Lots of brand name indie tracks & labels. @$1.35 a track.

PayPlayFM – Just launched. 1.3 million indie artist Mp3 tracks at $.88 each – 192 kbps. Ignore the FAQ, that was for their subscription WMA service.

Digital Other Music – nice looking selection of indie music. Tracks @$1.11, full CD’s @$9.99 – 320 kbps Mp3’s.

Mp3Tunes – also represents thousands of indie & alternative artists and sells every track in mp3 format. $.88 a track at 192 kpbs. Only note of caution – their front page says 2005 – site looks current and seems to function okay but are they asleep at the switch?

eClassical – the largest classical music online store. All tracks available as 192kpbs mp3’s – @$.49 to $.99 a track.

Smithsonian Global Sounds – Traditional music from artists all over the world – other than Mp3, you can also buy tracks in the FLAC format.

MagnaTune – Unique, the artists gets exactly half of what you’re willing to pay … it seems most every track is available in MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC or AAC – or you can buy the CD for @$5 more than the download.

AmieStreet – Even more unique, tracks start as free – the more popular the artist/track is, the higher in cost it goes so don’t get in one the ground floor – get it the basement!

EarBuzz – Tops them all? Artists make 100%.

Mouzika – World artists $.99 a track – WMA or Mp3.

IslandBeats – specializes in Polynesian music from the islands of the Pacific. $.99 a track. – a UK company (don’t worry, they accept the USD 🙂 – they offer subscription based (like emusic) along with individual tracks. They seem to offer some unusual tracks so it might be worth your while to take a look.

Starzik (France) – Not positive you can order from site from US but the allure is you’re not paying $27.99 for a legal CD … of course with dollar losing to Euro, tracks start at around 2€ and go up from there.

MusicIsHere – Indie artists – large selection – also offers a wide variety of format choices for $.99 – MP3, MPEG4-AAC, MPC, OGG VORBIS, WMA, FLAC.

Alternative Addiction – indie bands. Mp3 CD’s & singles – plus lots of free tracks for downloading.

Nervous Records – Rockabilly – huge selection. $.99 mp3’s.

MusicTradebit – indie tracks, 128kpbs $.99 – The site could use a re-design but it offers an interesting selection of bossa novas, easy listening and chill out tracks. Only thing now at €.99 Euro, prices have essentially doubled since the $ has dropped in value.

IntroMusic – UK based, 256kbps MP3 format for 59p or 79p – this might be a good place for those hot new UK bands.

Interia – Poland site, okay for US buyers? Not sure – look like around $.90 converted for a track.

QTRNote – Indie artists $.99 a track – also offers music licensing for other media.

Rhythm Records (South Africia) – Not a huge site but nice looking and well, where else will you find an mp3 site selling South African music? About $.85 USD a track.

GreatIndieMusic – well, not sure how great the tracks are but it is indie music at $.99 a track.

SoundFoundation Australia – Indie music Australia, not all tracks seem to be available as an Mp3 but those that are @$.90.

RuleRadio – Mp3 $.99, indie artists.

Amazon – announced they too will be joining the DRM-free download biz but not launched yet. Though you can get started on the free tracks they offer.



Jamendo – 35,074 tracks from talented artists, for free! You can donate if you wish.

SXSW Festival – Most bands performing there this year offered a free track or two. Any artist with the cassette icon means there is a track available.

The Live Music Archive – Over 35,000 concerts & performances by nearly 2,000 artists and bands. FREE in a variety of audio formats including mp3’s. Related – Open Source Audio. is of course, sprawling – they claim 1+ million bands – so that would make 3+ million tracks available for downloading. Some formats vary but the #1 format are mp3’s. MySpace has talked about opening an online music store but nothing yet.

iLike – Formerly GarageBand – you can download mp3 tracks to listen or buy CD’s. Both links work, slightly different presentation.

CTG Music – one of the oldest electronica communities – tons of free tracks and links to thousands of DJ’s and artists.

DMusic – another longtime music community with thousands of interesting and new artists.

InternetDJ – another huge collection of new electronica artists, not the greatest page design – some tracks are only for sale but most are downloadable.

SoundClick – Don’t be fooled by it’s under-designed front page, there are links to hundreds of thousands of bands and tracks.

CNET – They offer 75,000 free mp3’s by thousands of artists. The site is oddly designly (probably because it’s designed to serve ads first, which is fine but could use a major re-think) so you do have to slog through a lot of menus to find it but once you get there, it’s nice.

Free Kid’s Music – not exactly a community, more like a collective but a nice collection of kid’s music. – legal collection of DJ sets.

iSound – Artists community, stream, download, etc …

Sublime Archives – From the band, Sublime – a small community of the bands (friends, etc …) with links to downloads.

SonicGarden – music community site – I couldn’t get mp3 tracks to play correctly.

VIRB – Artist community – not all music but all bands offer some sort of download.

Pure Volume – music/band community.

Trig – New community with band section/

AOL, yes, that AOL … Australia – Australia musicians, bands & tracks.


MUSIC BLOGS – LINKS/REVIEWS OF LEGAL MP3’s – A blog with reviews of the best FREE mp3’s on the internet – all okayed and posted by artists THEMSELVES. Excellent writing and fun tracks.

The Crutch Blog is no more but the roundup of legal tracks from artist sites is still around here.

MP3 4U – Good roundup of free tracks from all over.

Better Propaganda – some streaming only. Mostly electronica.

Knobtweakers – focuses on electronica music with intros and links to new bands and artists.

Salon mag – you have to sign in or listen to an ad but some great tracks from well known artists. Well worth the extra time spent.

MFiles – A massive review and over-view site for classical and instrumental music. They offer a nice selection of mp3 tracks (and also midi files).

Ubu – Interesting collection of non-mainstream tracks for your iPod (some audio tracks).

Playlist Mag – while not exactly a blog, Playlist mag’s roundup and recommendations of free tracks.

iLounge – the brilliant all things iPod site, they have partnered with a few other sites to link/bring you free tracks.


Virually every smaller record label (um, that sells CD’s) offer a handful of Mp3’s to download. I’m not going to list all of them but some interesting ones to check out include:

Matador Records Matador has some great artists so it’s a good place to start.

Comfort Stand – indie label closed but all tracks still posted and available online FREE.

Telarc – free tracks, some classical.

Sonic Squirrel – has done a nice job of rounding up every obscure label on the net (or planet) with links to their tracks. Very obscure stuff so if you only want completely off-th-beaten path tracks …


Oddio Overplay – in case you want the obscure of the obscure, Oddio offers several hundred more sites.

itunes Free Tracks – Roundup from It’s Free Downloads … though keep in mind these have DRM tied to your account.

And like any other lists about the internet, I’m not claiming this is complete but it will be enough to keep you busy for a long while. I also did not include those that fall into a mix of legal & not so-legal tracks like Webjay.


Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Media, Music, Retail

Advice For Your Startup – Web Site Design

Now, that I’ve visited about 400 search engines and about 100 web apps, let me offer some tidbits of advice for your web startup page & site:

a) It’s 2007. Make sure all your copyright, trademark notices all read 2007.

b) Typos. SPELL CHECK. There was a site with about 25 words on its front page, one was spelled incorrectly.

c) It’s fine to use FLASH on your front page but ask people POLITELY to turn on Flash or to ask POLITELY to download a newer version BUT do not just make it an advertisement for Flash.

Do NOT do what the people at GLIDE have done – present a white page with some words demanding people to download FLASH before they can do anything else. Is that really the point you want to convey to people stopping by your “storefront?” That you are a shill for Adobe’s Flash? Now, if you are part of the Adobe family, that’s perfectly fine or if Adobe is paying you to put up a velvet rope in front of your potential customers – great but why would you go out of your way to block potential customers? You work so hard to get people to your site, don’t follow GLIDE’s example, just telling you to go away unless you do EXACTLY as they say?

Other than a logo and quotes about how great they are, this is essentially all you see at GLIDE (text quotes appear in middle of page – not in screenshot):



Now, if you’re a well establish company or you don’t want casual people to drop in – maybe, but why would waste an opportunity to brand? Not a photo, illustration or a mission statement? Nothing? … But just a demand and some quotes? What do we know about this company other than they really, really like Adobe Flash? Not much.

And frankly, are you enticed to explore further? I’m not.

So make sure if you are using Flash as your front gate, what does your site look like with Flash turned off or if the potential customer hasn’t upgraded, do you want to turn them away as unworthy?

d) Unless it’s obvious in your name “JOHN’S BAKERY” or “ALISON’S TIRES,” it’s best to put an explanation of what you do right there on the front page.

You don’t have to be fancy or get carried away – At JOTLET, this is right on the front page:

“Jotlet Calendar is an online calendar that helps students, families, and small groups manage and share their schedules online. It’s a perfect way to manage and share your schedule with family and friends.”


Nothing fancy, no mushy marketing speak – simply, here is what we can do to make your life easier.

Or from BaseCamp – they manage to cover a lot of ground and throw in some marketing but you know exactly what they stand for and how they might make your life easier:

“Why Basecamp?
Basecamp takes a fresh, novel approach to project collaboration. Projects don’t fail from a lack of charts, graphs, stats, or reports, they fail from a lack of clear communication. Basecamp solves this problem by providing tools tailored to improve the communication between people working together on a project.”

And then below, they offer more detailed examples.

Of course, it depends on how complex or how simple your offerings are …

Personally, I thought this was a little ‘stiff’ and too jargon sounding from SlideAware …

“SlideAware is a presentation management platform designed to help you & your team to manage the entire lifecycle of PowerPoint ™ presentations.”


It turns out by “lifecycle,” they mean from blank page to final – not sure why they decided to muddle the waters. Even if it’s something that’s commonplace jargon for PowerPoint slingers, if your intention is to draw in new users, you don’t want to scare them if they’re not ready for a PowerPoint “lifecycle” – lifecycle – which could mean furious peddling that gets you nowhere or this presentation will follow you forever until you die … either way, not real pleasant.

From another site, try to talk like a human (being):

“… augmenting your team with the best of breed technology and a savvy strategic team who knows how to use it to your greatest advantage.”

Yes, I know you’re proud and you can augment and breed at the same time but we don’t want to hear about it. Let’s not cloud the issue – if you’re the best, just say so.

“We’re the best, we will help you kick ass”

(and take names because we’re also a business card scanner)

Okay, having the word ‘ass’ in your mission statement or your branding statement is probably not the most ideal but you get my point 🙂

e) Try not to use stock-art people on your front page. We are all so media savvy that we can tell right away this woman is thinking about getting a mortgage at 7%, deciding which fertilizer is best for her summer lawn and pondering dinner plans now that her man is taking the blue pill …


Or maybe she really, really, really like your accounting software package … if you know what I mean …

When your stock photo can mean everything from “I think I’m irregular – how can I be sure?” to “Will Hamburger Helper really stretch my household budget?” to “We’re accounting so you don’t to!”

You need to stop.

If you’re a shoestring operation, just skip photos. If photos are really important to tell your story, hire a local photographer and local actors for a few thousand dollars. At web resolution, you don’t need amazing, you just need a solid professional. Or check on OnRequest.

Or this from the same website:


Really? There was nothing else on the stock photo CD disc for $249? A photo of a guy who just backed in a broom or he’s the VP of East Coast Sales and you just accused him of using 45% of the company’s bandwidth on downloading torrents from

Come on, think people.

Or Spinvox – great service – why is there a death-mask photo on your front page? They convert speech to email – do we really an indication where the mouth is on a human face? Really?

e) Even if you’re not crazy about the whole Web 2.0 look & feel, it is better than sticking with the Windows ’98 look. even if you are cutting edge technology wise, people will not be able to see past the Win ’98 look.

f) Help out people who want to review you. Put your logo in JPEG form on your ABOUT US page – and even better, take some tiny screensnaps of your website so we can drop them in our review. Help us help you.

g) Related to the Flash issue, it’s 2007 now and people are using everything from Linux to the Wii to a phone to surf your site so try think of it as a real storefront – how inviting are you? Are you excluding users? In essence, building a 4-foot doorway so anyone taller will have to make an effort to enter? If you want people to activate java or flash – ASK THEM POLITELY. Do not demand or imply they are morons – THEY/WE are your potential customers – do not alienate them/us in 10 seconds – your website front page is EXACTLY the same as the door to your brick & mortar business. We don’t as much of the must-use IE thing anymore but don’t design like that or let the designer you hire lazy out that way and drive away customers.

Speaking of storefront, take a look at the Tommy Bahama site. I think it’s safe to say that most people think of them as a apparel company and you would want to go their site to look at the clothes – so why is there a HUGE log-in the middle of the front page? Sure, I understand they would want to create some sort of club where “members” might have privileges, etc, that’s all fine but why so large – why make it seem as if you have to log in to check out the rest of the site. Now, you don’t have to – but then why create that impression? Why push your apparel line, your MAIN business to the top in small thumbnails while the log-in dominates the page? Who is a bigger base? Your members or people interested in your clothes? I find it hard to believe that they would have 200 million club members – isn’t it the other way around? Don’t you want to reach 200 million people and oh, by the way, you can also join our club with these benefits? Or look at it this way, MySpace has 170 MILLION accounts and the log in is less prominent than Tommy Bahamas.

Let’s think through every impression you make. When your site draws, what do customers see and why?

h) Do NOT auto play anything on your website with audio. Yes, in 1999, that was clever but not now – ANYONE can do it – that does not mean you should. And yes, even if you are a musician or a music site, do NOT presume anything. Offer or ask us POLITELY. How easy is it to get someone to surf to your site? Now, that they have actually arrived, you want to assault their aural senses because that will win them over? Really?

Next time you are out window shopping on the street, if you stop to look at my storefront, I should have someone drop from nowhere and hold a boombox next to your ear at 110 decibel? Hey, you stopped to look, you should listen to my favorite song! Right?


It serves NO purpose – why? Because for every one person who might like it, there are 10 others who are annoyed and forced to look for the mute button – so why risk that? Isn’t it hard enough to get people to your site? Why would you want their FIRST interaction with your website to look for a mute button?

i) Answer your emails. And do not then send an automated email asking people to call you even if it’s an 800 number. If they wanted to talk to you on the phone, they can pick up the phone. If people send you an email, respond by email.

j) Test out every link on EVERY page with more than one browser and more than one OS. There are so many sloppy sites out there where if you ask people to fill in information but if they miss something like the state, it erases everything (not customer friendly) or the worst if you enter some “bad info,” it triggers a text error line from your DB. So, test out ALL your forms by typing in numbers where text should go and text where numbers should go and see what happens.

“config/config.class.php(103): ConfigDbStorage->ConfigDbStorage(NULL) #2 /home//www/post(12): Config::getConfig() #3 {main} thrown in /home//www/class/database/db.class.php on line 42” is NOT something customers should see.

Related to that is you have to understand where most of your customers are or coming from … so if you have a country pulldown and you’re going to do 99% of your business here in the US or Canada, do NOT list in alpha order – as much as want to support the rebirth of Afghanistan, how many orders are you getting from there? Let’s list the US & Canada FIRST and then draw a line and alpha the rest. Now, of course, if you are doing business on an even basis across the globe, great – then by all means – alpha the list but otherwise, look at EVERY detail.

k) Make sure your pages are named correctly, when I want to bookmark your site, I don’t want to see MOZILLA FIREFOX or DREAMWEAVER as the text in the box so that I have to type over … also and I know you want SEO but let’s not get too carried away – there should be no more than 10 words in my save bookmark text box.


Filed under Advertising, Computing, Internet, Marketing, Media, Retail

New Google Street View Maps


This is a shot of one of my old haunts called the Mars Bar in San Francisco. It is not too far from the old Eidos headquarters so it made it convenient to slug down some suds after trying to wrangle a deal with the Eidos boys.

Called Street View, Google Maps now allows you to see what a location actually looks like in its real surroundings. Think that apartment looks cool and hip? Now you can look around in 360 degrees such as across the street at the crack lot and decide if that is really where you want to live – or not.

Only available in a handful of locales just yet such as SF, Denver, NY, Miami, and Las Vegas and only certain segments at that but if you live and/or work in one of these places it can be very handy.

I will have to try it out on a handheld and see how my MDA posts this stuff.


Filed under Computing, Internet

Free & Nearly Free Phone Calls & Texting From Your Mac


Computer to Computer “VOIP”

Skype, of course. Free calls worldwide to fellow Skypers. SIP/Gizmo – same free calls to fellow Gizmo users. Both offer phone numbers to dial in locally worldwide. Gizmo is offering 40 minutes to landlines, cells, etc for signing up another Gizmo user.

GizmoCall: Free phone calls worldwide – if you can close all your sales & deals in 3 minutes, it’s a great deal! 🙂 “Call length limited to up to 3 min/call, 10 min/day to most landlines & select mobile phones around the world. Additional restrictions apply.”

ADCalls. Install their dialer (unclear if it’s an app or a browser add-on) – then see ads before you make free calls in the US & Canada. Free worldwide calls with other AdCall users.

Yak4Ever: “Register your number and 10 overseas numbers you call regularly. Dial our access number. Enter the extension number you choose for each friend during registration. Enjoy your unlimited call! Make Unlimited Calls from The USA.” From the UK. From Ireland.


Mobile VOIP

EQO – leverages VOIP for international calling. Free int’l calls & free SMS to fellow EQO members – also free IM to anyone. Rates are for landline or SMS.

TalkPlus – Int’l VOIP on Mobile, Int’l phone number that rings the mobile, & add second line to cell – try for 10 minutes free.

TruPhone – VOIP over WiFi. UK & US for now – free calls to fellow TruPhoners + a $2 call to test it out. Only works on select Nokia phones.

Mobivox – another Mobile VOIP – free Skype & Mobivox community calls.

Voice on Phone

Free WakeUp call from TelePixie (also get weather & stocks) – there is listening to advertising involved.

Web to Phone

Jajah and Talkety offer the same basic service. Enter your number and calling party Select dial on website. Their phone will start ringing – then pick up your phone when it also rings. Rates seem comparable – up on website so you can check. Talkety offers free first 30-minutes. Jajah is free between Jajah users. Both offer additional Business plans.

Set up a group on Jyngle. Send text message – Jyngle will convert to speech and call group, leaving voice mail if no answer. Jyngle can also send SMS. You can also call from phone to Jyngle – leave message and Jyngle will forward voicemail to your group.

Talkster – it combines what Jajah & Talkety are doing with also being able to conatct your IM buddies. Frankly, their explanation makes it probably seem more complicated than it is

Voice to Email

Jott works on a couple levels. You can leave a email message to yourself by calling Jott (it converts voice to text), you can leave a voice message for a pre-set group that arrives at their email or leave a voice message that gets sent as an SMS.

Also try GotVoice, voicemails emailed to you, or access them online – plus broadcast a new voice message out to everybody instantly. Free versions includes advertising.

Email on Phone

Spinvox – the “big” player in this arena. Voicemails as text, speak to convert to text to blog, record memo to email & deliver message to group. Free trial – scary mascot.

Send the emails you want to read to your phone (Standard text messaging rates apply) at TeleFlip.

TapGad – Check Email via Text (free from Tapgad, not so much from your cell carrier).

Or Berggi, yet another service available only in the US, Spain & Turkey 🙂 – first 12 months are free.

“Free WiFi” Nationwide

Fon – buy a La Fonera router from them for $39. Everyone on the “Fon” networks shares a portion of their bandwidth (securely) so now as you travel around, you hop onto the WiFi shared bandwith in the “Fon” community at no additional charge.


Of course, IM has always been free to computer to computer … or you’ve been ripped off but instead of having to launch an app, you can IM most anyone on any network, with Meebo or Snimmer. Plugoo offers a web button – visitors who activate it will launch their IM to talk to your IM. KoolIM offers links to everyone plus ICQ – anyone left on ICQ?

eBuddy does everyone except Google. The new Yahoo Webmessenger does MS Live and Yahoo.

Peekamo lets you switch to talking on the phone without giving out your number. They just know you as your Peekamo ID.

SMS/Text Stuff

Send free SMS’ to any phone (they might have to pay): GizmoSMS, TxtDrop (they also have a widget),

Joopz – two way SMS – Joopz Basic is free (10 messages).

Texticate – send free text messages (up to 500) in your group/community/customers.

Wattpad – read novels & short stories on your cell.

Zemble – free blast text to community/group.


BrainCast – record messages to yourself, of course, you could do it on most newer phones but it’s free.

YouMail – specific greeting messages for specific numbers, listen to voicemail online and more. Basic service free.

VideoPhone to Web/Blog

Springdoo – dying to get your videophone footage on the web, Springdoo will help you do it for free.

This is by no means a complete list, it would take a staff of dozens just to keep up with what’s going on in this slice of the Web 2.0 pie – these are either the major players in the sub-sub category or they offer something interesting you might want to check out. Enjoy!

(Some repeated from our online business apps list)


Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Internet

iPhone Clone to Hit US Shores Prior to Apple Launch of the Real Deal

iphone clone

The Chinese are very agile in their bootlegging and just as apt at creating one-offs (ok, blatant ripoffs) of hot consumer brands. The CECT P168 phone is modeled directly against the upcoming iphone.

They have obviously copied the wallpaper but also many of the specs including: a 3.5-inch QVGA LCD touchscreen, a 2 Megapixel camera (actual resolution: 1.3 Megapixel) and it has an integrated music player, video player, a dictionary, and six speakers (!) for surround like sound. It sports a two sim card slot but apparently you need to switch between the two cards.

Obviously, IP issues need to be on the table between China and the U.S. in the next round of diplomatic ‘talks’. Here are some more pics (courtesy of Chinese blog phonedaily):




Clearly, this is not going to halt the bloodbath on our U.S. wallets (who doesn’t want this phone?!) but situations like this do pose serious challenges to people and companies wanting to create unique intellectual properties only to see potential profits overseas vanish before you can even get your own product out the door.

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Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Marketing

The Calm Before the iPhone Arrival Storm: The Last Days of the Cell Phone Industry Cabal


It is interesting how in the final days before the iPhone Arrival Storm, the other cell phone manufacturers and cell phones networks seem to think all is well. That, no, they haven’t really noticed that they are guardians of a decaying system – much like feudal lords thinking the serfs would never rise up and that the order of their world will always stay the same.

After all, this system has served them well for 15 years, a lifetime for bureaucrats. And long enough to fool many analysts who make proclamations such as the iPhone will not equal the success of the iPod … that is sort of like saying, the Moon is not the Sun – they are right but then they’re really not saying anything at all.

But why won’t the iPhone be a success according to “them?”

Of course, some people are just plain pessimists, anything new or different is scary for them so they hope it doesn’t succeed since that would require opening new pathways in their brain. I say anyone who thinks the iPhone will fail and who also thought the iPod or Apple retail stores would fail, please take a step back and I think you should take up another line of work that is less taxing on your brain – clearly you are not ready to cope with anything new.

Speaking of which, let’s start there – the 5% who dismiss the iPhone because it’s not really “new.” Apparently since it’s metal, plastic & a screen with batteries – well, that’s been done before – and a cell phone, please, how old school. Better or different is not good enough for them – they either have extraordinary high expectations of Apple or they set the bar so high … or perhaps they would sneer at anything from Apple as just the same old, same old.

Of course, that is really the cell phone industry. Really, how far have we advanced in the cell phone business? I’ve had a cell phone since the early 1990’s – I could not afford the Motorola brick but I remember a flip phone after that (pretty sure it was Motorola) and paying about $1 a minute for a call and the thing having a battery life of about 30 minutes. Now, some 10-12 phones later including the Palm, Handspring, Treo, Blackberry and the RAZR, have we really advanced that far? Surprisingly no. I had the Motorola Startac which was an excellent phone. It didn’t do much except have an address book and maybe one other feature and now, 11 years later, the RAZR is actually heavier … though it has a video camera, still camera and WiFi capabilities but beyond taking blurry photos and blurry videos, has it really changed? It has sync but it’s a dumb sync – insisting that if my contact has 5 numbers, every number should get an entry. So, it’s back to entering each name by hand with its wonky keyboard and “smart” feature that is about as smart as a tree on fire. Now, the PDA/smartphones do a better job with sync but then it falls down in other areas … like, why am I holding a pop tart to my ear? Or why jostling the phone will change the ringer to vibrate?

I also don’t think I’m alone. Show of hands (outside of people who work for Moto, Sony, Nokia, etc ), who here has a phone they think is flawless? Nearly flawless? Mostly perfect? Or at best, nice but has some serious flaws you skirt around?

And cell phones are not some fly by night or minor part of consumer electronics like wifi picture screens or something like that – this a $100+ BILLION dollar industry and this is the best they can do? They get to throw some 200 versions of their phones at us EVERY YEAR and after some 15 years and THOUSANDS of phones later, you have to ask – this is it?

That’s not to say there aren’t phones with great or brilliant aspects – the Blackberry is brilliant with email but the rest? What do 40% of the icons even mean – you have to stare at it – is that a guy holding a sickle or 4 rings on his head – WTF? What does that even mean in phone communications? Or a lock right in front with the iPhone – sure, you can lock other phones – it’s only 3 menus deep. Hell, it took Microsoft 10 years to copy the Palm OS whose last great innovation was a snap-on cover for the screen.

It also hasn’t helped that the cell manufacturers could care less or are powerless to let the cell phone companies destroy their brand value by dropping the price of their latest phone from $300 to ZERO in a year. Of course, you’re not really satisfied anymore – what you bought for $300 is now worth zero – who is happy with that? It devalues your choice and of course, makes you want to switch to yet another phone. And does that other phone deliver anything unique? – can anyone honestly tell a Nokia from a Moto or a Samsung or an LG outside of some design history?

Analysts seem to confuse sales with satisfaction – if your only choice are these choices and your second choice is no phone, of course, people are going to be on the hunt for something new – and yes, given the same price of something, who is going to turn down extra features if it’s “free?” Why not a camera phone, a video phone, wifi, etc, etc … but you’ll notice that when consumers have to PAY for that extra feature, they balk.

“No one wants to type on a touchscreen,” analysts cry … well, it appears that 97% of humans do not want to type on a phone keypad either – smartphone/PDA’s only hold about a 3% market share so clearly, while people use the phone for SMS, no one wants to PAY extra for a better keyboard because they don’t think think it’s worth it. They also claim that because they’ve once typed on a touchscreen and hated it, everyone will hate it forever and touchscreen will never be any good ever … well, that’s one way to not bother to try or invent anything new.

And going back to the “extra” features – just look at the phones that can play music or link to a cell phone storefront – Nokia claims to have sold more phones than Apple has sold iPods but if NO ONE is using it, what is the point? That is like saying my phone can talk to anyone on Mars. The point being that cell phone manufacturers think people are actively choosing their phones because they want “that” technology … when the reality is that most people could care less because no one will turn down extra FREE features but if you’re going to charge to use it, you can see how much value consumers place on it. That’s why “advanced” services in the US comprise of about 6% of users. That’s the bottom line.

Sure, we’ll take photos but will we pay $3 a month to upload it to the cell companies site? Or will we go to a free place or just copy the photos off? Will we pay $15 a month to buy tracks while walking around plus pay $2.50 for the first track each month? Yes, you can blame the greed of the cell phone carriers but the point is that people are not buying new phones because they want to spend an extra $20 a month to access and activate the new features but instead are buying new phones because they hope it works better than the current one and why not – it only costs another $20 to $50 dollars – it’s cheaper than buying a new pair of shoes. But the technology bar hasn’t changed, it’s still the same old UI or OS and while they might add another whole number to the megapixel count of the camera, the lens is still plastic, so really, what has changed?

Make a list of all that you find wrong/missing or dumb on your phone now and match it to the list of what Apple will offer in the iPhone – until it’s actually released, we won’t know if Apple delivers but who has the better track record? AND if Apple delivers, what will be their excuse then? They only had a 15 YEAR head start …

Another belief is the price of the iPhone will limit the market – sure, yes – that is not saying anything. Even if are selling a gumdrop for a penny, that price might be too high for most people – do you drop a quarter into every newsstand or candy dispensing machine? Of course not, we make buying everyday for whatever reason – sometimes good, sometimes not so good but it’s all your perspective and your buying decisions. The iPhone is $500 which is not immediate disposable money for most people but then you can spend $500 on a round of golf & some drinks, or dinner for two or for some people, a month’s rent. $500 can buy you a diamond, shoes, a used car or a clothes for a year. $500 is just a number – whether it’s costly or cheap is completely your perspective, income and buying expectations. Would you spend $500 on feeding the homeless or dropping it on a table in Las Vegas in 30 minutes? Again, all perspective. The iPhone is not unreasonably priced for a phone in 2007 PLUS an iPod Video built in. The new T-Mobile Wing phone is $600 (though it comes with $400 in rebates) but it does not come with an iPod built in.

There are probably 100 million people just in the US who could afford $500 – whether they want to buy an iphone with it or not is another question but that’s like everything we buy. Whether we buy something because it’s useful, because it’s cool, because we want it, because we have to have it or just because it makes us feel good – everyone is different. You cannot just randomly say something is more expensive and that will make it a difficult sale – if anything, sometimes the higher prices makes it an easier sale so don’t go leaping to conclusion and those buying surveys are idiotic. If I ask you would you rather pay $25k for a Porsche or 50k, how are you going to answer? Or if I ask you if X is overpriced, how are you suppose to answer? That answers nothing because they presume people will always buy the cheapest no matter what. If that were the case, wouldn’t we all be shopping at $.99 stores and buying Yugo’s? People have DIFFERENT price points for different things. Just like old aging journalists were convinced no one would pay $300 for an Mp3 player …

Some people also bring up the cost of a contract – uh, in case they hadn’t noticed, we’re already under contract so how is that going to be different?

And for the analysts who boldly proclaim the iPhone cannot replicate the success of the iPod? Will they weasel out of their words in a year by saying they meant market share and not sales? Because that proclamation also means nothing – that’s like saying the Apple won’t replicate the success in the speaker market as the iPod did with Mp3’s – why, because even though they are both consumer electronics items, they are different market conditions … the mp3 player market was something like a $200 million dollar market when Apple entered it – of course, massive sales means you become the leader in more ways than one. Clearly, the cell phone market is much more mature BUT on the other hand, the selling infrastructure is in better shape – Apple literally had to explain to people what an mp3 player was AND then why you should buy an iPod. Now, Apple’s selling is much, much easier. It’s a cell phone and an iPod. 99.9% of your potential market gets it (the 20% of people without cell phones clearly do not care about either). You just have to look at the buzz the iPhone has built based on ONE keynote speech, TWO official websites (Apple & Cingular/AT&T) and ONE TV ad. So, in many sense, the iPhone has already won the mindshare market. Now, it will just have to replicate sales – and in many ways, it is easier because the percent of people who love music enough to buy a portable player to carry around is much lower than people who want a cell phone … so will Apple get to 100 million cell phones in 5 years? If Motorola can sell 50 million RAZR’s in two years, how many phones can Apple sell? Or maybe the measurement is revenue & profit? While there are two iPhones, let’s just $600 in revenue per phone presuming there will also be some sales in the bluetooth handset plus other accessories so for every million iPhones sold, that’s @$600 MILLION in additional revenues/gross. If Apple’s margins stay around 30%, for every million phones sold, that’s about another @$180 million in profits (give or take) per million sold – not counting new customer service costs. Obviously there are some startup selling costs BUT there is also a rumor based on what Verizon rejected that Apple will make @$300 per new customer … meaning if it’s true, for every million iPhone’s sold, Apple will add @$900 MILLION in revenue or @$300 MILLION in profits … so will dollar to dollar sales matching the ipod be good enough for analysts or are they not quite ready to concede that Apple has clearly moved into the top tier in branding, manufacturing, marketing & sales (to go along with technology, usability & design?)

So in summary, the iPhone is a reset for the cell phone industry. People will buy it in droves because it’s probably going to deliver a lot more than every promise by the cell phone industry … I’m not saying it’s going to be 100% but it will be much more than what’s been delivered so far – we have 15 years of their best shot at advancing the cell phone for users … now, they’re pretty good about adding in tech features but usability? Pretty low on the scale. The report card will be how close to 100% Apple delivers. If it’s an “A,” then the cell phone industry has to revamp EVERYTHING because suddenly they are peddling horses and a carriage. Then the other big decision will be – should we be petty and point out all those who are called analysts but were so far off the mark? 😉

ADDENDUM: Release Day – It’s June 29 and here are the new ads.


Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Retail

There’s a New BBQ Grill In Town – Infrared Heat Grills


“For a quarter century, chefs at pricey steakhouses have been searing meat on burners that cook with infrared energy. Now the high-temperature technology may be coming to a backyard barbecue near you.

With the expiration of a key patent, major gas grill manufacturers, including market leader Char-Broil, which is based in Columbus, have scrambled to bring infrared cooking to the masses with models in the $500 to $1,000 range. Previously, such grills cost as much as $5,000.”

“When you are up in the 900-to-1,000-degree range you get a surface charring that is very akin to a steakhouse-steak kind of experience,” says Steven Raichlen, author of “The Barbeque Bible” and “How to Grill.”

More from ABCNEWS.

Anyone else hungry and ready for a New York Strip?

Most are still in the $1,000 plus range, except for the portable you see above from Solaire.


But there are a slew in the $1k range that would look great in any backyard. The search results from


And of course, you’re not gonna throw $3 meat on that thing, you want the best of the best like Lobel’s or Grassland Beef.

Or something more exotic? Buffalo? Antelope? Kangaroo or Alligator? All available at Broadleaf Exotic Meats.

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Filed under Food, Gadgets, Retail

Memorial Day Gasoline Pricing


There are a million ways to approach this but let’s cut to the chase.

There are some people who love to cry we’re at the “peak oil” stage which in theory means production will never be as great as it stands now but that hardly seems the truth. There is plenty of oil left on Earth, there may not be much cheap oil that gurgles out of the ground or the lighter crude that’s easy to get but we have plenty of oil. You can read more at Wikipedia – and if we count oil shale, the US has enough to last over 100 years and sure, eventually we will run out of oil but frankly, why should we really worry? We humans are pretty clever – just like people in 1965 thought we’d run out of food by the late 1970’s and there would be worldwide food riots. And while the population has doubled in the past 20 years, we are generating enough food to feed everyone – our only problem is that on occasion, politics get in the way.

So, I’m not worried about running out of crude or whether in 4 generations, how will people move about in society. I honestly do not believe people will just fold up their tents and start going bipedal again. We’re too smart and frankly too lazy.

No, the problem is that the whole pricing scheme was based upon a system that no longer works as it should because the oil industry & the financial industry changed the conditions.

First, you should note that the price that’s quoted and bandied about is the price of a short term SPOT contract to purchase a barrel of crude oil (a barrel is 55 gallons BTW) – what does it actually mean? Not much of anything – the major oil companies do not need to buy oil on the spot market, they have LONG TERM contracts with different countries. What does it actually cost them to dredge up a barrel of oil? A couple dollars to around $15 dollars – so of course, anything above that is profit.

Everyone has different deals with different countries so there’s no set formula but back in the old days, the system made sense, most countries (with their major oil company partners) produced the oil but also needed an open “marketplace” for refiners to buy. Most refineries were owned by independent or different companies which naturally wanted to pay as little as possible. Now fast forward to 2007, most refineries in the United States are now owned by the major companies or equally large gasoline interests and there’s very little competition. It’s great to be in business where you can save on maintenance because if the plant catches on fire and you shut down, you actually make MORE money because of shortages.

Now, it is complex because, it is true, most people do not want a new refinery built in their neighborhood but then the oil companies don’t try very hard to get new refineries approved – why should they? When they started merging, people were all worried they would own all the gas stations but no one noticed where the real power and profits resided, in the refining business.

So, now, the refineries don’t really care what the cost of a barrel is because they’re just taking money from their own pocket to put it into another pocket. Basically, it would be like if you charged your family $5 to drink a glass of water – you would pay too but what you care, that $5 dollars is just moving from your left to right pocket.

We also don’t know how much is manipulated DIRECTLY by the oil companies (again, if they’re digging it out of the ground for $15 dollars a barrel, why not bid the price of a spot barrel higher, that’s just more money for them) or the newfangled hedge funds?

You just have to look at Katrina – sure, I understand where the Eastern Gulf States might have shortages and prices might rise but really, how many cars were taken off the road in 2 to 3 states for months at a time – especially in Mississippi? So basically the price was bid up on a PERCEIVED shortage – I’m on the West Coast, how much gasoline do I pump into my car from Louisiana or Mississippi? I would venture ZERO? Yet, we let the price jump on speculation, why?

Isn’t gasoline really a necessity of life now? Should it be as freely traded (or manipulated) when the market is so closely held? When it’s not really a free market system at work but dueling monopolies? Of countries and major conglomerates as large as countries (Exxon has some $35 billion in cash reserves, in 2000 during a down year for them, if earnings were GNP, they’d be the 26th largest country … where are they now, 20th?).

Now, I’m not a communist nor a socialist and I have no problems with a company that makes a profit – even a huge profit but I do question when the setup is all skewed. If the price of timber goes up, everyone who produces paper products (and ultimately the consumer pays more) but for oil companies, when crude oil prices go up, they make more profits because their costs don’t change at all, when the refinery is closed or partially shut down, they make more profits and of course, as soon as the spot contract price changes, they raise prices at the retail level IMMEDIATELY … and when they fall, it falls VERY, VERY slowly. Why do they get to change prices by the minute? The costs of production have not changed, the cost of transporting hasn’t changed … what changed? The price for a FUTURE spot contract to a price they don’t actually pay? None of it makes any sense.

Here’s the CEO of BP explaining why $22 billion is profit is really nothing.


So, what can we do, pretty much nothing …

And as long as we let the politicians work the solution, we’re more screwed … ethanol anyone? Haven’t seen a drop of it but apparently the diversion of corn to make it has raised the price of corn 20% and feed for cows, steers and pigs so food prices as well as transportation costs are going higher – yea, good thing we have all this ethanol – otherwise we might be paying $3.00 a gallon for gas, oops, make that $4.00.

Oh and this, “Oil refiners receive a 51-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol they blend into their gasoline. That alone will cost taxpayers more than $7 billion over five years …” and if you’re an environmentalist, we’re getting Brazil to plant more corn – humm, guess we need some more flat land without any trees …

So, in summary, more profits, more subsidies, less corn, food prices going up. Brilliant … well, not for us – for someone.

So, what can we really do? Not much. Sure, you could drive less or buy a smaller car but what’s that really going to change?

Well, Mythbusters answered the question of whether you should drive with the air or the windows down?

“REVISITED: Running a car with air conditioning on is more fuel efficient than running with the windows down. (From episode 22)

Partly Confirmed

The fundamental flaw in the MythBusters’ test was that the point where the drag becomes powerful enough to inhibit a car’s performance with windows down was inside their 45 – 55-mph margin at 50-mph. Going less than 50-mph it is more efficient to leave your windows down, but going greater than 50-mph it is more efficient to use your A/C.”

Also, make sure to buy gasoline really early in the morning or in the middle of the night – gas apparently expands as it gets hotter in the underground tanks so you actually get less …

You can also read everything at DAILY FUEL ECONOMY TIP.

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Filed under Gadgets, General, Marketing, Politics, Retail, Universe

How to Run Your Business Using Only Web Apps: Bring Mac & Safari (or Firefox)

We live in some pretty interesting times – your Mac comes with some astounding software and whatever else you need is pretty much on the web. Of course, the question to ask if you really need “boxed” business apps? Do you really need a full blown word processor? How many tables or newsletters do you create with it? Do you find you do pretty much do 80% of your typing in email and you don’t really need to spell check LOL, BTW and WTF? Right? How many full blown spreadsheets are you creating with macros, links and cascading sheets or are you just using it to list all your action figures?

Of course, the main factor is safety or privacy. While it’s probably a better idea to use an app on your HDD to write about a proposed merger … if you’re complaining to Marriott that you were overcharged for the 11 Heineken’s you drank, does it really matter if the word processor is only an online version?

What are the advantages to using an app online? The costs are generally much lower upfront. You don’t have to worry about upgrades – no downloading or deciding if it’s worth paying for it – if you like the app online, keep using it – hate it – stop paying for it. You usually get a trial period so there’s no huge commitment dollar wise or time wise (though most boxed apps now offer some sort of demo also but that might mean a 500 MB download). Another advantage to online apps is that they tend to be compartimentalized. For instance, most boxed CRM software takes a serious commitment to learn and/or you might not like every module but you might feel it’s a waste not to use the calendar app but by choosing online apps, you can cherry pick what you like best – buy/use a calendar from one site and a phone logger from another site and in some senses, it’s more customized as you can choose from something very simple to something very sophisticated as part of your mix.

Of course, without online access, you’re locked out but on the other hand, if your laptop stops working, you’re in the same boat with non functioning boxed apps – with online apps, you can switch to another computer and jump back on – and it might be easier to get tech support with an online app company mainly because it’s easier to resolve (if you’re online and java/flash is on – then the problem is probably on their side).

So, can you run a business and your life with just online apps? You tell me 🙂 Here’s your list to try out. I am not promising that this a complete or full list as companies and websites literally spring up overnight and all over the globe but these seem interesting enough to include. Yes, there are plenty of shareware apps that do many or all of these things but this is a roundup of web apps – there are a few widgets ‘apps” that link to the website.

If it requires you to install an actual app or script or add PHP, it’s NOT on this list – the requirements to make this list is straightforward: browser based (with maybe a plug-in install or to add a widget, nothing more); and the site seems to deliver what it promise. One other thing – Windows-only apps are too old school to be included in a roll-call of 21st century apps.

There’s no real way for me to fully test out each site’s functionality to its fullest – for instance, many have file size limitations so you’ll need to test out the details and ultimatelydecide if it delivers what you need. ($) indicates that it’s mostly paid but that shouldn’t detract you from checking them out (most all offer free trial) and the right place will save you money in the long run.

Also note – logos below are not an endorsement – just wanted to break up the text with nice looking logos. Italics are descriptions borrowed directly from their website and NOT my words.

Massive Office Suites


Ajax13: Gorgeous looking Ajax Web 2.0 apps that load fast – ajaxWrite, ajaxSketch, ajaxXLS, ajaxPresents & ajaxTunes – word processor, spreadsheet, drawing app, presentation & jukebox. Only tiny flaw is it doesn’t open .docx files – otherwise, perfect. Even available in Español, Français & Português (do Brasil).

gOffice: ($) While certainly not expensive at $1 a month, with all the free solutions out there, why bother? They also have a copyright of 2006.

GoogleApps for Small Businesses: ($) FREE for another few days – hurry! “With Google Apps, you can give employees powerful communication and collaboration tools that will help bring their productivity to the next level. Best of all, it’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software to download, install or maintain. You can get up and running quickly, even if you don’t have an IT staff.”

Zimbra Desktop: ($) Combines the best of both – it’s an “boxed” app as well an web-based app. “Zimbra Desktop is the next generation leap forward for Web 2.0 applications- now you can have Zimbra’s Ajax-based collaboration experience online and offline. That means when you are out of the office without a connection (say, in a plane, train, or automobile), you can keep working without missing a beat. Write email, add new appointments, edit documents and when you re-connect changes will be automatically synced to the Zimbra Server.”

ZoHo offers not just an Office Suite but additional choices include CRM, Wiki’s, Organizer, Email, etc … most are free, others seem very reasonably priced.

Solo Apps (WP, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Etc …)

BuzzWord: Looks very nice but in locked Beta mode.   UPDATE:  Adobe has signed a definitive agreement today to purchase Virtual Ubiquity, developer of Buzzword.  Official news to come via Adobe’s MAX conference later today.

EditGrid: “An online spreadsheet service with real-time-update and extensive collaboration features, and a good Web 2.0 counterpart of Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc.” Now allows private savings and settings.

Empressr: “Empressr is a web application which lets you create, share and store Flash-based presentations online. All you need is a web browser to create rich media presentations. You can also share the presentations with anyone and access them online at anytime.”

iNetWorld: Looks like Win ’98 but seems to work just fine. I couldn’t figure out how to open a doc but starting a new one is easy.

Jotlet: “Jotlet Calendar is an online calendar that helps students, families, and small groups manage and share their schedules online. It’s a perfect way to manage and share your schedule with family and friends. We currently support English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Chinese, and we’re always working to add support for even more languages.”


Sheetster: “Use Sheetster to upload and save existing spreadsheet (Excel) files, or to create your own web spreadsheets and share with them with friends, coworkers, and other Sheetster members in an access controlled secure environment.”

SPresent: Presentation. “Free Web-based presentations application built with Flash. Create and edit high-quality Flash presentations online. You can send presentations via e-mail or publish on your web site or blog.”

Thumbstacks: “Make presentations – like slideshows, or outlines – right in your web browser. When you’re done, you can share your presentations with anyone, anywhere, just by sending them a link.”

WritetoBlog: Presumably this makes for a nice mobile platform. Why would you launch this when you can just launch your browser?

White Boards/Collaboration

Basecamp: ($)“Basecamp takes a fresh, novel approach to project collaboration. Projects don’t fail from a lack of charts, graphs, stats, or reports, they fail from a lack of clear communication. Basecamp solves this problem by providing tools tailored to improve the communication between people working together on a project.” “The simplest way to brainstorm online. It’s extremely easy to use and has almost no learning curve. Our intuitive user interface lets anyone brainstorm and organize ideas without getting in the way.”

CentralDesktop: ($) “Central Desktop provides simple collaboration tools for business teams. Our platform enables teams to efficiently share information and communicate with employees, customers and partners inside and beyond the firewall.”

ConceptShare ($): “ConceptShare allows you to easily share designs inside Workspaces that contain designs related to a certain topic or project. It’s easy to invite people into a workspace. Invite team members, managers, clients, and consultants to add and reply to comments, chat and markup designs.”


Connector for Teams: ($) “The Connect app ties everything together. It’s a place where items from any of the other parts of the system — mail messages, contacts, events, files — can be collected into related groups. Smart groups in the Connect app pull in items from any of the other apps on the system, from any users, allowing you to easily manage the items related to a project.”

Gliffy: Diagrams, flowcharts and org charts – all online and with hundreds of tools & shapes. Great and free so far.

GoPlan: “Goplan is an online project management solution. It allows teams and individuals to collaborate through tasks, file management, real-time chat, online calendaring, and many other features. As an always-on access-anywhere hosted solution it saves companies the trouble of purchasing, maintaining and securing a platform for collaboration.”

HiTask: ($) “HiTask is a simple web-based task management application you can use together with your team to make your daily business routine more fun.”

Huddle: ($) UK site. Basic Level free. “Huddle gives you a slick, professional client service portal featuring full enterprise functionality at a fraction of the usual cost. Use huddle to manage multiple projects from one interface, securely share and approve documents, deliver superior client service and add value to your existing relationships.”

Mindmeister Mind Map: ($) Brainstorming collaboration or as they call it, mind mapping. Looks pretty interesting – most of the features of the site are free. If you’re the type who enjoys plotting everything out and or have a need for a strictured brainstorming session, this looks and seems to work pretty well. Even “with as many simultaneous users as you like!

Mindomo: ($) “Mindomo is a versatile Web-based mind mapping tool, delivering the capabilities of desktop mind mapping software in a Web browse. Create, edit mind maps, and share them with your colleagues or your friends.”

Nozbe: “3 Steps to Getting Things Done – based on the book.”


OrgPlus Live: ($) “OrgPlus Live is a web-based organizational charting service designed to make it easier to create, maintain and share organizational charts.” Perfect for comapnies & organizations with lots of changes. From 30 to 750 users.

Portrayl: Online writing – more for creative works of fiction but hey, some business plans I’ve seen fall under that category 🙂 “Portrayl is the new home for lovers of literature. It’s a place where writers showcase their work. You can start a story and add a chapter at a time. When you decide you’re finished, you can create a pdf ebook and also rss feeds of your story. Here’s the cool part – other people can add chapters to your story – but your chapters stay intact. When someone adds to your story it branches off into a new direction. So a story becomes a kind of tree. And for all you readers looking for an exciting and unpredictable read, this is the place to come.” Along similar lines – Ficlets.

SlideAware: ($) PowerPoint creation collaboration – some aspects of site free. Plug-ins WIN only. My only quibble would be these guys take life too seriously – instead of just saying you can now collobrate on PowerPoint creation, instead they talk like this, “SlideAware is a presentation management platform designed to help you & your team to manage the entire lifecycle of PowerPoint ™ presentations.” Is this company run by ex-DOJ lawyers? Who talks like that?

Teamslide: ($) “Personal web application to actively present PowerPoint®-type slides to one or more viewers over the web. Upload your presentation and control the show from your own browser while teamslide keeps the slides in sync across all participant‘s web browsers.”

Thinkature:: “Create a collaborative workspace and invite coworkers, friends, and colleagues to join you in just seconds. Once inside your workspace, you can communicate by chatting, drawing, creating cards, and adding content from around the Internet. It’s all synchronous, too – no need to hit reload or get an editing lock.”

Tooledo: “An easy to use, web-based to-do list. Having a single place where all your to-dos are permanently stored and easily accessible will allow you to relax, knowing that you won’t forget anything. Toodledo’s hotlist, email reminders and sortable to-do list will help you remember to complete tasks on-time. Easily work with other people on shared projects with Toodledo’s collaboration tools.”

Vyew: “Inside Vyew you can author new content and collaborate with PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and PDF files, plus audio, video and images. You can also stream live or capture what’s showing on your desktop. Built-in text chat and FREE teleconferencing make live collaboration sessions highly productive.”

WebEx WebOffice: The most expensive solution – whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, your call.

WhoDoes: Free for now – Project CRM. “WhoDoes is a fresh and intuitive web-based project management system. WhoDoes is designed to assist you and your team in planning projects of different complexity, from the small project to the biggest one. With WhoDoes you can manage your activities and share information with your team, whether you are in the same office or distributed all over the World.”

Wrike: “Wrike is free. Use Wrike’s functionality starting now. Invite your peers, clients or sub ordinaries to join Wrike and plan collaboratively with them. We don’t limit the amount of your activities you can keep track of with Wrike.”

Wridea: “Collaborative brainstorm sessions. With Wridea, your friends can participiate on your ideas by commenting on them. Get your ideas organized. Wridea is easy to use. Letting you create, edit and delete your ideas, pages and categories smoothly and easily.”

WriteBoard: “Want to collaborate on some copy? Want to pass a memo or letter by someone else for editing before you send it? Want to work with your business partners on some text for a proposal? Want fellow students to contribute to a group paper? Want to collaborate with a client on wording for their project?”

WriteWith: “We make writing online work for groups. In just a few seconds, get your own account where you can upload documents, share with other people, chat, assign tasks, and track everybody’s actions with a comprehensive history.”

To-Do Lists/Reminder Nag/Calendar

30 Boxes: “Organize your stuff, Plan your day & keep up with your friends.”


Backpack: ($) “Backpack is a simple web-based service that allows you to make pages with to-do lists, notes, files, and images. Backpack also features a Calendar and Reminders that can be sent via email or to your cell phone at predefined times.”

CalendarHub: ($) “Create a Calendar That You Can Access from Anywhere. Keep it private, share it with others or publish it on the Web.”

Diarised: “You can schedule as many meetings as you like, and suggest unlimited dates for your meetings. The invitees choose the times that suit them best. Once the invitees have chosen their preferred meeting dates, Diarised will give you a summary of the best dates for you to choose from.”

FutureMail: Send emails to yourself in the, um … future.

Google Notebook: “Clip and collect information as you browse the web.” Google Calendar.

Gubb: “Gubb is a free web-based application with an easy-to-use interface that enables you to create, manage and share an unlimited number of lists. Gubb is for any and all the lists you can think of: from every day shopping and to-do lists to wishlists, brainstorming notes, personal goals, group projects and more. Just about as easy as jotting something down on paper, only better. You’ll always know where your lists are; you can edit and organize them any time; and you can share with friends and co-workers in seconds.”

HassleMe: “Not eating enough fruit? Forgot to feed the fish again? Need a little help keeping your New Year’s resolutions? Tell us what to hassle you about, and we’ll nag you via email at semi-unpredictable intervals.”


HipCal: “Online calendar and todo list never forget where you need to be or what you have to do, Group Calendars – join a group for your classes at school or create a group for a club, project team, or group of friends.” Merging with Plaxo who just signed a deal with Comcast.

Hiveminder: Create. Braindump your tasks, tag them, set due dates, and attach notes. Share. Set up reminders for yourself, create groups, and share tasks with others.

Jott: Just when you forget how cool the internet can be, along comes something to restore your faith on the magic of the internet. Call the 800 number, record a message and who it should go to – it emails you your reminder or message – whether you call yourself, another person or a group, it’s magic 🙂

MonkeyOnYourBack: Reminder Sender – hope the person who gets this doesn’t mind being thought of as ranking lower than animated monkey …


RemembertheMilk: I suppose this feature is nice …“Get reminded, anywhere. – Receive reminders via email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo! are all supported).”

SpongeCell: “Create
and customize your calendar to be your own. Share your calendar by having Spongecell spread your events through email, blogs, web pages, iPods, and cell phones. Involve guests in your calendar by allowing them to leave comments, upload videos, and attend the events.”

StickyTag: I’m guessing this is more for WIN users as the Mac stickies are easy to access and use. While you can email them, it doesn’t really allow others to see them.

TelePixie: Laughable Windows ’98 like design but works. Need a pixie to call you to remind you, just fill out the message and the number and slumber away. Your pixie ass’t will call. You can also get weather & stock updates.


Ta-Da Lists: “Keep track of all the little things you need to get done – Make lists for other people (co-workers, friends, family) – Share lists with the world (“My favorite movies of 2004″) – Subscribe to your lists in RSS so you’re always on track.”

Zettels: “Zettels is a personal web memo note box – easy to use, fast and reliable. All your ideas and notes are saved on notes in Zettels. You maintain the overview. You have access to your notes from anywhere …”

Project Management/CRM

BigContacts: ($) Basic version Free. “A Full-featured, Web-based, Ajax Contact Manager. Keep track of everything about your business associates, friends and family. Ideal for small teams. Group Calendars. Shared Contacts. Tasks. Notes. History.”

HighRise: ($) “Your address book doesn’t do enough. Traditional CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software tries to do too much. That’s why we built Highrise. It’s the just-right, more thoughtful way to keep track of the people, conversations, and tasks that are the lifelines of your business.”

NetSuite: A major player in the CRM/eCommerce/Web platform market. ($) “NetSuite is the industry’s first and only online business application that supports your entire company—from customer relationship management (CRM) to enterprise resource planning (ERP) to Web capabilities. NetSuite is the first and only web-based application to offer everything in a single, integrated and powerful solution. Additionally, NetSuite enables you to make better, faster decisions through real-time business intelligence.”

Relenta: ($) “Relenta CRM turns familiar software product categories upside down by integrating the functionality of team email, contact manager, online calendar, and email newsletter marketing software into one elegant Web 2.0 application.” ($) The old guy on the block and the largest. “Applications: Redefining success for customer relationship management (CRM) ranging from sales force automation, to partner relationship management, marketing, and customer service.” Read more about SalesForce’s plans to let every business run online.

SpindustryEvents: Online Trade Show Exhibitor Management site.

Client Billing/Time-Tracker

14Dayz: ($) “What we offer is a simple web based time tracking tool for groups of loosely connected professionals that collaborate on a professional basis. Finally distributed teams can also have simple and easy to use time tracking software that does what you need and then leaves you alone. In-house teams and individual professionals can enjoy 14Dayz benefits too!”

FunctionFox: ($) “From an advertising and design firm ourselves, the team at FunctionFox understands the particular challenges and intricacies of creative project management.”

HarvestHouse: ($) “HARVEST brings simplicity back to time tracking. Quick to set up and easy to use, it provides you with insights on how your organization is spending its time.” Offers Mac widget.

PunchyTime: ($) “PunchyTime is a simple time tracking tool for creatives (ad agencies, web-dev shops, etc). It makes it really easy for your team to enter time “as they work” intead of letting it all pile up till the end of the month (which is how billable hours get lost). The interface is quick, simple, and even a little fun. Get in, get out, get back to work.”

SlimTimer: ($) “Open the SLIMTIMER and click on a task to start the clock and click again when you’re finished. If you’ve completed the task click the checkbox to mark it off.”

TickSpot: ($) “In the service industry your hours are your inventory. Lose track of them—they spoil. Hit your budgets—move more inventory. Tick gives you the information you need, when you need it.” 30-day free trial.

Time Assistant: ($) “Time-Assistant is accessed using a browser and requires no client installation. It includes all the standard timesheet and hourly rate entry functions, project tracking abilities as well as automatic salary calculation and comprehensive time & cost reporting. Filling timesheets has also become available for PDA owners.”

Time-Tracker: “Time Tracker is a simple tool to keep track of the time you spend on any task. Think of it as a to-do-list with a clock. And yes, it’s free.”


BillingOrchard: ($) “BillingOrchard is an online electronic billing software application that maintains hourly time billing, along with flat fee and recurring billing, managed using your web browser. Integration to Authorize.Net and other leading payment gateways provides hands-free recurring billing. BillingOrchard is the ideal solution for web hosts and hosting resellers, lawyers, web developers, consultants, and others requiring time-based and recurring client management.”

BlinkSale: ($) “Send elegantly formatted invoices to anyone with an email address. Use our professionally-designed invoice templates or design your own with CSS. Import your client records from Basecamp for painless invoicing.”

FreshBooks: ($) “Easily create, send and manage invoices, Track time (for you and your staff), Send invoices by snail mail or email, Accept payment with PayPal, Authorize.Net, & more, Automatically send invoices & late payment notices & Create robust reports and import/export your data.”

InvoicePlace: ($) “Billing Software Online. Manage your billing from any computer connected to the internet. Create professional tax invoices, quotes and track payments – perfect for small business, consultants, contractors and freelancers.”


LessAccounting: ($) “We designed Less Accounting to meet our needs as small business owners. We tried to develop it flexible enough for personal use, but if you are a big business Less Accounting probably isn’t for you.” Includes a contact manager software + sales leads.

Netsuite Accounting/ERP: ($) While the others are really more for SoHo or small businesses, this is the enterprise player of the bunch. “NetSuite is also the first and only on-demand Accounting/ERP solution that supports all your back-office operations. While some Accounting software provides one or a few pieces of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, NetSuite offers a comprehensive business suite with everything you need in one powerful solution. With NetSuite, you can manage financials, order fulfillment, purchasing, inventory, time and billing, payroll, employee self-service, Web presence, and more. The Accounting/ERP software system components are tightly integrated, giving you access to real-time business intelligence to make better decisions.”

SideJob Track: “Web-based job tracking, invoicing, reporting & project management software for the part-time independent contractor. At some point there may be a Side Job Track pro service, or possibly text ads, but any aspect of the site launched without a fee will forever remain so.” So ALL FREE for now.

SimplyBill: ($) “Simplybill brings simple invoice management to all. Instead of wrestling with overly complex accounting software or trying to mash-up a spreadsheet into some sort of design, begin sending attractive invoices in minutes. Simplybill is a web-based application. We’ve simplified things, ignoring features that nobody uses and making the rest ridiculously easy-to-use.”


eFax: While more expensive than myFax for the full service, if you just need to receive a few faxes every once in a long while, they offer a free version.

EchoSign: ($) “EchoSign lets you spend more time closing deals and less time chasing paper. EchoSign provides instant visibility into what’s out for signature, what’s been signed, when and by whom. Once it’s signed, all parties receive a copy automatically.”

FaxZero: Free faxing (with ads).

After looking through a bunch, I settle on MyFax. Good solid service, reasonably priced – first month free.

Online Signoff: “Tired of faxing contracts? Clogging up your clients email boxes with design mock-ups? Never sure if a client has received what you sent them? Let Online Signoff manage this and more. Create a document, attach files, include your terms and conditions and send it to your client.”


Google 411: Free 411 calls – 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. Also Free Directory Service with Google SMS – instructions courtesy of MobiHacker.

GrandCentral: Good name as they seem to do and offer it all. Phone number for life? Sure. Centralized Voicemail? Sure. Listen, record, web button call? Yep. Free for now.


IMified: “IMified is an instant messenger buddy that works across all major IM networks and offers access to a growing number of web applications, as well as productivity tools like notes, reminders, and todo’s. Imified helps you get things done faster. Because you shouldn’t have to launch your browser to add a new appointment to your Google calendar, or complete a todo in your backpack account. Imified is always open, sitting right there in your favorite IM client ready to help.”

Jajah: It’s hard to begin to describe all that is Jajah. It’s almost so much it makes your head spin but in a good way. All I can say is any small business starting out needs to check it out before you call up your old POTS thousand year old Bell company. It might be time to kick them Bells to the curb.


Jott: read more in ToDo List section.


Meebo: “ is a website for instant messaging from absolutely anywhere. Whether you’re at home, on campus, at work, or traveling foreign lands, hop over to on any computer to access all of your buddies (on AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber) and chat with them, no downloads or installs required, for free!” Another IM All Choice: eBuddy.

Orgoo: Another IM, chat, SMS, VSMS organizer.

Re2Call: Okay, you have to really learn the legality of this in your state … “Record your calls directly from any phone using our TOLL FREE number. 24/7 access to your recordings from the web.

Skype: While our previous entry was on recording Skype calls, the intro is right there. Yes, technically Skype requires a download but since 99% of its features are online, we’re counting it. Fax to Skype Users.

SimulScribe: ($)“SimulScribe utilizes cutting edge voice recognition technology to convert your voicemail messages into text. We deliver your transcribed voicemail, along with the original audio, to your mobile phone, PDA, and/or email account. This process streamlines your communication flow, saving you both time and money.”

Spinvox: ($) “Get voicemails as text or email: Spin-my-Vmail sends your voicemail messages to you as text messages or emails. You’ll never miss an important message again.” They also offer voicemail to email broadcast, & send to your own email.


TeleFlip: “FlipMail allows you to get your email on your cell phone for free.* No new software, no downloads, no new phone necessary. It’s that simple. Because we’re in beta, we invite you to share your ideas, suggestions, and feedback.”

Voxbone: International VOIP numbers (Skype only offers a few countries). “Voxbone is the leading VoIP carrier providing local phone numbers and toll-free numbers around the world.”

Yak4Ever: “Register your number and 10 overseas numbers you call regularly. Dial our access number. Enter the extension number you choose for each friend during registration. Enjoy your unlimited call! Make Unlimited Calls from The USA.” From the UK. From Ireland.

Zemble: Free Group Texting.


CampFire: ($) “Campfire is a web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms in just seconds. Invite a client, colleague, or vendor to chat, collaborate, and make decisions. Link to a room on your intranet for internal communications.”

Contactify: “Create your own personal contact form, right here, right now. Just one link. People click on it, they can send you a message. And YOU, never reveal your email address. Reduces spam. Guards your privacy. Keeps you contactable.”

GabSight: Free Video Email

GetVoice: ($) Some portions FREE. “GotVoice provides the only voice messaging service that works effortlessly with home, mobile and work phone systems to send, receive, and create voice messages from any computer or handset. Unlike services that require a new number or call forwarding, GotVoice does not require a change in consumer behavior. The service works with nearly all major mobile and home phone carriers to make voice messaging accessible whether a user is at home, work or traveling. GotVoice eliminates cumbersome phone interfaces and frees users do more with voicemail than they ever thought possible.”

GoToMeeting:($) Requires PC to “run” meeting (via BootCamp or Parallel) but Mac users can join meetings. If you need a 1,000 person meeting online? Webinar.

Marratech Video Conferencing: ($) Now part of Google but still being sold as Marratech. “Marratech® is the only internet collaboration solution to be purpose designed from the ground up to create a true ‘virtual office’ with all the features shown here. Outstanding quality audio with easy-to-use interactive whiteboard, application sharing, real-time video and messaging on every participant’s computer, puts you in a fully collaborative work environment without leaving you desk or home.”

Persony: ($) “Persony’s unique and cost-effective Web conferencing solution allows you to host online meetings right on your Web site. With Persony VShow, you can share your desktop, give a sales presentation, conduct a webinar, or provide online training with a one-time purchase starting at $99. No more monthly fees!”

SightSpeed: “SightSpeed turns your PC or Mac into an high-quality, easy-to-use Video Phone.” They do mention it’s IE 6 only but claims it works on a Mac (no IE 6 for Mac) – of course, if you have a Mac with an iSight, iChat already will vid conference you with anyone with AIM.

Advertising – Email Campaigns

Breeze: ($) “Easily manage lists of subscribers and even let them sign up on your website.”

Campaign Monitor: ($) “Campaign Monitor is email newsletter software built just for designers who can create great looking emails for themselves and their clients, but need software to send each campaign, track the results and manage their client’s subscribers.”

MailBuild: ($) “MailBuild is an email newsletter tool built just for web designers. You design a template and your clients log in to their own account to manage their subscribers, create and send their own emails and view reports on the results.”


If you’re a local business, make sure all your info is correct in sites like Yelp, CitySearch, Google Local, yahoo Local, Yellow Pages, Insider Pages,, etc, etc …

Website (Pre-Built Templates) & Website Backroom

I have not worked with these companies nor am I making personal recommendations but just an extra note hiring a web designer – The hard part about in hiring a web designer is that there is no system or perfect path that will get you where you want to go. The best advice is look around to the websites you like and if it’s not done in-house, there will be a credit somewhere in the ABOUT US section. It all depends on what you want and how much you can afford. Do NOT ask someone to do a spec site or pages because you want to compare – unless they are 14 years old and has never done a site before, then it’s okay.

What you need to do is sketch out what your want your site to be – what should a customer see – draw a rectangle to represent your home page and then what are the absolute things you want on your website – draw boxes and lines so you can visually see what you want or need – 10 pages? 50 pages? And how do you want to be seen by customers? Flash? still photos? Video? Games? Interactivity? Then the designer can price it out for you. Look at their portfolio – see if it’s a style you are comfortable with – are you an architect? A CPA? a dance club? a tattoo parlor? A consultant? Each wants to project a different image – how should the first page, design, look & feel be? Warm? Soothing? Artistic? Scary? Professional? Then if you are comfortable and AFTER you hire them, they can start to mock up ideas for you. Or try Mindmeister Mind Map.

AmberJack: Open source app allows webmasters to create cool site tours. “By guiding your site visitors, Amberjack tours can greatly improve the usability of your website.”

Caspio: ($) “Enterprise-grade platform for creating and deploying web database applications fast and without programming. Lead generation and management, real estate listings, classifieds, directories, media exchange, job posting, resume submission, order processing, issue tracking, and more.”

GeeSee: Add Chat to your blog or website. “During the sign up process you’ll create your Geesee account, your first chat and your first chat room. At the end, you’ll be able to copy a few lines of code and put it into the HTML code of your website at the place you want to have Geesee. That’s it. If you like video better, what this video tutorial.”

NewMediaCampaigns: ($) “Our goal is to catalyze this transformation by creating truly amazing web presences and then backing them up with leading technology. We want to help anyone meet this need.”

Search Engine Crawler Simulator: “Checks if your site can be spiderable by the Search Engines.”

SiteKreator: ($) “SiteKreator is the only online suite to instantly design, build and host elegant, fully-branded, and interactive business websites.”

SquareSpace: ($)“Starting a blog, which can represent either a piece of your website, or the entirety of your site, is an ideal way to create a professional blog. Squarespace’s professional-grade blogging tools feature spell checking, ATOM, RSS, feed auto-discovery, XML-RRC pinging, comment management, member registration, timed publishing dates, multiple authors, and more. Squarespace comes pre-loaded with a variety of professionally designed, search-engine friendly templates that you can customize and tweak to create a unique site.”

TemplateMonster: ($) If you feel comfortable enough to run your own website, here is a place with thousands of themes to choose from.

VirtualMin: ($) While most webhosts will offer you a GUI Control Panel – VirtualMin promises to mak administering a website easier. “With Virtualmin Professional, you can manage every aspect of your servers from an easy-to-use, well-documented, and secure web-based GUI. There is no more comprehensive web-based administration product available. Webmin provides a graphical system administration tool for everything on a UNIX or Linux system.”

Water: ($) “Water is a click-and-publish web site system for businesses and non-profits. Leading organizations use Water to create and manage professional designed, custom made websites through its premium, easy-to-use tools.”

Userful – Others

5Min: HT videos on Business topics posted for viewing – Coaching, Investing, Marketing, Sales & the Web. I have NOT viewed them myself so you have to judge their value and worth … or better yet, add your own. (not just business videos – many other categories …)

BusinessCard Setup – for adding on employees and ordering with a setup like a big HR department … (though of course, most brick & mortar printers will be happy to set up templates for you).

Clock: Sure, your computer comes with a clock but if you’re making a commitment to all-online all the time, why not a calendar clock? Though this is the coolest clock on the internet.

DoMyStuff: Now that you’re busy running an empire – maybe you need an assistant, here’s the place to start …

EventWax: “The easier, smarter way to organize special events, from conferences and workshops to parties, gigs, and receptions.”

EZMail: ($) “EZGram allows you to create, print, and mail letters without leaving your computer. Letters can be sent to any address in the world from anywhere in the world.”

Flash Movie Creator: From TouFee, not sure if you have to share your finished product or not.

FooPlot: Feel an urge to mathematically plot something?

Int’l Payments – in addition to Paypal, there’s Moneybookers.

I Rate My Day: If you’re in an office by yourself, better talk to this site versus yourself … “Enter a UPS, FedEx, USPS, or DHL/AirBorne tracking number in the input box below. This page will automatically generate an RSS feed for that tracking number and will keep you up to date as the shipment progresses.”

Joe’s Goals: “Joe’s Goals is a simple yet powerful tool to make tracking your goals the easiest part of accomplishing them. Use the simple single page interface to setup daily goals and track them with just a click. Watch your daily score to gage your success and use negative goals (or vices) to confront and overcome bad habits that finally need to get the boot.”

Kegulator: There’s nothing worse than too little or too many beers for your Friday night kegger night.

Liferro: ($) This promises the moon, does it deliver? “Liferro™ is the next generation of technology, replacing dozens of desktop applications with one easy to use, fully integrated system. It enables a company to move beyond older desktop technology and tap into the power of the Internet. Managers can create an environment of accountability, while employees can use the latest technology to increase productivity.”


LMail: ($) “Send your letter online. L-mail lets individuals and businesses send letters to any postal address via the Internet. We print and post letters from 23 worldwide locations and even lick the stamps for you!”

Personality & Cognitive Tests for Employees – roundup from How Google hires today.

InfoCalc: Online calculator – okay, this might be overkill but if you can do a milk & eggs to do list online, why not a calculator? Did you know Google is also a calculator?

Mac Sleep by Email: HT create in automator sleep activation email.

RescueTime: Practice good time management – in beta but looks interesting – sign up to be beta tester. “RescueTime is a web-based time management and analytics tool for information workers who want to be more productive. Our software tracks which applications and web sites you use and provides easy-to-use web tools to see how you spend your time.”

ScanR: Pretty cool – take a pic with your camera/phone – email it to them, they’ll convert it to PDF’s – “Scan whiteboards into clean legible PDF files, scan documents in to searchable PDF files or send via fax and Scan business cards into your address book.” (Click to see Examples).

The Prioritizer: From CNN Money, “This calculator helps you rank a series of goals or options which are most attractive to you.”

SimpleSeating: “ is the fastest and easiest way to make seating charts online. Experience the power of expensive desktop seating chart applications on the web without the learning curve. Create, preview, and print your seating charts in just a few simple steps.” Free for 50 seating arrangements.

Strong Password Generator: Something like 25% of people choose PASSWORD as their password. “Every major, reputable company adheres to a strong password policy. Every company and every computer user should have a strong, random password. This strong password generator will generate secure, random password examples for you to use.”

Thriving Office: “Small businesses know they must seem successful to become successful. So they play Thriving Office while they’re on the phone. This valuable CD is filled with the sounds people expect to hear from an established company, providing instant credibility.” BRILLIANT! I wonder how realistic it is, is there the guy in the cube next to you with an iPod on and singing off-key accapella “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me …” or the really loud woman planning her wedding 🙂

TripSync: “TripSync is a new travel management solution designed for small and medium businesses. It is designed to make travel planning easier by allowing you to plan or manage travel for a yourself or multiple travelers – all without the need for specialized contracts, minimum spend commitments, or other terms required by some of the other tools on the market. Because TripSync connects directly with the leading global distribution systems, we can bring you the most up-to-date pricing and availability for airlines, rental car companies, and hotels.”

WebPagesThatSuck: Yes, please take a few minutes, gander through some of these to make sure you’re do NOT look anything remotely like these … and honestly, if you find any of these pages attractive or interesting, please, please HIRE a web designer.

WuFoo($) Create your own Online Surveys.

Info Sites

NY Times Small Business, Small Business Administration (SBA).

Seems Nice if You Don’t Mind Sharing – No Privacy Setting …

It’s not necessarily a bad thing – just so you know what you are getting into.

Kiko: Calendar – share only.

NumSum: Online spreadsheet – looks nice but I don’t believe there is a privacy setting.


SlideShare:Post your PowerPoint presentation online or read another or host an online conference – no private settings.

ThinkFree Office: While not nearly as nice looking as Ajax13, it’s just as functional – as long as you mind thinking it’s 1998 all over again and you don’t mind sharing your docs. Word Processor, spreadsheet & presentation. I think the next version will let you save to your desktop.

Backup/Web Storage

Will cover in future.


We covered these earlier.

Didn’t Get to See – Annoying

Glide: Apparently insisted I download Flash 9 before viewing – if this were an Adobe site, okay, that I understand but is Adobe paying them money to lock out people – don’t get it?


Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Media