Friday, October 26, 2007

Cool Maps and Driving Directions

I often use Mappy whenever I need to go somewhere and I don't have my GPS with me. Mappy is a french alternative to Google Maps or Via Michelin. It has some nice features like expenses calculation and a clean interface and I guess that's why I usually go there first when I need a driving direction.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coolest Touch Screen Ever Seen II

If you are not as fascinated about Microsoft Surface as I am perhaps you will find this video amusing!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cool Online DB & Reporting

Zoho has surprised once again as they launched a new webapp called Zoho DB & Reporting. This webapp "Provides database and reporting functionalities coupled with web based features like sharing, tagging, publishing and more..." as you can read at Zoho's website. To understand what you can do with it I recommend you to watch the demo video here. I found the SQL support particularly interesting.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Coolest Touch Screen Ever Seen

I read a couple of months ago about Microsoft Surface and I realized it could change the way we interact with computers. For me it's some kind of interface 10.0 (forget 2.0, 3.0 and so on). I think that from time to time we see technology that can really change things and this Microsoft Surface could be one of those. It is an amazing piece of technology that fascinaste me!

Microsoft Surface isn't Minority Report's touch screens or a bigger touch screen iPod! It is much more than that! By the way this kind of techonology is called multi-input touch screen.

Surface's product overview and description taken from Microsoft's website are the following:

"Surface is the first commercially available surface computing platform from Microsoft Corporation. It turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, interactive surface. The product provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. In essence, it’s a surface that comes to life for exploring, learning, sharing, creating, buying and much more. Soon to be available in restaurants, hotels, retail and public entertainment venues, this experience will transform the way people shop, dine, entertain and live."

"Surface is a 30-inch display in a table-like form factor that’s easy for individuals or small groups to interact with in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world. Surface can simultaneously recognize dozens and dozens of movements such as touch, gestures and will be able to recognize actual unique objects that have identification tags similar to bar codes.
Surface will ship to partners with a portfolio of basic applications, including photos, music, virtual concierge and games, which can be customized to provide their customers with unique experiences.".

The best way to understand what it is and how it can be used is to watch the videos that I found at Youtube.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cool free video calling from any website

While I was taking a look at GigaOM I found this post about Tokbox.

You can read at Tokbox's website that "Tokbox is a free service that lets you talk with your friends over live video. Here's how it works: you sign up and we give you a link. When you want to talk with anyone, just give them the link - they click and you chat. We make it easy for you to put your TokBox on your social network profile, blog, or personal webpage. Anyone can come to your page and see a "Push to Talk" button. The click it and connect to you in real time using live video and audio.".

Sounds great doesn't it? I haven't tested it yet but I will try it for sure one of these days. Meantime I found this video at Youtube where you can watch it working.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cool Green and Cheap Power

It's called Windbelt and it aims to be a green and cheap generator alternative set to power third world. This is the way to go towards a better future for all mankind: green and cheap power!

Check out more details here or check out the video:Third-World Wind Power: First Look.

This post is my contribution for the blog action day: "On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.".

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cool Contact Manager Webapp

I found this post at Wired's Compiler blog about the new Plaxo: "Plaxo has launched a brand new version of its popular online contact manager app as well as new and improved desktop clients. Plaxo 3.0, as the company calls the updates, boasts a number of synchronization improvements and aims to be your one-stop address book and contact manager.". The post goes on and I invite you to read it if you're a fan of Plaxo or if you are curious about it.

I tried the new Plaxo and I found it more interesting and specially useful than the older one because for instance it enables you to sync with your personal Google Calendar and your professional Outlook calendar between others. Plaxo also came up with Pulse some kind of data feeder that enables you to see and share feeds with your contacts. If you add your blog feed to your own profile Pulse notifies your contacts when you make a new post! This service is quite similar to what you see in Facebook when a friend of yours updates it's info.

I probably will use more the new Plaxo than the older one because the new sync features are great! I was expecting these kind of features from Google but Plaxo was faster! By the way Plaxo supports OpenID! Great!

Check out this video demo regarding the new Plaxo.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cool Online Project Management Webapps VI

TaskBin is a simple yet powerful task management webapp that can be useful for teams that rely on to do lists to get things done. I got this e-mail from Preetu Gupta from about

"Hi Sergio ,I just wanted to drive your kind attention to a Group Tasks Management Tool for managing team and group To Do List.Being a startup venture we are typically small teams( at times spread across locations). We work closely and have numerous tasks going back and forth often over IM or email. Complex project management tools are fine but often do not help maintain a light weight queue of day to day tasks. We came up with TaskBin trying to address some of these pain areas. We make tall claims of being different and one of our kind, allowing users to work in a group setting. In TaskBin, all your tasks are visible to others and can be shared. Other members can add new tasks or edit tasks already there. It, avoids the hassle of dates and has simple priorities like Now, Today, Tomorrow, Sometime This Week, and Sometime Soon. ".

I gave a try and I found it surprisingly simple and useful. It needs some work though and I would perhaps integrate it with OpenID if I was developing it. After all one standalone app can benefit from OpenID because, as I've said before, entry costs for new users are smaller (don't need to create a new username and password for every site). I invite you to give it a try!

If you want read more about Online Project Management Webapps check out my previous posts about it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cool Online Project Management Webapps V

Lighthouse from Artifact Software is not just another online project management webapp. Actually Ligthhouse is a specific breed of online project management tools called Software Development Management (SDM) tools. They claim to be the first of that breed!

One can read the at Artifact Software's website that "Lighthouse is the industry's first Software Development Management (SDM) system, fusing together all of the tools used in software development projects. Lighthouse includes everything needed to manage, monitor and measure requirements, tasks, defects, costs, schedules, change requests, documents, notifications, and much more.".

Lighthouse has a big list of features such as: Notifications, Bug Tracking, Change Requests Dashboards, Document Management, IDE Integration*, Issue Tracking, Requirements Resource Management, Task Management, Test Management, Timesheets, User Roles & Security, Custom APIs*, Custom Branding, Custom Dashboards*, Custom Fields*, Custom Labels*, Custom Methodology (including Agile & RUP), Custom Reports, Integrated Project Management*. The asterisk "*" means coming soon!

Going a little deeper about the Integrated Project Management (IPM) feature I read that it will let you create project plans using either Lighthouse (Premimum) or Microsoft Project. This sounds interesting because there are a lot of Microsoft Project users out there. This IPM feature will also allow you to "Easily create tasks, dependencies, and schedules. Monitor with GANTT charts or advanced reporting, and quickly identify schedule and cost variances.". Sounds great doesn't it? I'll be waiting for all these coming features!

I found Lighthouse from Artifact Software when I was looking for more info about Lighthouse from Active Reload. These two webapps have the same name and play in the same field and I think that's a little bit odd... Don't you think? I don't know who came up with the name first but one of them or both should change! My next post will be about Ligthhouse from Active Reload!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cool Open Identity Protocol II

It seems that there is a great debate surrounding OpenID usefulness. I wrote a small post about OpenID recently and since then I became more interested about it. As I mentioned it seems that OpenID usefulness is beig debated and of course that as any technology it has pros and cons. If you want to check out what is being said take a look at JanRain's blog or NY Times Freaknomics blog.

No matter what is being said I think that OpenID is usefull and I will use it whenever I can and I encourage all webapp developers to support it! Why? Simple! If you are developing a new webapp and you support OpenID you lower the entry barriers for your users! If a prospective user wants to try your app he will only need to make login using his OpenID and he's ready to go! As a user if my registration process is simplified I will give any webapp a try! OpenID is usefull for webapps users and developers and I hope it succeeds in the competitive technology market.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cool Online Project Management Webapps IV

I would like to talk about another online project management webapp: wrike! This one was suggested by a reader of this blog after my first post about this topic. After that I made two more posts. You can read them here: second post and third post or you can just check the content under the label project_management.

So what do I have to say about Wrike? It offers really nice features such as creating tasks through e-mail, useful gantt charts and reporting (mainly task related reports/lists)! For me it lacks a basic feature such as time tracking between others. They don't support OpenID. To wrap up I think Wrike is interesting if you want to manage tasks by e-mail (send an e-mail that creates a task) and so far as I know they are the only ones offering that feature. It's not enough to make me switch from Basecamp.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cool Mobile Speech to Text and More II

I forgot to mention email2phone when I published my last post.

"email2phone is a service that converts ordinary text email into phone voice messages. Like ordinary email, the phone voice messages are highly interactive and you can hear, reply-to, save, delete, skip, and send these messages. manages these email-to-phone voice messages in two ways:
Outbound – Email messages that are sent to your phone as high-quality, phone voice messages. Inbound – Email messages that are retrieved as phone voice messages when you dial into the system." as you can read at their website.

email2phone is available in the US, UK and Canada which makes me believe that supports only english speaking voice messages.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cool Mobile Speech To Text and More

Stuck in traffic? Get things done anyway! How? Try Jott! As I didn't find one sentence that explains what Jott is/does I'll quote this Wikipedia article: "Jott is a voicemail service which allows its users to call a toll-free telephone number and say a small phrase, which is then transcribed to text and sent to themselves or other people through email or SMS.". At their website you can learn what else you can do with Jott: reminders, to do lists and so on! Mobile phone carriers should offer this kind of services to their customers!

Non-Us resident? Perhaps you should ask your carrier for Spinvox apps. They offer speech to text and text to speech apps such as:
  • "SpinvoxmyVmail: Get voicemails as text or email: Never miss a message again;
  • "SpinmyBlog - Blog from anywhere: When it suits you.";
  • "SpinmyMemo: Speak reminders, memos and notes: Straight to your inbox.";
  • "SpinmyBroadCast: Send text messages to groups: Simply by speaking.".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cool Money Management Online Webapps

Need help managing your money? Get a webapp and... much more at Wesabe: "Wesabe is a community site that makes managing your money easy. Enjoy secure access to all your accounts, painless tools for taking control of your money and reaching your goals, and members’ tips and discussions to help you find the best values.".

Wesabe doesn't support your bank or you just want to easily track your expenses? Don't worry, try Gastus: "Every month you spend lots of money ... with Gastus you can keep track of your daily expenses.Gastus offers an incredibly easy way to know exactly how much you've paid every month.You can categorize expenses by types and concepts, and make nice pie charts and graphs to analyze your data. ". I am currently using Gastus because my bank isn't supported by Wesabe. Gastus is really simple and it works with OpenID! That's a best practice!

Gastus is too simple and you need something more powerful and refreshing? Try Mint because they are "refreshing money management". I can't decide between Mint and Wesabe so I recommend you Howard Lindzon's post " vs.…Cage/Cat Fight".

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cool Cornering II

If you found Carver One interesting but expensive perhaps Piaggio MP3 will suit your cool cornering needs!

I couldn't agree more with Piaggio's website: "Piaggio has come up with another revolutionary product: the Piaggio MP3, a totally innovative three-wheeler with two front wheels.".