I was at a bit of an impasse earlier today while writing about the new Google Maps page that lets you see user adjustments in real-time. A video to show off the feature would have been overkill, while an animated GIF afforded the same view to readers at a substantially smaller file size. Not having Photoshop installed on this machine (which has a pretty simple animated-GIF-making wizard), and not wanting to go through a tedious multistep process using Paint.net, I turned to Gickr.
I really enjoy Web-based comic strip tools. I once had ambitions to be a comic illustrator, although I lost interest about the same time I discovered video games. I still enjoy a good doodle here and there, which is where sites like Toonlet can offer a great deal of fun for the creatively inclined. Toonlet is a comic strip builder. We've covered several others like it before, although it's somewhere between that build-your-own Simpsons character maker and Mr. Picassohead. You're given a wide (and I do mean wide) array of body parts to fit together, letting you … Read more
Coghead on Monday plans to launch a second version of its hosted application development platform, which the start-up has moved to Adobe Systems' Flex/Flash technology and Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) computing infrastructure.
The company is one of several targeting what it calls "do-it-yourself developers" at small and midsize businesses.
Such developers are generally tech-savvy enough to write macros in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet software or work with scripting languages, but they don't have the same level of training as a professional C++ programmer, for example. The company estimates that there are between 15 … Read more
I'm always eager to get my hands on new publishing tools. We've got our own in-house blogging tool at CNET, but on the side I like to stay well versed in various other platforms both big and small. A new one from Profy.com (whose blog is actually a competitor of ours) launched on Wednesday and has been garnering some buzz from some of the other blogs. I thought I'd give it spin and see if the hype is well deserved.
What I can say after spending some time testing out its features is that it's off to a good start, but far from a Wordpress killer for people who are seriously thinking about launching any sort of commercial blog. It's more in line with Blogger and Ning's offerings in setting up a vast network of interconnected social sites that your users can navigate to and fro while retaining the feeling of being on the same service.
Besides having a fairly standard WYSIWYG blogging interface, and integrated RSS feed reader, the real draw to the app is its interconnected social network. You can add other Profy users and blog owners as friends and contacts. The service goes as far as integrating instant messaging and presence management to let you know when someone's online. Once you've added people as friends, you can then keep track of their new blog posts, along with what they're reading if they've opted to share what RSS feeds they're subscribed to. The RSS reader itself isn't too shoddy either. While not as feature rich as the big guys, I actually prefer its layout to Google Reader's (at least on our RSS feed) because it displays who the author is on the title of each post.
Everything seems designed with a simple user in mind. There's no access to your blog's CSS, instead everything is simplified down to a fairly sizable collection of templates that can be custom-tailored (very much like Ning) with the user picking where they want each site element to go. The same goes for the domain, which lives under the Profy.com moniker and can't be linked up to one you already own. All these things make it very simple to get started and make changes on the go, but power users will likely want a little more.
The site is currently in private alpha with no timeline on when it'll be open to the general public. For now, they're offering Webware readers 100 invites to get their own blogs going. To get yours, go to this page and enter "Webware" in the description box.
Screens below. There are two more after the break.
Mozilla's new project called Weave is an exciting new add-on to Mozilla's popular browser Firefox. While in its infancy, the service plans to be a way for users to save and access their personal browsing information across multiple machines. It's a little bit like Google's Web history, del.icio.us, and a Web password saver all wrapped up into one.
Some use cases for Weave (as listed by Mozilla) include: accessing your history and bookmarks from your home version of Firefox on your mobile Firefox browser, shared/collaborative bookmarking, and personalization tools to let you log … Read more
Standards, standards, standards.
That's the general theme of a video about the next version of Internet Explorer, which will unsurprisingly be called IE 8. Details thus far have been scarce, but in a half-hour video with IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch and Architect Chris Wilson produced by Microsoft's Channel 9, the two discuss the importance of standards, compatibility, and interoperability with the upcoming browser.
We also get a (faraway) sneak peak at a development build of the new hush-hush browser. The key takeaway? IE will finally be able to render the Acid 2 test correctly, which has historically … Read more
IPKarma is a new karma system to help track users who comment on your blog. The twist is it doesn't just track them for you, but also for any other blog owner who has the plug-in installed. It tracks each user by their IP address (not their username or e-mail address) and automatically creates a user profile for them when they leave a comment. Similar to SezWho (coverage), other users can then click … Read more
While Microsoft's Silverlight recently went 1.0 for Mac and Windows users, the last time we got a progress report on the version for Linux called "Moonlight" was early September. In a report by eWeek, who was covering today's XML Conference in Boston, Novell's vice president of developer platforms, Miguel de Icaza, noted that not only is Moonlight set to release within the next six months, but they're working on getting support for all major Linux distributions. De Icaza is also quoted as saying he didn't want Moonlight to lag behind Silverlight in … Read more
Microsoft's Live Labs, a standalone product research group, released on Wednesday Volta (download it from CNET Download.com), a development tool designed to make it easier to partition an application's component pieces across a network.
The problem that Microsoft researchers are trying to address is the difficulty of deciding which part of the application runs under which tier--either the client or server.
Typically, developers need to write code to handle the communication between those tiers. And they need to decide during development on how to best architect their applications for optimal performance.
With Volta, developers can make "… Read more
Design collaboration service ConceptShare, which turns one years old next month, has launched the second version of its service today, along with an all new branded version for CorelDRAW users called CorelDRAWConceptShare.
We originally checked out its core service back in late November, and with today's release, the company has focused specifically on UI improvements to help its users get work done with "less clicks" than before. The new version also gives users more vertical workspace, to suit the needs of design users with vertical display configurations who previously had to make due with the mostly landscape-centric … Read more