roundup The annual conference of Web innovators may be smaller than last year's. But it's still a place for big ideas, with a focus on mobile apps and solid business plans. Get the latest news about products and lectures here.Featured stories Web 2.0 Expo 2009: Downsized, but not out Fewer people, fewer presenters heading to San Francisco Web 2.0 confab. But it could have been much worse. (Posted in Webware by Rafe Needleman) March 30, 2009 9:20 PM PDT O'Reilly: The Web is still learning, but it can teach, too The kickoff keynote … Read more
According to the company, Kaboose assets were acquired for $18 million. Kaboose sites, including BabyZone and AmazingMoms, will become part of Disney's existing family properties. The deal will be completed once the acquisition attains shareholder approval.
FileLater, an authorized IRS e-file provider, announced on Wednesday that it is now the only online service to provide both businesses and consumers the opportunity to file a tax extension before the April 15 deadline. The company said it facilitated the filing of more … Read more
There's no lack of music instruction online. Sites like iVideoSongs and Internet-connected applications such as Garage Band, can tailor music instruction right down to the specific genre, song, and instrument of your choice. The trouble is, they don't actually show you how to make a great recording.
If you're more interested in how to use side-chain audio compression in Logic, than how to how to play "Stairway to Heaven," WinkSound.com is worth a look. The site design is a little rough, but the video tutorials are helpful and clearly organized into relevant topics (Garage … Read more
Automakers have been in the news quite a bit lately. The future of some is very much in doubt. And since the economy is hitting most of us quite hard, I thought it appropriate to take a look at sites that help us find high-quality used cars.
Many of the sites in this alphabetical roundup will provide the research and information you require before you buy a car. Others will allow you to find cars in your area or buy them right on the site. Either way, they're all worth a look.
AOL Autos AOL provides some of the best informational resources on the Web, if you're looking for a car. Whether it's reviews from some of its experts, information on sales, or news, the site has it all. It's a full-featured resource that you'll want to check out.
Automotive.com Automotive.com is a huge site offering car availability in your area, research pages, and loan information. But where it really shines is in its reviews, which provide everything from value and pricing to quality and miles-per-gallon information. It's a very useful site.
AutoTrader.com AutoTrader makes it easy to find used cars for sale and even lets you sell your own car right on the site. But if you're looking to research some models, the site's "Research and Compare" page enables you to find the right car for you based on its make, model, type, and price range. All of the reviews are informative.
Carfax Don't even consider buying that used car until you consult Carfax with its Vehicle Identification Number. Once you get to Carfax, you can input the VIN into the search field, and the site will return the vehicle's history report. The report details past owners, when it was manufactured, where it has been registered, and most importantly, whether it has been through a major accident. It's a paid service (one report will run you $29.99), but it's a necessary step in buying a used car.
CarGurus A community of car lovers combined with vehicle information, CarGurus is a nice site, if you want to find out about a car from those who already have owned it. The site has active discussion forums, which are helpful when you need to ask questions. And its research pages and automobile history reports are worth checking out. But the real value of CarGurus is in those forums.
CarMax Much like AutoTrader and Cars.com (below), CarMax provides you with research information on cars in which you're interested. It also allows you to find cars for sale in your area so you can find what you're looking for sooner. And if you're looking to get rid of your old vehicle, the site will buy your car from you for its estimated value. It then sells the car on CarMax to turn a profit.
Cars.com Cars.com is one of the best ways to learn about vehicles in which you might be interested. Its research menu boasts outstanding reviews on practically every car dating back nearly a decade. The site's shopping-advice page comes in handy when you want to determine the real value of a vehicle. It's a must-see before you start your search for a used car.
CarShopSmart CarShopSmart, affiliated with AutoTrader, is a nicely designed site that might be useful. If you want to research vehicles, it boasts some basic information. But the focus of the site is on finding a car in your area or locating dealers close to your home. Unfortunately, though, the size of its vehicle database is a little too small for my liking.
CarZen If you'd like some car-buying advice, CarZen may be the place to find it. From negotiating tactics to in-depth vehicle information, the site will provide you with all the resources you need to place a strong offer. It even helps you find the right car with the help of its fantastic tool, CarConsult. Try it out. You might be surprised by what you find.
Consumer Reports Consumer Reports provides outstanding car reviews, and its simple scoring system helps you quickly determine if a car is for you. The reviews aren't as in-depth as they are on other sites, but what Consumer Reports lacks in quantity, it makes up for in trustworthiness.
Craigslist Craigslist might be a classifieds site, but it's a great place to find cars that are available in your area. Whether you're buying a vehicle or are putting your own up for sale, you can do your research elsewhere and then hit the popular listings site. A variety of vehicles in any price range are always listed.… Read more
Mozilla announced a variety of new skins for its Firefox Web browser Tuesday. Many of the skins are from well-known brands and fashion designers. According to the company, All American Rejects-, Lady Gaga-, and No Doubt-themed music skins are currently available. Those looking for fashion designs can have a BCBG Max Azria skin, while those who want to support Lance Armstrong and the fight against cancer can download the Livestrong skin. Many more free skins are available on Mozilla's new "Personas" page.
MySpace started off as a hub for indie bands to connect with their fans. Now, with a new partnership with the IAC/InterActiveCorp-owned Citysearch, it's hoping to do the same for the likes of bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Called "MySpace Local," the new section on the News Corp.-owned MySpace will be rooted in existing listings from Citysearch (restricted to major U.S. cities) that are souped up with social features like the ones that you might see on a band or celebrity's MySpace page (photos, videos, comments, and the like). It's launching with just &… Read more
There aren't many new companies launching at this year's Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, which runs Tuesday through Friday. One of the few that are is Lunch.com, which strives to get a little more juice out of user-generated publishing.
Here's the premise of Lunch: You can review anything you want, from a TV show to a restaurant to a food product to a household appliance. I guess it aims to be, sort of, a Wikipedia for opinions. Founder J.R. Johnson, who started building the site after he sold previous creations VirtualTourist.com and … Read more
Microsoft has quietly confirmed that it is getting out of the encyclopedia business, ending its long-standing Encarta product.
As noted by Ars Technica, the software maker says it will discontinue all its online Encarta products by October, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will run through the end of the year. It will also stop selling Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium, paid software products that included the online encyclopedia.
By now, many prospective college students have received responses from all the colleges to which they've applied. But now comes the hard part: deciding where to go.
Luckily, there are some sites that help them in that endeavor and provide them with valid insight before they make their final decisions. Even better, these sites can also help those who haven't applied yet and are starting their initial research.
For the high school junior who is considering applying to different colleges or the high school senior who needs to make a decision, these sites are outstanding resources.
BeRecruited: BeRecruited is designed specifically for the high school athlete. Instead of waiting for a team to find the student, BeRecruited gives them an opportunity to find colleges across the United States that have the kind of athletic program for which they're looking. They can then upload information about themselves and their high school athletic performance to attract the attention of team recruiters.
CampusExplorer: CampusExplorer allows students to search more than 6,000 colleges in the United States to find which campus is right for them. They can search by area, curriculum, or type of school. The site provides information on the size of the school, what it offers to students, and the attendance cost. It even has advice on getting into the school from students who have asked questions about the college on Yahoo Answers.
Cappex: Cappex requires students to sign up and create a personal profile that includes grades, extracurricular activities, and SAT/ACT scores. Once that profile is completed, they can search for colleges, learn about the schools in which they're interested, and use a handy tool called "What are my chances?" to help them determine if they really have a chance at being admitted to a particular school.
CollegeAnswer: Owned by college financial-aid company SallieMae, CollegeAnswer provides students with information about all facets of college admittance. From basic research on schools to information on paying for a college education, the site has it all. It provides in-depth information about colleges, including their demographics and attendance costs. But where it really shines is in its information about college life in general. It's an outstanding resource for prospective and current students.… Read more
Digg.com founder Kevin Rose is at it again with a Twitter directory called WeFollow. And although it's capturing much of the limelight right now, it's not the only service of its kind. In fact, there are quite a few sites that let you search for other users or see who the top users are on Twitter. While some are quite useful, you probably won't be surprised to find out that not all are created equal.The standouts
TwitterCounter. TwitterCounter shows you your worldwide rank in terms of how many followers you have. The site includes a full list of the top 1,000 Twitterers, and regardless of whether you have 5 followers or 5,000, you can look up your own Twitter account to see how many people have added you in the past few days, how many you'll likely have in 30 days, and more. It's also a great spot to find folks you might not have known were on Twitter.
TwitterHolic. If you want all the functionality TwitterCounter provides, TwitterHolic probably isn't for you. Sure, you can search for yourself and others to see how many followers they have, and how many they've added over the past few months, but there isn't nearly as much in-depth data on the Twitter community at large. That said, it features the same list of 1,000 Twitter followers, and based on my testing it's just as accurate as TwitterCounter, which means follower counts are usually within 10 to 15 followers of the real figure. It's also a great place to find who the top Twitterers are.
WeFollow. It might be new, but WeFollow has already made an impression on the Twitter Community. The site groups together Twitter users and messages using hash tags--words that can be added to your Twitter messages and begin with an "#". Twitter users can update their stream with a tweet containing up to three hashtags they want to be included in and WeFollow adds their messages into the proper categories. The user list in each category is organized by the number of followers they have. I was generally impressed by the service and found that it's the best of the bunch, even though it's not as full-featured as I would have liked. But for directories, it's top-notch.The rest