WeddingBook, which allows engaged couples to search through the site's free directory to find local wedding vendors--ranging from reception locations to photographers to entertainers--launched in public beta Wednesday. According to the company, it will list each vendor for free on its site and the business owner can claim their listing and input specific details of their service, as well as upload photos and outline pricing information. Each listing also includes reviews, so the bride and groom can tell engaged couples what they thought of the company.
The Medpedia Project, a joint effort on the part of Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, and other global health organizations, announced Tuesday that it has launched the beta version of its new site which it calls a new model "of how the world will assemble, maintain, critique and access medical knowledge."
The site features a repository of up-to-date medical information, contributed and maintained by health professionals from around the world. The site also boasts a Professional Network and Directory for visitors to find health professionals and organizations, a Communities of Interest … Read more
Last week, I looked at five real estate search sites and discussed their merits as tools for searching for a home. So now that you have that dream house picked out, it's time you get down to the business of finding a real estate agent and researching both the home itself, and the neighborhood it's in--just to make sure it's still a place you want to live.
After all, moving to a new home can't be as simple as finding a home you like and buying it immediately, right?
Find your real estate agent with DoorFly Once you've found the home you like on sites like Trulia or Realtor.com, you have to find a real estate agent to help you look at homes, secure the best deal, and get you into your new abode. But finding the best real estate agent isn't always easy.
That's where DoorFly comes in. Instead of calling different real estate firms to find the best agent, you can use DoorFly to explain your needs and watch as real estate agents bid to work with you.
When you first sign up for DoorFly, you're asked to provide the area where you'd like to live, your home-buying needs, an affordable price you're willing to pay, and desired home features. That information is then posted on the site and will be viewed by real estate agents who also signed up. Interested agents will contact you and inform you of their knowledge and experience. But here's the kicker--they will also offer an incentive rebate from their commission at closing to sweeten the pot. I found that sometimes that discount is 5 percent of their fee, but it can be up to 20 percent off, depending on the market. Either way, it's a great way to save some money.
As interesting and useful as DoorFly can be, I was disappointed with its general lack of support. Granted, it's a start-up that few people have heard about, but so far, the site only has real estate agents from Indiana, Missouri, Texas, and North Carolina using the site. That's obviously an issue for those who wish to move elsewhere in the U.S. and one that DoorFly can hopefully address at some point in the future.
DoorFly is a compelling and unique service, and you should look at if you want to buy a home in one of those locations. It's easy to use, the real estate agents offer good deals, and generally, they seem to be knowledgeable.
Research mortgages and neighborhoods with HomeThinking HomeThinking is designed quite well. When you're brought to the main page, you can quickly and easily find a real estate agent in any of the 50 U.S. states, perform research on mortgages in cities and towns across the country, or gain knowledge about different neighborhoods in major markets. It's a great resource if you're unsure whether you want to move to a specific location.
When I started evaluating HomeThinking, I first looked for a real estate agent in both big cities like New York and San Francisco, as well as small suburbs in my area. In all cases, the site returned a slew of real estate agents from companies both big and small. It was outstanding.
HomeThinking's neighborhood search is also a great feature that allows you to compare big cities, as well as mid-level markets like Akron, Ohio. When you perform a comparison, the site delivers a slew of results that examine which areas of the new city resemble your current city, as well as reviews by those who live there.
For example, HomeThinking claims that those living in the Castro-Upper Market area of San Francisco will find a similar lifestyle in New York City's West Village. It's a nice feature, but it would have been nice if more information was available. Simply telling me where to move if I like the scene I live in now won't help all that much.
But HomeThinking's best feature is its mortgage resource page, which takes an in-depth look into everything you ever wanted to know about mortgages in the location to which you're planning to move. Whether you're researching suburbs or big cities, the site will deliver the risk of a sub-prime mortgage crisis, leading lenders in the area, the average loan size, number of rejected applications, and much more. It even shows a heat map detailing where the majority of people are trying to buy homes. HomeThinking's mortgage research tool is best I've seen.… Read more
The economy is in trouble and we're all cutting back on spending, unsure of what the future might hold. We're also starting to realize that maybe doing things ourselves instead of hiring outside help is a great idea.
But if you're someone like me, building a deck in the back yard or, heck, painting vaulted ceilings, just isn't something you're proficient at. But luckily for us, there are a slew of sites across the Web that provide articles and videos that can help us complete any project.
5min.com I like 5min because I can learn about almost anything in, well, 5 minutes or less.
5min features videos from users who are experts on a particular subject. Sometimes, their expertise is buying an electric shaver. Other times, it's installing weatherstripping. Either way, you can find anything from the simple to the complex on 5min.
Although the videos are great, my favorite feature on 5min is the company's video player. Unlike some players that only let you play, stop, rewind, and fast-forward a clip, 5min's video player lets you zoom in, proceed frame-by-frame, and run the video in slow motion so you don't miss any steps. That feature comes in especially handy when you watch a video on a complex topic and the expert is moving too fast in their instruction.
eHoweHow is a fantastic how-to site that includes both videos and articles. And although there aren't nearly as many videos on the site as other services like 5min, eHow still provides a fine alternative for learning how to get things done.
eHow enlists the help of professionals to create the more than 300,000 articles on the site. From learning how to tie a tie, to how to caulk, the site has it all. That said, if you're looking for video, you're not going to find much on eHow--it's designed to provide step-by-step text instructions. Sometimes, especially when I need to figure out how to build something like a deck, that's ideal. But for simple topics like learning how to throw a baseball, a video works much better. In those cases, I tend to use sites like 5min or Expert Village instead.
You will be forced to sit through commercials on the company's videos, but that's not a big deal--they're only 15 seconds long and run before the clip. I should also note that the site's video player doesn't offer all the extras like those that you'll find with 5min, so you'll probably find yourself moving the slider back quite often to figure out how to do something.
But video isn't what eHow is all about. The site is ideal when you want to bring instructions with you wherever you need to complete a task. Unlike 5min or Expert Village, I don't need to sit in front of my computer to see how to sand wood flooring when I use eHow; I can print out the instructions and read them. And on complex projects, having that option is ideal.
Expert Village is a little different from a service like 5min, which allows users to upload videos to display their expertise. Expert Village employs experts who work in fields ranging from music to home improvement who research particular topics and create short videos--usually no longer than five minutes--detailing how to perform a particular task.
The value of Expert Village's use of experts is seen almost immediately. Sure, you can find a really informative video on 5min and it might provide the same quality as something on Expert Village, but generally, that's the exception, not the norm.
According to Expert Village's internal figures, the site features over 131,000 videos that have been viewed more than 292 million times. And given the wide range of topics those videos cover, Expert Village is an ideal source for help.
One especially nice offering that shouldn't be overlooked is Expert Village's series. Unlike 5min or even eHow, some Expert Village experts stay on one topic and create a series of videos to walk you through a process.
In our continuing milking of Kindle 2 hype, here's another e-reader story for your reading pleasure.
Bookworm is an open-source ePub reader that allows you to upload, organize, and read your e-books from the Web on your computer, as well as from Web-capable mobile devices including the iPhone.
Once you've downloaded an ePub book, simply upload it via Bookworm's site, and you'll have access to it from your computer or mobile device. If you have an iPhone, there is an option to view in the book in the e-book reader Stanza, if you have that application … Read more
Hey, Kindle 2! Apparently you have some legitimate competition calling itself the "kindle killer."
OK, enough with the cuteness. So far I've yet to be personally interested in the Kindle 2. That most likely has to do with the price of the unit. I just don't have the time to read enough books to make $360 for an e-reader worth it.
Indigo's Shortcovers caught my eye, though. PCWorld is reporting that the service is set to launch later in February as an app for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android OS.
Shortcovers lets you read the … Read more
For Senior Editors Bonnie Cha and Kent German, Future Apps' new language program for the iPhone and iPod Touch may be just the thing to get them around Barcelona next week as they attend the GSMA Mobile World Congress in that famed Spanish city.
iSpeak is a set of translation apps that can convert words and sentences from English to another language, or vice versa. You type your phrase into the app, which quickly translates your text. If you're not sure how to pronounce the phrase, pressing a button triggers the app to speak the words aloud. iSpeak got … Read more
Looks like that iPhone or iPod Touch you bring to the gym can do more for your fitness than just make your workout more pleasurable.
iTMP Technology, an iPhone hardware and software developer, announced Friday its launch of SmHeart Link, a new device developed to bring health and fitness tracking capabilities to iPhone and iPod Touch users.
Basically, SmHeart Link is a wireless bridge that collects data from distributed health and fitness sensors such as those found in workout machines and sends it to the iPhone via Wi-Fi. Users then can make use of the data via an iPhone application … Read more
It's going to get easier for Google to keep tabs on your health.
The ubiquitous tech conglomerate has signed on to a new software product created by IBM with help from the Continua Health Alliance, an organization that promotes interoperability of medical devices. It'll take data from personal health monitoring devices, like blood sugar meters for diabetics, and share that directly with the patient in question's Google Health file (and the patient's physician, if he or she uses Google Health as well).
Other personal health record (PHR) services will also be able to use the IBM … Read more
John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps, said, "Vast parts of it are largely unexplored and we don't really know what's down there."
While the visibility in the water has been cleaned up, everything you see is based on actual data. It's not quite swimming with the fishes, but it will let you see where they live.
Hanke showed Sieberg some impressive images that can be found with the … Read more