According to a McKinsey & Company study of US economic activity, "Raising the productivity of employees whose jobs can't be automated is the next big performance challenge." The study argues that "as more companies come to specialize in core activities and outsource the rest, they have greater need for workers who can interact with co-workers, partners, and vendors," supported by highly personalized organizing and communication tools. 40 percent of labor activity, says McKinsey, comes not from making things or from traditional transactions but from what the consultancy calls the "Interaction Economy," which it … Read more
Looking for new areas of revenue, infrastructure software company BEA Systems intends to introduce a new set of products, according to the company's CEO.
BEA's second-quarter earnings, which the company reported on Thursday, exceeded analysts estimates but did not allay concerns about the company.
The infrastructure software company said its revenues were $365 million in the quarter but did not report earnings because of an ongoing review of its accounting. Services revenue was up, but its license revenue was down 9 percent.
Financial analysts said the consistent license revenue slide has raised concerns about the company's competitive … Read more
Vuvox was one of the few services that wasn't quite ready for the public after showing off its wares at Demo 2007. Like Flektor, Good Widgets, RockYou, Slide, Mixercast, and other mashup services, Vuvox lets users pull in media content from the Web or a hard drive, and put that content together using a Web-based editor. The end result is something that's visually engaging and can be shared via e-mail, or embedded on blogs, Web sites, and social networking profiles. The service is officially opening its doors to everyone as of today.
Vuvox grabs your media in two places. The first is from Web services such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and Google. The other place is your hard drive. You can upload files one at a time, or in batches after installing Vuvox's small browser plug-in. Once you've added your media, it's a simple drag-and-drop process. You can reorder, combine, or delete pictures or video in a simple queue. When you're done creating, you can apply one of Vuvox's 11 different themes. Each is unique, and has various visual styles that enhance, or in some cases stylize, your media. You can also use some advanced editing tools, like a cropper and layer mask, to tweak your shots.
Once published, each user gets their own channel. Other users can come by and comment on slide shows, and then share the slide shows with others either by e-mail, embedded link, or a URL. The service also has a featured section, showing off some of the more popular, or notable, works by users.
Like most services these days, Vuvox also has a Facebook application. Similar to the full version of the site, you can grab content from Flickr and Picasa. Since it's Facebook, you're also able to pick photos from your Facebook albums. When finished, you have the option to share the content with friends, and post it to your profile. The only downside here is that the Vuvox editor has been tweaked slightly, both in size and features, to accommodate the Facebook crowd. The results look just as good, but the editing experience isn't nearly as enjoyable.
Is Vuvox worth using over the competition? It's pretty impressive for a new service, and quite polished. The one snag is that it can be a little slow, and you don't have a lot of control over the way some of the themes play with the presentation of your shots. If you're looking for a similar media mashup tool that offers stylization but also a little more user control, check out SplashCast (also a Demo 2007 launch) and Flektor (review).
For more screen shots of the interface and an example of the embedded application, click the Read More link below.
Today, MXPlay--the digital-music player that focuses on customizing and enhancing your playback sound, while also letting you mash up streaming audio with Web videos (covered previously)--launched a Windows-only add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser. Called MXPlay Web, the Firefox add-on part is a simple orange MXPlay button that sits in your toolbar. Whenever you navigate to a Web page that includes MP3 files, the button transforms into a musical note. Click that note, and you can "play" that Web page in a pop-up music player.
After you select "Play this page," MXPlay Web will list all of the available MP3 songs on that Web page. You can then mark any of your favorites and save them to a personal playlist. Unfortunately, once you create that playlist, MXPlay Web somewhat randomly puts them into an order that you cannot change manually.
Just like the full app, MXPlay Web lets you customize the sound of the music using the same unique graphic interface. Drag and drop the head icon (the listener) and each of your available speakers to a specific location on the screen, which affects sound levels and direction. A blue circle in the upper left lets you control the size of your virtual room, and the bars in the upper right offer three levels of reverb.… Read more
Office time-waster alert! AOL's AIM Network has launched an interesting new service, CircaVie, which allows you to create a timeline of just about anything--your kid's life, your job, your backpacking excursion in Southeast Asia, or the chronicle of last week's party's devolution into debauchery. You can then embed your timelines into your blog, share them with friends, I played around with it, and I like the concept (a lot), but this is the kind of service that's left me wishing there was more you could do with it.
It's clear that CircaVie is trying … Read more
In the old days, to figure out if your house, apartment, or place of work was good for walking, you'd have to go scout it out, or ask someone who knew the area. These days we have services such as Walk Score, a mashup that helps calculate how "walkable" an address is based on the services that surround it. It works by tallying up the distances to the surrounding attractions, and pulls them together in an average, which it gives you in a handy scale of 1 to 100. The higher the score, the more walk-friendly the … Read more
Over the last year, all of the big three tech companies (Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo) have created their own online mashup editors. Both Microsoft's and Yahoo's are publicly available, but Google's is in a small private beta. Today I'm taking a look at the pros and cons of all three.Microsoft Popfly
Microsoft is taking a really visual approach to the mashup editor. Popfly lets you easily mash different services together through the use of what they call "blocks." There are a lot of blocks that are already designed by Microsoft to provide data … Read more
There's really no better way to see how well you'll get coverage with a phone until you get your hands on it. This usually requires a purchase, or a friend or neighbor who has got the phone and service you're interested in. The next best thing is checking your carrier's site to see if it has a coverage map (here are links to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint). A third option is SignalMap, a user-generated service that lets people search for and review cellular phone coverage by location.
It's about as simple as … Read more
GopherNow is a simple mashup--mix maps with store hours to help people find eating establishments that are open or delivering late. The service is aimed mainly at teenagers and college students, but for many, the long days of summer can bring unexpected late eating.
Users can search by keyword and location, and a Google map will show up with various restaurants, listing their hours, delivery availability, and for a select few--complete menus. If a restaurant is missing, users can add it in, along with their personal review.
Listpic, the visual searching and browsing tool for Craigslist has been blocked from the service as of yesterday. Craigslist creator Craig Newmark posted on the Craigslist user forums to alert the community to the shutdown last night, citing bandwidth drains and Listpic's attempts to "monetize" Craigslist by piggybacking off its services and using its own advertising. Newmark claimed that so much bandwidth was being used by the third-party service that it was "making it harder for the vast bulk of people who visit our site."
Listpic provided its users with a fairly simple way to … Read more