When Power Downloader recently sat down to check his e-mail, he quickly noticed a message from his niece, Kitty Kilobyte. In the message, Kitty explained that she would soon be attending a summer English class, which would mean she would probably be writing a lot of papers. She went on to explain that though she was embarrassed to admit it, spelling wasn't her greatest skill, and any software he could recommend would be a big help.… Read more
Salesforce.com and Google are expected to launch a combined Web site on Tuesday that is designed to allow the online customer relationship management software maker to act as a reseller for Google's AdWords.
For Salesforce.com, the alliance expands its efforts to tie its hosted CRM software with Google AdWords, following its acquisition of privately held Kieden last year. Salesforce.com will expand beyond allowing its customers to launch Google AdWords from a Salesforce.com application to one in which it will act as a reseller of the Google AdWords platform.
The two companies jointly developed Salesforce Group … Read more
No conversation with Mullenweg would be complete without a discussion of the WordPress antispam utility, Akismet -- a service inspired by the young developer's mother. I also find it interesting that while Mullenweg … Read more
Matt Mullenweg is officially the CEO of Automattic. Please note the double "t"--as in "Matt." But he's really the guy who brought WordPress to the world and oxygen to the blogosphere.
You can see the first half of this Webware interview here. Matt explains why WordPress is open source but his antispam kismet isn't. He discloses the catalytic role his mother played in his software development. And he talks about blogging in places where the government is out to get you. The second part of the interview will be available online soon.
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
The idea behind Dark Room and WriteRoom is simple: offer a distraction-free application for writing text. Both apps throw out the bells and whistles and provide a lightweight text editor without buttons, menus, or anything else that might disturb your concentration.… Read more
Google Analytics relaunched today, adding several new visualization tools and ways to share data with others. The tool gives Web site owners a free and relatively easy system to keep track of how people are accessing content on their site, including ways to track which content is getting the most views, how much time each user is spending on the site, and the number of visits by time of day. There's also a handy map overlay which will show you where your users are, right down to the city they live in.
One of the updated features is the Analytics dashboard, which is now completely customizable and has simplified data. Users can relocate, add, and remove the various data widgets, in a similar fashion to that of iGoogle. Also new is the option to e-mail or export reports as PDFs, which can now be scheduled to be sent out automatically every day, week, month or quarter using a built-in calendar. Previously you were only able to export it as a non-human-friendly XML file.
The service is mainly an extension of Google's AdWords program, which lets site owners purchase words that link to various parts of their site via contextual ads that show up on Google or partnered search engine results. But even if you're not interested in making money it's a free Analytics solution that requires no software, just a line of code on any page you want to keep track of. If you're a WordPress user, there's even a plug-in to automatically add it to your site. Blogger users are also able to add it by tweaking their blog template.
Review Basics is a collaborative workspace for small teams and businesses. It runs right in your browser, and offers a fairly simple and straightforward way for others to share and leave feedback on photos, video files, and office documents. The interface runs entirely in Flash, so there are no special extensions to download, or programs that need to be installed on your computer. Just start up a workspace and go.
Review Basics works with a variety of common office document standards like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. It also can handle uploading an entire zipped folder, so if you get a zipped attachment in an e-mail, you can upload it straight to the service without having to unpack it and send files one at a time. Review Basics also handles videos, although they have to be in the .FLV Flash format, which despite its popularity on the Internet, isn't a consumer-friendly standard compared to .MOV and .AVI. Files are capped off at 25MB apiece, so if you're working with any video clip over a minute or two, it's likely to be too large.
Annotating media is fairly simple. Users get five different tools to mark what's on the screen: boxes, arrows, a highlighter, call-outs, and emoticons. There is no drawing tool, which is one thing I enjoy and make use of on other collaborative workspace services like ConceptShare [hands-on] and Octopz [hands-on]. I think at a basic level it makes things feel familiar, like using a pen. There are still boxes which can be resized and color coded, but for irregularly shaped elements, you're out of luck.
To separate which feedback is being displayed, you can toggle each person's edits on and off. It's a lot like PhotoShop when you show or hide layers, and useful when you have more than two or three people working on a piece of media at a time, as things tend to get crowded.
Review Basics is very versatile for a free app, but it's missing a few things I think would make it far more competitive in this space. I'd like a way to leave audio or video notes. Some people (like me) find it easier to hit a record button, say something and move on, instead of writing it out. I'd also like to see live chat or live video conferencing, something that can take telephones out of the equation for both businesses and customers. The service is planning on moving to a paid model in the future, adding these things would certainly put it in the realm of some of the other services charging monthly fees.
The team has put together a series of hands-on demos you can play with to get a feel for the service. [More screens after the break.]
Tumblr blogging service, which launched last month, gives people the chance to publish brief or full-length, media-rich posts using their browser or mobile phone. It's a happy medium between a tidbit posting service, such as Twitter, and a full-fledged blogging tool, such as WordPress or Blogger. Tumblr is aimed at folks who feel they may not have enough content or time to write a full blog, yet still want to write and share links and media.
Each Tumblr user gets their own "Tumblelog," a short-form blog that contains one of six types of media: word posts, photos, videos, quotes, URLs, and IM conversations. Each type of content has its own visual style and corresponding form for publishing. It's delightfully simple, and within minutes you can add a wide range of content. There's also a bookmarklet for your browser's toolbar to post items without having to navigate to Tumblr's home page.
Tumblr comes with some pretty advanced options for power users. You can give your Tumblelog its own domain, and even set the length for stories on your RSS feed. There are five themes to pick from, and you can customize the color of every aspect of the interface. If you are integrating Tumblr into your blog or Web site, there's an option to paste in your CSS.
What really sets Tumblr apart is its speed. It's blazingly fast. According to founder David Karp, the service gets in excess of 10,000 posts an hour, something you can visually track using an in-house tool called Radar. Currently in alpha, it shows the last 20 pieces of content published to the service. It's a little bit like Digg's DiggSpy, but without autorefreshing.
If you're on the fence about blogging or just want an easy way to publish interesting tidbits you find while browsing, give Tumblr a try. Our semiofficial Tumbleblog can be found here.
An amusing entry in the Google Docs and Spreadsheets Blog highlights a neat use for the online app: word-find puzzles. The idea came to Jonathan Rochelle (a Google Spreadsheets product manager) when his son came home pining to create his own puzzle like the one his teacher had given his class at school. Rochelle's solution? Google Spreadsheets, of course.
You won't get complex auto-creation and custom publishing tools like you'll find in standalone software apps. You could also achieve similar results using Excel. What makes Google Spreadsheets neat is the ability to embed for sharing. Your embed … Read more
YourMinis, the popular single page aggregator service, has launched desktop integration with its library of over 14 million widgets, using Adobe's Apollo technology. After installing the Apollo runtime and the YourMinis Apollo plug-in on your PC or Mac, you can simply click on any widget in the YourMinis library and click "Add to Desktop." Likewise, there's the option to send any widget to the Web if you'd prefer it to stay on one of your YourMinis pages. It's really well-done.
Once they're on your desktop, you can drag them around, change colors, transparency … Read more