TimeToMeet Launches

December 9, 2006

One of my good friends, Greg H, runs zoo-m, and they’ve just launched TimeToMeet after its beta period. TimeToMeet is a beautifully done webapp that solves a simple, yet recurring problem: scheduling meetings or meet-ups with multiple people’s schedules. It integrates with Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook (and actually enables viewing Outlook and iCal calendars in Google Calendar as an added benefit) and doesn’t require your invitees to sign up – they just follow a link in an email.

One nice feature is the ability to set-up a “Personal Secretary” URL so others can schedule time with you of their own initiative; for example, mine is here. The application uses a “painting” metaphor for adding and removing time slots for which you are available. All in all, TimeToMeet really nails the simplicity / power balance, and does so while looking pretty great.

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SlideShare

October 11, 2006

Last week, Ross Mayfield from SocialText came by the online persuasion class I’m taking this quarter (more on that class soon) and, as a parting comment, told us about SlideShare, a new web service that embeds slideshows in web sites a la YouTube. While slideshows are, as a rule, less exciting than 15-year-old emo kids with video responses to acquisition rumors announcements, I still think there’s a lot of potential here.

First, we have the academic side – every quarter I see great presentations created for the classes that I tutor (often I’ve seen the PowerPoint deck evolve from “I don’t know what my topic really is…” to the finishing touches right before the students’ final presentations) and these presentations are often shown once or twice, then never again. While many students don’t have the time or inclination to turn these presentations into videos or flash files, getting them to upload these files to a server so they could ‘live on’ after the class (perhaps all the presentations from a class could be tagged with the class name and quarter) would make sure that they would be seen outside the relatively limited scope of their class.

Also, for very basic presentations, SlideShare is a nice alternative to a PowerPoint viewer, with the added bonus that it can be embedded in a web page – presenting can be as simple as opening a browser. Of course, for multimedia presentations the software is far from ideal, but if text and bullets are your thing, it might fit the bill.

Finally, I’m excited to see how SlideShare evolves in the coming months to incorporate audio into their software – this would be one step closer to allowing presentations to live on after conferences, or provide a recap to conference attendees who were interested in the topic but might have missed some slides. Similar software – such as Microsoft Producer – exists, but SlideShare has a far lower barrier of entry, cost, and easy redistribution.

Please let me know if you’re interested in checking out SlideShare – I have a couple of invites for the beta and would love to hear more about other uses that you might think of for it.

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a week of flock

August 22, 2006

Rather than suffer the first blog post awkwardness, I’m going to jump right in – introductions later.

The why-am-I-here is simple – I’ve sat on the sidelines, watching flickr/del.icio.us/digg/dot-etc evolve, without participating – and what’s the point of super-social-web20 if you’re not participating yourself? So I’m throwing myself right in. First step – Flock. Well, blogging. And Flock.

We spend more time staring into our little windows into the web than we do looking at almost anything else – it’s no surprise that broswer preferences can get personal, quickly. I’ve been using Opera since version 4, though I switched to the Moz Suite, followed by Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox – only to return to Opera around version 8.5. According to Terminally Incoherent’s “What does your browser reveal about your personality?”:

Opera:

You really don’t care for they Firefox hype. What you want is the best browser there is – and for you that’s Opera. You actually used to pay them when the browser was ad supported. If a Firefox fanboi starts talking smack about your browser you quickly shoot him down by proposing the ACID2 test. You know what you want (a fast, standard compliant browser) and you know where to get it. Browser wars do not interest you at all, although you kinda hope that Firefox wins so that fewer web developers make IE only pages.

Hm, not too far off. Opera keeps me coming back because it’s fast, it feels snappy (such a qualitative judgment!), but most of all, I work quickly with it – gestures, fast forward on pages, quick tab changing using mouse wheel. And while all that is available for FFx (through extensions mostly), it just never felt well integrated.

So, pitting FFx and Opera against each other – it’s Opera. But what if there’s value-add built beyond the base FFx architecture? Enough to tip the scales? I’m giving Flock a one-week, full try – not opening any other browser so I’m sure I gave it a fair shot. Downloaded miniT so at least my tabs open in the right order. Signed up for WordPress through it, and have my photos, bookmarks and blog accounts set up. Let’s go.

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