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Posts tagged with: tools

Facebook Newspaper – Create your own Newspaper

If you have lots of friends in your Facebook then going through all the news articles/videos/pictures from the facebook newsfeed can be overwhelming.

But a new web service from Tigerlogic called PostPost plans to change that.

PostPost – Your own Social Newspaper

Postpost may seem like any ordinary news aggregator that you may have seen or used before. But the big difference here is, instead of gathering links from all over the web, PostPost only looks at stuff that your friends have shared.

So PostPost is essentially a newspaper made from all the links, videos, photos your friends have shared. The reason I keep calling it a ‘newspaper’ is because it does look like one. The formatting & layout looks very much like a magazine, and the recent/important stuff tends to appears on top of the page.

What I have found most useful about this service is it’s search feature. Not only you get a really nice magazine like feel, you can also perform search on all the items your friends have shared. PostPost is integrated with TigerLogic’s yolink search-enhancing technology thus the results it returns is really powerful and accurate.

Use of PostPost is absolutely free and as the service grows I think they will add new features. There are a number of things that I personally want in the service:

– Ability to reorganize the layout (drag-n-drop).

-Marking certain source “Important” so that they get higher priority.

Check out the video to get a better idea of PostPost:

Try out PostPost and let me know what you think about the service!


Google Public Data Explorer

Google has recently launched a new service called Google Public Data Explorer under Google Labs which offers a visual way to look at and analyze large public data sets on a variety of popular search topics. According to Google, the purpose of the new tool is to make “large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate”. Google, with its access to an immense assortment of information, is in the perfect position to help us with ways to display this information.

Users can play with the data endlessly, filtering it through various metrics and displaying it in different types of charts and graphs. Google claims that it has been using anonymous information from its users’ searches to best determine what sorts of public data are most requested, and then used that to create a list of the most popular data and statistics search topics. Those results will likely continue to inform Google’s process as it integrates more public data into its offerings.

Google Public Data Explorer

The Data Explorer tool includes data from the original three sources Google announced last year — the US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the World Bank — as well as five new data providers including: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), California Department of Education, Eurostat, US Center for Disease Control & US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Currently there are four different choices for visualization styles – bar graph, line graph, map or bubble, and each has its advantage. After choosing a visual style, you can select what data points you would like to see and set variables such as time period.

?The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don’t have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings pretty easily. Take a look at the example I created below. The animation shows internet users (per 100 people) since 1991 in relation to Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) of Malaysia & Singapore.

There is also a video by Google from last year which introduces the idea in detail:


Google Launches Free Online Dictionary

google-online-dictionary

I’m not sure whether this is something new, but apparently Google has an online dictionary that lets you find definitions and synonyms in almost thirty different languages, pulled from a scope of different sources and impressively fast.

Previously, Google used to offer up an automatic definition from various third-party sources like Dictionary.com or Answers.com. However, now as you can imagine there’s a little blue "definition" link on the right side of any word or phrase search, which links directly to Google’s own homebrew definition answers.

Google does have a special keyword called “Define:keyword” that lets you search for the definition of any word almost instantaneously. The “define” operator is still pulling data from various 3rd party sources instead of Google’s own dictionary. But I’m sure this is going to change in the near future.

Check out the Google Dictionary: http://google.com/dictionary

If you have any feedback about this new tool, do send them via comments!


Freckle – Online Time Tracking Service

freckleThose who are doing freelance work or running a Small Business, its something pretty hard to keep track of your own time. For instance, if you are a programmer and you are working for a lot of clients – you really need to keep track of your time so that you can bill each one of them accordingly. Similarly if you are providing consultation service to a client and also helping him with his website, you really need to keep track of how much time you spend on each of the individual tasks.

Freckle is an awesome web-based time management service that lets you do just that! The best thing that I liked about freckle is its easy to use interface and their thoughtful implementation of Ajax throughout the site.

So all you need to do is, enter the time you spent on a particular project and tag it accordingly. So for instance if you have spend 2 hours writing a report for Project X, you can just write 2h in the first column and Give a Project Name or Client Name in the second column and lastly add multiple tags or a good description to log it in your account.

Currently they have different types of account and all of them has a 30-day Free Trial period. So you can try out their service, and you can pay and continue after a month only if you find it useful for you. They also have a personal account which is 100% Free but only allows you to manage one client with one user access. Some of their more advanced accounts allows multiple users thus you can sign up for an account for your business and give Freckle to all your employees.

So head over to letsfreckle.com to sign up for a risk free 30 days trial account.

My Two Cents

Freckle is a really cool web service that I myself will be using for keeping track of my time. The only downside of this service is they don’t help you with counting the time. So for instance, If I’m working in a project I need to manually keep count of how many minutes/hours I have worked on it and then log it inside freckle. But if Freckle could give me a stopwatch which could do the counting for me then it would have been really cool. But I understand that they are new and they are going to improve their service based on the feedback they receive from their customers. I have already suggested some features to them via their Feedback form and I hope to see some of them included in the next version.

Update: Amy Hoy from Freckle’s support team recently emailed me and said that they are already working on a timer and it will be included sometime in January. So i guess this is a great news for all Freckle users! I’m really looking forward to it.


Notify.me – News Alert Service

News Alert Service If you are a blogger, you have probably noticed that when a news breaks, the person who is the first one to write about it gets all the credit, regardless of what others have to say. Because if you are the first one to write about that particular thing, you will automatically get an advantage over the search engine & also the social media. A lot of people will link to you and vote your content up in the social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon& Reddit. If you are lucky you might even get picked up by media or popular news aggregator like Techmeme.

So how can you stay on top of all the news that’s going around the web? One of the easiest ways is to Sign up with Google Alerts – which is a wonderful free service provided by google that can notify you whenever a certain news story breaks on the web. Currently the notification is provided via Email & RSS. Its a very simple service, where you just need to specify the keywords that you would like to monitor. So whenever any news (that contains that keywords) hits the web, you get an instant email or maybe a daily/weekly digest – depending on the option you choose.

notifyme-google-talk-notificationTechcrunch recently featured another cool web service – Notify.me which is basically a News Alert service as well. But the only difference is, instead of specifying your keywords, you can directly specify which news site that you would like to monitor. So if you are a hardcore fan of Gadgets, you may want to monitor – Engadget & Gizmodo which basically features brand new gadgets everyday. So whenever either of the site updates their site with a new review or news, instantly Notify.me can give you a buzz in your IM or mobile device with the Title of the story & its URL.

I have personally found their service brilliant as I really need to monitor 20-30 websites constantly. The problem with RSS is that its not exactly ‘instant’ because I don’t keep my reader open at all time. Moreover I’m following over a thousand feeds in my RSS reader, so rss has just too much noise for me.

Notify.me has made it really easy for me to constantly follow the sites that are important to me and my work. Whenever those sites are updated i get a instant message in my Google Talk and I can immediately check it out and take an action if I want to.

I’m yet to try their SMS notifications, But I can assume that it works fine. So if you are looking for a service that can help you monitor your favorite news sites – try notify.me today!