Sunday, June 24, 2007

Velvet puffin is a desktop app that lets you log-in to all of your instant messaging accounts all at once. It's a *really* version 1.0 app. *All* it does is log you in to several messaging systems at once and connect to friends on your different systems ... whcih is what Trillian and others did back when they were verison 1.0. So it won't replace my own version 3-plus IM aggregator, but it does do plenty of nifty 1.0 things that people will dig. Casual users might really enjoy it.

It's a flash application, so it's cross-platform, but don't try to get it to do too much fancy work without leaking memory. On the other hand, AOL, Yahoo and Google are so insistent on bundling their way onto your desktop, the memory footprint isn't all that big a nuisance in comparison. Honestly, the choice between velvet puffin's memory usage and a client that pushes flashing banner ads at me all the time ... I might take the memory hog.

Sure, I uninstalled it pretty quickly, in favor of Trillian which I already use ... but I don't think I'm typical of web users. Velvet Puffin is incredibly easy to install and use, and I think that's important.

Perhaps they'll be bought-out for parts. The cross-system log-in, by itself, is a valuable function. They also have a reasonably solid webcam broadcasting tool, thanks to flash. The ability to share photos and videos with other users rounds out its features nicely. These are pretty useful parts.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nokia's gotten onto something here. Widsets is a java app for your mobile phone that gives you a nice, scrollable, attractive page of widgets that feed you information. Right now it's mostly just some rss readers, but they've just released their api and folks like jaiku are making some pretty functional widgets for this cute little app; functional widgets that don't just read, they publish back.

What's fun is that it's a "push" model, so each of your rss feeds' new items gets sent to your mobile right away. Each feed can have a different alert sound at a different volume level. In a parallel universe where I had to be a business development sort of person, I could see myself setting quiet alerts for my industry's news feeds, louder alerts for items from my clipping service and even louder alerts for new entries in the blogs of my competition.

It reminds me of the running ticker-tape you'd've seen in the serious business person's office when "wire service" meant an actual wire and ticker-tape meant a piece of very long paper. Plus ca change?

What *did* ever become of Pointcast?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Moo Cards

I'm in love with these people. They use the pictures that you select from your gallery on flickr or bebo or fotolog or vox or livejournal or views from your second life or habbo. Then they print 'em on the front of these cute little 28 x 70 mm cards. Then you tell them some text to put on the back of the card, mostly just something static but they also allow you to include basic variables like "the name of the picture" and stuff.

Twenty bucks gets you one hundred cards. I threw together a few pictures of the cat, some flowers, and a derby dolls bout for the front of the cards; then I threw some pithy text and the URL for my podcast on the back. I handed 'em out at work to everyone who came by my desk and people loved them. In fact, I had none left after *one* day.

I think I love it because it's just a nice, simple, versatile thing. You could make some really fun calling cards with this app ... or you could make a *killer* meme initialization vector. The cards make you crop your images so narrow that the viewer naturally wants to see what the rest of the photo looked like ... so you put a URL or text on the back that lets them see the rest of "the big picture" and it's irresistible!

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is the site where you can upload, store and manage pictures and videos ... and they're squarely targeting the tweens, from what I can tell. Right there on the main page is the enticement to upload content that is "hip and fresh" but "safe."

The experience of building a page to share by pictures and stuff was really smooth tho ... it was like the first time I saw Aldus Pagemaker. And I really enjoyed the video upload thingie. I clicked a thing to add a video to my page and they said I had to install VideoEgg ...which made me nervous, but I was actually very impressed. They found my webcam and offered me simple one-click tools to record a video, import a previously recorded video, and basically do anything it took to get a video on the site. These are very impressive warez.

What's weird is that every page of the site reminds you not to share personal information with sites you donut know ... and yet the only advertisers on the site so far are sleazy "click the monkey to win an ipod nano" sort of sites who make a living off getting your personal information.

Friday, June 1, 2007

If i was a teenager again I'd have this site running in the background all the time.

If you like a song, you can click a button to add a blog post on blogger, livejournal, wordpress, typepad, myspace or xanga. The post it creates integrates the flash music player inline. So your adoring fans can play the song while they read the rest of your blog.

It's not easy to just hit "play" and let it drive, though, the way you can with something like pandora. You can listen to playlists that folks have assembled, but for now I'm just playing a tune and then clicking something at random from the "more music" list on the page. I tried the genre listings, but when I selected Jazz, instead I got some crappy soul music in a weird language ... then again, some folks would probably argue that's the definition of the stuff.