We realize not everyone uses Firefox to browse the Web, but for those who do, there's a really great extension that's been getting a lot of buzz lately. It's called Customize Google and it does just that. You can customize every service Google offers, from basic tasks such as automatically redirecting to the secure versions of Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets, to actually adding links to other search services such as MSN, Yahoo, and Ask.com. Social bookmarking nuts can also add links to services such as Reddit, Digg, and Del.icio.us, right … Read more
I covered the 30 Boxes online calendar briefly last September (see story). But the world's changed a bit since then, and 30 Boxes has as well, so I recently took another look at this interesting (and experimental) app.
The easy part first: 30 Boxes is a nice little online calendar. It's got a special trick, in that instead of clicking on days and times to enter appointments, you can type in its single entry box something like, "Lunch, noon Friday with Frank," and it will create the appointment based on that. (Related: Stikkit.)
But 30 Boxes is more than an events calendar with a rudimentary understanding of scheduling grammar. It's also an aggregation service for time-based updates from your social sites and for those of your friends. For example, 30 Boxes will put your blog updates, Twitter messages, Upcoming.org calendar items, and Flickr photos on your calendar, as well as those from your friends. Facebook integration is coming soon. 30 Boxes reminds me Jaiku (review), another personal feed aggregator, except it's oriented around the calendar scheme rather than the discussion-based scheme Jaiku is based on.
Everyone who uses 30 Boxes, and everyone who is added into a 30 Boxes stream, gets their own profile page (here's mine). All you need to know is a person's e-mail address to add them in to your calendar. The system will find their updates on Twitter and other services, and add them to your calendar. They'll also get an invitation to join 30 Boxes, of course, and if they do they can have more control over what information that's associated with their e-mail address.
Wipbox is a relatively new service that helps people sell things on Craigslist and eBay. Wipbox charges a small fee to help you put together a really slick-looking listing and figure out some of the subtle aspects of getting an item to sell quickly based on what category and service it's listed in. If you've ever wanted to sell something on either of the two classifieds services but have been unsure about a good starting price or the best way to convey the product information, Wipbox does the heavy lifting for you.
To get started quickly, you can do a search for your item. It's not free at $0.25 a pop, but it gives you the starting and closing costs for your item in various categories (for eBay) or locales (for Craigslist). For example, if you're here in San Francisco, your item might fetch more money in surrounding neighborhoods. Likewise, on eBay, putting it in a different category can dramatically improve the closing price. You're paying Wipbox to do the legwork.
In testing, we came across some skewed numbers for certain search items. For eBay, it was likely due to auctioneers incorrectly labeling their items or adding extra words to their titles to boost search engine presence. For Craigslist, we ran into problems with the search grouping together multiple SKUs. For example, a search for an Xbox 360 pulled in results with a difference of about a hundred dollars due to the system having two versions, each at a different price. For popular items such as iPods though, drilling down to the specific model number helped with these issues.
Wipbox bases its statistics on 30 days of eBay listings, and a full week of Craigslist sales, so whatever information you're getting is fairly current for market value. To find general price ranges for online auctions, there's also Mpire, a service that tracks auction prices on eBay to show you whether or not it's in demand--a little bit like Farecast does for airplane tickets.
The real catch to using Wipbox is its listing creator. Wipbox will pull in a description, user reviews, and specifics from Amazon.com. You can either pay $0.15 to have this information posted straight to your listing, or copy and paste the code field by field into eBay or Craigslist's listing creation box for free. … Read more
Last week, Google quietly upgraded its online spreadsheet application, Docs and Spreadsheets with a charting function. Like almost everything else about Google's online apps suite, the charting tool is barebones yet useful, and benefits from being part of a suite in which collaboration is easy.
Creating a chart is easy. Just select a range of data, click on the little chart icon, and choose your chart type and a few options. You can't change colors or typefaces, or modify most of things people take for granted in a typical spreadsheet like Excel.
The new charting function is useful … Read more
Don't laugh. I already did that for you, live from the event. I Twittered: "InPowr intro: WTF? 'It's fun, it's light,' Sure, just answer the 36 QUESTIONS. Argh."
At the moment the site is feels like an online Cosmo quiz. The first thing you do is answer 36 question about your state of mind. Then you get a little diagram showing you where you are, and are not, feeling content. After that, you get a grid … Read more
When you go to the Coghead site you'll think I'm covering it because the home page says, "Join the Webware revolution." But Coghead is more than just a slogan I can get behind. It's a clean online application builder that takes the complex job of creating an online database and makes it almost simple.
No matter how straightforward the development tool, creating a database application is hard intellectual work. Coghead does a good job of getting out of your way so you can focus on your data structure and entry forms. It will still be … Read more
Justin Kan of Justin.tv talked about how easy it is to promote your site or product with the right strategy. It also doesn't hurt to have a camera hooked to a laptop, with an EV-DO connection streaming every second of your life. Our previous Justin.tv coverage here and here. Surreal moment of the talk? Checking Justin.tv and seeing him talking to us. Creepy
I'm at O'Reilly's Web 2.0 Expo kick-off, called Ignite--which is what most speakers are doing to the microphone. The premise is simple, you've got 20 slides, and each one automatically advances every 15 seconds.The result? Speakers sound like they're running a live auction.
Notably, ZDNet's Ryan Stewart gave us a brief overview of his blog, Advancing User Experience with Rich Internet Applications, and told the audience we should keep our eyes on Adobe's Apollo (previous coverage).
Several exhibitors at next week's Web 2.0 Expo are recreating the desktop workspace experience by using new Web technologies such as Ajax and Adobe Flex. This isn't a new idea, but what is interesting is how many of them have forgone creating their own tools and stuck to integrating existing Web services in a stylized portal platform.
Zcubes attempts to emulate a desktop workspace with nearly 30 different tools that mimic desktop applications. With most of the tools relegated to things like casual drawing, comic strips, and Web browsing, the emphasis of the suite is fun.
On Tuesday I covered Scrapblog, a very impressive service for creating personal presentations. Scrapblog is one of those very rare online applications that almost makes you forget you're working on the Web and not a desktop. It's not as fast nor as capable as desktop applications can be, but it's close. And here's another service that aspires to the same thing: Glide 2.0.
Glide 2.0 is a great-looking and ambitious Web suite full of day-to-day applications, including a word processor, a site builder, a photo editor, and much more. Most of the applications are … Read more