A sampling of green-tech news with quick commentary.Bright Green: Solar Carbon Payback - WorldchangingA study calculates the difference between energy used to make solar panels and energy saved. Conclusion: solar panels of all types reduce carbon emissions in a few years. New Honeywell Service Helps Organizations Take Critical Step Toward Sustainability - Press releaseThere are a lot carbon management software companies cropping up. Now, an established building management company is offering a greenhouse gas inventory system. Solar Shootout in the San Joaquin Valley - Renewable Energy WorldIn the solar world, there's a raging contest between … Read more
Google Maps is dynamic. Making customized maps through the service isn't very difficult. But there are a variety of third-party tools on the Web that help you create fully customized Google Maps mashups. From Flickr geotag integration to wedding event mapping to just doodling, you can do it all.Mapping tools
GeotagIt With GeotagIt, you can quickly upload photos from your Flickr account or links from your Delicious page, then add geotags to them. (You can also do this within Flickr.) The link or photo is then displayed on the map in the area you chose. It shows the item's longitude and latitude on the page. It runs in Flash instead of Google Maps like the other services in this roundup. That makes moving around the map a little difficult. The mashup is in beta, so it can be buggy at times. But I found that adding pictures from Flickr worked beautifully. Plus, I liked GeotagIt more than than Flickr's geotagging feature. Adding multiple images at once was simpler. And with the help of its map search, finding friends' geotagged images took seconds.
Map Builder Map Builder is a powerful tool, but it's extremely simple to use. You can pick a location with city and state or ZIP code. Once the tool finds the location's latitude and longitude, it then gives you the option of adding a caption, a description, and picking the color and design of the marker. Unfortunately, the site lets you upload photos only if you use its real-estate service, which is subscription-based. The real-estate service is designed for real-estate professionals who want to map their listed properties for clients. It costs $19.95 per month. Other than that, I was quite happy with Map Builder. I think that it's an ideal service for companies that want to integrate a custom map into their Web site.
Mapicurious Mapicurious lets you mark your favorite locations, share hot spots with friends, or simply add points of interest. You can also upload pictures to your map. And adding all that content is made simple with the site's fine menu system. I was really impressed by Mapicurious.
MapTrot Adding points of interest to MapTrot takes just a few seconds. Once you decide to create a map, you can input the name or address of the place you want to add. You can include a description or direct people to Google Images. But there's not much else to MapTrot. I liked it, but it's not better than a site like Map Builder.… Read more
It's almost summer. Chances are, you'll soon be vacationing somewhere in the world. But what if you want to share that vacation with loved ones?
With the help of these vacation-sharing tools you'll be able to do just that. You can document where you've been, share pictures, and upload videos. And you'll probably enjoy reliving the experience.Share your travel plans
EveryTrail EveryTrail populates your profile page with all the places you've been on vacation. But instead of requiring you to do it yourself, the site uses your GPS device and photos to do it for you. Whenever you go on vacation and bring your GPS device with you, EveryTrail will take your GPS tracks to plot where you've been. When you upload photos to the site, you can add them to the map to show where they were taken. You can also add descriptions to the locations and photos to provide more detail on what you've done. Although EveryTrail requires you to have a GPS device to enjoy it, I think you'll really like it.
Here or There? Here or There is a place to share all your travel experiences in a blog. You can post pictures, videos, and share your vacation with readers. You can also check out other travel blogs from other users to see how their vacations went. Here or There is a nice idea that works well.
myTripBook myTripBook lets you record and share all your travel experiences. For each trip you take, you'll create a diary detailing what you did on your vacation. You can add photos and videos to supplement your content. The site also boasts a recommendations tab so you can tell your readers which bars and restaurants you recommend. myTripBook is a nice service and its trip tracking is outstanding.
RealTravel RealTravel might focus mainly on the dissemination of travel information, but its blog page gives you the opportunity to share your travel experiences. Once you create your free blog, you can use the site's interactive maps to route your trip. You can upload an unlimited number of photos and share slideshows with friends through automatic e-mails that are sent whenever your blog is updated. You can also follow your friends' blogs. RealTravel's blogs section is worth trying out.… Read more
The stock market may be showing signs of a rebound, but consumers still have a lock on their wallets at retail.
Shopping online for the right products at better prices can be quite overwhelming, but with some know-how, it's less intimidating and certainly worthwhile. These 12 tools will not only help you save cash, but they might also make you more confident about your purchases. I am.Cash-saving tools
Frucall: Frucall is a really great service. When you're at a brick-and-mortar store checking out a product, you can either call Frucall's free telephone line, text-message the company, or access its mobile site and compare the store's price with online pricing. When you input the name or bar code, it returns the pricing on the product from Amazon.com, Shopping.com, and other services. It's quick and easy. Plus, it's free, though standard text-messaging rates do apply. I really liked Frucall.
Google Product Search: Formerly known as Froogle, Google's Product Search is a relatively useful tool for finding cheaper prices on desired products. It will return a good portion of the online stores currently selling products that match up with your search terms. It also lists their seller ratings, based on customer reports. It's a nice tool, but it doesn't quite stand up to some of the more useful sites in this roundup. Consider Google Product Search a backup.… Read more
A sampling of green-tech news with quick commentary.Q & A: Steven Chu - Technology ReviewEnergy Secretary Steven Chu talks about coming up with a new nuclear-power and waste management strategy and why hydrogen vehicles have four strikes against them. Waxman predicts committee passage as details emerge on climate, energy bill - GreenWireA House energy and climate bill makes progress through compromises, although it's not a done deal. Latest draft lowers carbon emissions targets and renewable electricity mandate while devising a system for dealing with emissions allowances. Husk Insulation Wins $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize: Building Better Refrigerators from Rice Husks - Xconomy… Read more
Earlier this week, I listed some useful Firefox extensions that help you become more productive while you blog. Now it's time to see how well your blog is performing.
I've found and tried 12 online applicatons that track your blog's traffic. Some are better than others, but they're all designed with the same goal in mind: helping you grow your blog.Web apps
Clickdensity Clickdensity not only tracks the number of page views and unique visitors to your site, it overlays a "heat map" on your page that tells you where visitors are clicking. It's a helpful tool. You can see if the way you place content on your site is helping you increase traffic. And it will give you insight into where to place page elements. Pricing starts at $5 per month. If you want to improve your site's design, try Clickdensity.
Clicky Don't let its childish name fool you; Clicky is outstanding. You'll find charts and graphs, but one of its best features is its visitor detail, which gives you accurate information on individual visitors in real time. It tells you which country they're from and how long they've been on your site. Clicky also has a mobile page designed specifically for the iPhone. It boasts all the same features as Clicky's online version. Plus, it's snappy, so you won't waste time checking traffic. Pricing starts at $29.99 per year.
Google Analytics Google Analytics is a free service that provides you with a graph showing how many people visited your site. The tool also lets you see which pages visitors clicked, how many unique visitors went to your site, and information on where the most people entered and exited. It's not nearly as advanced as other apps in this roundup, but it's certainly the easiest to use. If you want something simple and accurate, Google Analytics is for you.
Histats.com Histats.com sports the slickest design of any tool in this roundup. You'll find common tracking elements like page views, visitors, and referral information, but that's all displayed in the most user-friendly design I've seen in this space. The graphs are gorgeous. The app's ease of use is unparalleled, thanks to slick menus. And changing the data you want to look at is simple. I was really impressed by Histats (and its free price tag).… Read more
As a Firefox user and blogger, I realized not too long ago that the best way to be more efficient was to find useful add-ons for the Mozilla Web browser.
After trying a variety of Firefox extensions, I've found 15 that do a fine job of making my blogging more productive.Firefox extensions
Apture Editor: Apture Editor enables you to easily add contextual images, videos, reference guides, links, and more to a blog post. Whenever a reader moves her mouse over an Apture-linked term, a box is displayed, showing the related media you chose. Whenever a reader clicks on an item, a new window opens, displaying the source of that media. It's a great way to add more value to your blog posts.
Clipmarks: Clipmarks lets you "clip" (copy) sections of a Web page, including text, images, or video, and add them to your Clipmarks profile. You can then send all your saved clips to your blog. You can also send them to Friendfeed, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. It's a useful tool. Check it out.
Fire Analytics: If you want to track how well your blog is doing, the Fire Analytics Firefox extension will help. To use it, you'll need to link your Google Analytics account to Fire Analytics. Once complete, you can see all your Google Analytics reports in Fire Analytics without ever going to Google's page. It's not as pretty as Google's reports, but you'll get the same information in a much shorter amount of time. It's worth trying out.
FireFlix: Finding images for your blog post is made simpler with FireFlix. The sidebar extension lets you quickly search and upload photos from Flickr without leaving the page you're on. If you use Flickr to find photos for your blog, this extension is for you.… Read more
If you saw "Star Trek" over the weekend, you might be wondering how you can use the Web to connect with other fans.
It's not as hard as you might think. From Ning social networks to Facebook groups, there are a variety of ways to connect with "Star Trek" fans around the world.Social "Star Trek"
Star-Trek If you're a Twitter fanatic, the Tweetworks Star-Trek group might be worth checking out. It's not a vibrant community--there are just a few dozen members--but it's the largest "Star Trek" Twitter group on the Tweetworks network. You'll find other Twitter users to communicate with. And you can leave as many tweets as you want about the movie. But until it grows, consider it your last destination.
"Star Trek" Facebook group The "Star Trek" Facebook group is the place to go if you're a real "Star Trek" fan. It's that simple. The page has over 2,400 members. Its discussion board is brimming with messages about topics ranging from Spock and his mother to Captain Kirk. The page also has more than 100 Wall posts discussing the movie, commenting on the series, and much more. Definitely check it out.
"Star Trek" MySpace page The official "Star Trek" MySpace page is a must-see for any "Star Trek" fan. It features the movie's newest trailer. And if you want to see scenes from the film, it has a couple clips for you to watch. But it's the page's forums that will keep you coming back. More than 22,000 "Star Trek" fans are currently discussing the movie, the franchise, and everything in between. The "Star Trek" MySpace page is one of the best places to connect with other fans.… Read more
"Star Trek" is coming (back) to theaters, and millions of fans are getting ready to check it out. It's serious business. Before you see the new film, watch these 10 videos that spoof the famed franchise.
Ben Stiller gets in on the action What's better than watching "Star Trek" get spoofed? Watching Ben Stiller spoof "Star Trek"! In this clip, he's Captain Kirk. And he's on a mission.
Can I get a... Something is on the minds of Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest. They're worried. They're pensive. No, they're just hungry.
Grandpa Simpson loves old-school "Star Trek" "The Simpsons" is one of the most cherished cartoon comedies in history. And its portrayal of "Star Trek XII" is hilarious. You'll find all your favorites--Kirk, Spock, and Sulu--but they'll be just a little older than you remember them. And Grandpa Simpson loves it.
A sampling of green-tech news with quick commentary.Ocean Carbon: Dent In Iron Fertilization Hypothesis Previously Proposed To Address Climate Change - Science DailyThe idea of seeding the ocean with iron to create plankton blooms and sequester CO2 takes a hit in this study which finds that not a lot of carbon reaches the deep sea. Don't Single Out Ethanol on Land-Use Changes, Says Trade Group Chief - The New York TimesThe EPA's proposal to include land-use changes when measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol has the industry and ag-friendly politicians riled up. 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Jay Leno's Garage… Read more