May 7, 2010

A small slice of Web 2.0 Expo


Central Desktop at Web 2.0 Expo from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the big tech conferences of the year, SF-based Web 2.0 Expo, is now in the books. I was able to attend only two of the four days, but here are some takeaways:

I had a chance to check out Central Desktop on the tradeshow floor. Above is my 3 1/2 minute interview with sales rep Mandy Gonzales. Central Desktop is an online collaboration platform that allows you to streamline your document and project workflow and collaborate with other team members.

Like Google Docs, it’s an entire web-based cloud solution, only more robust. At Web 2.0 Expo they unveiled their Microsoft Office plug-in, which enables real-time co-authoring capabilities. Central Desktop works with lots of different verticals, from large companies to universities and nonprofits. Their sweet spot seems to be small to medium-size businesses where 50 to 250 users might collaborate on a project.

Mandy also pointed out that a lot of consultants will use Central Desktop as an external portal to share documents with their clients and to take advantage of its transparent communication and project management features. Clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CBS, Netflix, Amtrak, Day’s Inn, Harvard, Stanford University, the Humane Society and others.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo
Watch or embed the video on YouTube

Other snippets from Web 2.0 Expo

All about .co: Want to get in on the next Internet land grab? “The .co era is arriving July 20,” according to Create Your Opportunity, which is running a $50,000 contest that ends June 14. I think what this means is that Colombia is making its nation suffix available to registrants — for a price — just as Tonga did with .to, Grenada with .gd and British Indian Ocean Territory with .io. (See the Wikipedia entry.)

If you have a domain name you’d like to pre-register, you can do it right now. But be warned: If anyone else pre-registers the same domain, it goes to a bidding war. The fact that you were first doesn’t matter. Which is why I’m not bothering to pre-register socialmedia.co — I won’t pay the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost to win it.

Will .co cause confusion to users who associate .co with “country” — like guardian.co/uk/ — or “Colombia” instead of “company”? You bet!

SEO workshop: Great workshop on SEO, especially by Rand Fishkin (CEO and founder, SEOmoz) and Stephan Spencer (Covario). You can see both slide shows on the SEOmoz blog — I may do a separate writeup on this if I have time. Continue reading

August 12, 2009

Coolest power tools of some top geeks

The Geeks

JD LasicaDuring the Traveling Geeks’ trip to the United Kingdom last month, I spent some time polling the Geeks about the productivity and must-have tools that they use during the course of a typical workday.

I did the same thing during the first Geeks trip to Israel last year and came away with a wealth of apps, some of which I incorporated into my daily routine: See Tools the alpha geeks use. Back then, the list included Qik, TweetScan, FriendFeed, Skype, Bloglines, Pandora, Foxytunes, NetVibes, Socialthing, Seesmic, Adium — and it serves as an interesting snapshot in time of what tools some of the top Bay Area bloggers and technologists were using in spring 2008.

This time around there was more emphasis on social media services like Twitter as well as multimedia apps. Among the tools in the Geeks’ arsenal: Zemanta, Tweetdeck, HootSuite, PeopleBrowsr, Mindjet, Shopstyle and Friendfeed (Twitter and Facebook are givens). Remember, this is a partial, on-the-fly list of useful tools — intended to introduce readers to some apps they might not be using — and not a comprehensive list, and it also doesn’t take into consideration any of the startup apps’ we were introduced to in the UK.

Also, whether you’re a geek or not, please add your favorite tools in the comments so we can all learn what works for you!

Here’s our rundown:

JD Lasica

JD & MeghanFirefox, with occasional forays into Flock and Safari; Firebug and Zemanta plug-ins

WordPress, the open-source platform for my Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org blogs

• I just started using HootSuite 2.0, a Web-based, Ajax-smart Twitter application that I find superior (so far) to the downloadable Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop apps. (I’m @jdlasica on Twitter.)

Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheets, which are superior to Google Docs (though I use the latter when forced)

Fetch tied to BBEdit, to manage files on my blogs’ servers

Snapz Pro X, to capture images and movies from any Mac computer screen

Flickr Uploadr, to batch-upload photos to my Flickr photostream

Paparazzi, a wonderful tool for Mac users to capture entire Web pages — even the portions that appear below the fold

zohoFinal Cut Express for almost all my video editing

Gmail for email and to store files in the cloud

Google Talk and Skype for most of my chats

Delicious for social bookmarking in the cloud

Google Reader to keep track of blogs and share stories to Socialbrite

Vimeo and Blip.tv for video sharing

VLC, the open source media player, to watch videos in almost any format

• Still alternating between iTunes and Pandora for my music jones

• Still trying to learn QuickSilver (so far unsuccessfully) for keyboard shortcuts. Considering LaunchBar.

Google calendar to manage my events, though I need to get back to using Upcoming more.

Facebook for wasting time

iPhone apps: Google maps (for location), Stanza and eReader (for reading), experimenting with Twitterfon, Tweetdeck, Twittelator and Simply Tweet for Twitter, Evernote (for keeping notes online), Loopt and Google Latitude for geo-awareness, Yelp for restaurants, Rocket Taxi, iTalk and QuickVoice (for interviews and recording random thoughts)

Robert Scoble

Robert ScobleRobert — the former famed Microsoft blogger — has gone to an all-Mac household (“I like the OS better,” he says), though he runs Windows 7 using Parallels Desktop on his MacBook Pro laptop.

Robert generally chooses his apps to run in the cloud rather than buying OEM packaged software. “I’m trying to move my life completely to the browser. Ido everything on the Internet. The only thing I do locally is video editing,” for which he uses iMovie for his personal videos.

Some of his choice apps:

peoplebrowsrFriendfeed (“Friendfeed is my chat application.”)

PeopleBrowsr, for social media search

Mindjet, for mindmapping presentations

Tweetdeck, to manage Twitter

Seesmic, to post video and manage Twitter

Google Docs and Spreadsheets for free office applications

iPhone 3GS, SimplyTweet and whole bunch of other apps

iMovie

Howard Rheingold

Howard RheingoldFirefox

CopyPaste Pro: “If I had to recommend only one tool for Mac users, this would be it. It remembers the last 200 objects of any media type that I cut or copied to the clipboard.”

Skype for voice over IP

Google Talk for chat

Social Media Classroom (of course)

Diigo, a research and knowledge-sharing tool

socialmediaclassroomFinal Cut Express

GraphicConverter

Seesmic Desktop

Powerpoint

WordPress

iPhone GS for video and Mobypicture and Pixelpipe apps

“Sky” Schuyler

Sky Schuyler, CTO of the Dalai Lama Foundation, served as the tech lead on our trip and time and again generously shared information about his tech habits. Some of his favorite tools:

WordPress to power a long list of blogs

• Sky uses a Flip Mino recorder and occasionally its internal software to do rudimentary video editing.

FeedWordPress: Sky configured this plug-in to suck our individual blog feeds into the TravelingGeeks.com WordPress blog.

YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in), a Firefox plug-in for Firefox that finds related posts within my blog and I have configured it with a special CSS so it also displays little thumbnails next to the suggested posts.

PGP to encrypt email and confidential data on his computer.

Google Docs, chiefly for sharing word docs in the cloud.

Continue reading