This post isn't about digital audio, but rather about a topic that pertains to the entire consumer technology industry. When I got to CES, I realized that I'd brought the wrong USB connector for my digital camera, a Kodak EasyShare DX4530. (Guilty: I didn't read the CNET review, but I've liked it better than the 6.8 rating might suggest. Although I'm not a fan of the integrated EasyShare software, which tries to hide the file system and in the process makes it really hard to use anything but EasyShare!) It's about four years … Read more
My New Year's resolutions for 2007 were largely a flop, although I did frame and hang some vintage 1930s cruise ship menus as promised.
But if you're dead set on changing your life in 2008, many Web sites can assist with tallying and tracking resolutions. Some will continue to ping you with reminders, or even enlist other folks to pester you over the next 12 months. Facebook users can pick from various third-party widgets for setting and sharing goals, but other sites offer more customization.
Evite added mobile capabilities yesterday to speed up the party-planning process. Its QuickVite features let you send invitations in one step from an e-mail account or mobile phone, and handle RSVPs the same way. Of course, you can also juggle the details at Evite.com.
This could help to make managing a party less exhausting. Even picking a design for an online invitation can waste time, especially for a last-minute get together. For instance, Evite offers 57 templates for cocktail parties alone, not to mention options for dozens of events from anniversaries to weddings.
The painless sign-up process requires adding … Read more
Dopplr, which I briefly mentioned making an appearance at O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference back in late May, has opened up its doors today after being in private beta for the last seven months. The service is designed to let friends and other small groups share their travel plans with one another. In an ideal world, if all your friends used Dopplr, you'd be able to see when they're in town, or elsewhere to coordinate things like meet-ups or shared accommodations.
To get going with Dopplr, you simply need to plug in the dates and location of your next vacation or business trip. This information gets slotted onto your profile as a Dopplr trip, and assuming you've made friends on the service, they'll be allowed to see your schedule and visa versa. In order to add your buddies, you can invite them one at a time, or make use of your contact list from Gmail, Flickr, Twitter, or with an HCard microformat import.
Like Facebook's news feed, Dopplr keeps a running tab on your activity and that of your friends, so you can view it in one big stream. For those not inclined to check on the site every day, Dopplr is set up by default to send you weekly newsletters with your friends' latest trip additions and journal entries, along with a list of other Dopplr users who are visiting your home city. There's also a mobile version that gives you quick access to your slated trips, as well as the option to add a new one. In many ways, it's similar to the iPhone version of Google Calendar, albeit with a little less panache.
In many ways Dopplr attempts to solve a problem that could be managed with existing solutions given a little elbow grease on the part of users. For example, my family uses Google calendar, and we've got a separate calendar set up just for trips we want to share with one another. What sets Dopplr apart is its social side, which has a number of small conveniences thrown in for both privacy and keeping track of others. One of them is frequency, which shows you which of your friends visits a place the most. You can also see if you're visiting any of your friend's hometowns, and if they'll be there when you are--which can help you avoid those "oh no, we were in the same place and didn't meet up?" moments.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the vast waste of materials at the gargantuan Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Mobile phones frozen into buffet ice sculptures just scratch the surface of the showcase of an industry that thrives on planned obsolescence.
Three years ago, I'd asked the planners of CES about its waste management, receiving befuddled looks in return. But then I stopped worrying and learned to love my free CES vinyl laptop bag, stuffed with plasticky swag that will outlast the bones of any great-grandchildren I may ever have.
Sure, there were e-waste recycling awards back … Read more
A simple plea to AT&T: Texts ARE data!
With that said, my travels ended and I got my first AT&T invoice from my far-flung travels. I managed to stick to a lean 15 MB of data used (both downloaded and uploaded) on the iPhone. I called stateside a handful of times using the international roaming plan, which reduced the charge per minute to $1.29 from $1.69. I found myself becoming the master of keeping calls from rounding up to the next chargeable minute (my average call time to the States was 2:59). In … Read more
Whenever a big project is at hand, making sure that you follow through with important details takes planning. Whether it's as mundane as cleaning out the garage, confusing as organizing your daughter's soccer team, or complex as reworking the goals for a team at your company, an outline, a list, or a strategy can help you focus on the over-arching goal. It might be because it's easier to have visuals of bulleted lists or linear strategies to easily convey the steps necessary to complete a project. Think of it this way: Not having a plan of action is kind of like going to the grocery store without a list; sure, you'll remember a lot of stuff you need, but once you get home you're bound to smack yourself in the forehead saying, "Butter! How did I forget butter?"
I recently came across a great program for both Mac and PC that helps make the planning phases of a project much easier. MindManager helps you map out your thoughts and ideas using an intuitive graphical interface. You can start your own mind map with a central idea to work outwards from, or you can choose from several premade templates that focus on a specific task.… Read more
Sitting on the plane in San Francisco I knew a few things would happen when I got to Syndey: I would have an international long-distance plan, I would have an international data plan (with a strict diet of 20 MB for a month) with data roaming and auto-email check switched off and I knew that I'd have to call my mom when I got there. Apart from that, I had no idea what the logistics would be.
In fact, I had ventured into an AT&T store on a whim to add these features. As it turns out, … Read more
If you're an event planner, there's a new Web service called Eventsbot that's set up to help you with some of the logistics of promoting, and selling tickets online. If you're familiar with EventBrite, Eventsbot isn't too far off: just set up your event, set ticket prices, promote it, and Eventsbot takes a small cut of the sales as its fee. The service is aimed mainly at event planners, but if you're looking to host a small event with controlled price ticketing, services like this can be a little more extensive than basic party … Read more
Wait, there are still more tools for small businesses to get stuff done shown here at the conference this morning.
CashView.com lets small business users see all their documents online. It's a service for sending and receiving invoices, approvals, and commenting on them. There's also a calendar that shows when money is due or to be paid to you. It lets you review and zoom in on documents. The docs get online by faxing them to CashView and they upload them for you. Some people might actually have to buy a fax machine first.