A lot of folks have discovered the wonders of going over their monthly SMS allotments because of the alert systems built into popular Web apps like Twitter. But what about getting SMS alerts for other sites, too? A service called Pingie is doing just that, letting you plug in whatever RSS feeds you'd like to keep an eye on (like ours), and sending you a portion of the latest post as an SMS message. The service notes its usefulness for sites like Slickdeals and Woot (two of my personal favorites) as well as news sites for getting the most … Read more
You've got to hand it to Microsoft. The company knows how to go against the grain. Just at the moment that the rest of the planet has discovered that there is huge value in opening up, Microsoft has been stalking the web, demanding payment from startups that want to allow users to import their MSN contact lists to other web services, as Fortune notes.
Here's the "deal":If the company wants to offer other IM services (from Yahoo, Google or AOL, say), Messenger must get top billing. And if the startup wants to offer any other IM service, it must pay Microsoft 25 cents a user per year for a site license.
However, if a company wants to force its users to abandon 73% of their friends (assuming it's roughly a three-way race between AIM (53 million active users), MSN (27 million active users), and Yahoo! (22 million active users), then they can use MSN for free! Wow! Dave Rosenberg calls this "bizarre and stupid." I think he's being overly generous.… Read more
Weekend getaways and romantic dinners used to be sweet escapes from the daily grind. Nowadays, R&R is often interrupted by a buzzing Blackberry or the ding of an instant message on the wireless laptop.
Yes, staying connected is simple for employees. So is getting burned out.
Read the full story on LiveScience: "The modern vacation: Fully wired, totally ruined"
2007 has been the year of toy insecurity. Few parents of young kids escaped the unpleasant task of removing a favorite toy--from Aqua Dots to Thomas the Tank Engine--that had been recalled.
And all parents were left with a feeling of unease, that globalization and lax US consumer standards have left us vulnerable to toxic chemicals being routinely used to make our toys (and cosmetics, food, electronics...but that's a larger topic for another day).
I predict that the big story next year will be the growing realization that European and Japanese standards for chemicals used in plastic toys are much more stringent than those in the USA, and that as a result, toys that are banned elsewhere are getting dumped into the US market.
But right now, Christmas is rapidly approaching, and families are busily shopping for gifts, and will unwrap gifts given by others over the next week. What's a parent to do? The Web site HealthyToys.org gives parents way to weed out toxic toys, by searching the HealthyToys database that provides a detailed breakdown of the substances found in over 1,200 toys they tested for lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and PVC plastic. The results are alarming: of the 10 toys with the most lead, two of them are tea sets, with cups and teapots that are inevitably going to be filled with water that little kids will drink. Some plastic bath toys test high for lead and Chlorine/PVC, and these toys tend to go into toddlers' mouths as well.… Read more
As if the regular kind weren't bothersome enough, companies are cropping up to create automated instant-messagers that pretend to be human customer service personnel. They have names like "Susan" and they're sometimes even assigned ages like "24." In particular, this new crop is designed to save sales lost in last-minute checkout abandonment.
Some automated chat features are genuinely helpful--for instance, IMing a help-desk chat bot with access to a Q&A database can save users a lot of time searching for information on an FAQ list.
The legality of the practice--a program misrepresenting … Read more
The move to archive nearly everything we do online has been spearheaded mainly by Google in both Gmail as well as Google Web history. The same thing is happening in the chat space with Meebo and Google Talk, as well as desktop chat clients that have had integrated chat logging for years now. The one thing missing has been a way to take those locally saved conversations and make them available for search and reading while away from your home machine. IM History and Simkl are two companies have jumped on the task in an attempt to let people archive … Read more
If there were snakes on this plane, you could IM your friends and tell them.
Low-cost airline JetBlue has equipped one of its Airbus A320 planes with an onboard wireless network and has forged partnerships with Yahoo and BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion to give passengers access to the companies' e-mail and instant messaging functions while in the air. The airline considers the plane, nicknamed "BetaBlue," to be an early-stage test as the company explores expanding in-flight communication options.
Passengers won't be able to surf the full Web. But if they bring Wi-Fi-equipped laptops along, they can … Read more
Regardless, the central premise of Yahoo's upcoming universal-messaging application dubbed MyM is clear. According to Webware, MyM:...appears to be joining several Web services together. Included are instant messaging clients like AIM and MSN, along with social services like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Friendster.
I like it. For one thing, I get tired of scattering my IM activities--and my company largely works over IM--among different chat programs. That's why I use Adium. But given the promise of also connecting social-networking services with IM, I become much more interested in what Yahoo is up to.
After all, isn't the point of social-networking sites like Facebook.com to connect people? If so, is the best way to connect people really to have them "superpoking" each other all day? I'd rather be able to actually chat with them.… Read more
Last Friday Valleywag got a nice little scoop on a new Yahoo project called MyM that looks to be joining the universal chat space. The service is currently invite only, but already from the sign-up page it appears to be joining several Web services together. Included are instant messaging clients like AIM and MSN, along with social services like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Friendster. Interestingly enough, there's also a checkbox for Meebo, which Valleywag is reporting will let Meebo users with their various client passwords authenticate logins using one master password, although there's no word with any tie-ins … Read more
Heysan (CNET review) is a free mobile instant-messaging service that connects to major IM networks, including Windows Live Messenger (previously MSN), Yahoo Messenger, AIM, ICQ, and Google Talk. The wholly Web-based service is roughly modeled on Meebo, with its single buddy list and tabbed conversations. Heysan is ad-supported.