How to Quickly Email Interesting Web Pages To Yourself

toread

I’m obsessive compulsive…

…When it comes to the consumption of information.  Once I come across what looks like an interesting article which I have no time to read, I have to flag it for later consumption.

Different people have their own ways of dealing with articles they come across – and want to read later.

  • Some people write an email to themselves with the links to the articles. 
  • Some also use social bookmarks like del.icio.us
  • My browser is strewn with bookmarks of articles which I wanted to read later (but rarely get to)

“toread” is a free bookmark service, which aims to bring those ‘read-later’ articles directly to your email.

Once you sign up, you can bookmark your “toread” web pages by just clicking the bookmarklet on your browser.  The entire webpage is then stripped down, and sent to your email. 

Let me just say this.  It just works.

  • I don’t have to click on a link or open my email to send myself the link
  • I don’t have to worry about tagging and untagging an entry in a social bookmark engine
  • I don’t have to wade through my disorganized bunch of browser bookmarks

Everything is just done in one single click on your browser.

“toread” also has a link suggestion engine which analyses those pages you bookmark and suggest other similar pages for your consideration.

The server can be slightly on the slow side at times, but on the whole – it’s one easy way to deal with articles you flag for later reading.

How do you flag articles for later reading?  Tell us in the comments!

(toread.cc)

[tags]bookmarks, email [/tags]

On the Go – The Best Mobile Media Web Applications Reviewed

Too many people who have 3G phones – don’t use 3G. 

It’s disappointing that too few carriers worldwide have bothered to expose free services to their subscribers – that actually drive interest in the service, preferring instead for consumers to move about in their Internet Walled Garden

I’m starting a series of posts that will take you through some of the best mobile web applications out there so you can give your phone a fair shake.

WidSets – The Best Slices of the Internet on Your Phone

widsets2

Widgets have expanded from your desktop (Macs/Konfabulator), to the web (Pageflakes/iGoogle), and now they can be found on your phone!  

Widsets is a service which serves up widgets specifically designed for a phone.  It currently has thousands of widgets up for selection ranging from traffic alerts, news, blogs, gossip, restaurant reviews, weather reports, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for –  it has a studio for you to create you own widget!

My favourites – a Flickr widget which enables quick access to photos, a Wikipedia widget for looking things really quickly, and the TechCrunch widget – which allows me to get my tech news fix daily. 

One thing I can appreciate about surfing via WidSets, is that all the content is formatted for mobile – which means quick loading, intuitive interaction, and no horizontal scrolling needed. 

Kyte.tv – Broadcast Live Streams From Your Phone

kyte logo

Kyte.tv lets you create your own live TV shows and broadcast to your blog, website, or any medium which supports it.  You can either choose to upload a video or do some live streaming from your mobile phone.

kyte You don’t need fancy hosting, bandwidth, or audio/video equipment to have your own live show, or even a lot of technical knowledge.  I managed to start my own TV station on Kyte.tv in a matter of clicks, and trust me – it is really simple.

If you’re not the kind of person who’s into creating your own TV show, Kyte.tv also offers access to a whole library of featured and user generated content.  Everything streams directly to your device without having to download the media file.  At this point, the content offerings aren’t very extensive  yet offering mainly video podcasts, but it has a few big names like Robert Scobble onboard which makes for some good viewing.

You also don’t need to be broadcasting video.  You can push out photos, audio, text, or anything else you want to share with the world from your mobile to your website.

Join us soon for the next installment of ‘On-The-Go – the best mobile web apps reviewed’

Special thanks to David Lian, for loaning me a Nokia N93i (this phone rocks) for a couple of months to do this writeup.  No – this post is not sponsored by Nokia.

[tags] mobile, kyte, widsets, widgets, phone [/tags]

What are your favourite mobile applications?  Let us know in the comments!

Sneak Preview: TestFreaks – The Intelligent Review Aggregator

testfreaks

TestFreaks is a new service which aggregates product reviews across the web.  Still in it’s Alpha stage, I managed to get the lowdown on what I thought was pretty exciting technology (or at least promises of it).

Here’s the Deal

What they’re trying to do is to make a product review aggregator just like Wize, but add in a social aspect like Amazon, where it gathers information about your preferences, and matches them with other readers who are most like you, thereby pushing the most relevant reviews to you.

Focused on User Reviews

Their take on it is that professional reviews are usually objective and done with a great deal of attention, however they only spend a short amount of time with the product. User reviews on the other hand tend to be to complete opposite. TestFreaks is to truly get the best of the user reviews rather than just to aggregate them as a single entity.

My 2 Cents – User Reviews vs Professional Reviews

I’m not sure I really agree with the fact that user reviews are the best way to go.  While it’s true that users spend more time with the review product, it’s usually the case that they spend less time with competing products.  More often than not, this leads to the user learning to love the product they spent good money on, and biased positive reviews. 

User reviews tend to give better insights on reliability and customer support, but as for product itself, I usually go to the pros first.  I like a bit of a balance, with clearly separated professional and user reviews, rather than mixing them together like what TestFreaks is currently doing.

My 2 Cents – Simplify the Summary

I also prefer a definitive conclusion when it comes to the summary of the product reviews.  Right now on TestFreaks I have to scan through multiple review excerpts before I arrive at any form of conclusion as to how good the product is.

I like the way Wize summarizes it’s products into a single score.  While this may not be entirely accurate, it is by large correct and gives me an extra quick way to scan through hundreds of products just by looking at a single score.

Conclusion

Very much in an alpha stage, this product is still very rough and I personally won’t be using it till a few months down the road, when more features are released…but I will definitely keep my eye on them.

Disclaimer: Testfreaks.com has paid me to review their service, and to give an honest opinion.  Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by the Testfreaks.com in any way.

What features do you like to see on a product review site?  Let us know in the comments!

[tags] product review, gadgets, review aggregator, deals [/tags]

5 Things Any Online Research Company Should Implement

isalient

Marketing without research is like trying to find your way in the dark, and I’m not just saying that because I have a research background!

With low fieldwork costs, and high revenue potential, the online market research industry is a booming one judging from the number of companies springing up left and right.  

Why Online Research?

If you’re thinking of trying out online research for your company consider the following benefits and drawbacks as described by the UK Market Research Society

Advantages:

  1. Large numbers of respondents can be surveyed at one time
  2. International boundaries no longer need to be an obstacle to research – worldwide surveys can be conducted at the click of a button
  3. Inexpensive way to conduct large surveys – it is possible to get thousands of responses for just a few thousand dollars
  4. Rapid turnaround ‚¬œ research can be undertaken and results received within a few days. Already, some US companies are offering same-day delivery of results

Disadvantages:

  1. DIY surveys (where the clients put the questions directly to the respondent without a researcher as an intermediary) compromise objectivity of questioning and impartial interpretation
  2. The fact that the internet is a limited medium from which to draw a truly representative sample. Research conducted via internet surveys can only target internet users and, more specifically, it can only target internet users who are prepared to answer on-line questionnaires ‚¬œ currently still a small percentage of the population

Is Isalient up to the Mark?

Isalient is an online survey service which asked me to profile them so here goes:

I found Isalient powerful but extremely unuser friendly.  Right from the start, I had great difficulty copying my questions to another page, and was tearing my hair out because of slow server speeds.  Having said that, I did make an effort to check out Isalient’s competitors (see end of post), and I have to concede that Isalient’s package is very comprehensive in comparison to the rest.

So how can they improve?  Well they can start by following these set of rules…

5 Things Any Online Research Company should Implement

1. Make it easy to build and modify a question – TO be faster – AJAX EVERYTHING please

2. The system should be smart enough to weed out blank options – If my question has 5 choice options by default, but I only use 3, it should remove the surplus choice options automatically.  On some platforms I had to delete the blank options one by one.  The picture below should never happen.

 3. Allow import and export of the survey – Poor interoperability makes porting a questionnaire over to and from another service a pain.  Some companies see that as locking in a customer.  I see that as scaring them from trying out the service for the first time. Update: Isalient supports XML import/export.

4. Provide template questionnaires – Many people don’t know how to even start to design a basic questionnaire.  Have some questionnaires on popular topics good to go, so readers don’t have to struggle. Update: Isalient provides templates.

5. Allow publishing on another site – I don’t fancy popups and redirects to another site to do a survey as I would rather my readers stay on my own site.  Let me put it on my own page or in a blog post.

Like most online survey companies out there, Isalient has a free package you can try before you buy (Limited to 50 responses).  Meanwhile consider checking these other popular online survey sites out as well…

  1. QuestionForm
  2. WuFoo
  3. Survey Monkey
  4. Zoomerang

Overall, Isalient has a lot of the basics in place, which gives it great potential, but my experience was marred by the user experience.  Many of the features I looked for were present but were so hard to find, they might as well not have been there.  This product is almost there, but definitely needs work.

What has your experience been with online surveys?  Tell us in the comments!

Disclaimer: Isalient has paid me to review their service, and to give an honest opinion.  Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by Isalient in any way.

[tags]surveys, isalient, market research, [/tags]

Decorate Your Walls With Wallhog

Ever had a set of photo you were really proud of and wanted to showcase on your living room wall?

Now the issue with typical photos is that they fade over time, and may not be the classiest things to blow up in size and hang on your wall even after you’ve framed it.

What Wallhogs offers up is an online service where you can upload your photos have have them blown up to large proportions, and then printed on reusable vinyl, or canvas (or photos if you wish) – which makes them much more presentable in a room setting.

How does Wallhogs compare with their competition?

As with many of my reviews, I searched around the web for a competitor to benchmark against and came up with Zazzle, and LargeFormatPosters.com.  All of them offer similar services so let’s take a look at their prices.

Canvas posters

Wallhogs – USD$19.99 for a 11″ x 14″ canvas print

Zazzle’s – USD$39.95 for a 11″ x 16.5″ canvas print

LargeFormatPosters.com – USD$15.00 for a 11″ x 14″ canvas print – Winner

Photo posters

Wallhogs – USD$19.99 for a 24″ X 52 high glossy photo print – Winner

Zazzle – USD$34.95 for a 24” x 36” high glossy photo print

LargeFormatPosters.com – USD52.00 for a 24″ X 52 high glossy photo print

Vinyl posters

Wallhogs – USD$24.9924″ 24″ x 52″ vinyl – Winner

Zazzle does not sell Vinyl posters

LargeFormatPosters.com – USD$60.67 for a  24″ x 52″ vinyl

Bottom Line

Now there may be slight differences in quality and costs of shipping between the services listed above – but it does seem like Wallhogs comes out as a winner in terms of overall pricing.  There are not too many prominent players in this business yet, but Wallhogs is certainly one service worth keeping an eye on.

Disclaimer: Wallhogs has paid me to review their service, and to give an honest opinion.  Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by Wallhogs in any way.