Archive for July, 2009

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems: Changing the Way Phone Calls are Answered

July 29, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Most of you may have already experienced calling your favorite service provider for mobile, internet, or cable television, etc. and find yourself talking to a monotonously sounding representative over the phone who simply asks questions and allows you to respond within a short time frame. Sometimes it transfers your call to a different department in order to speak with a live person whom you sometimes thought of being just another prerecorded answering machine, right? If your answer is yes, then you might have just encountered some virtual interactive voice response systems adopted by the company you’re trying to reach.

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology filters out specific caller inquiries using interactive voice and touchstone keypad recognition by which questions are asked by pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio that routes calls to specific extensions or departments based on the generated caller responses. It can be annoying at times but the more you get exposed to these systems, the more you get used to it.

The challenge that is left here for customer service front liners is to satisfy every caller’s needs after going through a hurdle in attempting to reach the right department or extension in order to speak with a live agent especially for the not-so-tech-savvy people as this could sometimes be overwhelming. For the IVR providers, the benefit of a highly scalable technology is an added advantage but for the companies who are currently adopting the technology, it’s a must that they implement the system in a simpler way within the grasp of their customers spearheaded by highly competent and friendly frontline agents.

Surf anonymously with iBypass

July 29, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

We all know that surfing anonymously nowadays are just simple tasks configurable via our favorite web browsers. Incognito browsing in Google Chrome makes this possible leaving no trace whenever the browser window is closed. On Internet Explorer 8, InPrivate browsing makes it an easy task by simply pressing Ctrl+Shift+P on your keyboard. With Firefox 3.0.12, you may need to set-up the Private Data options under Privacy Tab from the Tools menu in order to get rid of browsing history.

While the steps I’ve mentioned above are pretty easy, I stumbled upon iBypass which works as a proxy site for accessing blocked websites. It has nothing special to offer thou since for major offices, majority of productivity stealing sites are blocked. The site can only be appealing to naughty kids who are willing to do just about anything in order to penetrate a parental website blocking software. However, I haven’t tried using such kind of software so I’m not sure if it can also block proxy sites that will show prohibited content.

The intriguing fact about the site is the iBypass Gold software being offered free. Well, there’s really nothing to celebrate about it being free because you can’t install it to your office or school where computers are shared. The advantages of the software is that it loads web pages pretty fast (that I wish Firefox 3.5 could be as fast too), no pop ups or annoying ads, a claimed unblockable access, and a screen changer which can be configured easily to show a desired page just in case somebody walks into your room and you don’t want to expose the page you’re viewing. Other than these positive features, I just could find any compelling reason to adopt this software.

Unusually Low Cost Avaya Phones for Outsourcing Businesses

July 28, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Most BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) companies maximize its investment on infrastructure particularly with telephone systems to capitalize their revenue earning efforts with the aid of highly reliable technology.

The presence of Avaya phones on outsourcing business environments is intangible because this is where they thrive. Work stations with headsets connected on Avaya phones and a desktop computer was once my companion that’s why I fully understand how a functional telephone system can make or break off shore businesses or call center operations.

In fact, thousands of Avaya definity telephone systems are annually being procured by most outsourcing business all over world. At some point, I’ve even thought of buying a unit myself for home use but it was too costly for me, I must have been contented with SMS that’s why I have removed it from my wish list.

Moving on, I came across a valuable treasure wherein incredibly low discount avaya definity telephone systems are available at unusually low price ranges. Jaw dropping in fact and with an Avaya phone as low as $30, you can get one yourself for small home office needs. Incredible isn’t it?

Is Free Antivirus Software No Good?

July 24, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Choosing the best antivirus software is crucial for computer usage in order to get rid of malware from infecting your computer. End users have different standpoint on which antivirus software works for them. Being a software enthusiast myself, you can only have an attachment with particular software based on experience and I mean long term experience—hands-on exposure. Nothing can take the place of an actual experience over theoretical statements or assumptions. It is no different than choosing your home appliance, your clothing line or store, it all boils down to which product meets your requirements and expectations.

When it comes to antivirus software, we all have our own choices and some of us have different requirements. While most of us prefer user-friendly programs, some advance users may prefer more feature rich software while those who are just new to this may resort through trial and error in order to decide which one works for them but above all things, its our computer’s protection we’re after.

Trend Micro, one of the leading corporate cloud security providers, offers free antivirus tools for home users as they understand that not everyone can afford hundreds of dollars in virus definition subscriptions. By giving out an effective preventative tool, they can help slow the spread of malware across the internet which also helps promote their commercial products.

It was just surprising that a niche site posted an article questioning the capability of free antivirus software to deliver the necessary protection to computers blatantly describing the option as risky. Many of us may not agree with this statement at all ever and will condemn such generalization.

What I’m talking about was the blog post of PC Mag entitled “Can You Afford To Use Free Antivirus?” which was rather appalling to the extent that they are a niche site yet they have tendencies to sway on what could have been a blog post that could have showcased their expertise and integrity.

Semantec’s David Hall, Product Manager for Asia-Pacific Consumer Products and Solutions said that free antivirus software can’t keep up with those full-priced suites offered by their company and even though it sounds conceited, PC Mag agreed that Semantec has a point.

Talking about Microsoft Security Essentials alone, they stated that Microsoft created their own version of antivirus as an answer to incapable free antivirus softwares such as AVG or Avira otherwise if the latter guys could not have done a good job, Microsoft wouldn’t have thought of coming up with something on their own.

PC Mag said and I quote,

“The free products also don’t generally update themselves with the same frequency as the pay programs.”

Alright, before you react and I know you will. Allow me to dissect each sections of the post. As a continuation,

“One exception to this may be Panda’s upcoming Cloud Antivirus, but it’s a little early to say. The cloud approach does change the rules on updates.”

It seems that the author doesn’t have an idea if free antivirus software do update on its own and stating Panda’s Cloud Antivirus could be promotional if not unwittingly but may also indicate uncertainty on the author’s part. The post’s second to the last paragraph and first sentence states and I quote,

“I could cite competing authorities on whether the protection quality of the free products is good enough as compared to the pay products, but in a sense none of them are good enough.“

The last paragraph and I quote,

”My common sense tells me that protection provided by the elite pay products is better than that provided by the free products. The reason there are free products, and why there will continue to be free products, is not that they’re as good as the pay products, but that they’re way better than nothing. The more people use them, instead of leaving themselves with big virtual “Kick Me” sign, the better off we all are.”

The former quotation for me is clearly a generalization. If you read between the lines, PC Mag in this author’s behalf concluded that all free antivirus software are crap! Based on the links that this unnamed author cites on the post, he was able to come up with a conclusion that when he/she encountered a Scareware (Scareware is software which pretends to be a security program, pretends to scan your computer and find threats on it, and demands money in order to remove the fictional threats.) one time that he/she has downloaded via a pop up window while surfing the internet. After downloading what he perceived as “free antivirus software” since it run a scan while he was browsing a weather related site, out of curiosity he/she downloaded it. To make the story short, it was a malware that he/she downloaded. And that was the author’s supporting citation about the generalization.

The more striking part is that the author based on the last paragraph states that his/her common sense tells him/her that the protection provided by paid antivirus products are unsurpassable by free ones and that free software are just mere alternative than having nothing at all. Also, the author said that while there are some people like you and me that continue to use and patronize free antivirus software, we’ll never get any better.

It sounds that I needed a lot of coursing in order for me to come up with statements like those above unless there’s an ulterior motive to do so. Coming up with such negative statements especially on a niche site like PC Mag on technical matters such as free antivirus software products is a powerful statement that needs a lot or I mean tons of thinking and research in order to come out reliable and authoritative.

I can’t imagine reading from a technology site certain generalizations that are questionable in nature and lacking with enough supportive proof. I certainly won’t believe a niche site with an author who merely downloads software via pop-ups out of nowhere and creates news out of it with some splash of technical jargons just to make it sound and look geeky and use it as a proof to make generalizations that are out of context.

My common sense tells me that I’d rather not believe niche sites with authors who think that using jargons make them sound reliable and technically authoritative yet lacking in substance.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Simplified

July 22, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Software Critics will not be complete without ever touching this one-of-a-kind service that has been widely discussed and yet still remain a matter of debate but considerably an option worth looking at especially by small businesses.

What is Saas? Saas stands for Software as a Service, a software deployment model whereby a provider licenses an application to customers as a subscription service. Saas software vendors normally host the application on their own web servers or download the application to the consumer’s (subscriber) device which can be disabled once the application is no longer in use or when the subscription contract expires.

The salient features of Saas are as follows:

Subscription driven. The business model of SaaS is nonetheless a contracted service which requires careful selection especially when choosing the right provider. A proven track record like most subscription based services is something to look at but this one is more than just your regular cable TV subscription!

Hosted Service. Remember, like any hosting service similar to a website or blog, you are likely to experience outages and slowdowns. In the Saas model, a dedicated server with a copy of an application running on an Internet-connected service makes possible multi-tenancy however it is required that each customer’s data are safe and secure. Like all hosting providers, 24/7 uptime and support is a must.

Web-based interface. The flexibility of running a Saas powered environment makes it easy for administrators to access the application anywhere at anytime of day whenever there’s an internet connection.

Hassle-Free Updates. Each update is implemented only on one single platform or dedicated server which makes rolling out of updates an easy task.

Low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Minimizes infrastructure investments and maintenance expenses as SaaS reduces IT efforts especially during solution upgrades compared to on-premise installations.

Software as a Service (SaaS) functionality diagram

Software as a Service (SaaS) functionality diagram

The challenges of SaaS

Embracing SaaS may require deeper understanding of its scope and implementation. Unlike regular web hosting, transition from one vendor to another will take a considerable amount of effort and time due to vendor lock-in, a lack of portability between vendors, as a major drawback.

Another important thing to look at is the IT dependency of clients over providers which overtime might cause a significant over-dependency when on-premise and traditional on-site IT is abandoned.

Since SaaS operates on the Internet, there’s always a question of security wherein storage of highly sensitive information is concerned unless SaaS providers can deliver tight integration with sensitive back-end systems that makes it impossible from a remote system to create holes in the firewall that would permit an outside server to initiate actions on internal systems. Also, the need to transfer large files over the Internet can delay results compared to Ethernet transfer speeds since the typical Internet connectivity speeds of 100kbs – 1000kbs is less admirable than internal Ethernet speeds of up to 1,000,000kbs.

SaaS providers like most web hosting service have to be financially viable with a long standing revenue sources and reliable track record in order to attract customers aside from the fact that they should provide a balanced Service Agreement that will benefit mutual understanding between parties within the scope and acceptability requirements of the contract not compromising both the intention and the ability to safeguard unsolicited and confidential information. In order to makes this work, internet security procedures such as SSL or encryption technologies should be required by all SaaS consumers.

SaaS is very promising but unlike any other service available on the internet, these requires thorough analysis considering acquiring a hosting software as a service implemented via a remote server, a vendor has to have the structural capability of providing security and confidence in everyway.

Why MSGTAG is Disappointing?

July 21, 2009 | By | 23 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

I was thinking of tracking down the emails I sent if the recipient actually receive and reads it. During the research, I came across this service better known as MSGTAG or message tags if I am to literally call it. This service offers both paid and free service with the inclusion of tracking software. The software is pretty sleek and tiny so you won’t be bothered having it to consume hard disk space.

Having the amazing features such as the ability to notify you the moment your messages are opened which is pretty robust. The email notification is sent to a particular email address that you’ll have to specify. According to their site, it’s non-obtrusive meaning no pop-ups or whatsoever unlike receipts being delivered via Outlook and Outlook Express.

It’s simple to use with an eye-catching capsule design allowing you to enable or disable tagging with one click. The paid versions however can display tagging and notification options to find out your tagging status and select new options without trawling through screens of pull-down menus.

MSGTAG Free

MSGTAG Free

Alright, enough with the features so let’s get to the bottom line of this review. Did they deliver what they have promised? Unfortunately, the free version alone is not worth trying out. The moment I sent the email using my ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) POP3 account to my web hosting POP3 email address, I immediately opened it. Doing so, I am expecting that I would be getting an email notification from MSGTAG that will be sent to my Gmail account (the email I used to receive notification via the MSGTAG options) stating that I’ve already read the email that was sent to my web hosting email address but there was nothing (I even waited for hours).

If the free service alone cannot deliver what it promises, do you think I would be convinced to even purchase the paid service? If I were you, would you? It seems that FREE stuff nowadays is becoming less attractive. If not under-quality, it’s a crap. Better yet, if businesses are offering both free and paid stuff, its better that they drop those free stuff or services that are trashy and not making it as a front like a hook with the bait that will work against them.

Ever had the same experience online or offline? Do share your stories.

I just wanted to let everyone know that MSGTAG Free is no longer going to be updated although the service provider has not specified that they will be taking it down which doesn’t make sense on why they still have to keep it somehow. It’s just a bait so don’t eat it. Furthermore, since MSGTAG Free is based on the MSGTAG Plus Platform, they had it discontinued to focus on the new MSGTAG Status 2.5 in response to the secure email connection security systems setup by most ISPs that the older plans don’t support. It’s an information that is long overdue that should have been communicated early on. – Updated, 16th October 2009 source: via Email.

Winamp 5.56 now officially released

July 19, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Nullsoft, the developers of Winamp officially launches it latest version of the Winamp Media Player now 5.56 with some killer new features to boost. The new Winamp Orgler lets you track, chart & share your listening history with the ability to highlight top artists, songs & My Charts, an improved iPod Sync Support, addition of 16 Language Packs available including Turkish, Romanian, & Brazilian Portuguese including all the old features we’ve loved about Winamp through the years.

The new addition of the plug-in, Winamp Orgler gives you the ability to highlight & feature musical charts to your liking. Each time you listen to a song through Winamp, while the Orgler is enabled, the plug-in sends the basic metadata associated with that file (such as song name and artist name) to Winamp. Currently the Orgler only tracks songs played from your media library (internet radio isn’t tracked yet). It’s like allowing them to track the songs you listen to so they can rank which songs are really smashing the airwaves. For me, it’s like tracking the songs you hear as a vote. Hmm, this sounds like they are tracking what we’re doing right? Okay, well you can still opt not to be tracked as long as you’re not logged-in into the player.

It seems that they’re up into something with this but make sure you clean up those cookies! Anyway, I really don’t have to worry about this because I’ve given up on them a few months back. How about you? Are you excited to try this out?

ZipRunner acquires Entrecard

July 17, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

A few weeks ago, Entrecard embraced some changes and introduced a paid ad system which will provide revenue to the site and at the same time help sustain its services to its members by accepting paid ads from both bloggers and those outside of the community.

Weeks after the introduction of the paid ad system, cash out benefits are given to its members allowing them to exchange their unused credits when they reach the minimum threshold to qualify to redeem their so called “virtual currency” also known as EC or Entrecard Credits into dollar amounts then came along the exclusion of non-entrecard members from buying ad space within the community.

The move was bold when they introduced the paid ad system wherein a wider scope of revenue generation can be acquired. However, like most changes introduced into a large community like Entrecard, it is expected that some may not vouch.

A few days ago when I’ve checked the site, it had been down for hours which was pretty unusual and that according to its founder, Graham Langdon, they have worked on the server but it should be back to normal in no time and that he had to get some sleep because of it.

Just today, Entrecard has announced full acquisition by Los Angeles based ZipRunner, Inc. something that I never saw coming and not even every single blogger out there have any idea.

Now that Entrecard had been sold out, what future does it hold for Entrecard and its thousands of members after this takeover? We certainly don’t know. One thing for sure that I know of on why Graham Langdon gave up on Entrecard and I quote,

The result is that the drive and the motivation to give Entrecard my heart and soul waned. My passion for the project subsided.

There could be a lot of factors why this happened and with the announcement alone, it can be expected that many reactions will follow—negative and positive.

If you are an Entrecarder like me, let me leave you this question, are you bothered with this transition or you are confident that it will be for the better?

News Update (18Jul09):

Andrew Te, CEO of ZipRunner, Inc. has emailed all Entrecard members with a welcome note and a tone of excitement. if you can recall, Te became its board member back when it was six months old. Like most takeover or transition of ownership, there’s always will be the andrenaline rush of enthusiasm and positivity. Amen to that and I hope it wouldn’t fade like Graham’s. Back to reality, among his words and I quote,

“In closing, I would like to reiterate that ZipRunner is looking forward to working with Entrecard users and improving Entrecard services.  I only ask that you give us a chance and your patience.  Look for great things to follow in the coming weeks, and months.”

Are we looking at drastic changes here? I can’t speak for everyone else but let’s just hope for the best.

The Paradox of Free Online Services

July 16, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

I was a victim not of a criminal or a scammer from cyberspace, not even of bandits or robbers of the outside world—but of deception.

Like how many times have you seen ads and promotions online that promises a free service yet upon completion of sign-up, it caught you off guarded as being a trial service? Isn’t it that disgusting and annoying for everyone to be in such a situation like I had been an hour ago. I was trying to find a service online that will allow me to send and receive faxes via email when I came to discover eFax. I find it a promising service at first and the fact that it’s bragging about providing a free service, I took the chance of getting one for myself hoping that it was genuinely free.

I took the time of getting a screen shot of the page to have a solid proof as you can see below.

eFax free account sign-up page

eFax free account sign-up page

If you will carefully read was on the sign-up page, it doesn’t clearly state the features that a free account holder can get. Unlike most web services that offer both free and paid options—these are well disclosed.

Now, here’s what makes me so annoyed. It’s not only after I have signed up and completely verified my account when this information struck my face. Have a look at this!

eFax 30-day trial

eFax 30-day trial

As you can see, it’s a complete perversion of facts intentionally used to get customers to sign-up and drive sales with a hint of deception. Why do they have to hide the eFax free account they are offering is just a 30-day trial? Are they afraid that their service might come off short that’s why they try to hide the truth or they’re simply one of those businesses trying to screw people with false positives?

Come on, customers love honest businesses and if they get what they want, they normally come back or they hold on it. End of story.

P.S.
Prior to publishing this post, the free account I have had been already closed as per my request via the integrated chat service they have on the live account. They could have provided the chat service right on the signup page so questions can be thrown at them, right? If only they’ve disclosed it as a trial, it could have been better. Who knows? I might eventually upgrade my account.

Upload videos and photos faster with Firefox add-on

July 15, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I could have written this post a couple of days ago but since I was busy test driving the new Seesmic Web and Seesmic Desktop 0.40, it was just today that I was able to find time and I’ve made further research as well.

It’s not going to be surprising for most internet users to upload files online like photos and videos on most file sharing sites like Flickr, Slideshare, and YouTube among many others. Getting to use Firefox Universal Uploader add-on or simply Fireuploader allows uploading of files from the comfort of your web browser in an easy to use interface with a wide array of selections for multiple file sharing accounts via a single interface or by using only one extension.

Firefox Universal Uploader or Fireuploader

Firefox Universal Uploader or Fireuploader

Also, Fireuploader allows direct downloads from your file sharing accounts which are made possible via the API provided by each website however APIs are different so you have to expect different functionalities on each account that’s why you may notice some file sharing service providers not having a download button while others have.

Here’s the list of the most common file sharing sites supported by Fireuploader:
– Rapidshare.com
– Photobucket
– Mosso
– Box.net
– Flickr
– Picasa
– Youtube
– Facebook
– Webshots
– Omnidrive
– Smugmug
– SmeStorage
– Google Docs
– Snaphappi, a digital photo processing website
– Adobe Share and Slideshare to name a few.

This Firefox tool works with Firefox versions 3.0-3.5 and is very easy to use and highly functional, so if you’re the kind of person who loves sharing your files, this extension is a must have.

Seesmic Web: Streaming tweets the Seesmic-way on the internet

July 12, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I’m a Seesmic convert so this new lauch I was informed of just made me more excited. Here’s why:

Finally, you can tweet anytime of day, seven days a week anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection using your favorite browser. Seesmic Web (web-based Seesmic for Twitter) allows you to manage your Twitter stream on the internet in a single column minimal mode – similar to reviewing your email headers. You can easily search, save and access your searches. Provides unlimited column creation for various Twitter group conversations in threaded format. Seesmic Web also shows a rollover view of Twitter user statistics and a complete profile view with an updates tab.

You can see Seesmic Web in action from the video below:

Seesmic Web, the web-based and cross-browser Seesmic, revolutionizes the way Twitter streams are managed and this time making it possible outside of your desktop for easy access anywhere in the world. Engage, tweet and do it the Seesmic Web way!

Update 17 August 2009

Inline preview for certain links is now available. You can now easily review picture links via Twitpic, yfrog and mobypicture within your current browser window, ability to preview interactive bit.ly links like YouTube videos or Google Maps.

Clickable hashtag links and favorites timeline management in one single tab column is now available including French and Chinese language versions.

Saved logged in preferences, update post via Return keystroke, ability to delete sent messages, and automatic message loading upon scroll down have all been incorporated.

Does Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC 2009 really work?

July 11, 2009 | By More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

In the past, I have written on this blog several steps on the highly effective ways to optimize PC speed and it absolutely did a great deal in making this blog relevant to the blogosphere. While I admire tweaking my system and doing some hacks, it’s not obvious that I’m a fan of free software and open source but what I’ve just got into lately was a great venture with Uniblue as an affiliate (I just want to make sure that I’m very transparent and honest with you all). Being approved as an affiliate was quite a good deal so I want to thank you guys for all the support you had given this blog. In return for your avid readership and trust, I’m giving away a full version of Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC 2009 including 1 year of Active Protection only if you subscribe to our newsletter. The download link and license will be sent to your email upon confirmation of your subscription

Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC

Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC

Going back to Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC 2009, this software has remarkably increased my computer’s speed. You’ll notice the change in your computer’s system performance to gradually improve by frequent use especially when it is setup to run on windows star-up. The more you use it, the better it gets so I assure you that you won’t be disappointed because I’m using it myself so you can alert me if it doesn’t satisfy you in any way.

The salient features of the program allow you to monitor and control all your PC resources with easy, one click instructions. It automatically scans and cleans your system settings, internet usage, disk clutter, RAM and CPU for optimal performance. It also gives you the option to selectively disable or remove unnecessary background and auto-start processes to cut valuable seconds at windows start-up.

So, what are you waiting for? Subscribe to our newsletter now to get the full (licensed) version of Uniblue SpeedUpMyPC 2009 inclusive of 1 year Active Protection absolutely FREE valued at $29.95 without any catch! Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support.

Free software license is already discontinued. Stay tuned for more free software licenses in the upcoming months.

Can Google Chrome OS deliver?

July 10, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

A few days ago, Google has formally announced in their blog the newest project they’ll be working on which was the Google Chrome Operating System that will serve as Google Chrome’s (the browser) extension. In other words, the upcoming behalf of the browser is its OS.

Google’s attempt to create its own OS was really a bold move yet innovative and very promising. Chrome alone has gathered new fans and converts to support its rally in a short span of time so it’s not surprising that they’ll be getting into the OS market to get a share of the pie from OS powerhouse Microsoft succeeding their browser relevance on the internet.

If Google Chrome is light-weight and fast, what would it be like if it’s a duo of OS and browser from the same leading search provider? This has got to be very exciting! However, Google really has to raise the bar and work intelligently in order to achieve their goal.

We’ll be seeing Google Chrome OS in action sometime in 2010 on netbooks and will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips while they work with multiple OEMs. Some are thinking that this may somehow overlap with Android in some areas; Google believes that choice will be the driving force for innovation.

As Google puts it, “We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better.” Who on earth wouldn’t want a better computer anyway? A computer that loads and connects fast to the internet is very idealistic as this message comes across loud and clear. The question left for us is…Can Google really deliver in this challenge they’ve set for themselves? What do you think?

A quicker way to find local Fun Family Events

July 9, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Most busy parents often find themselves guilty whenever their kids rant about attending children’s parties or going into picnics especially during the weekends since it’s the only time of the week when they can bond and yet have no idea where and what do.

How frustrating it can be for kids who are longing for a fun-filled time yet their parents cannot deliver? In the past, parents can just make excuses and bring their children to the same place they’ve been over and over. Now, there’s no excuse why parents don’t have to exert more effort in making-up with their kids after a hectic work week.

ParentsConnect widget resolves this need to enhance family-bonding moments easily through accessible information about family-oriented events within localities in different states. Parents with blogs or social networking accounts like Facebook or Myspace can easily install the widget and discover what fun events and activities are available near them while at the same time having the chance to win $1000 once your widget gets the most views at the end of the contest period. If you don’t have a blog or any social networking account, you can visit ParentsConnect.com to search for events and activities that will surely promise great bonding moments with your loved ones.

It doesn’t get any easier than this, you only have to install the widget or visit the site and that’s it. So, do yourself a favor, exert some effort and you’ll be assured of a lasting family relationship.

Seesmic versus TweetDeck: Which is better?

July 8, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Having used TweetDeck for more than a couple of months left me an impression that the app was good and served its purpose. It’s simple easy-to-use interface can hook any newbie user to engage in its features and functionality. There’s a lot of promise to this Twitter application being on beta version, it worked well more that I’ve expected.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck

Yesterday when I tried to use the program, something just went wrong; it gave me an error message stating that I need to check my firewall settings because it’s blocking the program. It shouldn’t be a problem because I’ve just used the program few hours ago.

A little panicky that I am, I uninstalled TweekDeck v.0.26 from my PC. I even checked Adobe Air (which makes it possible to run) for possible updates. Getting any result to no avail, I decided to search for an alternative Twitter Desktop application that I can use so then came along Seesmic to my rescue.

Seesmic Desktop 0.3 is a Twitter desktop app which runs via Adobe Air platform similar to TweetDeck. Right after installing Seesmic, I run the program and nothing happened. My discovery: my internet connection slowed down upon checking through my LAN connection status. Alright, that speaks for the problem. Now what? I was test driving Seesmic all day and it was impressive. Ok, everybody’s going to say, I got run out of ideas and tried using an old app and making a story out of it. Hang on all right, I’m not yet done. Seesmic may be an old timer but it was stable. It was easier to use because of its friendly-user-interface. The left tab options make it easy to navigate between accounts for multi-account holders, groups, direct messages, @replies, sent messages, and searches. Unlike TweetDeck, Seesmic has the option to detach opened tabs into columns unlike TweetDeck having solely the column feature with a quite annoying rollover tab at the bottom that appears when there are more than three opened columns. Another great deal about Seesmic is the shrink text functionality which allows lengthy messages to fit exactly within the 140 character limit although this may not be quite appealing to some, those who are fond of texting will benefit and praise this feature. I’d suggest not using it for professional conversations since it seems informal. Another nifty feature of this application is the ability to insert pictures and share it on several image sharing services.

It’s not long enough though that I’ve been using this app but it seems that it’s beginning to capture my interest. Now, do you want me to tell you the other reason why I switched from TweetDeck to Seesmic? I’ve never seen such a vague feedback forum my entire life than what I’ve seen with TweetDeck. The site’s background as you can see in the photo below was not enticing being dark.

TweetDeck Feedback Forum

TweetDeck Feedback Forum

At first glance, you might wonder what site you’re on or what the search field is for but neither of the sections below it can give you a hint. Sending email over their support group isn’t worthwhile either because I didn’t get a reply yet at this time of writing.

Having a great application doesn’t come with having a great place for support so they should realize that navigating webpages dedicated for customer issues (this applies to all) should be easy and clearly labeled. Webpages that are supposedly designed for people seeking help and assistance should be their ultimate priority to keep their users or customers from leaving.

Anyway, I’m happy now and I’m positive that somehow things may change for the better. I’m still eyeing on Seesmic for some things that I can discover at a later time though. How about you? Are you satisfied with TweetDeck? What can you say about Seesmic? Which one do you think is better?

Seesmic Desktop Update: 12Jul09

Seesmic Desktop 0.4 was launched with exciting enhancements such as:

  • Single column and multi-column mode switching ability wherein in a single column mode, you can keep your stream compact and use the sidebar to toggle between accounts, userlist and searches which can be seen on the Seesmic Web functionality.
  • The ability to set fixed-width for the detached columns is made possible.
  • Collapsible and expandable sidebar using an added a button for viewing view and managing your streams.
  • An updated API usage control, added options for timeline limits and improved optimizations for performance are also some of the value-added enhancements.

Watch the new Seesmic Desktop 0.4 in action in this post, “Seesmic Web: Streaming tweets the Seesmic-way on the internet.”

Update 21Jul09

After two weeks of testing Seesmic Desktop including version 0.4, I’ve decided to switch back to TweetDeck v0.26.4. Why?

The tab options on Seesmic are okay but at times, its annoying. Everytime I start the app, I normally see the old messages in the column which I have no option but to leave up to but it mixes up with the new updates so I find it unsuitable. Whenever I scroll each Seesmic column, it was always a mess, it freezes most of the time. Lastly, it caused me so much trouble in following anyone because the API requests that you can do with the application is uncontrollable. I can’t see anywhere in the application to control API requests so what happened to me was a complete disaster. I cannot follow anyone for days because as per Twitter, I’ve requested so much API. I know that there has been a bug going on about failing to follow anyone on Twitter but I suspect that too many API requests can lead to it.

Ever tried selling Gold online?

July 4, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I find this topic very interesting and worth the post so I gave it a shot. It may not be software-related but I know that this is a piece of great information everybody can get something out of. In oder to make my message come across, the simple question to ask is selling gold online for cash safe or is it not?

Like most people, even the savviest guys out there are a little too concerned about transacting businesses and even money matters using credit cards especially online so what more if we’re talking about gold in the form of jewelry? I too would be quite hesitant and most likely be asking myself if the transaction was safe, or will there be an assurance that the dealer would get the item and pay, or am I dealing with legitimate entities.

It is common for people to doubt at first for thing they haven’t experienced doing and that simply means that they just need a sound advice and guidance. So, let me enumerate some of the helpful tips to be safe before dealing online with this kind of business. First, do your homework. Research the background and credentials of the buyer. Second, insure your valuable items so that whatever happens, you can be sure that somebody has to take full responsibility. Lastly, maintain an open avenue for communication exchanges at all times between yourself and the dealer for tracking the status of your transaction.

This kind of business is something that I came to know recently which through the years was headed by industry advocate, Ed McMahon, a primary Cash4Gold spokesperson sadly passed away and the company mourns over the loss. Check out the online Cash4Gold profile for more details.

Is Firefox 3.5 worth installing?

July 3, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

The recent release of Firefox v.3.5 last June 30th, 2009 has created a lot of buzz on the web especially on the blogosphere and since I was using version 3.0.11 of the browser (among the four different browsers I use), I’ve decided to test it and see how it will perform compared to the older version.

Like the usual Firefox download thank you pages, this new release brags this tagline, “Thanks for downloading the fastest, safest and smartest version of Firefox yet. Happy browsing! While this isn’t new to me, the line“fastest, safest and smartest version of Firefox yet” caught my attention and challenged me more to try it out after the download. Like most releases, Firefox always mentions their eagerness to get user feedback. One of the most important highlight of this release mentions Firefox 3.5 being the first browser to support open video formats, allowing movies to become part of every dynamic web page without requiring a plug-in. Well, this sounds amazing and to think that Firefox who happens to have a larger share of browser usage on the internet compared to others is still trying to come up with further developments to stay ahead of their game, it’s a good move.

I’m not going to enumerate the new features of the browser to make this post short but you can find them on Firefox 3.5 release notes. Immediately after downloading the new version, I run it on a test drive scrutinizing its speed on loading web pages. It’s not as surprising as the tag line connotes. Generally, it seemed to me that there wasn’t any difference at all when it comes to performance. Like most users, I’m not going to focus on the technical aspects of the new release, what I’m after is the speed. The speed has not quite changed at all. I can’t see anything so special about it that makes it so promising more than its Minefield counterpart which I like the most. Although add-ons on Minefield are quite selective due to compatibility issues, it’s the most promising browser.

Firefox 3.5 may be a new release yet, who knows it may improve overtime but I don’t consider it a big leap for Mozilla. I may not have witnessed a faster browser on its image but I’m still happy that I’ve tried because my question was answered.