Saturday, July 21, 2007

innovative products and socnets



I think the most revolutionary, important, and helpful products are often mysterious, ignored, misunderstood at first. Just say "twitter" to some uncluedins, and watch the discomfort and distaste. The plain olds don't get it, and they hate the words we use.

I have explored these Web 2.0 tools and communities to varying degrees. Some were quick to set up and run with little administration, others are perpetually ongoing projects stretching to accommodate an evolving perfectionism, as new features are added and old ones improved or expanded.

Audacity:

Audio editor is actually an online studio, from SourceForge. I use it primarily for computer music composition, recording, track editing, and WAV exporting to iTunes for mp3 conversion and playlist CD burning. Simple. Crashes frequently. Extremely good sound path production, including effects and cut and paste tools. Fast. Fun. Free.

iTunes:

So much better than horrible Windows Media Player, it's astonishing. Ideal for opening, playing, playlisting, CD burning, mp3 conversion, and archiving of audio files. Easy. Fast. Fun. Free.

TinyURL:

This will be monetized by whoever figures out how valuable a list of URLs are that were long, but users went to the trouble of pre-shortening them, for better distribution in chat, forums, blogs, online display of web address, etc. Those links must be hot, viral, people's choice, massive opportunities for some sort of business or public service, eh? Free.

Adobe:

One word: Flash. PDF not so much. That still sucks. Just starting to explore Flash Media Encoder for live streaming video. Free.

Google Labs
:

A restless relentless pursuit of more widgets, mashups, and mostly Free.

Twitter:


Fact: faster, briefer, more sporadic (unpredictable frequency/quantity/quality) communications are paradoxically are also more intimate, helpful, and groundbreaking. Another simplicity/speed innovation empowering people over institutions, from Evan Williams, who brought us Blogger and Odeo. Free.

Yahoo Pipes
:

Lets you mix and mash highly configureable RSS feed complexities. Ideal for target data aggregation, the ultimate info mashup tool, but is itself a bit ponderous and overly technical. For programmers and advanced users. Free.

OpenKapow
:

Helps you make your own mashups with simple tools. Have not tested this yet, will do so soon though. Free.

Freebase
:

Selective invites forms elite crew of alpha volunteers to construct metaweb of database driven specializations. Free.

Zaadz:

selective invites forms elite crew of altruism troops called World Changers, inspiring each other, and providing individual and group tools for activist causes. Free.

Pownce:

goes beyond simple uni-directional chat to provide tools for accurate "in reply to" and file sharing (mp3, jpeg, etc.) Seems more professional, scholarly, less trivial than other asynchronous chat, status update, presencing streams. Free, with paid upgrade Pro version.

Swicki/Eurekster:

Make your own custom, specialized search engine. Then train it to favor links you feel are most authoritative, including your own best content. User community also participates in ranking relevancy of links. Free.

Yippykya:

Bringing an ecommerce dimension to the socnet concept. Have just begun messing with this one. Seems very promising. Has corporate sponsors like Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, McDonalds, if I recall rightly. That could be good or bad, it depends on what they try to do to the users and their transactions. Free.

8apps:

A productivity socnet. Just beginning to explore the tools. 4 apps are ready, 4 more are in development. Project management tools, etc. Good usability. Free.

Conduit:

In collaboration with TechCrunch, this company enables users to configure a custom toolbar, with menus and widgets, including popup blockers and email notifiers, plus what you consider Hot Links, to promote sites and benefit web surfers. Free.

Ning:

This socnet from Marc Andreessen and crew is astonishing for its easily editable mp3 player embed, with no limit on file size. I've uploaded 30 minute song sequences with no problem. Fast, too. Free.

Gleamd
:

Altruistic people search that asks "Who could you shine a light on?" May be evolving into a personal portal/press kit type hub, the ultimate node for any promotion or personal purposes. Free.

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