New Media Picks Of The Week: Sharewood Picnic 25
Sharewood Picnic is Robin Good's weekly basket of hand-picked goodies discovered and found in the last seven days; it includes new web sites, software tools and online resources that can further enable your ability to become effective independent publishers online.
Photo credit: Grzegorz Niewiadomski
You are welcome to test, download and freely use any of the little gems listed here below. They are all powerful digital weapons to start more actively participating in the user-driven publishing revolution Robin is chronicling.
- Study on users' impressions of RSS
- Free WiFi initiative
- Bookstore that donates to charity with every purchase
- Photo- and video-sharing service for camera-phones
- Customizable photo-album creator
- "Picture message" creator (Google-based)
- Text-based photomosaics creator (Google-based)
- Web polls generator
- Wiki tools list
- Web-based MS-Office compatible suite
- RSS -- Crossing into the Mainstream
RSS -- Crossing into the Mainstream is a whitepaper discussing the current state of RSS use and the future of the technology. Written by Joshua Grossnickle of Yahoo! and three members of Ipsos, a market research consultancy, RSS - Crossing into the Mainstream is a comprehensive look at RSS usage statistics. The group's findings reveal that only 4% of internet users have knowingly used RSS, although 27% have used RSS without knowing it, on personalized homepages like MSN or Yahoo! The study also touches on podcast usage, ease of RSS use, and social demographic use of RSS. The whitepaper is available for free.
FON is an ambitious public service project aiming to spread free WiFi across Europe. Started by Martin Varsavsky, the man behind two of Spain's largest telecom companies: Jazztel and Viatel, FON will use the WiFi infrastructure already in place across Europe and allow anyone with a laptop to access it for free. FON's downloadable software client installs into your WiFi base station, giving you a password of your choice but also accepting all the other passwords of all the other FON members. "FON is based on the premise that WiFi users are only taking advantage of 3% of their capacity on the average or in other words wasting 97% of their total paid for bandwidth." Varsavsky has pledged millions of euro of his own money to buy software and ad campaigns to achieve his goal, and is currently looking for people interested in working with him.
Books We Like is an e-commerce site with a social conscience, giving a percentage of all products bought through the site to non-profit organizations. A project of the Media Venture Collective, Books We Like uses the power of capitalism and profit to fund charities so they need not rely on donations alone. The site uses "constituency marketing" to appeal to specific niches that will benefit from the independent media revolution, and uses a peer-recommendation system that changes advertising "from prostitution to recommendation."
PixPulse is a unique photo-sharing service for your camera phone or mobile device. Users upload photos or video to their "personal media channel," allowing multiple friends to instantly see the material on mobile phones or on the net. PixPulse differs from other similar services by offering a social networking aspect similar to del.icio.us or flickr, which allows tagging so people with similar interests can connect to each other. Users can notify multiple friends at once with PixPulse, saving the cost of sending multiple SMS messages. PixPulse supports all mobile carriers and works on any phone with camera or video capabilities, SMS/MMS and WAP 2.0. The service is free.
Picaboo is a tool for creating personalized photo albums from your desktop. Picaboo offers the ability to customize all parts of your album or use several pre-designed page layouts, backgrounds, corners, and covers. You can even load your pics and Picaboo will create an album instantly for you. For a small proce, users can then print out the photos on glossy, acid-free paper, and bind them in a book easily. Picaboo also allows creation of DVDs or computer-based albums complete with soundtracks and transition effects. The software is free to download.
Woogle is a free search toy based on the Google Image Search. It takes the words you type and finds images on the net that match the words, creating "picture messages." Although Woogle is just for entertainment, the site can be hilarious and is a fun way to send messages to friends, as the URLs that Woogle creates do not reveal the message told through the pictures.
Toogle is a sister site to Woogle that takes the first image found on Google Image Search and reconstructs it with multi-colored text, similar to photomosaics. Created by Gu Jian, Toogle is free.
iMediaPOLL is a tool for embedding an online poll onto your blog or website easily and for free. Created by iMediaSoft,the iMediaPOLL interface is fully customizable, allowing you to adjust skins, poll color, language and location of your poll. iMediaPOLL lets you determine how many questions to include, whether to allow users to vote multiple times, whether users can see results and many other options. Once your poll is live, you can easily integrate it into your site or even an email. iMediaPOLL is free to use.
- Wiki Tools
e-Learning Centre hosts this collection of useful wiki tools and services. This list contains nearly 20 sites offering wikis, including SocialText, JotSpot and others. The site also gives brief descriptions of each site's strengths. The site is free to access.
- Web-based Office Suite
ThinkFree Office 3 is a MS Office-compatible suite of web-based applications. Consisting word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs, ThinkFree Office is platform-independent and works on Windows, Mac or Linux. ThinkFree "mirrors the capabilities of [MS Office]" and "looks, feels and behaves just like they do" as well. The free application requires no downloads, provides up to 30 MB of document storage, and allows users to insert live documents into blog postings. ThinkFree is in beta, and it costs USD $49.95 to buy. For a Microsoft Office alternative, that you never have to upgrade and which is accessible anywhere to go, that seems quite an attractive alternative. A downloadable free 30-day try-out is also available.
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