Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Media Picks Of The Week: Sharewood Picnic 31

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Sharewood Picnic is my weekly selection of new media gems found along my explorations during the past seven days. Many are new tools that have just been launched and are ready for you to take for a test drive.

Photo credit: Leah-Anne Thompson

My goal remains to provide you with constant access to those tools and facilities that can enhance, enable, augment and support your ability to be effective online publishers of some kind. If this is what you are after, check these out:

  1. Book and music recommendation site
  2. Personalized search engine builder tool
  3. Worldwide instant messaging and SMS from mobile phones
  4. Quality customizable high-speed file hosting service
  5. Thumbnails previews of most popular searched sites
  6. New online UK-based press release clearinghouse
  7. Washington Post visual news cloud
  8. Online clearinghouse for BitTorrent content (Win)
  9. Online PC security scan service from Microsoft (Win)
  10. Autopilot to schedule your computer next actions (Win)

  1. Douban

    Douban is a book and music recommendation site. Registered users can post reviews, browse reviews posted by others or search by title, ISBN, title, author or tag. Users will find the site similar to the recommendation system of Amazon, without the ability to buy the books instantly. Free to register.

  2. Rollyo

    Already familiar to the many early adopters out there, this is indeed a super duper of a gem. Definitely what I would call a "newsmastering tool" Rollyo lets you "roll your own search engine" that only scours the sites you select. Called "searchrolls," Rollyo's savable, personalized searches are useful for scanning several sites at once so only info from your specified sources is actually delivered. Rollyo lets you save your searches, browse other people's searchrolls and search multiple sites simultaneously. Rollyo also offers a fully working Firefox plugin, a custom searchbox that can be embedded in your web site, several desktop widgets and more. Free to join.

  3. MXit

    MXit is a instant messaging program that lets users send IM or SMS from their cellular to MXit users anywhere in the world for less than one cent USD. Free to download, the program works with GPRS/G3 mobile phones from several manufacturers and is compatible with MSN messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM or Jabber.

  4. TotoExpress

    TotoExpress is a web-based service promising high-speed up/downloads and online storage space. A powerful resource for companies and organizations, TotoExpress lets you upload files to their servers where customers, collaborators or coworkers can download the files at high speed. The service will let you customize your TotoExpress page with logos, skins, thumbnails and even custom domain names so your page doesn't look any different than your official site. The service uses 128-bit SSL encryption for file transfers, ensures secure file storage and allows access controls so only those with proper passwords can access your folders. TotoExpress also has built-in preview tools for .pdf, .mp3, MS Office formats, images and videos. Memberships range from $25 - $90 Canadian Dollars (€18 - €65).

  5. Trend Sweet Trend

    Trend Sweet Trend is a mash-up of LiveMarks and Browsershots. For the less geeky, here is an explanation: LiveMarks lets users see (in real-time) the most common and most recent searches on, while Browsershots creates visual previews of any web page, as it appears on several browsers (also in real-time). Trend Sweet Trend brings these two services together, allowing anyone to instantly view any site from the top searches without actually needing to click to see the actual referenced site. Trend Sweet Trend also maintains running statistics for the top searches. Free to use.

  6. ClickPress

    ClickPress is a press release clearinghouse. Useful for companies, PR staff and journalists, the site lets companies, governments or any other organization post their news or release on the site, making it available to anyone. Crawled by major search engines and syndicated with RSS, ClickPress is a member of UK-based PR Press Network, which offers similar services. The site is in its infancy and currently only has a small directory and membership, but it's free and could become popular if it gets enough attention.

  7. NewsCloud

    NewsCloud presents the news from the Washington Post in a blog-like tag cloud. Containing over 60,000 tags, NewsCloud searches around 13,000 articles the Post has published since November 13, 2005. An idea with much potential, the service lacks a search feature to filter through the gigantic amount of information it presents. However, NewsCloud is one of a few sites (such as Ripped From The Headlines and World News Maps) that have emerged since the Post opened its API and began allowing mashups of their site. Free to use.

  8. Windows Live Safety Center


    The Windows Live Safety Center is an online check-up and PC safety protection service for your Windows PC. The latest development from the web-based Windows Live series, the Safety Center provides full scans for viruses, safety threats and hard drive clutter. Microsoft claims its free safety scans will identify and eliminate any potentially harmful files or files that slow your computer's performance. The Safety Center also has discussion forums and several articles on keeping your computer safe and free of extraneous files. Users note: the service only works through Internet Explorer.

  9. Torrent Portal

    Torrent Portal is an online community for sharing and discussing BitTorrent files. The site is comprehensive, including a giant list of available torrents (games, films, TV, music), a search feature, a directory of Windows BitTorrent programs, a BT tutorial and a glossary of torrent-related terms. Torrent Portal also has a chat room, user forums and allows you to upload torrents as well. Membership is free.

  10. Task Orchestrator

    Task Orchestrator is a freeware software ditributed by PCMagazine. Task Orchestrator is like an "autopilot" for your computer. The utility lets you line up and execute a series of tasks to occur while you are away from your computer - eliminating the need to endlessly wait for a file to download or a process to finish. With enormous potential, Task Orchestrator lets you design tasks so they occur at specific dates/times, including downloading, moving, copying or deleting files. You can also use Task Orchestrator to play media files, shut down/log off or open/close an application - all at the time you specify. The utility will even wait to begin a process until another has finished. A fully-free download.,1895,1888116,00.asp

Robin Good and Kevin C. Borgia -
Readers' Comments    
2005-12-20 16:21:20


Actually, the Task Orchestrator program not free. It is part of PC Magazine's Utility Library and costs $5.95 if you only want to download that file. You can also sign up for one year unlimited access to their library for $19.95.

2005-12-20 16:18:15


Actually, the Task Orchestrator program not free. It is part of PC Magazine's Utility Library and costs $5.95 if you only want to download that file. You can also sign up for one year unlimited access to their library for $19.95.

posted by Robin Good on Sunday, December 18 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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