If you’re looking for buzzwords, you’d be hard pressed to find one more over-used than “Web 2.0.” The hype and marketing, unfortunately, obscure the rapid growth of social media and the associated technologies. Fortunately, a brilliant little video popped up online last week and was immediately hailed as a much-need breath of sanity and clarity by BoingBoing, Kottke and many others.
We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. Watch the “Web2.0 Explained” video here.
One of our colleagues over at SearchWinIT, senior news writer Christina Torode, reports that the Microsoft and Novell partnership is starting to bear fruit. The OpenXML Translator, which lets users open and save documents in both OpenXML and ODF, has moved out of beta and can now be downloaded from SourceForge.net.
Artifact Software has released a new tool that they’re calling “Lighthouse.” Lighthouse is a free, on-demand software development management (SDM) system built specifically for the software development industry.
Lighthouse features a personalized real-time dashboard that displays reports from project management tools, allowing developers and project managers alike to properly manage internal and external expectations of timelines for deliverables, measure productivity and provide greater transparency into the development process, identifying potential roadblocks in the process.
Are you always struggling with multiple todo lists and trying to be more productive? Are you comfortable with the command line? If so, try out ToDo.txt. It’s a simple, elegant way to combine scripting and text files. Gina Trapani, Lifehacker and blogger extraordinaire, is the lead developer of the the code for this particular discovery.
Jimmy Ruska has created an outstanding index of free online educational resources, which he’s called the Massive Resource List for All Autodidacts.
An autodidact, in case you’re wondering, is a self-directed learner. Wikipedia has an index of different different autodidacts in different countries.
Jimmy’s selections, which include courses, educational podcasts and much more, make it easier for all of the autodidacts out there to excel in self-directed learning.
Buzzfeed helps you “find movies, music, fashion, ideas, and technology that are on the rise and worth your time,” combining buzz detection with short, pithy posts about whatever the idea happens to be.
Jason Kottke, one of our favorite technology bloggers, was involved in the creation of Buzzfeed — so you can bet the design is worth a look.
Even with the wonders of smartphones, VoIP software, satellite broadband and transoceanic fiber optic cables, finding the correct phone number for a business or individual can be a huge bottleneck in communication.
For wired folks, entering “phonebook: name, city, state” in Google’s search field answers this need, but, in our experience, dialing “411″ from a phone has long been the most dependable means of getting directory assistance, albeit a costly one.
Just dial 1-800-FREE411 (1-800-373-3411) or visit the Web site and follow the computer-assisted directions.
How does it work? In our experience, pretty well. While Jingle Networks (the company that owns and operates the service) indicates that in the future advertising will preface the service, for now many calls go ad-free while the company signs up advertisers. Of course, if the number isn’t listed, you’ll need to look beyond 411 services entirely.
You can hear more about Free411 in this podcast at TalkCrunch, where Michael Arrington speaks to CEO George Garrick and early investor Josh Kopelman about Jingle Network’s financing and the Free-411 business in general.
Do you use Google‘s Gmail for freemail? Did you know that you can use those 2 GB of free storage space as an online hard disk, similar to Apple’s iDisk? You can enable this functionality in a number of ways.
Have no fear! Gmail Drive offers similar functionality for Windows users.
The Skype Email Toolbar makes it easy to port your contacts directly into the application from Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird. The toolbar also allows a user to call Skype contacts and phone numbers listed within email, see when contacts come online and add a Skype button to your email signature.
Make sure to do your due diligence on VoIP security first, however, before you start Skyping your coworkers, clients, friends and relatives.
Microsoft Office 2007 has new Open XML file formats set as the defaults in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can read Microsoft’s overview of the new formats here.
This is causing a bit of a problem for people who don’t have Office 2007 and receive documents from correspondents who do have the newest edition of Microsoft’s productivity suite, as older versions of Office can’t open documents with the new file extensions. The new formats are distinguishable from the old formats by the addition of the letter x to the file extension. The three most common extensions, for Word, Excel and Powerpoint, respectively, appear as .docx, .xlsx and .pptx, respectively.
By installing Microsoft’s Compatibility Pack, Office XP and 2003 users will be able to open, edit and save to the new Open XML format. You can download the Compatibility Pack from Microsoft.com if you need to install the converter.