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.
Podlinez allows users to listen to podcasts on a phone. Simple, a tad brilliant and free, other than any charges you might incur in calling.
All you have to do is enter an RSS feed on the Podlinez Web site to retrieve the specific phone number to call to hear a podcast. You can simply browse the site to find numbers for popular shows as well.
Once you’ve called in, just use the # and * keys on the numeric keypad of your cell phone to reverse or fast forward through podcasts in one minute increments.
Many thanks to John C. Havens, About.com’s Guide to Podcasting, for the link.
What’s more than a blog and less than a Web site? A Squarespace, apparently. According to Caroline McCarthy at Webware.com, Squarespaces are what result when users of a content management system (CMS) developed by a Manhattan startup located in the heart of Silicon Alley use it as a platform for online publishing.
The Wall Street Journal Online thinks that “This is the kind of software the internet has been crying out for.”
What do users get for their money that isn’t available for free elsewhere? A robust CMS, an elegant user interface, beautiful template design and AJAX-enhanced click-and-drag functionality, in both case significant improvements to what Blogger (and certainly MySpace) currently offer, though WordPress and Movable Type are worth considering for this sort of thing as well.
Potential users of Squarespace include small businesses, entrepeneurs, political campaign, educators and anyone else willing to pay $7 to $17 per month, as you’ll see in this gallery of featured users.
Google Alerts are “email updates of the latest relevant Google results (Web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include monitoring a developing news story, keeping current on a competitor or industry, getting the latest on a technology or event or keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams.”
Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Styled after Black Friday ( the day after Thanksgiving when offline “brick and mortar” retailers in the United States offer deep discounts and sales, usually for one day only) Cyber Monday has in past years been more of a media creation than the day of highest revenue for online retailers. In fact, CNET reported that:
The biggest online holiday shopping day is not, as it turns out, the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Only 10 percent of Americans surveyed online said they will shop on the Web on so-called Cyber Monday, according to a report published Monday by MasterCard. The survey was conducted by Ipsos Insight for the credit card company.
Last year, the day with the highest amount of Web transactions processed was actually December 5, a week after Cyber Monday, according to MasterCard’s worldwide data for 2005.
SearchSMB’s Shamus McGillicuddy wondered whether businesses would be ready for the possible surge in online traffic in his article, small online shops vie for post-Thanksgiving sales.
Is increased server load a concern on Cyber Monday? While CNET still holds that Cyber Monday is a myth, Nicholas Carlson over at InternetNews.com wrote Cyber Monday Breaks Records in 2006, with “customer spending on Cyber Monday totaled $608 million, up 26 percent versus the same day last year, according to comScore.” Given that that rise could simply be reflective of a year over year growth in online holiday spending, however, this stat alone isn’t indicative of Cyber Monday’s bonafides as “the busiest days of the year” for e-tailers. It may be most useful to think of the day as a kickoff to the season, with online merchants offering special deals in the same way that their bricks-and-mortar counterparts do on Black Friday. We’ll certainly be watching (and clicking) in November.
PC Magazine’s Top 99 Undiscovered Web Sites include some sites we were familar with already, like StopBadWare.org, TechCrunch, TechDirt and Britney’s Guide to Semiconductor Physics, but many of them were new and, in some cases, extremely different. In a good way. FindSounds.com, for instance, is particularly cool, in our opinion, allowing users to search for all kinds of audio content. NNDB.com aspires to be to world culture as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) is to movies and the movie industry. And 10×10 features the 100 images that “matter most on a global scale,” updated hourly from influential news and opinion sites.
Blue Dot has received quite favorable coverage from both TechCrunch and Robert Scoble at PodTech, due at least in part to its ease of use, as you don’t have to sign in or register to use it immediately.
It’s possible to import your del.icio.us bookmarks (check out this post on the Blue Dot blog), choose which bookmarks to make public or private and use a widget to syndicate the feed for your bookmarks, all within a smooth, relatively attractive user interface.
Dot this, anyone?
Google has done it again. As useful as millions have found Gmail freemail to be, it’s even better now: users can now access Gmail through their mobile phones, as described by this press release. Simply point your phone’s Web browser to gmail.com/app on a Java-enabled mobile phone and download the application. It’s quite fast, with pre-loaded messages, easy scrolling, reduced but useful keystrokes for reading, composing and searching and even features attachment support that automatically resizes to the phone. You’ll need to check the requirements for Gmail Mobile first, crucially J2ME, but if you’re a Gmail user, this is pretty cool.
Simply put, mapvertising is the use of roof space for advertising to users of online mapping services like Google Maps, Mapquest, Google Earth and the many mashups that tie into those databases. David Rowan discussed the concept in this article in the Times Online, specifically the example of Target painting large (you guessed it) targets on their store roofs.