Smashwords: Vanity Publishing or Innovative Content Delivery?

swlogoNot too long ago, I posted about BookGlutton, a service which allowed for online collaborative reading. You could also upload your own work, but that wasn’t the main focus of the site. Smashwords, on the other hand, is a web site devoted to self-publishing. It doesn’t lend itself to collaboration, necessarily, but it does present another possible method of content delivery, and for web workers looking for another revenue stream, it may provide an avenue for monetizing your content.

For me, it also raises the age-old question: is self-publishing really just a form of vanity publishing, along with all the negative connotations that implies?

It’s a thorny question, and one that takes on new significance as we slowly but surely move away from print media towards online publishing. I went to school for writing, and had it drilled into me pretty much every day that unless it was someone else’s name on the masthead of the journal or press I was publishing with, I wasn’t accomplishing anything.

Online, however, many of the most successful professionals are self-published, and self-made. Darren Rowse, Guy Kawasaki and Om Malik Richard MacManus come to mind. They are dealing primarily in the medium of the blog, however. The stigma associated with self-publishing doesn’t seem to have entirely disappeared when it comes to books. Read More about Smashwords: Vanity Publishing or Innovative Content Delivery?

NTRglobal Adds Remote Support Tools To Your Service Offering

NTRsupport LogoIn the current economic climate, many web workers are trying to increase revenues by expanding their service offerings. One popular way of doing that is to offer remote desktop technical support.

There are many tools and services available that can get you connected remotely with users seeking technical support. In New Ways to Make Money Online, Mike and Aliza pointed us to Copilot and Bomgar, while I looked at how to Sell Your Expertise Online With Crossloop.

Another option in this space, which I have been trialing for the past few weeks, is NTRsupport.

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Qapacity: Find and Provide Services Through Networking

qlogo-bigA little while ago, I reviewed the service offered by GigPark, which was essentially a referrals network to help people find and share service providers. Qapacity is a new tool that works along the same lines, although it goes about it in a completely different way. Qapacity seems more geared towards attracting service providers themselves, but it still has a lot to offer those looking to shop, not sell, too.

If you’re looking for another venue for promoting your services or investigating service providers to partner with, Qapacity is definitely worth checking out.

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Best Tech Videos Aggregates Categorized Tech Tutorials

If you’re a web worker who appreciates some of the many good, free online video tutorials on applications and development tools relevant to your work, YouTube is definitely not the only place to turn. You can find a huge number of sophisticated, easy-to-digest video tutorials on tech topics at Best Tech Videos.  The videos are categorized down the left rail of the site, so you can concentrate on Web 2.0, Development, Database, OS or other types of tutorials.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but good video tutorials can often do you one better. Here are some of the types of tutorials you’ll find for free at Best Tech Videos.

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Apple to Sell Subsidized Notebooks in the U.K.?

The recent rise in the popularity and availability of netbooks has led some wireless carriers to package the computers at significant discounts for customers who purchase subscriptions. According to a recent report by Lisa Thompson, a tech research analyst with firm JRPG, Apple may be in talks to work out a similar deal with O2, a U.K.-based wireless provider.
A subsidized laptop offering from Apple would help alleviate complaints arising from the October 14 event that pricing on their new notebooks remained too high. Thompson also thinks that Apple is keen to avoid a netbook, as it might cannibalize MacBook sales, so discounting an existing product through a third-party allows them to essentially have their cake and eat it too.
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Last Gen MacBook Pros $700 Cheaper, MacBook for $849

Apple may not have broken the $900 mark with the new line of laptops they unveiled at Tuesday’s event, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a never-before-used Mac at that price. As long as you’re willing to bury your head in the sand and pretend no new models exist, or your computing habits don’t require the absolute latest tech, you can get some pretty good deals on previous generation Apple notebooks.
Amazon.com, for instance, is offering a $700 (compared to its price at the Apple Store before Tuesday’s release) discount on MacBook Pros, which makes this 15-inch model not much more expensive than the now-discontinued black MacBook. While this is a great deal for those looking for a still-powerful laptop at an affordable price, those hoping for the sub-$900 laptop Tuesday likely won’t see $1,780 as much of a deal.
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Full Page Screenshots On a Mac

Taking screenshots on Windows used to a laborious process, consisting of performing a print screen then editing the result in Photoshop. Leopard (and indeed, earlier editions of OS X) goes a long way to simplifying the process with different key combinations to achieve different results. It is possible to grab the whole screen, a single window, or a user defined area of the screen. However, I commonly find myself needing to take a screenshot of an entire webpage — not just the portion that is viewable in my browser window.
This is where WebKit2PNG and Paparazzi come in. The former is a command line utility for OS X which uses the WebKit engine (the software powering Safari) to generate full page screenshots. The latter is a piece of software which offers a user friendly interface to the command line utility, making it much easier to use. I’ll focus on the features of Paparazzi first before going a little technical to explain some of the extra features offered by WebKit2PNG.

Paparazzi

Paparazzi Screenshot Utility
Using Paparazzi is simple. Open up the application and enter your URL. You can choose the size of the window that you’re emulating and also choose to crop the resulting image. It takes a few seconds to download the screenshot, then there are several export options to different image formats.
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Create Your Own Ringtones With YouTones iPhone Ringtone Creator

We’ve shown you ways to create ringtones for your iPhone using your Mac, but with the newly released YouTones ($4.99) application from FunMobility, you can now make them on your iPhone. YouTunes is already an established name in the ringtone industry, having previously been available for other handsets on most networks, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Making ringtones with YouTones is, as the name implies, mostly about you. You singing, you swearing like a drunken sailor, you doing pretty much anything you can record with the iPhone’s mic. Yes, we realize how dangerous this could be. But it could also be a lot of fun, plus it’s cheaper than buying ringtones from iTunes at a buck a pop, and you don’t need to be near your Mac if you’re struck with the impossible-to-resist urge for a change in your call notification habits.
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blinkBox Wants to Be the European Hulu

blinkBox didn’t get very far up the wow-o-meter the first time we saw it. Using authorized clips of movies as web greeting cards? Whoo-hoo.

But the greeting cards were actually a sort of Trojan horse for the company, blinkBox CEO Michael Comish told us last week. According to comScore, the site now has 400,000 uniques per month, all from the UK — which is actually not so bad there, considering the size of the population. “Clips is a way to get 1 million users, not run a business,” he said. “Our model is free clips, free TV, and paid-for films.”

Now that blinkBox has deals to distribute content in Europe from nearly all the major Hollywood studios, Comish is planning to launch later this year an expanded ad-supported site for “catch-up TV” with the goal of becoming the European Hulu. The company hasn’t announced all its partners yet, but the public ones include Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount, FremantleMedia, Aardman and Discovery. All the deals allow for sampling, personalizing and embedding, said Comish. (Surfing the site from the U.S. I frequently ran up against this cute little geo-blocking error message: “Argh! We’re sorry but because you’re not currently in the UK you can’t watch this right now. The weather’s probably better where you are though.”)

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Hulu to Get Some Premieres Early

It pays to have big media backers. Case in point: Hulu, which will not only be offering season premieres of hit TV shows from FOX and NBC, but will be debuting a number of shows online before they appear on television.

Over the next seven weeks Hulu will kick off the fall TV season with shows like Prison Break, Bones, House, Heroes, The Office and 30 Rock.

Additionally, in a bid to generate some online buzz, the site is getting Knight Rider, Lipstick Jungle, Chuck and Life a week before launching on television.

Putting select shows online before they air on oldteevee is becoming par for the course for networks. Last year, HBO released the Flight of the Conchords pilot on MySpace, iFilm and iTunes before it went up on the pay cable channel, and earlier this year NBCU launched season four of Battlestar Galactica on SciFi.com 10 hours before it was on television, and Showtime premiered the season two opener of The Tudors on YouTube.