Say Hi to Doris, Your Task Management Assistant

A while ago, I wrote about Planzone, a collaborative project management app, and how it allowed me to organize and manage all the pieces and players of two major projects I have going on. I have the free plan, which includes two projects. But I also needed something that would help me manage my most chaotic project (the one called “My Life”) and keep track of everything else: a to-do list for an upcoming trip, personal and professional side projects, those brilliant ideas…I know you know what I’m talking about! All the things that float around in your brain, coming and going whenever they please, popping back into your head at 2 a.m. or, when you’re in the shower, which is really not helpful.

dorislogoJust when I needed her most, along came Doris, a free, web-based task management app developed by Seagull Systems originally for their internal use. (Disclosure: Seagull Systems has done development work for one of my projects.) Doris, their personal assistant, turned out to be so helpful that they dressed her up, in the form of a nice UI, and decided to let her help the rest of us get organized, too. Read More about Say Hi to Doris, Your Task Management Assistant

Online Community Manager: Yes, It’s Really A Job

Community management is one of those careers that I think of as a quintessential web worker position. In my first full-time community manager position, I worked from my home in Portland for a company based in the Bay Area. Now, I work from home as a freelance online community consultant. Even when I was working in a more traditional company with a local office, I tended to behave a little more like a web worker, since almost all of my work was online.

ReminderFox: A Simple Firefox Extension for Time Management

WebWorkerDaily has covered many time management, to-do list, and calendaring applications such as RememberTheMilk and Toodledo. There are many good applications in this space, but the tricky part with many of them is that they are intensely personal, and the way they work may not suit the way you work.

For a very simple, unobtrusive solution that works directly within the Firefox browser, ReminderFox is worth a try.

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Hands On Review – Google Tasks

Rumors of a Google Task Manager Application have been circulating for years. ZDNet speculated back in April of ’06 and again in October ’07, while we posted our own plea back in April.

The Googlers responded a couple weeks ago with their launch of a Gmail Labs Task Manager, and like any self respecting Google junkie I just had to give it a shot.

So let’s fast forward a couple of weeks and see how they did.

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Doom and Gloom: How Real is it?

I’ve run across yet another survey that claims to demonstrate “small businesses are rapidly cutting overhead costs to adjust to the new reality of a slowing economy.” Among other findings in this survey:

  • 75% of small businesses negatively impacted by the current economy
  • 72% are reducing overhead costs
  • 50% are cutting back on business services
  • 23% getting rid of physical office space

Overall it paints a picture of small businesses heading for the lifeboats – but how much can we tell about the reliability of this picture?
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iLeaseMyCar: Car Buying Calculation

There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect car, negotiating a fair price, and then getting totally worked over by the finance manager when you go to get a lease or a loan. To help you compare financing options, iLeaseMyCar provides a simple iPhone loan calculator. There are web calculators, but an iPhone app provides some advantages for use when a network connection isn’t available or is too slow, particularly for iPod touch owners that may not have access to WiFi at a dealer’s showroom.
The app is well designed and attention to detail sets it apart from some of the other choices in the app store. The layout includes 4 buttons across the “dock” at the bottom that let you choose between a loan calculator, lease calculator, advice on negotiating loan options and terms, and program help. The advice is simple, but straightforward, and the help covers all the options available in the program.
Setting the loan details is straightforward. Just tap on the value that you want to adjust and type in the new value. I actually prefer the slider mechanism used in the Auto Loan / Lease Calculator because it gives you immediate feedback on adjusting loan values, but iLeaseMyCar remembers what you’ve entered so you can quit to check email and return to where you were without losing anything.
I’d love to see some additional features like saved loans, a payment schedule with principal and interest, compare two loans, and so on. There’s certainly room for improvement with all of these apps, but my sense is that the good folks at Not Too Shabby Software have a solid base on which to build.
iLeaseMyCar is available in the iTunes App Store for $0.99.
Update: For a limited time, the best deal appears to be the brand-new iLeaseMyCar Pro which has special introductory pricing of $1.99. iLeaseMyCar Pro adds reverse loan and lease calculations to calculate other factors from the payment and also allows you to add taxable and non-taxable fees.

Russell Brand, Britney Spears, The Line: NTV Station Today

In 10 years, we’ll look back on Forgetting Sarah Marshall as “the movie in which most of America found out how funny Russell Brand is.” And in that strange bold future, this clip promoting Brand’s hosting of the MTV VMA awards will be seen as a delightful artifact of the times. Plus, Britney Spears!

And today, Episode 7 of The Line, Saturday Night Live‘s first real foray into web series production, brought the story to a close. But is this satire of fanboys waiting for the latest installment of their favorite sci-fi franchise a Dark Knight-esque success or a Phantom Menace-esque letdown? Lower your expectations, then check it out at NewTeeVee Station.

TokBox Takes $10 Million for Video Chat

Free online video chat service TokBox has raised a $10 million Series B round of financing led by Bain Capital. Sequoia Capital, which provided $4 million for the startup’s Series A funding, also participated in this second round.

TokBox has worked to expand its reach over the past year, developing its video chat service for web-based IM platform Meebo as well as Facebook, and the company released an Adobe AIR version of its service.

TokBox isn’t alone in this space, IMO.IM is another browser-based video-enabled chat service (founded by ex-Googlers) and Skype offers video calling as well. No one, however, has solved the biggest problem with video chat: webcam placement. Until someone builds a camera behind the monitor, video conversations will never feature eye contact, as everyone’s looking down (and away from the camera) to see the person they’re chatting with.

Bebo Launches Sam King Series With UMG

The social network Bebo will launch on Wednesday its latest original video series, The Secret World Of Sam King, which promises to be another interactive, product-integrated show in the vein of past successes Kate Modern and Sofia’s Diary.


Produced in partnership with Universal Music Group, Sam King has an interesting premise and also the promise of lots and lots of real-life music act guest stars (a cameo by the ubiquitous Jonas Brothers is embedded below). Set at Universal Music UK’s actual offices in West London, Sam King is a mailroom worker who starts his own music label. The show will incorporate up-and-coming bands on Bebo and perhaps pave the way for them to hook up with Universal.

Bebo’s Ziv Navoth, SVP of marketing and business development, was in town from London and stopped by our office today. We asked him for a rundown on the new series, which is embedded above.

Sam King will air daily episodes lasting 3-5 minutes. Virgin Mobile and Sony Ericsson are already signed on as integrated product. The show is hosted on VideoEgg, whereas other Bebo series have been on Ooyala.

OK, that’s it for the vitals. As to whether or not Sam King is good — that’s yet to be seen. Check back in with our friends at NewTeeVee Station for a review.

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Sony VAIO UX390N for $1,299 at Woot!

Sony_vaio_micro_pclotstandardIf nothing at CES tickled your mobile fancy, then perhaps an old favorite at a killer price might be attractive. How about a Sony VAIO UX390N with Windows Vista Business for $1,299 today at Woot! You’ll likely need to hurry because you know the drill: when they’re gone, they’re gone.The UX390N is the 1.33 GHz, Intel Core Solo model with a 32 GB SSD drive. The 4.5-inch touchscreen shows an eye-straining 1024 x 600 res but I have bad eyes, so I’m biased. A gig of RAM and integrated 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth and EDGE are inside as well. Looks like the standard battery only; no extended battery, so you may want to consider that as a future accessory purchase. Oh, and don’t forget the Sony VAIO UX series has the slide-up screen and 64 button keypad. That can come in handy if you don’t want to use the Tablet PC support in Vista Business.(via Micro PC Talk)