Bits and Bytes: FreshBooks, Zapproved, GatherGrid

FreshBooksI love it when I come across several new apps or new features on old apps that just shout out “productivity” to me. First, the latest news that I received in my inbox is that FreshBooks now has a free time tracking app for the iPhone. I was excited about their desktop widget for the Mac way back when, but frankly, I haven’t used it. Even their pop out time tracker on their site is quite functional, but I have yet to develop the habit of bringing it up when I’m working.
But put it on the iPhone and suddenly the mundane and forgettable act of tracking time is fun and accessible and begging for me to use it. Kudos to any cool Web application who ups their cool – and usability – factor by making it work on my iPhone.
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A Second Look at Evernote, Joint Contact, Backboard, Retaggr and Zemanta

I’ve been blogging here about Web apps and ideas for work for a while now so I thought I’d revisit some of the apps I’ve posted about in the past months. Where are they now? What are some of their latest developments?

Ever Improving Evernote

EvernoteI blogged about Evernote back in April while they were still in private beta. Mike Gunderloy has also covered them several times. Judi Sohn has also mentioned them a few times including recently.

The latest from Evernote seems to be some tweaking to add more finesse to the application’s versions on the Web, via Mobile Web and on the iPhone such as:

  • Rich text editing including bullets, colors, and styles on their Web version.
  • A new web clipper Firefox and Flock extension for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • The ability to change the title of a note during web clipping
  • The ability to edit text notes on Evernote Mobile Web and soon on iPhone.

I like the way Evernote uses social media communications to stay in touch with customers including FriendFeed and via a Facebook fan page.

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Bookgoo: Strange Name for a Useful Collaboration Tool

bookgoo - Highlight the WorldIn the world of branding, Web 2.0 companies are clamoring for name originality. Bookgoo is out there in terms of weird names but in terms of applications for collaboration, their technology rocks. The company set out to “empower users to collaborate more effectively.” And you, dear Web worker, get the benefits of their hard work.

Through Bookgoo, you can upload a document (pdf, html, doc, xls, jpg, gif) or URL and opt to make it either private or public. At first, I was envisioning another Scribd. Then I thought it sounded a bit like Backboard, a feedback site I recently reviewed here. But that is where the functionality diverges from both of those sites into a nifty annotating tool for marking up documents in a way that makes Google Docs look a little plain vanilla and some of the online whiteboard apps available seem a bit old school.

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NBC Finds More People Watching Full Episodes

NBC released new research today that it says shows a large chunk of its online audiences are watching full-length episodes of programs — and better remembering the ads in them. The research was funded by NBC, so take it with a grain of self-promoting salt, but it does seem to fall in line with previous independent research.

NBC found 77 percent of its NBC Rewind player users were streaming shows as a complement to TV viewing, with most saying they were catching up on missed episodes. Solutions Research Group had earlier found that 20 percent of the U.S. online population watched TV on the web on a weekly basis, and 21 percent of all visits to major network sites were to watch a specific show. The NBC number is a little vague as to how many “most” is, but its numbers do suggest that people are searching for particular shows.

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Men Are from YouTube, Women Are from ABC

In what sounds like the setup for a bad joke at the Improv, Nielsen Online released stats showing how men and women consume online video differently. Men are more into user-generated content while women prefer McDreamy network television.

The Wall Street Journal writes that 18- to 34-year-old men were more than twice as likely as women to watch videos on UGC sites like YouTube. Which makes sense given all the clips featuring shots to the groin and things blowing up to be found on UGC sites (if women want to watch that, they can just watch their boyfriends).

The Nielsen study also found that people who are into network sites remain loyal to those sites, while those whoring UGC fans will spread their attention across a variety of sites.

Missing Sync for Symbian announced, 1Q08 for Mac synching

MarkspaceGood news from Mark/Space, developers of The Missing Sync software that provides smartphone synching for Mac OS X: a version for Symbian phones is due out in the first quarter of 2008. The app is targeted for Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson handset owners looking to pair their smartphone with a Mac. Contacts, calendar events, tasks, photos, music and e-mail will all be supported through Mac apps like iCal, Entourage, iPhoto, iTunes and Address Book. In terms of media, you’ll only be able to transfer and use non-DRM files, but that’s fairly typical in any iTunes situation. MarkSpace says you’ll need Mac OS X and a supported Symbian device with Bluetooth; USB is needed for iTunes and iPhoto synching. Look for a downloadable license at $39.95 with a CD copy of the software for $49.95.

kct opinion: Vista can run well on mobile devices

I’ve read through James’ opinion piece entitled "Vista will never run well on mobile devices" several times. I’ve also read the many comments that the post generated. While I agree with the observable facts, I’m actually finding that I have a completely different experience. How so and why is that? Good questions which I’ll address in this opinon-based article. I can only provide my thoughts from my own experiences here and there’s no doubt that your own experiences will vary. And that’s the key premise behind the issue at hand; but first: my experiences with Vista on my Samsung Q1P UMPC.

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TuneView Remote for your iPod

Keyspan_tuneview_remote Keyspan offers an interesting remote control solution for the Apple iPod; it’s a dock for your player and includes an RF remote complete with an LCD screen. The TuneView is geared for folks that use an iPod connected to their home stereo system, so if you’re an earbudd’r, the $179 product isn’t for you. For the home theater audiophiles however, this looks like an appealing device.

Using 2.4 GHz RF, you can control your docked iPod from other rooms in the house; could be handy if your stereo system has a "whole-house" speaker hookup. The remote queries your iPod through the included dock and displays data from your iPod screen right on the remote. Keyspan just announced a firmware upgrade to the TuneView Remote; enhancements include faster scrolling, title search by first letter and a faster wake-up from sleep. You can catch a brief video of the TuneView in action right here.

WiFi-idol in Minneapolis

Minneapolis’ request for proposals to build a WiFi network has attracted more than 20 applications. If this model works, then municipalities have a better and low risk way of realizing their broadband dreams. “They have an RFP that is very conceptual rather than very specific. It’s very considerate of the city’s needs, but beyond that it is very open-ended, which brings out the best in entrepreneurs,” Dwight Wood, president and CEO of American Muni-Comm, tells The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Skype This and Skype That

Every since I posted my last piece on Skype, there has been a deluge of Skype Related information. For instance, Simon Perry has a great review of the Siemens-Skype Gigaset S440 phone. He likes it. I think it looks nice, though no idea about the quality and sound. Given that most of Siemens phones are of high quality, this will be no different. Meanwhile James “Kiddan” Enck has discovered that more and more corporate types are using Skype to manage global projects. Peace Corps and Accenture are two names he just throws out.